Articles Posted in nursing home abuse

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One of the major issues at many nursing homes around the country is when patients get what are known as catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).  These CAUTIs have fallen 54 percent, according to a recent study discussed in an article from Infection Control Today.

Nursing Home Negligence LawyerCAUTIs are a type of infection that occurs in the healthcare setting, and for that reason they fall under a category known as healthcare associated infections (HAIs).  The study is looking at how front line tools and education among healthcare professionals is about to take measures to make it less likely for patients in nursing homes to get these infections. Continue reading →

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Although our population as a whole is growing older, an increasing number of nursing homes are taking on younger patients. This can lead to conflict and potentially danger for those most vulnerable. hands of time

Recently on NPR Morning Edition, KRCC in Colorado explored this phenomenon, attributing the situation largely to the fact that there are very few long-term care facilities for younger people in need of constant care. These would include individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries who need around-the-clock care and assistance.

One case detailed by the station involves a man in his 40s. In 2015, he suffered a traumatic brain injury when he reportedly “head-butted a car” and “scrambled the old brain bucket” (those are his own words). Today, he struggles with speech. Daily tasks are a challenge. He spent several months in a nursing home, where the majority of residents were over the age of 65. However, he was one of a growing number of under-65 residents at the facility. This is not an isolated phenomenon, and we see it in Florida too.  Continue reading →

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For more than a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has adhered to the legal theory that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts any state law on arbitration. olderwoman

There was a challenge, for example, in 2011 when the SCOTUS struck down the state law in California that held class-arbitration waivers were unconscionable. Then in 2015, the SCOTUS held that parties weren’t allowed to contract around the FAA’s preemption of class-arbitration waivers.

However, those earlier cases involved cell phone companies and cable providers. The case now before the SCOTUS is much different in that it involves arbitration agreements that bind nursing home residents. In Kindred Nursing Centers Limited Partnership v. Clark, Justice Samuel Alito commented during oral arguments that this is not like a dispute on a charge for cable services. It involves proper care of vulnerable and elderly residents.  Continue reading →

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State lawmakers in Texas haven’t given up the fight to hold accountable nursing homes that provide substandard care. It will be the second time state lawmakers are making the effort, after a failed bid two years ago. holdinghands

The push involves three bills that would make it more difficult for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, such as assisted living facilities and home community service agencies, to cower from regulatory discipline and litigation when wrongdoing has been uncovered.

One measure involves imposing higher fines on facilities where inspectors have discovered serious violations that breach the care and safety of residents. Another measure would do away with the so-called “right to correct,” a legal loophole that gives many nursing homes an out in avoiding disciplinary action if administrators “correct” the violation after it’s discovered upon inspection. The final measure would require nursing home facilities to carry at least $1 million in liability insurance, which would make it easier for victims and loved ones to recover damages in the event the facility is found liable of nursing home abuse, neglect or negligence.  Continue reading →

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A CNN Investigations report delved into the pervasive and disturbing – but hugely underreported – issue of nursing home sexual abuse. wheelchair

Noting that “it’s impossible to know” the exact number of victims who suffer this abuse, state and federal data, along with interviews with experts, regulators and families of victims indicates this problem is far more common than what one might suspect. Worse is the fact that many times, neither the nursing home nor government regulators that oversee these facilities seem to do be doing much to address the issue.

Reporters noted that in some cases, nursing home employees and administrators and government agencies can’t get far with these investigations because victims are unable to communicate what happened to them or even identify who it was that caused them harm. However, there are a substantial number of cases wherein negligence and even willful concealment is at issue. The news organization detailed cases in which nursing home administrators were slow to investigate and report allegations, often because, as they would later explain, they didn’t want to believe the allegations were true. Police often approach these matters with great skepticism, often using any opportunity to dismiss the victim’s statements due to allegations that aren’t concise or memories that are failing. Further, because there is a high standard of proof when it comes to substantiating an allegation of abuse by a state regulator, even individuals who have been repeatedly accused of abuse may never be red-flagged.  Continue reading →

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A woman is suing a nursing home in Virginia, alleging her 84-year-old mother was tied to a wheelchair with bed sheets and injected with a powerful narcotic drug in an effort to keep her quiet. The physical and chemical restraints forced on the elderly woman were reportedly kept in place overnight. wheelchair

Such information, if proven, would likely be a violation of criminal laws as well as the patient’s civil and resident rights. Specifically, patients have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to be free from abuse and neglect and to be free from restraints. Nursing homes aren’t allowed to use physical restraints, such as side rails, or chemical restraints, such as drugs, to discipline patients or for the staff’s own convenience.

The Virginian-Pilot reports local police were not contacted about the case and there haven’t been any criminal charges filed. However, the state’s health department received to complaints regarding the alleged incident, indicating at least two patients were placed in restraints the nursing home. Ultimately, the department devised a correctional plan.  Continue reading →

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Two ex-workers at an Illinois nursing home are suing their former employer for allegedly firing them for their refusal to fabricate medical reports that would have documented instances of nursing home abuse and elder neglect. sad

Some of the allegations of abuse of patients cited by the workers were investigated by the state’s department of health, which ultimately cited the nursing home for a number of safety breaches that jeopardized patients’ well-being. The facility in question houses more than 300 beds and purports to serve those who are both elderly and bed-bound, as well as those who are younger and suffer from serious mental illness and substance abuse. Some of those in the younger cohort are convicted felons involved in violent crimes. One of the plaintiff workers told The Chicago-Tribune the most vulnerable residents were not protected by the facility from some of the residents who posed a threat. He called it, “dangerous.”

Although the CEO for the facility would not talk about the specifics of the lawsuit, he denied that the nursing home ever attempted to mislead state health inspectors or alter patient records. The facility insists there was never any directive to surreptitiously change patient records.  Continue reading →

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Investigators with the Government Accountability Office reported recently there are giant gaps in the collection of data on the financial abuse of seniors in nursing homes, making it next to impossible to accurately quantify the scope of the problem. cash

The acting director of the agency’s Forensic Audit and Investigative Service Team offered up the latest report to members of the U.S. Senate’s Aging Committee. It’s the first comprehensive look at financial abuse of the elderly in six years. Unfortunately, the report is based on scant evidence – a limited review of just eight cases that were closed between 2011 and 2015. The agency is only allowed to examine cases that have been closed, and that can in some cases take years.

In most cases, the acting director said it’s the court systems of the state – not the federal government – that are in charge of keeping track of financial abuse. However, that isn’t happening in a lot of cases, which means we don’t have a clear picture of how serious a problem this is. Continue reading →

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A state health department has cited seven nursing homes in connection with reports that residents were verbally abused by staffers. The state Department of Public Health in Connecticut cited the nursing homes more than $1,000 each in connection with the incidents. point

In one case, a registered nurse overheard an aide swearing and being disrespectful to the patient. However, it was not reported at the time. The aide was later fired.

In a similar case out of that same state two years ago, six nursing homes were fined by regulators in connection with cases of verbal abuse in nursing homes. In one of those cases, a nursing aide who was assisting a resident in using the toilet swore at the resident, prompting the resident to grab the aide’s shirt and yell. The aide then allegedly pushed the resident down, causing the resident to strike his head on the toilet paper dispenser and land on the wheelchair. The incident wasn’t reported for three whole days.  Continue reading →

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Following the enactment of a new federal rule that prohibits the enforcement of arbitration agreements by nursing homes that accept federal funding (virtually all of them), a group of nursing home operators and industry trade groups are challenging the rule. Interestingly, they are doing so through the very avenue of recourse they are seeking to deny nursing home abuse and neglect victims: A lawsuit. gavel

In case you aren’t familiar with arbitration, it is procedure whereby legal disagreements and disputes are resolved by an arbitrator rather than a judge. The process is often secretive and arbitrators, rewarded handsomely with contracts from large nursing home corporations, often decide cases in favor of the companies. Even when the terms are more or less favorable to the plaintiff, damages awarded are often a fraction of what they would be had the matter been resolved in court. Arbitration agreements are binding contracts that patients and family members enter into by signing documents often buried in nursing home admission paperwork.

The lawsuit, American Health Care Assn. et al v. Burwell et al, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division. The lawsuit, which names the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), labels the arbitration clause ban as capricious and arbitrary. The measure also contests the authority of CMS to act as a regulatory agency calling the shots on how nursing homes handle disputes. Plaintiffs in the litigation are asking the federal court to, at the very least, delay the enactment of the ban (the rest of the rule solidifies as law this month) while the court weighs the challenge by the industry group.  Continue reading →

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