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Elder financial abuse is a serious and growing problem in nursing homes across the country. Most often, it’s classified as an issue that occurs when a caregiver – usually a family member – takes advantage of the elderly person’s trust or position of need. However, it happens in nursing home facilities too where a company misrepresents the quality of care to patients, prospective patients, family members and government agencies that pay for this care. nursing home abuse

Recently in California, four residents living in residential care facilities owned by a single chain provider sued the company’s founder and developer, alleging fraudulent practices that exposed them to risk of injury and deprived them of necessary care.

According to the Press-Democrat, the lawsuit alleges residents were discovered on the ground, left soiled for hours at a time and at least one suffered an unexplained injury due to perpetual understaffing that amounted to fraud. The company reportedly misrepresented the care it was providing residents when it came time to collecting federal healthcare benefits for those patients. Further, the facility fees, which in some cases were $10,000 per resident per moth, were based on budgets crafted to rake in the highest profits, rather than assess the individual needs of each resident.  Continue reading →

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A recent government audit blames Medicare for failure to enforce a federal law that requires immediate notification of nursing home abuse and neglect to police.nursing home abuse

Based on preliminary results from a large sample of cases over 33 states, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services reported that while this is just early data, immediate action was required. The IOG investigates instances of waste, fraud and abuse within the health care system. This particular audit was part of a bigger investigation, which is ongoing, and additional results are expected in the coming months. The agency released an early alert memo regarding these initial findings, prompting the Senate Finance Committee to request additional information regarding elder abuse in nursing homes. Specifically, the committee chair has requested information on whether HHS intends to reevaluate its procedures to make sure nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect is not only identified but also reported.

It’s estimated approximately 1.4 million people live in nursing homes across the country. According tot he Florida Health Care Association, there are 683 licensed nursing homes in Florida and another 3,100 assisted living facilities. The IOG report revealed there were more than 130 cases wherein emergency room records showed possible abuse – physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. This was over the course of a two-year-period. Of those, 28 percent – more than 1 in 4 – had no record of any report being made to local law enforcement. Continue reading →

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A $1.2 million nursing home abuse damage award was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit after finding no reversible error by the trial court. nursing home abuse

The jury had decided the case in favor of plaintiff, who alleged negligence, negligence per se and intentional infliction of emotional distress, concluding also that defendant nursing home had acted with reckless disregard for the rights of others, resulting in a $10,000 punitive damage award tacked onto the $1.2 million in compensatory damages.

The case involved an elderly nursing home resident who was limited in her capacity for mobility and communication due to arthritis and dementia. She had lived on her own until she was 90-years-old, at which time her family arranged for her to stay at a nursing home to receive constant care. At some point, her family began to notice personal items missing from her room. When they received an unsatisfactory response from the nursing home, they installed a hidden camera in her room to get to the bottom of it. What they discovered was much worse than theft.  Continue reading →

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A nursing home in California voluntarily closed, displacing some 125 residents, amid allegations of sexual assault involving two patients. The facility will close permanently next month, and residents will be sent to one of three other facilities operated by the same owner. nursing home abuse

But the question of what happened – and whether it was in fact abuse – still lingers, and it’s one that has arisen numerous times in nursing homes in Florida too, as well as across the country.

The Sacramento Bee reported one of the patients involved was a 79-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s. The other was a 70-year-old man who was cognitively intact. The man had been observed months earlier touching the woman’s breast. When the incident occurred, he later told investigators she initiated the contact, taking off her clothes and calling him “darling.” The woman told investigators she had made love to her husband, who is deceased.  Continue reading →

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As Hurricane Irma loomed off the coast of Florida in the first week of September, state officials warned the public to be ready. Now, a South Florida nursing home is accused of failing to do just that, and also of a serious breach in patient care that led to the deaths of 10 elderly, vulnerable residents who went days without power in the sweltering heat. Several of those who died had body temperatures between 107 and 109 degrees. nursing home neglect

The deaths have sparked outrage, a criminal investigation and at least a handful of lawsuits from victims or relatives of those who died, alleging negligence.

According to The Miami Herald, plaintiffs allege their loved ones were victims of a facility that not only failed to prepare for the possibility of no power, but also of not evacuating when conditions became more serious. The nursing home lacked power for three whole days, and administrators said they repeatedly tried calling the governor’s office for help. But meanwhile, directly across the street, was a fully-functional, air conditioned hospital.  Continue reading →

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The family of a New Jersey woman is suing a nursing home after their loved one died as a result of a painful bedsore she reportedly developed while in the center’s care. This is unfortunately an all-too-common scenario for those who entrust their care to nursing homes. Bed sores are not a normal part of nursing home living. They are preventable and treatable if caught early. No one should die as a result of a bed sore infection. nursing home injury attorney

NJ.com reports the 90-year-old woman was admitted to the facility two years ago with a broken right hip. She was confined to her hospital bed for a period of 100 days, after which point her insurance ran out. In all that time, her family alleges, the doctor and staffers at the facility either failed to notice or ignored the fact that she had developed and was suffering from a serious bed sore on her lower back.

When the woman was returned home to family after her insurance ran out, it was only then they discovered the sore on her back. Her family rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was diagnosed with a Stage 4 decubitus ulcer. The sore was so far progressed, the woman was suffering from deadly sepsis.  Continue reading →

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Some nursing home patients seek care for the long-term expecting they will live out their days in that facility. Others know they will need longer-term, less intensive care than might be provided in a hospital, but hope eventually to improve and return to living independently.nursing home abuse lawyer

But when nursing home care is substandard, patients’ health may not improve as expected. In some cases, a patient’s health declines. Nursing homes that are negligent in providing proper care may be held accountable for the negative impact to patients’ health.

Accountability is the goal of one Boca Raton man, alleging treatment at a poorly staffed nursing home in South Florida amounted to negligence and left him requiring more medication and needing treatment longer than he otherwise would have.  Continue reading →

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A lawsuit recently filed in North Carolina alleges an elderly woman suffered in agony for 10 days with a broken hip after suffering a fall that went untreated and unreported by her nursing home.wheelchair

According to local media reports, plaintiff was a known fall risk when she was admitted to the facility, and there was even an alarm on her wheelchair intended to notify staffers if she were to get up.

Plaintiff alleges she called for an attendant to help her to the bathroom. However, there was no response, and as nature called, she decided to get up on her own. As she did so, she slipped and fell. This resulted in serious injury.  Continue reading →

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A $6,000-per-day penalty imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on an Illinois nursing home was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently. The fine stemmed from a finding that the nursing home put patients in immediate jeopardy when it failed to protect them from nursing home abuse and theft. The CMS investigation also revealed the facility failed to timely report or thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse inflicted on residents, and didn’t implement policies on abuse, neglect or property theft. nursing home abuse

The appellate court ruled there was substantial evidence to support CMS’s conclusions that formed the basis for the penalty. It stemmed from a site visit by investigators with the state health department back in 2014.

There was an allegation at the time that a resident and his wife suffered emotional abuse when a female staffer approached the male resident, grabbed his face in her hands, kissed him on both cheeks and then the forehead before telling him she had always loved him. Administrators did launch an investigation into the incident, but only insofar as they questioned staff and other residents. However, they did not formally interview the resident or his wife.  Continue reading →

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The White House is pushing to scuttle a rule that would have paved the way for more nursing home residents to take legal action against nursing homes for poor care, abuse and neglect. Such injuries for nursing home negligence are actionable under state personal injury laws. However, the Obama administration had made it easier for plaintiff’s by preventing nursing homes from mandating new patients agree to arbitration – as opposed to the court system – to resolve any future disputes. nursing home negligence

Many nursing homes require new patients, patient representatives and family members to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of being admitted to the facility. Arbitration agreements are known to infringe on the rights of patients for a number of reasons. Firstly, arbitrators are chosen by the facilities and insurers, creating an implicit bias. Arbitrators are not bound by the laws of the state. The proceedings are private, depriving the public of valuable information regarding the practices and shortcomings of these facilities. They also tend more often than not to favor the facility, awarding less on average than the courts when they do decide a case in a plaintiff’s favor.

As The New York Times reported, the Trump administration is now seeking to roll back earlier protections, citing the need to reduce costs for businesses.  Continue reading →

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