Articles Posted in nursing home neglect

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Nursing home neglect occurs when elderly and/ or vulnerable residents of a long-term care facility receive substandard care. Caregivers who fail to ensure patients basic needs, personal hygiene or medical care is up to appropriate standards face potential civil liability for any harm that results. In some cases, it may also lead to criminal charges. You should know that the criminal justice system has a higher proof burden and the two cases are handled completely separate, which means regardless of whether a criminal case results from your loved one’s nursing home neglect, you may still have grounds to pursue civil litigation against the assistants, nurses, doctors and facility administrators.nursing home neglect attorney

One recent alleged case of nursing home neglect in Georgia made national headlines, with plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit saying the 89-year-old WWII veteran died desperately begging for help that never came.

According to The Washington Post, the family placed a hidden camera in the room because they were anxious about him living in the nursing home. The man’s son later said his father was aware the camera had been installed in his room, but staffers were not. Now, it has become a key piece of evidence in the criminal case against two nurses and an aide who have been indicted on several charges, including murder and neglect. Continue reading →

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A recent in-depth analysis by South Florida journalists reveals dozens of nursing homes in Florida with a long history of failure to provide adequate care remain open and operational, putting current and future patients at serious risk.nursing home abuse

The News-Press in Fort Myers reports that in the last five years, the 55 lowest-scoring nursing homes in the state for the last 14 of previous 18 quarters racked up more than 100 – or more – violations that threatened resident health and safety. The bottom 46 of those have been sued in nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits alleging mistreatment or poor care. Nursing home owners denied those claims, but nonetheless settled 87 of them. The remaining 104 are still pending.

Unfortunately, it’s not as if nursing home fines for these violations are much of a motivator for change. On average, fines for serious violations are about $5,000, but often less. Now stack that up against the millions of dollars these facilities receive for taxpayer-funded Medicaid and Medicare programs. Although the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, the state center responsible for licensing and regulating nursing homes, very seldom uses the biggest weapons in its arsenal to address these issues. That’s why in the last five years, only two nursing homes have been shut down and three were blocked from receiving further admissions. Continue reading →

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Nursing home safety advocates are calling on Florida lawmakers to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee certain rights to vulnerable residents in nursing homes and assisted living centers.nursing home injury

An incident of nursing home negligence in Orlando last year – resulting in a recently announced $1 million fine by federal authorities – is the latest to spark discussion of the need for such change. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the facility assigned a single assistant to supervise a trip to a local super store with nine residents – all of whom required around-the-clock care, five of whom were in wheelchairs and three who used walkers. One needed the bathroom but the assistant was nowhere to be found, so the man attempted it on his own. He ultimately lost control of his bowels and his balance, suffering a broken hip. When the attendant rushed to aid the man,  he neglected the others.

It was this incident (along with another wherein a patient did not receive important medical treatment) that resulted in a government investigation and subsequent fine. Nearly two dozen health code violations were cited, and the facility earned a spot on the national watch list of facilities that don’t correct repeat issues. Despite the fine, advocates for safer nursing homes say it doesn’t go far enough. They want a formal bill of rights added to the constitution, where it could not be easily rolled back by lawmakers or future presidential administrations squeezed or swayed by nursing home industry lobbyists and stakeholders.

One of those calling for change leads a national nursing home advocacy group, and says the public is largely unaware about the way these facilities are run and the risk they pose to residents. He noted it’s telling that even 12 nursing home resident deaths of heat-related illness after Hurricane Irma – all classified as homicides – were not enough to spur industry change. The facility may yet lose its license and Gov. Rick Scott has asked the facilities to maintain backup generators that can provide at nearly 100 hours of fuel so temperatures can stay at a safe level in the event the power goes out for an extended time. The governor has also asked for the panel that combs the state’s constitution every two decades for a determination potential changes pertaining to the protection of nursing home residents. Proposal 88 is now being considered by the commission and is the public hearings stage. If the panel approves it, the issue then goes to voters this fall.  Continue reading →

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A Broward County Medical Examiner’s pathologist testified recently in county court that nursing home staffers at a Hollywood Hills nursing home had opportunity after opportunity to save patients from heat stroke in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Yet, staffers and administrators failed to seize those opportunities, instead never increasing their services to meet the enhanced needs of patients who were succumbing to unbearably hot summer temperatures with little respite. When it was all over, 12 patients lost their lives. nursing home abuse lawyer

The Sun Sentinel reports the pathologist’s testimony examined whether there were available remedies to help prevent heat stroke among the vulnerable adults at the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center. What she discovered was that staffers weren’t doing anything really above and beyond their typical duties – even though they had totally lost function of their air conditioning units in blazing heat.

She relayed to the court there were no records that staffers sought to provide even rudimentary measures of relief, such as cold compresses, ice chips or cold water that would help lower patients’ temperatures to a safe level. This nursing home had “a real opportunity to save some lives here,” the pathologist was quoted as saying. Yet, they didn’t. Continue reading →

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The administrator of a Florida nursing home in Ocala has been suspended from his post and arrested on neglect charges after he allegedly failed to notify a nurse of a resident’s deteriorating health. nursing home neglect

The Gainesville Sun reports the nurse who was supervising the patient’s care reportedly told the 31-year-old administrator to let her know right away if there were any changes to the patient’s condition, following an outpatient surgical procedure. Despite this request, the on-duty staff reportedly contacted the administrator twice throughout the weekend to tell him the resident’s health was declining rapidly. He did not provide them with instructions for her care, nor did he contact the nurse.

The newspaper reports it’s not clear why the staff didn’t contact the nurse – or other qualified medical professionals – to intervene instead when it became clear the patient was doing so poorly. It’s also not exactly clear why it was the job of the facility administrator to contact the nurse when he was not the one on site caring for her. The administrator reportedly only relayed the message about the patient’s declining health when he returned to work on Monday. The nurse at that time told him to call 911 right away and have the resident taken to a nearby hospital via ambulance.

Police were contacted, and the administrator was subsequently suspended and then arrested on a charge of neglect of the elderly.  Continue reading →

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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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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. 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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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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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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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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