Articles Tagged with Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse

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There are currently nearly 1.5 million residents in nursing homes across the country. Now, with the passage of new federal rules – the most expansive update in a quarter century – those residents will have more involvement in their own care. 

The new regulations were first proposed in 2015 by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who advocated for a shift toward care that is “person-centered.” That includes efforts to:

  • Hasten the development of care plans;
  • Allow greater variety and flexibility in snacks and meals;
  • Improved review of residents’ drug intake;
  • Heightened security;
  • Streamlined procedures for grievances;
  • Careful review of discharges that are involuntary.

Continue reading →

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A $2 million settlement agreed upon by government regulators and a nursing home in Pennsylvania will resolve allegations of violating consumer protection statutes by not providing adequate services to nursing home patients, as promised in marketing materials and advertisements. 

The state’s attorney general announced the settlement, which involved a company called Reliant Senior Care Holdings Inc., which was accused of skimping on necessary staffing levels needed to ensure the basic needs of residents would be met at the firm’s nearly two dozen skilled nursing facilities throughout Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the company failed to deliver on its promise of making sure residents’ individualized needs were met and that personalized service was provided.

So low were the staffing levels at some of these nursing homes, according to the attorney general, that basic, life-sustaining functions – eating, drinking, daily hygiene and incontinence care – were not met on a daily basis.  Continue reading →

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The corporate structure of many for-profit nursing homes is specifically designed to make it difficult to impose liability when there is a dispute over the quality of care. Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Florida know it’s not unusual for a single nursing home to be tied to nearly half a dozen different businesses connected by a tangle of contract agreements. It takes a skilled litigator to sort through that kind of mess in order to attain accountability for poor care. 

The recent case of Griffith v. SSC Pueblo Belmont Operating Co. is a prime example of how these corporate structures can complicate court cases.

According to court records, this matter out of Colorado involved a handful of separate corporations with varying levels of involvement in day-to-day operations of the facility. Some of those entities existed out-of-state, and technically did not operate in Colorado or have any of their own business contacts in that state. That made the issue of jurisdiction for Colorado state courts a very tricky matter.  Continue reading →

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Federal lawmakers are demanding action from government regulators to curb nursing home abuse and privacy violations of residents caused by degrading and dehumanizing images and videos posted of them on social media by caregivers. 

Citing a December expose published by non-profit journalism outlet ProPublica, which reported 35 cases since 2012 in which workers at nursing homes or assisted living facilities covertly shared videos or photos of residents – many with dementia – on social media. At least two cases have occurred since the story was published.

Nearly half of those cases involved a platform called Snapchat, in which the photos or videos appear for only a set amount of short time before they are deleted. But of course, those images and videos can be copied or captured in screen grabs. Nothing on the internet is ever guaranteed to be truly impermanent.  Continue reading →

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An increasing number of nursing home abuse lawsuits boil down to this single question: Who signed the admissions contract?

Specifically at issue is who signed the provision compelling arbitration or agreeing to release the center from liability. The reason this question is central is because if the person who signed was not authorized to do so on behalf of the patient, the contract is invalid,. That means plaintiff has the right to sue.

In some cases, if the patient personally signed the contract, was he or she legally fit to do so? Many times, the answer is no, and that too can work in a plaintiff’s favor.

This issue was recently underscored by The New York Times, which highlighted a 2009 case in which a nursing home resident was murdered by her roommate. Her son sought to hold the nursing home accountable for this violent act.  Continue reading →

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The state attorney general in Pennsylvania has the right to pursue legal action against a number of nursing homes under consumer protection provisions for low staffing levels. 

Nursing homes targeted by the action had argued the attorney general couldn’t do this because:

  • Only the state Department of Health had the authority to investigate or pursue litigation regarding staffing levels;
  • Her office had hired a private law firm to conduct the investigation – a law firm that had contributed money to the attorney general’s campaign finances.

But now, a seven-judge panel has ruled in favor of Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The judges stated that while it was true the DOH has the authority to enforce regulations and set minimum standards for staffing levels at skilled nursing facilities, they weren’t the only agency with the authority to investigate. While the DOH may be concerned with such matters as it relates to the health, safety and adequacy of each facility, it has no authority or capacity to investigate or correct the consumer marketing or billing practices of these facilities. That is properly within the realm of the state attorney general.  Continue reading →

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It was Christmas Day, and the just-turned-21-year-old nursing assistant, who had just received her professional license, was working yet another shift at the nursing home because the facility was short-staffed. She’d already worked Christmas Eve, but agreed to work Christmas Day too. When she got there at 7 a.m., she was asked to work a double shift, until 11 p.m. 

Initially, she said she would. Such occurrences had been common at the facility since a for-profit company took over the once family-owned facility in Massachusetts. But then, something terrible happened.

She placed an 83-year-old patient into a mechanical lift to move her. But she didn’t have another staffer to assist her, as is required by policy and the machine’s manual. Her placement was improper, and the elderly woman fell to the floor. Both her legs were broken, though that was not immediately known. Ultimately, that injury would lead to the woman’s death two days later.  Continue reading →

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When it comes to neglect and abuse in nursing homes, it can be difficult to confirm suspicions. Patients are often either afraid or unable to come forward about what is happening to them. This vulnerability is what makes them such easy targets in the first place.

This is why many family members seek to substantiate their concerns by installing an in-room electronic monitoring system, sometimes referred to as a hidden camera or “granny cam.” These clips can be useful in both criminal and civil liability cases, as it reveals the way staffers behave when they think no one is looking. Illinois has just passed a measure, effective Jan. 1, 2016, that will explicitly allow cameras in nursing homes. That will make it one of five states that has granted this allowance.

However, they are in some places illegal. Florida, for example, has a strict statute concerning recording third parties recording individuals who do not consent to such action. Continue reading →

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A $9 million nursing home neglect lawsuit has been filed by a man who alleges the facility staffers repeatedly ignored his pleas of a painful catheter infection until it became so bad, surgeons were ultimately forced to remove his penis.

The 60-year-old man alleges the staff at the nursing home in Oregon City, Ore. committed gross negligence in failing to take swift action when he complained of pain. The infection became so serious, it led to gangrene and, ultimately, life-threatening septic shock.

According to news reports of the case, the man was admitted to the nursing home to recover from a kidney infection. This was in December 2013. But almost as soon as he arrived, he began to complain to staffers about pain and bleeding around the catheter area. However, staff at the center did nothing to address the problem. Continue reading →

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California’s largest nursing home has grown rapidly in recent years. Now, it’s descent seems equally meteoric.

According to media reports with the Sacramento Bee, the entrepreneur who launched the facility is facing not only civil lawsuits, but criminal charges in connection with the treatment of elderly and disabled patients in Southern California.

Just days after the family of one resident, now deceased, announced they were filing a lawsuit against the facility and the owner, the California attorney general announced she was filing criminal charges against the facility and two nurses in connection with a resident’s death.

The charge of involuntary manslaughter stems from the care given to a man who had burns over 90 percent of his body due to an arson fire decades before. The AG office doesn’t make mention of another case – of a mentally ill patient who committed suicide by lighting herself on fire  – though the woman’s family have since filed a formal wrongful death lawsuit. Continue reading →

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