It was a long stretch for Joan Biebel to witness what the caregivers at a Glenview nursing home, in Illinois, did to her 91-year-old mother in a disturbing Snapchat video.
“You just can’t believe you’re seeing this,” she said. “You think your mom is safe and now this is going on. You’re just trying to figure out what the heck is happening here.”
Biebel’s mother, 91-year-old Margaret Collins, who has dementia and had been living at the Abington of Glenview nursing and rehab center. It was not until those two nursing assistants posted Snapchat videos of themselves taunting the poor elderly then light was shed on the truth.
The short video, which police said was recorded by Jamie Montesa, said, “Margaret hates gowns!” with two laughing and crying emojis, showing Brayan Cortez, a certified nursing assistant, repeatedly putting a hospital gown on top of Mrs. Collins while she tries to wave it away.
Family members were outraged. They said staff knew that Collins did not like hospital gowns and preferred to wear her own clothes.
“If they’re in her room, they should’ve been there for a reason to help her, assist her, not to exploit her and threaten her and demean her and post it on social media,” Biebel said.
Cortez and Montesa were both charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Police said Montesa told investigators she had recorded a video of Collins in her wheelchair once before.
However, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported administrators initially concluded the allegations were unfounded after co-workers vouched for the pair and Cortez and Montesa did return to work after serving a six-day suspension.
Now, the family is suing the nursing home, its parent company, and the workers. The lawsuit seeks more than a million dollars in damages.
“This was a sick game that two CNAs tried to play for their own enjoyment and by filing this lawsuit and pursuing this lawsuit we will prevent this from happening to other individuals in this facility, as well as other facilities across the state,” John Perconti, attorney, said.
The state found Abington failed to implement its abuse prevention policy. Family members moved Collins to another facility, but they say her health has deteriorated.