Articles Posted in nursing home negligence

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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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In nursing home negligence cases, an increasing number of these for-profit facilities have complicated corporate structures. The primary company that benefits financially is not necessarily the one that actually manages the day-to-day operations. The reason for this is very intentional, and it has to do with how whether and to what degree those companies can be held responsible when nursing home abuse or neglect takes place. nursing home abuse

When a nursing home staffer commits abuse or neglect, the employer can be held responsible in one of two ways: Direct negligence or vicarious liability. In a situation of direct negligence, it may be established the employer nursing home failed to properly vet the employee or didn’t have the right systems in place to supervise its workers or the patients. Vicarious liability, meanwhile, stems from the common law principle of repondeat superior, which is Latin for, “let the master answer.” While plaintiff must prove negligence by the employer in the first case, one need not prove negligence by the employer for a finding of vicarious liability. Instead, they need only show the employee was negligent or committed an intentional tort while acting in the course and scope of employment. This difference may also be important when it comes to the question of damages (which is how much money is paid).

Recently, the Tennessee Court of Appeals partially reversed a nearly $30 million damage award to a plaintiff in a nursing home wrongful death case alleging negligence and medical malpractice (technically in that state referred to as “health care liability”). The court vacated the damage award and remanded for a new hearing as to the amount of punitive damages to be awarded. (Punitive damages in Florida, F.S. 768.72, as in Tennessee, are awarded not to compensate for actual losses by plaintiff, but to penalize the defendant for gross negligence or intentional misconduct.) Continue reading →

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Most of Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities have not yet acquired generator backup for air conditioning this hurricane season, despite a state law mandating they do so by a deadline of June 1st. That’s according to information from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), as reported by AARP.nursing home injury attorney

This mandate came about after the devastating hurricane season we had last year, during which 12 residents of a nursing home in Hollywood died when the facility went days without power in sweltering temperatures without seeking outside assistance – despite the fact that there was an air-conditioned hospital right across the street, sparking national outrage. State lawmakers passed a measure requiring facilities to secure an emergency power source on site and also to have a written plan in the event of evacuation in the event similar circumstances arise in the future (as they are likely to do). The law also stipulates that nursing home generator backup systems must function to keep facilities at a stable temperature of at or below 81 degrees for 96 hours after an outage of power.

As of one week prior to the deadline, only about 100 of Florida’s nearly 700 nursing homes had met the new statutory standards. Fewer than 350 requested an extension from the state. Of the more than 3,100 assisted living centers in Florida, only 205 met the requirements by deadline, with about 350 asking for more time. The nursing homes and assisted living facilities that are granted an extension will have another six months. But of course, as our Fort Lauderdale nursing home injury lawyers probably don’t need to point out, this will be well past the 2018 hurricane season, which means scores of vulnerable and elderly residents will be at risk of a tragic repeat, which occurred in the wake of last year’s monster storm amid an especially active season.

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