Baby doll

An Illinois continuing care retirement community has fired a certified nursing assistant for slapping a resident’s baby doll.

The incident at the St. Vincent’s Home, in Quincy, first occurred in June, but reached the public eye only recently after the Illinois Department of Public Health released its quarterly violations report. State officials hit the home with a $2,200 penalty, after a CNA slapped one dementia resident’s doll to reportedly get her “riled up,” the Herald-Whig reported Friday.  

While the incident might seem minor to some, it meant a lot to the resident, who views the three dolls as her children, a family member said in an interview with state officials.

“Those baby dolls are her everything,” the family member said. “I know this [slapping the baby doll] would have really disturbed her. She thinks those baby dolls are her babies.”

According to the report, the resident is diagnosed with dementia, anxiety and depression, and suffers from confusion and both long- and short-term memory impairment. Administrator Brian Inman told the newspaper that the incident constituted mental abuse, and St. Vincent’s suspended the CNA pending investigation, later deciding to terminate the individual. Prior to the incident, the employee had undergone special training for dementia treatment.

The CNA reportedly said at the time to coworkers — who did not immediately report the incident, as required by the state — that slapping those dolls was good way to “keep from being bored during a shift,” later telling state investigators, “It’s kind of cute but probably not to the resident.”