NEWARK – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that the State Board of Nursing (“the Board”) temporarily suspended the certification of a homemaker-home health aide (“CHHA”) charged with recklessly causing the death of an 85-year-old woman in her care at an Essex County nursing home.
Monique Beaucejour, 46, of Bloomfield, was working as Certified Nursing Assistant (“CNA”) at Genesis Waterview Center in Cedar Grove last month when she allegedly left an elderly woman, who required total assistance with care, sitting on her bed. The woman suffered a fall with serious head injuries, but instead of immediately summoning medical assistance, Beaucejour allegedly placed the woman back in bed, and left her there. Beaucejour later returned to the room and summoned help for the woman, pretending to have just discovered her lying injured in bed, according to the accusations. The woman was transported to the hospital and died later that day.
Police charged Beaucejour with reckless manslaughter, obstructing the administration of law, suppressing evidence to hinder prosecution, and abandonment/neglect of an elderly person in connection.
“Elderly patients in nursing homes are dependent upon caregivers who are duty-bound to ensure their wellbeing. When a caregiver recklessly disregards that duty, the results can be tragic,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Protecting this vulnerable population is paramount.”
Beaucejour, who was not working under her CHHA certification when the incident occurred, agreed to the temporary suspension of her CHHA certification pending the outcome of the criminal charges against her and pending further action by the Board.
“Any time a certified homemaker-home health aide is arrested, either on or off the job, it raises serious concerns about their ability to provide quality care,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “But when the charges involve the death of an elderly patient, the risk of harm is extreme and public protection demands that the licensee be removed from practice until the matter is resolved. We are pleased the Board took that step.”
Beaucejour was fired from her job immediately after the alleged incident, which occurred on August 13. The Department of Health, which regulates nursing assistants employed in health care facilities, suspended Beaucejour’s CNA certification.
Under the Interim Consent Order with the Board, Beaucejour cannot practice, identify herself, or be employed as a CHHA. She also must surrender all copies of her CHHA certificates to the Board of Nursing.
The suspension of Beaucejour’s CHHA certificate is temporary, pending the outcome of the charges against her. The Board of Nursing may take further disciplinary action after the disposition of the criminal charges. The surrender of her CHHA certificate is not considered an admission of liability.
The Board of Nursing is charged with regulating nursing and homemaker-home health aide services in the State of New Jersey, and making sure those who practice these professions are qualified and competent to do so.