A former nurse's aide was sentenced to 18 months in jail yesterday for assaulting two severely disabled patients at a Catonsville nursing home while she was drunk.
Diane I. Jones, 26, of the 3000 block of Ascension St. in Baltimore was convicted of two counts of battery and sentenced to three years in prison by Baltimore County Circuit Judge Barbara Kerr Howe. Half the sentence was suspended.
Jones also was placed on two years' supervised probation upon her release and forbidden to work with senior citizens or children during probation.
The conviction is the latest in a recent crackdown on abuse of "vulnerable adults," said state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. About a dozen other defendants have been convicted for similar crimes involving elderly people, he said.
Jones was working as a nurse's aide at the Forest Haven Nursing Home in the 300 block of Ingleside Ave. when she reported to work drunk April 14, 1991, and assaulted two patients, according to the attorney general's office.
Prosecutors said Jones continued to drink while on duty at the nursing home and became irate at a 60-year-old female resident who suffered from profound mental retardation, brain damage and polio.
"Jones, clearly intoxicated at the time of the attack, was witnessed pushing the victim to the floor," a statement from the attorney general's office said.
The patient got up and tried to move away from Jones, but the aide shoved her to the floor again, prosecutors said. Another nurse's aide stepped in and ordered Jones to stop the attack. The victim suffered bruises to her legs, back, arms and head, officials said.
Later in the evening, Jones attacked a 54-year-old man who suffered from chronic schizophrenia, heart problems and hypertension, prosecutors said.
In May of last year, inspectors found 10 instances of deficient patient care at Forest Haven Nursing Home, including inadequate monitoring of serious medical conditions and lack of communication between nurses and doctors.
The 169-bed nursing home was decertified from Medicaid and Medicare programs 90 days later, but was readmitted to the programs in November, said Michael Golden, a state health department spokesman.