Articles Posted in nursing home negligence

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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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The misuse of anti-psychotic medications in nursing homes across America has fallen from about 24 percent down to 16 percent in the last seven years, but remains a serious problem, according to a recent investigation of federal CMS data by Human Rights Watch. The 157-page report details the fact that an estimated 180,000 residents in nursing homes are dosed with anti-psychotic drugs, even though:

  1. The patient has no diagnosis that warrants its use;
  2. Studies have shown these medications can be harmful in older patients (it can double the risk of death among older patients with dementia);
  3. Facilities often don’t first obtain informed consent of the patient and/ or relatives.medication misuse

The report notes that while any decrease is welcome, there is concern that nursing homes might have found other drugs that can be used to pacify and sedate patients with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The title of the report begins with a quote from a nursing home industry insider pertaining to this misuse of medications: “They want docile.” Another term for this is “chemical restraints.”

Nursing homes are concerned with profits. People with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease require additional care and resources. That amounts to higher staffing levels – and less profits. Nursing homes combat this by sedating these patients, which in turn means they use less of the facility’s resources. Staffers may interpret expressions of distress or pain to be a willful act of disruptive behavior that needs to be suppressed. But using medication for staff convenience or as a means to discipline people is against federal law. Continue reading →

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A new state report blames a nurse and a nursing home for a medication error that proved deadly to a 53-year-old short-term resident. The Star Tribune in Minnesota reports the patient received a dose of powerful pain medication that was 20 times too potent, resulting in his death. nursing home medication errors

After receiving the wrong dose of the medication one evening before bed, he probably died shortly thereafter. However, paramedics weren’t called until the following morning, which would seem to indicate that the issue wasn’t discovered until that time. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Although the nurse who delivered the fatal dose of oxycodone was first on the state health department’s list of those responsible, investigators also pointed the finger at the facility, which reportedly did not have a system that would track changes in the way powerful, high-risk medications – including painkillers – would be given to patients. The facility was fined a sum the state hasn’t disclosed, but has been allowed to remain open after adopting new medication protocol.  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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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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Numerous nursing homes in Florida are still non-compliant with a new rule that requires facilities to prove they can run generators for four days without power and keep inside temperatures at 80 degrees or less. It required that nursing homes submit their plans to the state by Oct. 31st and be in compliance with the rule by Nov. 15th, or else begin incurring a $1,000-a-day fine. nursing home negligence

Emergency Rule 59AER17-1 is under legal challenge, but the rule is intended to prevent nursing home deaths like more than a dozen that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Irma, when facilities were without power. Those residents all died of heat-related causes when the facility in which they were housed did not have a working generator to keep the residents safe from the South Florida swelter.

As of Nov. 8th, there were still 18 facilities that had yet to offer up proof of compliance with the rule.  Continue reading →

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A pair of emergency rules requiring Florida assisted living facilities and nursing homes to be equipped with generators to effectively cool and fuel buildings for 96 hours has been struck down by an Administrative Law Judge. Gov. Rick Scott promised to appeal the court order immediately.nursing home wrongful death

The judge handed down a 66-page ruling, wherein he stated the state had failed to establish it was necessary to increase the self-sufficiency of nursing homes and assisted living facility sites in the event of an emergency.

The judge went on to explain in the order that the remedy for this emergency deficit cannot reasonably be enacted by the deadline of Nov. 15th. Scott railed against the order, saying the judge’s legal reasoning was short-sighted. He vowed to appeal the order and continue working to make the rules permanent. Continue reading →

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Several families are pursuing litigation against a South Florida nursing home after a disastrous post-hurricane evacuation resulted in more than a dozen deaths. However, in order to do so, they will face significant legal hurdles.nursing home abuse attorney

Nursing home abuse attorneys in West Palm Beach recognize that these cases are difficult, but not impossible. Although most civil injury and wrongful death cases are settled prior to trial, having an experienced litigator and trial attorney is necessary. Preparation, skill and experience are critical.

At this juncture, Bloomberg Law reports at least 10 lawsuits have been filed against the Hollywood Hills nursing home that evacuated in September, days after Hurricane Irma cut off power to the air conditioning system at the facility. Fourteen residents died. However, holding the owners of the facility responsible could prove difficult. There are several reasons for this. 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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