Articles Posted in nursing home negligence

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Florida’s state nursing home regulations are in place because residents of these facilities are among the most vulnerable in our population.state regulations for nursing homes

Although it might seem that providing high-quality care and treating elderly nursing home patients with dignity would be something facilities would inherently prioritize their safety on moral principles, the unfortunate reality is that far too many don’t. Even with the laws and regulations in place, patients still fall through the cracks when they aren’t consistently enforced or when penalties have no teeth. Criminal statutes against elder abuse were always in place, but with nursing home rights and standards also codified Chapter 400 of Florida Statutes, state authorities are given the power to impose fines on nursing homes that fail to follow the law and put patients at risk – even if no one was actually harmed by the violation. However, serious questions regarding the effectiveness of these state regulations for nursing homes have been raised.

Why Florida State Regulations for Nursing Homes May Not Go Far Enough

Many fines for regulatory breaches by nursing homes are ultimately negotiated down to a much lower sum. Most total just a few thousand dollars, making the penalty ineffective as an incentive to follow the law.  Continue reading →

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Many times after a loved one is injures or dies as a result of nursing home neglect or negligence, our South Florida nursing home injury lawyers are asked how to get out of hospital medical bills. We have heard of instances wherein nursing home administrators have given families misleading or false information about recovering compensation for these bills.how to get out of hospital medical bills

Once, a nursing home administrator told the family of a patient who died of neglect that it would be a “waste of time” to file a lawsuit against them for medical bills because anything they won would go back to Medicaid and/ or Medicare (or whatever health insurer covered the patient prior to death). This is not so, though it’s impossible to say whether this advice was intentionally misleading or the result of a misunderstanding. When you ask “How to get out of hospital medical bills,”  realize that some of those bills have already been covered by the health care insurer. Usually, nursing home patients are covered by Medicaid, a health care plan for people in poverty, as opposed to Medicare, a federal health insurance program for older Americans that does not provide coverage for long-term care, only short stints between a hospital stay and returning home.

What this administrator was likely referring to is something called “subrogation.” This is a type of insurance principle, spelled out specifically with regard to Medicaid in F.S. 409.910, that bars plaintiffs (those seeking compensation) from “double-dipping,” or collecting from two different payers for a single injury. So if Medicaid foots most of the bill for your loved one’s nursing home injuries, you sue the nursing home for negligence that caused those injuries,  Medicaid’s contribution to those medical bills will need to be repaid from whatever amount you’ve been awarded for medical bills as part of the settlement or verdict. And of course, there may be some medical expenses you still paid out-of-pocket. Continue reading →

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If your loved one is residing in an assisted care or skilled nursing facility in South Florida, be mindful of the fact that a holiday nursing home accident in Fort Lauderdale could spell grave difficulties in 2019.holiday nursing home accident Fort Lauderdale

The winter holidays are often one of the best times for nursing home residents, frequently packed with parties, decorations, family visits and outings – maybe even the occasional visits home for special holiday celebrations. However, patients and residents can also be at heightened risk for injuries resulting from a fall, medication errors, improper lifting, carelessness in feeding/ observing dietary restrictions, fire hazards, negligence in transport, fewer physician hours (or substitute physicians filling in) and lower staffing (especially at facilities that can scarcely afford fewer workers on the floor as it is). In some instances, the steady stream of visitors in and out caused nursing home staffers not to carefully vet everyone entering or exiting – leading to patients either wandering out dangerously on their own or allowing potentially predatory visitors in who shouldn’t be.

Although these potential perils exist in nursing homes year-round, the holidays tend to be a particularly hectic time. Most of the time, a holiday nursing home accident could have been prevented with a little extra care and planning – something skilled nursing facility owners and medical staff have a responsibility to provide when such incidents are reasonably foreseeable.

Scheduling Problems, Short Staffing, Can Lead to Holiday Nursing Home Accident in Fort Lauderdale Continue reading →

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Recently the family of a Leesburg man who died of sepsis, allegedly developed after negligence on the part of the assisted living home staff, filed a Florida nursing home wrongful death lawsuit against the facility. Decedent’s estate alleges facility owners failed to properly fund it, in turn improperly staffing the site and leaving residents vulnerable to inadequate supervision and poor care, in this case resulting in a fatal sepsis infection. Florida nursing home wrongful death lawsuit

Sepsis is a serious and often fatal blood infection. There are many infections that can lead to sepsis, especially in someone who is elderly. Within Florida nursing home wrongful death lawsuits, it’s often indicated to be a result of:

  • Catheter use;
  • Bed sores/ open wounds;
  • IV use;
  • Poor hygiene.

Although sepsis is often treatable, it must be identified and addressed swiftly. Failure to do so often results in wrongful death.

A recent report from Kaiser Health News reveals that while no one tracks sepsis cases close enough to know how often they spiral into severe infections that become fatal, the human and financial toll is believed to be enormous. A federal analysis conducted by Definitive Healthcare (a private health care information company) ascertained that between 2014 and 2016, an estimated 25,000 nursing home patients a year suffer from sepsis, are transferred to hospitals and ultimately die. This amounts to a cost of $2 billion a year. Continue reading →

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The potential for an accident resulting in serious injury is possible anytime a nursing home patient is lifted, repositioned or transferred, whether manually by staffers or via a mechanical lift. Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury lawyers have seen case after case where an immobile nursing home patient has suffered serious and sometimes fatal outcomes as a result of nursing homes and staffers that were negligent in their moving or patients or in their poor planning in doing so. Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury lawyer

Lifting and transferring mishaps occur every day in Florida – even though federal regulators have clear guidelines and numerous healthcare providers know they need to follow them. One of the biggest problems is manual handling of patients, which most health care personnel recognize as problematic. Nonetheless, these problems are ongoing, sometimes because facilities don’t invest in adequate pieces of proper equipment to alleviate the need for nursing home aides and nurses to move patients themselves. Lack of training too is also too often a problem.

Fort Lauerdale nursing home injury lawyer complaints have focused on injuries during transfers and lifts most especially at times involving:

  • Transfers to and from bed to chair, chair to toilet, chair to chair or car to chair;
  • Transfer to and from chair to stretcher;
  • Bed repositioning (side to side/ up or down);
  • Chair repositioning;
  • Patient transfer from sitting to standing or standing to sitting;
  • Weighing;
  • Bathtub, shower, toilet activities.

Continue reading →

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The decision place a loved one in an assisted living or nursing home facility is a difficult one with many factors to weigh. When choosing a nursing home in Fort Lauderdale, our South Florida injury attorneys advise not overlooking the facility’s smoking policy and enforcement.Choosing a nursing home in Fort Lauderdale

Recently, The Sun Sentinel reported two nursing home resident injuries at a facility in Plantation following a fire that broke out after a resident was allegedly smoking in his bed. The man, in his 70s, was badly burned and had to be flown to a trauma center burn unit in Miami. His roommate suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation, as did a staff nurse, both treated at a closer Broward County hospital. Some 55 other patients in that wing of the facility had to be evacuated, though were allowed to return a short time later.

This may seem like a “freak accident,” but the reality is nursing home injuries stemming from failure to supervise smoking patients is an ongoing problem that has cropped up repeatedly in Florida and other states. It’s a factor you should especially consider when choosing a nursing home in Fort Lauderdale if your loved one is a smoker or uses electronic cigarettes or vaping devices.

Smoking Standards to Understand When Choosing a Nursing Home in Fort Lauderdale Continue reading →

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An increasing number of personal injury compensation claims against nursing homes involve not just the lack of proper treatment for patients, but also a snowballing trend of pushing elderly patients to receive therapy they don’t actually need. These additional treatments are not harmless, particularly considering patients are elderly, frail and often dying. personal injury compensation guidelines nursing home Florida

A recent elder care report by Bloomberg, detailing research findings in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, reveals the percentage of nursing home residents who are receiving rehabilitation classified as “ultrahigh intensity” spiked roughly 65 percent from October 2012 to April 2016. The definition of “high intensity” according to Medicaid, is at least nine hours every week. A therapy that is “ultrahigh intensity” is one that is 12 or more hours weekly. In some instances, study authors reported, patients at nursing homes were receiving the highest intensity of rehabilitative therapy in the very last week of their lives.

The analysis involved data from nearly 650 nursing home facilities and nearly 56,000 long-stay residents who had died – with a specific focus on those who were receiving ultrahigh rehabilitative therapies, specifically physical, occupational and speech therapy – in the month prior to death. These treatments, study authors pointed out, would be those garnering the the fattest payouts to insurers. But it’s unlikely to do much of anything to help the patient.  Continue reading →

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New allegations of nursing home negligence, neglect and wrongful death in South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma last year are being alleged against a second facility. If you follow our South Florida nursing home injury lawyer blog or local news, you’re likely familiar with the incident in Broward County that claimed the lives of 12 people, suffering from heat-related illness after the storm knocked out power and caregivers failed to call for assistance. Now, another wrongful death lawsuit – this one in Palm Beach County – alleges virtually the exact same scenario at 114-bed facility just a few cities over. Florida wrongful death attorney

The owner and former executive director are also named as defendants in wrongful death  claim, which stems from the death of plaintiff’s 90-year-old mother. Plaintiff alleges that when he was able to reach the nursing home staff by telephone soon after the storm, he wasn’t informed that the site had lost power or that there was no working air conditioner at the facility. Within four days, plaintiff says, his mother was dead.

Although this case represents a less common example of a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit, nonetheless it is one that must be taken seriously by health care providers and officials in Florida, where powerful hurricanes are an annual reality. Continue reading →

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A Congressional committee is slated to hold a hearing to examine emerging patterns of nursing home abuse, neglect and general substandard care revealed recently by government regulators and media outlets.nursing home abuse lawyer

According to McKnights Long-Term Care News, lawmakers want to determine whether the Centers or Medicare & Medicaid Services has fallen short in its responsibility to manage safety at nursing homes throughout the country.

The subcommittee chairman on Oversight and Investigations for the U.S. House of Representatives pointed out there have been numerous reports in recent months detailing “horrific” cases of nursing home abuse, neglect and other patient harm occurring in nursing homes in recent years. Specifically, he highlighted the Florida nursing home negligence case in Hollywood Hills wherein more than a dozen residents died following a hurricane last year after the nursing home failed to obtain swift assistance when the air conditioning system broke down and residents suffered numerous heat-related illnesses. There was an operational hospital directly across the street.

The sub-committee chair said these and other incidents have raised serious questions about whether CMS is adequately fulfilling its responsibility to make certain care standards are met, particularly for the most vulnerable elderly residents – particularly those with disabling conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading →

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Allegations of rampant nursing home neglect at four facilities followed reports of remarkable soaring profits in the two years after a new owner took over. This doesn’t surprise our Orlando nursing home abuse attorneys in the least, given that the growing number of for-profit nursing homes tend to far more understaffed and rake in higher profit margins than those operating on a not-for-profit basis. It all comes down to the clear incentive corporate owners have to reduce costs and fatten their own pockets. However, they do so at the expense of properly caring for the most vulnerable elderly residents. nursing home abuse

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the nursing homes in question went from roughly breaking even in the two years before the new owner took over to suddenly being the No. 2 most profitable nursing home in the region. Soon after, officials say, the quality of care provided to nursing home residents plummeted. In September, state investigators who inspected the facility reported it was so awful at one, the neglect so pervasive, officials decided to shut it down and revoke its license. Such a measure is rarely taken against nursing homes, even those found to be responsible for neglect and abuse.

One of the local nursing home abuse attorneys in that region was quoted by the newspaper as saying the executive officer of the nursing home chain (who operates a management group based out of New York) was making heaps of profits, which was only possible through nursing home understaffing. The attorney said (as our Orlando nursing home abuse lawyers have also seen here) that when staffing in a nursing home facility are cut, it directly and negatively impacts both the quality of care and quality of life for nursing home residents.  Continue reading →

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