Ex Alzheimer’s center worker accused of beating patient sentenced to probation

A former Wood Glen Alzheimer’s Community worker accused of beating an elderly patient was sentenced to five years probation Thursday.

Vanesha Rice, 25, was convicted of patient abuse in November, according to Montgomery County court records.

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If Rice violates the terms of her probation, she’ll have to serve 18 months in prison, said the prosecutor’s office.

She’s no longer allowed to work as a care giver, as well.

Rice worked at the Alzheimer’s care center in Miami Twp. from Oct. 30, 2018, to Jan. 25, according to Ohio Department of Health records.

An investigation into Rice stated in January after John Sexton, a patient, was injured.

Photos of Sexton provided by his family showed bruising below both his eyes and on the sides of his face.

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Bones around his eyes were broken, according to medical reports.

In a statement to police, Rice said that Sexton became combative and was swinging wildly at her, and that she back-handed him to protect herself.

She was fired the same day, according to the state report.

“I am so sorry because he didn’t deserve that,” Rice’s statement read. “I was overworked and tired and made a mistake.”

She also said she “didn’t mean to hurt him at all” and that she’s “not a monster.”

Rice’s statement was changed later to say she hit Sexton with a closed fist twice, according to ODH records.

Sexton died two months after the incident at the age of 82.

>> RELATED: Photos show injuries suffered by now-deceased local Alzheimer’s patient

His family previously released a statement that said they believe the incident contributed to his death.

“That the trauma of this and moving him — he had to be hospitalized and moved to a different center — he just went downhill rapidly,” said Craig Matthews, an attorney for the family.

An ODH Deficiency Report filed March 22 found that Wood Glen “failed to ensure a resident was free from staff to resident physical abuse during the provision of care.”

Earlier this month, state Rep. Phil Plummer, a former Montgomery County sheriff, and state Rep. Thomas West unveiled a bill that would require training for public workers, like police and medical service personnel, who regularly work with people with dementia.

>> RELATED: Investigation of patient abuse at Alzheimer’s facility goes to prosecutors

The bill would require at least two hours of training at an approved police officer training school.

It focuses on teaching public workers how to identify dementia and its symptoms, how to communicate with people who have dementia and how to identify cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

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