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Nursing home negligence – taking forms of both neglect and abuse – is not new, but it is something that has been increasingly drawn into the light in recent years.  Still, some advocates have expressed frustration with the seemingly snail-paced progress when it comes to protections for nursing home residents. There is of course the possibility of filing a negligence lawsuit against the nursing home following the physical or emotional abuse or neglect of a loved one, but advocates are hoping to get changes made to prevent these all too frequent incidents before they occur.

nursing home abuse lawyerThese advocates have been hoping the wide-spread outcry to reports of nursing home deaths following hurricane Irma can add fire to their cause, as are the new reports pertaining to these needless deaths in one Florida nursing home that has been making headlines. According to a recent news article from Claims Journal, an insurance company trade publication, the temperature at the nursing home at which 12 residents died was 99 degrees Fahrenheit when they died. Continue reading →

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When older adults get to the point when it becomes impractical to remain in the home, or the same happens to younger people with serious medical conditions, a nursing home may be the best option. When we take our loved ones to a nursing home, we expect they will be well-cared for by professionals and given the dignity and respect they deserve.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Unfortunately, this is not always the case in nursing homes that are sometimes more interested in making money than properly caring for residents who are in much need of care.  According to a recent news article from the Sun Sentinel, lawmakers are not happy with current regulations following some highly-published deaths that occurred following hurricane Irma. Many urge more must be done to protect Florida nursing home residents, not only in times of crisis, but year-round.  Continue reading →

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A report recently released by a state health department revealed the death of a prominent Pennsylvania businessman in a nursing home in September was caused by strangulation as a result of his bed rails. The nursing home was cited by the health department for safety deficiencies related to the death. Investigators with the department determined the facility failed to identify the hazard created by using the side rails that ultimately resulted in this man’s death. He reportedly suffered from the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease and was largely immobile too. He was discovered by a nursing assistant around 11:30 p.m. one night, not breathing, with his body on the floor and his neck between the mattress and the side rail of the bed. nursing home abuse lawyer

The health department took note of the fact that side rails are only supposed to be used to assist in helping a patient re-position himself when no other reasonable alternatives are identified. Even then, facilities are supposed to use reasonable precautions when they are being used. The facility removed all bed rails it had been using at the time shortly after decedent was discovered.

This is not a new problem. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has long been tracking injuries and deaths related to bed rail entrapment and strangulation in nursing homes. The agency reports that even when bed rails are properly designed to lower the potential risk of falls or entrapment, they still present a danger to certain people, namely those with some form of dementia (as they are at greater risk of a fall when they try to get out of bed, despite something being in their way). The agency reported that between 1985 and 2013 (the most recent period for which it conducted the analysis), there were 531 rail-related deaths.  Continue reading →

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Infestations of insects can cause mild discomfort at best and life-threatening illness at worst. Insects are a part of daily life in Florida, but they can pose a health hazard when they make their way into one’s private quarters, particularly in food or in residents’ beds or clothing. These can include cockroaches, ants (including fire ants), spiders, bed bugs, flies and more. Insects can cause injury and spread disease. Failure to address these incidents or to promptly identify and treat patients who have suffered insect bites or insect-related illnesses is a form of neglect, and it can be actionable in civil court, as well as criminal.nursing home neglect

Recently in Alabama, three former employees at a nursing home were convicted of a attempted elder abuse, a felony in that state, after an elderly resident in their care was found to have suffered hundreds of ant bites that went untreated. AL.com reports the three workers (one licensed practical nurse and two certified nursing assistants) were responsible for the care of the resident in question, who was confined to her bed. The three both indicated in medical charts that they checked on her numerous times over the course of the night. However, when authorities later viewed surveillance footage of the hallway, they learned no one went into the woman’s room for a full 11 hours.

The woman was later found to have suffered more than 100 ant bites all over her body, mostly on her thighs, knees and ankles.  Continue reading →

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Florida is known to have some of the broadest public records laws in the country. That extended to nursing home abuse and neglect records, kept by state health regulators. However, as The Miami Herald recently reported, those records have been wiped from the state’s online database, in what appears to be an erosion in public records access. nursing home abuse

Approximately three months ago, The Herald reported, the state scrubbed its website, which previously made readily accessible reports of nursing home violations that put residents in immediate jeopardy. It’s not that the records themselves are no longer public. Anyone can contact the Agency for Health Care Administration and ask for it. However, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for and whom to ask. You will most likely be required to wait and you’ll probably have to pay – something that was not required previously under the state’s online system.

On the pages that previously provided such information for free, the AHCA now directs the public to a different site run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That site fails to provide as much detail as the AHCA had before (though all reports had been screened and redacted for medical privacy). And while the AHCA does offer basic spreadsheets that rank nursing homes on a host of criteria, providing families with some basis on which to compare, but these reports are scant on details and lack transparency. Continue reading →

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The state of Florida, following a final order issued on the recommendation of an administrative law judge, is closing a South Florida assisted living home after inspectors uncovered abysmal conditions unfit for habitation. nursing home neglect

The News-Press in Fort Myers reports there were dirty diapers flung over the bushes in the gardens. There were pipes that were leaking and ceiling tiles were crumbling. Feces was found on the walls, on the floors and even in residents’ shoes. Those were only some of the allegations cited in state inspectors’ reports of the 110-bed assisted living facility on the Gulf Coast.

Investigators with the Agency for Health Care Administration went to the facility approximately 17 times over the course of little more than a year to follow up on these conditions, starting in October 2015. Inspections and surveys revealed residents were not safe, their conditions unsanitary. The facility administrators had been advised of the findings and instructed to immediately clean the facility and start taking better care of residents. However, these conditions persisted with each follow up visit.  Continue reading →

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It’s a sad reality in Florida nursing home abuse cases for the person who suffered to die, whether due to frailty or age or directly because of the abuse or neglect endured. In these cases, there may be several avenues for legal action. nursing home abuse

When a person survives nursing home abuse, it’s fairly straightforward: It’s a personal injury lawsuit. Nursing home injury cases can be a little more complex than other types of torts because they sometimes stem from some medical malpractice, which could complicate matters in terms of the statute of limitations (2 years, as opposed to the 4 allowed in personal injury cases). Further, medical malpractice cases require more evidence, as well as expert witnesses.

However, things can get a bit more complicated when the person who was victimized dies. The two primary avenues for compensation are:

  • Wrongful death lawsuit;
    Survival action.

Continue reading →

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Nursing home facilities have a responsibility to ensure that staffers are adequately screened, trained and supervised. It appears, at least according to a six-month investigation by journalists in Northern Texas, that hundreds of certified nursing assistants with serious or violent criminal histories have been hired to care for elderly and vulnerable patients in the region’s nursing homes.nursing home abuse lawyer

Further, the report by WFAA-8 revealed many of these individuals were working in the homes legally. There were, however, several instances in which the nursing assistants were convicted of certain offenses that should have made them ineligible to work in that capacity, yet they were hired anyway. All of this, advocates fear, is putting residents at risk of nursing home abuse.

Some of the crimes for which the CNAs were convicted included things like continuous violence against family, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated sexual contact with a child and injury to a child. Other crimes included offenses that involved theft, like burglary and aggravated robbery. The analysis also indicated Texas’ rate of nursing home abuse was four times that of the national average. Still, to assume this problem is isolated to Texas would be erroneous.  Continue reading →

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The AARP Foundation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of an elderly couple married 30 years after the wife, 83, was evicted and separated from her husband, 93. The foundation reports the wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease, was evicted without warning in March. nursing home injury lawyer

Although the nursing home has declined to comment on the pending case, court documents indicate the nursing home’s defense is likely to include allegations of aggression by the elderly woman toward staff. She reportedly threw some plastic tableware. The nursing home called for an ambulance, underwent a psychological evaluation – and the hospital found nothing wrong with her. However, the nursing home would not allow her to return, saying they are not able to care for her needs. Her son requested a hearing with the California Department of Health – a hearing that he won. But then the nursing home responded that the health department has no authority to enforce the ruling. That prompted the AARP Foundation’s legal arm to get involved. The foundation is now suing the nursing home on her behalf.

Although it’s reportedly the first time the foundation has taken up a case regarding nursing home eviction, it’s certainly not an isolated incident. In fact, NPR reports these “involuntary discharges” result in 9,000 complaints annually across the country. It’s the No. 1 complaint made about nursing homes, and several states’ attorneys general have gotten involved. For instance, Maryland’s attorney general is suing one chain nursing home for Medicaid fraud, alleging the firm charged for state services it never delivered – specifically, discharge planning.  Continue reading →

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Increasingly, relatives of Florida nursing home residents are installing cameras inside the rooms of their loved ones to ensure they are receiving quality care. Fears of inadequate nursing home care and even nursing home abuse are certainly founded, as the Government Accountability Office reports a quarter of U.S. nursing homes have deficiencies that cause actual harm or have the potential to inflict serious injury or death. Further, a survey of more than a dozen states found state and federal complaint procedures lacking, meaning at-risk patients suffered abuse and neglect in silence for months. nursing home abuse lawyer

The idea of hidden cameras in nursing homes isn’t brand new, but it’s garnering renewed attention from Florida lawmakers. ABC-10 News in Broward County reports that family members of a nursing home resident in Pompano Beach installed a camera inside the room of their 94-year-old patriarch, who suffers from dementia. They were horrified at the images that returned.

The video reveals a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who is impatiently and forcefully trying to get the man to move off the bed. She pulls him, and sends him falling into a chair. She then hits him on the head. In a separate clip, the same nursing home worker is witnessed pouring mouthwash on him. Aside from the obvious cruelty of the act, the family’s nursing home abuse attorney explained it was one that ultimately proved fatal. Alcohol is a drying agent. The man reportedly was already suffering from Stage 3 pressure ulcers. Ultimately, it was those ulcers that killed him, plaintiff attorney alleges.  Continue reading →

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