Caretaker accused of abuse of 67-year-old
A caretaker duct-taped the mouth, hands and feet of a 67-year-old dementia patient to silence and restrain her at an assisted-living facility, Boyton Beach police say.
Phygelle Brudent, 44, admitted to investigators that she took the patient to another resident’s room, tied her waist to a chair with cloth pajama pants and taped her hands and feet against the chair, an arrest report said.
It happened July 3 at the Regal Park Assisted Living, a facility at 1708 NE Fourth St., police said. The patient was not identified.
Brudent told police she applied tape to the patient’s mouth to prevent her from screaming, as she was unable remain quiet. Brudent said she was frustrated that the woman could not keep quiet and she had other patients to care for, according to reports.
A second caretaker, Lashron Williams, 52, told police she saw the woman with duct tape around her mouth, and removed it to give her sleeping pills. She also removed a small portion of the tape that bound the woman’s body.
Williams told investigators that she discussed with Brudent that tying the patient to a chair was wrong, but didn’t report the incident.
Both employees were in a Palm Beach County jail on Friday, each facing charges of false imprisonment and elderly abuse. They’re accused of inflicting physical and psycholoto
gical injury on the woman, who was “not alert to time, place and the year,” police said.
A third employee of the facility is being investigated as a possible suspect in the continuing investigation, Boynton Beach Police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said.
An officer saw evidence of the illegal restraining of the patient, but that evidence was not described in police reports. At one point the chair was tilted back against a bed, making it “very unsafe” for the patient, police said.
Brudent and Williams are being represented by the Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office, which said it does not usually comment on pending cases. On Friday, the office declined to comment about these two defendants.
The incident had been reported to the Florida Department of Children & Families, which on Friday said it was working with police.
“The allegations regarding this victim are reprehensible and DCF has opened an adult protective investigation,” it said.
Also reviewing the case is Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, which licenses and inspects such facilities, a spokeswoman said. An inspector visited Regal Park Assisted Living on Friday, she said.
Regal Park is a 90-bed, for-profit facility. During the past four years, AHCA has cited Regal Park Assisted Living seven times for its record keeping and patient care, deficiencies that were promptly corrected, according to records. Over those four years, the state has not taken any emergency actions against the facility or any legal actions that would include fines, a spokeswoman said.