Through a protocol, the Social Services director of Fort Lauderdale city limits has turned over its findings to the Broward State Attorney’s Office for investigation.
Jackson Chastain, a community manager for the city, said he got a call last November from someone at the city’s Department of Human Services regarding two complaints about staff mistreating former residents of Broward Mental Health Institute.
“We became aware of two complaints,” Chastain said. “They were about a couple of incidents that occurred in one of our nursing homes, and they were sparked by former residents who returned to this facility and had apparently reported being mistreated.”
According to Chastain, there was another nursing home where those incidents allegedly took place.
“They were personal injuries in one incident. The others involved extreme physical abuse of former residents,” Chastain said.
Chastain added that his city investigates all possible crimes and misconduct from the beginning of the complaint process.
“We don’t turn this stuff around in a matter of days or weeks,” Chastain said. “The perpetrator is usually someone we identify, our social services staff does some investigation, and in the coming weeks or months, you’ll see those individuals come into our custody.”
Such is the case with 24-year-old Jackson Chastain, who had recently moved to Florida from New York to attend Community College with the hope of eventually becoming a chef.
Her parents, Jeff and Debbie, thought they’d found an ideal private nursing home for their daughter, but they soon discovered a very different story.
“It just turned out there were some things that were happening there that weren’t appropriate,” Jeff Chastain said.
An investigator from the Florida Department of Children and Families and multiple letters sent to the homes’ administrators went unanswered.
Jeff and Debbie Chastain say they then called the Social Services Director’s office to file a criminal complaint because Jackson’s security was at risk.
That’s when they say the abuse allegations were raised.
So, Jackson Chastain was at a meeting with the assistant city manager and chief administrative officer, at which time she said she learned about what was happening at the nursing home at Delray Beach Cemetery.
“I’m looking at another woman, I’m looking at another woman,” Jackson Chastain said. “My eyes are kind of like opened, and I’m like, ‘What the hell are you doing in here?’”
Not long after that disturbing moment, Jackson Chastain says she was told to leave the meeting and return the next day.
A list of offenses provided by Chastain to the Broward State Attorney’s Office includes the following:
– Unjustified restraint on an individual with a monitor
– Use of excessive force – sprayed with chlorine
– Proper Care or Determination of Hospitalization
– Adverse Treatment/Seizure Behavior, Physical Disability or Cerebral palsy
– Care of a Patient with Mental Illness or Dissociative Disorder
– Keeping someone from exiting a Nursing Home
– Abuse, Neglect, Torture or Cruelty
– Countless allegations of inappropriate treatment of patients
– Patient Abuse, Cruelty or Neglect
– Patient Discipline and Reversal (Bullying)
“This investigation is ongoing,” Broward State Attorney spokeswoman Sarahnell Murphy said when asked to respond to the investigation of four Broward Psychiatric Home staff members.
A series of videos posted on Facebook and YouTube, shot by one of the home’s former residents, shows staff members making physical abuse, racism and inappropriate language. The videos were given to us by the former resident, who also gave us a copy of the 18-page complaint against the home.
The videos were recorded in 2016 and 2017.
“So much of this is about race,” the former resident said. “Even if you are white, it’s not so much about race, but they’ll bring the things up about your race at a time when you’re thinking about it.”