Residents of the town of Canal Winchester, Ohio, were shocked to wake up to headlines of two nursing home aides attacking a defenseless resident with a can of aerosol hair product. The hairspray assault was discovered when the two aides uploaded a video of the attack on the wheelchair-bound 94-year-old to Snapchat.
Makiah Chane’l Halsell, age 22, and Roberta I. Bower, age 28, were indicted on Monday by a Franklin County grand jury on one count each of fourth-degree patient abuse. Unlike the other conditions of Ohio’s 2903.34 Patient abuse or neglect law, fourth-degree patient abuse is a felony charge that assumes abuse rather than neglect according to Ohio Law.
According to reports from Newsweek that were confirmed by a press release by the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office regarding the hairspray assault, the women worked at the Inn at Winchester Trail where they were assigned to care for the unnamed resident who required assistance for mobility. According to sources, on Jun. 3, 2019, the day of the hairspray assault, Roberta Bower, unprovoked by the resident’s actions, sprayed hairspray into the eyes and mouth of the 94-year-old from approximately a foot away. In the subsequent Snapchat video, recorded by Makiah Halsell, the resident can be seen to be in pain and uncomfortable as the aides are heard to be laughing throughout the 15-second video.
The video was seen by an unnamed source and was promptly reported to the authorities. Following the video discovery of the hairspray assault, both Roberta Bower and Makiah Halsell were suspended. In the time since their suspension and arrest, they have both been fired.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost commented on the hairspray assault and subsequent arrests saying “This crude, cruel criminal act doesn’t belong in a place that provides care to the weak and the vulnerable, . . . They should never work in health care again.”
Both Roberta Bower and Makiah Halsell have received an arraignment date of Sept. 30 where they will plead their case.
For more information about the dangers and preventions of physical abuse visit the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys’ Physical Abuse Page.