Articles Posted in nursing home abuse

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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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Most residents of nursing homes, being over the age of 65, grew up in an era without computers, let alone cell phones or social media. Yet many are fast finding themselves confronted with the ugly underbelly of these technologies, as those entrusted with their care abuse their trust, snapping and posting inappropriate, embarrassing or abusive pictures of elderly patients. nursing home abuse

This can be sexual exploitation by a caretaker, particularly if the patient’s private parts are displayed – even if the images themselves aren’t necessarily intended to be of a sexual nature. Many of the images, as reported by NPR and ProPublica investigations, are by workers who may intend to “blow off steam” from being stressed and overworked. Nonetheless, it violates the patient’s rights, and may be actionable in civil court, particularly if there is evidence the nursing home may have been informed of it and failed to take action. ProPublica identified at least three dozen cases of this happening last year, the majority of those occurring on Snapchat.

Yet another incident was reported recently, this time in Illinois. According to local news source The Pantagraph, reports two certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who were a couple snapped and shared numerous residents in photos that were both unauthorized and “inappropriate.” The images included shots of elderly individuals who were dressing, bathing, toileting and resting in bed. All of these images, according to a recent nursing home lawsuit filed, were of the residents in situations that were embarrassing or humiliating.  Continue reading →

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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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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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A class action lawsuit has been settled for $345,000 after dozens of patients and family members of patients allege they were given powerful drugs without due consideration for the harmful impact those drugs may have on patients. nursing home abuse

In one example, the son of a nursing home patient alleged he was explicit in explaining his mother’s wishes and directing doctors not to give her any painkillers except aspirin and no antipsychotic medications. Despite this, they gave her Restoril, an anti-anxiety medication, Norco (a pain medication with a high risk for addiction and dependency also known to cause respiratory distress) and Lexapro, an SSRI anti-depressant. Plaintiff alleged the nursing home signed a paper saying the doctor had received consent from patient and/ or health care power of attorney to administer the drugs, but no such permission had been given. Other patients/ families alleged they were given anitpsychotic medications to suppress certain symptoms of dementia – a practice known as “chemical restraints” that is not only largely ineffective, it can be harmful. It’s generally done more the convenience of staffers than for the benefit of the patient.

Although the amount of money to be awarded to each family is minimal, but plaintiffs say their larger goal was to compel changes at the facility. As part of the settlement agreement, the facility will be required to undergo random spot inspections of health records. The nursing home must enact clear standards explaining the benefits and risks of psycho-therapeutic drugs to residents and/ or legal representatives. Continue reading →

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Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, there is no denying that Medicaid is the by far the biggest funding source for care of those in U.S. nursing homes. It supports approximately three-fifths of the residents who receive care at nursing home facilities. A health care bill being weighed by lawmakers would enact significant cuts to the Medicaid program, and there is concern, as noted in a recent Op-Ed in The New York Times, that this could gut benefits for nursing home residents, which could mean their level of care could take a hit. nursing home abuse lawyer

In fact, there is concern many nursing homes, without that steady income, would be forced to shutter their doors, leaving elderly residents high-and-dry.

The American Health Care Act (passed by the House but later scuttled) would reduce Medicaid funding by $834 billion. Meanwhile, the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, would still slash Medicaid funding by $772 billion by 2026. This is especially troubling considering people are living longer lives than every, with many requiring a high level of care in their last years. Almost 42 percent of nursing home patients are over the age of 85, but there are also a significant number of patients whose home-and-community-based care is covered by Medicaid as well. Because Medicaid payments for assisted living facilities has been frozen at $49 daily since 2010, many people are unable to access this option, even if they may be better-served by this than 24-7 care. The potential for these cuts would make both options much less attainable.  Continue reading →

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Most staff at nursing homes in South Florida and across the country are hardworking, well trained and dedicated professionals who do whatever they can to make sure your loved ones get the best possible treatment and care. However, there are some cases where the negligence of the staff results in serious injuries or even death of a resident.

nursing home abuseIn many of the cases involving nursing home negligence or abuse, we see instances where staff are not properly trained or supervised, or should never have been given the responsibility to watch over patients in the first place. Continue reading →

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