Aide threatened to leave dementia patient ‘on the floor all night,’ takes plea deal
DENVILLE — A former home health aide at a senior living community was sentenced to probation and community service after hidden camera footage obtained by the resident's family showed her refuse to help the patient who had fallen on the floor.
Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said 59-year-old Carla Caraballo, 59, a Louisiana resident who formerly lived in Plainfield, pleaded guilty to third-degree neglect of an elderly or disabled person after the family provided the video to the Denville Police Department.
Porrino said in the video from July 6, 2016, the woman can be seen falling after trying to get up from her bed and striking her head. According to Porrino, Caraballo was "mere feet" from the woman at the time she fell but refused to help her get back into bed or provide her any help. Instead, he said, Caraballo sat with her feet on the victim's wheelchair, looking at her phone.
Prior to the woman falling, Porrino said, Caraballo can be seen in the surveillance video demanding the woman stay in bed despite her efforts to get out of bed. She can also be heard telling the woman that she would leave her "on the floor all night" if she got up on her own and fell.
After what Porrino described as a "prolonged period of time," Caraballo helped the woman off of the floor and cleaned where she had bled, Porrino said. She also called the victim's daughter and told her that her mother had fallen at which time the daughter arranged for her mother to be taken to a hospital, Porrino said.
At the time of the incident, Porrino said, Caraballo claimed she was holding the woman's hand when she fell.
As part of her sentence, Caraballo is "permanently barred from working as a home health aide in New Jersey, and she is forever branded a convicted elder abuser if she were to try to seek such employment elsewhere," Porrino said.
Caraballo was sentenced to one year of probation and 10 hours of community service. She also permanently surrendered her certified homemaker-home health aide certification.
"This criminal conviction sends a strong message that hired caregivers will be held accountable if they neglect or abuse vulnerable clients," Division of Criminal Justice Elie Honig said. "We are committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves."
Honig also credited the local police department for "immediately recognizing the serious nature of this crime."
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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com