Santa Fe caretaker under fire after alleged elder abuse

Albuquerque News

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A disturbing scene in a nursing home: A caretaker has come under fire after she was seen aggressively handling a resident.

The victim’s daughter says after what happened to her mom, she wants this nurse to be held accountable.

“It’s remarkable to me that she was so violent in a public place,” says Grace Philips.

Grace Philips says her 89-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia, became a victim at the Montecito in Sante Fe back in April. Kathryn Olson, 59, has been charged for the crime.

“It’s extremely upsetting to see anybody treated violently like that is very hard and knowing it’s my mom just makes it worse,” Philips says.

Philips says staff members told her about Olson’s aggressive behavior. “They said the director of wellness had been physically violent with her and they suggested I ask if I could see video from the evening,” Philips says.

The video that Phillips didn’t want aired on TV, shows Olson pulling the 89-year-old out of a chair and dragging her through the lounge area. “It frightens me to think what she might do or what she might have done when she wasn’t so closely observed,” Philips says.

District Attorney Marco Serna says there wasn’t enough evidence to prove a felony crime occurred. But they are planning to prosecute the misdemeanor charge in magistrate court, something they don’t normally do. Philips says prosecuting the case could keep Olson from hurting others.

“For me, it’s really an issue of accountability. I’m really concerned that seniors like my mom are vulnerable. They’re not often able to report what happens to them,” Philips says.

Olson is no longer employed at the Montecito. The New Mexico Nursing Board is investigating and she could lose her license. Other than this charge, Olson has no criminal history in New Mexico.

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