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Home Care Agency Cited after Nurse death as Assaults on Health Care Workers Continue

04 May, 2024 Liz Carey

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Willimantic, CT ( – On Wednesday, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a home care agency in Connecticut in the death of a licensed practical nurse as attacks on health care workers continued across the country.

OSHA cited Jordan Health Care, Inc. and New England Home Care, Inc. after the LPN was killed by a patient during a home visit in Willimantic, Conn. The two companies, doing business as Elara Claring, were cited for one “willful” violation for failing to protect employees from violence.

The violation stems from an incident in October 2023, when LPN Joyce Grayson, 63, was found dead at a halfway house in Willimantic. Officials determined she was attacked and killed by Michael Reese, a 39-year-old convicted rapist.

Grayson had been working as a nurse with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for more than 25 years when she visited the halfway house to administer medication to Reese. Reese strangled Grayson to death and struck her on the head and boy while trying to rob and sexually assault her, according to police. Reese admitted to the crime later.

Elara Claring failed in its duty to protect to workplace violence from patients who exhibited aggressive behavior and were known to pose a risk to others, OSHA said.

“Elara Caring failed its legal duty to protect employees from workplace injury by not having effective measures in place to protect employees against a known hazard and it cost a worker her life,” Occupational Safety and Health Administration Area Director Charles D. McGrevy said in a statement.

“The citation that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued to the company is unwarranted, and we intend to contest it vigorously,” an Elara Caring spokesperson said in a statement. “Post-release, state authorities were responsible for monitoring and managing the [Reese’s] activities.”

“I’m going to take the first offer that they give me as long as the charges are right,” he said, according to a warrant. “I’ve already come to terms that this is it for me.”

In a press release, OSHA said the case highlighted the need for employers to create and implement workplace violence prevention plans, especially in the light of continued incidents of violence against health care workers.

On April 23, a worker at a health clinic in Maple Heights, Ohio, was stabbed multiple times after a confrontation with a patient.

Police said a 49-year-old man who was a caregiver, was stabbed multiple times in the body, chest and neck, after he provided treatment to a 24-year-old patient. Officials said he victim was first stabbed while giving he patient treatment in a room. After the attack, the caregiver chased the patient down the hall of the clinic, and was stabbed again.

According to a press release from the Maple Heights Police Department, another employee saw the confrontation and intervened by throwing a chair at the patient which slowed him down long enough for security guards to subdue him at gunpoint.

The caregiver was transported to a nearby hospital in serious condition and treated for his wounds.

“Signature Health’s highest priority right now is the welfare of the individual who was injured, and our thoughts are with those impacted at this time,” Signature Health CEO Jonathan Lee said in a statement. “We are committed to providing a safe environment and we are taking this situation very seriously.”

And in Watsonville, Calif., a 44-year-old man is the Santa Cruz County jail after allegedly stabbing a nursing home worker.

Watsonville Police officials said Kelvin Hernandez was taken into custody after workers at the nursing home said he injured someone in an assault shortly after 3:30 on April 24.

According to police records and social media, Hernandez was visiting the nursing home when he stabbed a staff member in the shoulder. Officials called it an unprovoked attack. Hernandez allegedly stabbed the worker with a pocket knife.

The injured worker suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene, officials said. Hernandez was arrested and remained in custody without bail as of April 28 on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon.

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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