Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse

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U.S. government researchers have discovered elderly people – and nursing home residents in particular – are suffering alarming rates of concussions and brain injuries. heart

Although the exact reason isn’t clear, some opine it has to do with the fact that those who are suffering repeated falls aren’t copping to it. Those who have suffered one fall are more likely to suffer another, and the odds are greater that the next fall will be more severe. But some elderly people may fear that admitting to a fall means they will lose their independence. In turn, they minimize it. Or, in the case of nursing home residents, the fall simply isn’t deemed serious enough for immediate medical attention.

However, what could appear to be a minor incident might actually be much more serious. It could be a concussion. It could even be a traumatic brain injury. In either case, the chances of another fall will be increased.  Continue reading →

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Nursing home residents suffer high rates of facial injuries, according to a recent study published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. In all, approximately 20,000 individuals residing in nursing homes throughout the U.S. have suffered what could be considered “serious facial injuries” at some point in the last 12 months. OLD FACE

Most of these injuries are incurred by falling and hitting hard surfaces. A substantial number also occur due to patients falling while getting in and out of bed.

Given that we already have 1.4 million people living in long-term nursing homes in the U.S. and that the population is aging, programs that focus on preventing fall-related injuries in nursing homes are going to be all the more important. This is especially true considering the severity these types of nursing home injuries can cause – including immense pain, long-term disability and hastened health decline leading to premature death. Continue reading →

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For more than a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has adhered to the legal theory that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts any state law on arbitration. olderwoman

There was a challenge, for example, in 2011 when the SCOTUS struck down the state law in California that held class-arbitration waivers were unconscionable. Then in 2015, the SCOTUS held that parties weren’t allowed to contract around the FAA’s preemption of class-arbitration waivers.

However, those earlier cases involved cell phone companies and cable providers. The case now before the SCOTUS is much different in that it involves arbitration agreements that bind nursing home residents. In Kindred Nursing Centers Limited Partnership v. Clark, Justice Samuel Alito commented during oral arguments that this is not like a dispute on a charge for cable services. It involves proper care of vulnerable and elderly residents.  Continue reading →

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A CNN Investigations report delved into the pervasive and disturbing – but hugely underreported – issue of nursing home sexual abuse. wheelchair

Noting that “it’s impossible to know” the exact number of victims who suffer this abuse, state and federal data, along with interviews with experts, regulators and families of victims indicates this problem is far more common than what one might suspect. Worse is the fact that many times, neither the nursing home nor government regulators that oversee these facilities seem to do be doing much to address the issue.

Reporters noted that in some cases, nursing home employees and administrators and government agencies can’t get far with these investigations because victims are unable to communicate what happened to them or even identify who it was that caused them harm. However, there are a substantial number of cases wherein negligence and even willful concealment is at issue. The news organization detailed cases in which nursing home administrators were slow to investigate and report allegations, often because, as they would later explain, they didn’t want to believe the allegations were true. Police often approach these matters with great skepticism, often using any opportunity to dismiss the victim’s statements due to allegations that aren’t concise or memories that are failing. Further, because there is a high standard of proof when it comes to substantiating an allegation of abuse by a state regulator, even individuals who have been repeatedly accused of abuse may never be red-flagged.  Continue reading →

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In an increasing number of places, mandatory nursing home arbitration agreements are being challenged. These agreements are binding contracts, but many people don’t realize that when they sign them as part of the admissions process to a nursing home, they are signing away their right to have any future disputes resolved in court. Instead, those disputes are funneled to an arbitrator, who is not required to follow the law. Proceedings aren’t public and arbitrators more often than not favor the nursing home. Even when damages are awarded to the plaintiff, the sum tends to be for far less than what plaintiff likely would have gotten if the case had gone to trial. brokenglasses

There are many reasons to fight back against enforcement of an arbitration agreement with a nursing home. That’s what some in Minnesota are doing, according to the Star Tribune. In one case, plaintiff believed she had a strong legal case against the nursing home where her father had lived before his sudden death at age 89. There was evidence the assisted living facility failed to respond in a timely manner when her father vomited numerous times and screamed for help while pointing to his badly swollen stomach. After several hours, eh died of complications related to a common hernia, something that was easily treatable had he received prompt medical attention.

When plaintiff sued the nursing home for this, they hit back with a motion to compel arbitration, pointing to an arbitration agreement signed when her father was first admitted to the facility. The nursing home claims the densely-worded contract requires the family to have the dispute resolved in arbitration, even though it involves a claim for wrongful death.  Continue reading →

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Within a span of just a few months, two residents at the same facility passed away as a direct result of nursing home neglect. That’s according to a new report by state health officials in Minnesota, whose findings were reported by the Star-Tribuneelder

The two separate incidents involve neglect and failed oversight, with one person suffering fatal injuries after a staffer used the wrong lift device and failed to get the proper assistance in moving the patient. In another case, an 85-year-old woman was denied life-saving measures during a heart attack because her directive on file was overlooked.

In many cases, nursing home neglect is the result of a combination of factors, namely:

  • Lack of staff experience/ training.
  • Failure to make there are enough staffers present to take care of patients’ basic needs.
  • Failure to provide the appropriate equipment/ tools to properly care for residents.
  • Lack of proper supervision.

Continue reading →

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Two ex-workers at an Illinois nursing home are suing their former employer for allegedly firing them for their refusal to fabricate medical reports that would have documented instances of nursing home abuse and elder neglect. sad

Some of the allegations of abuse of patients cited by the workers were investigated by the state’s department of health, which ultimately cited the nursing home for a number of safety breaches that jeopardized patients’ well-being. The facility in question houses more than 300 beds and purports to serve those who are both elderly and bed-bound, as well as those who are younger and suffer from serious mental illness and substance abuse. Some of those in the younger cohort are convicted felons involved in violent crimes. One of the plaintiff workers told The Chicago-Tribune the most vulnerable residents were not protected by the facility from some of the residents who posed a threat. He called it, “dangerous.”

Although the CEO for the facility would not talk about the specifics of the lawsuit, he denied that the nursing home ever attempted to mislead state health inspectors or alter patient records. The facility insists there was never any directive to surreptitiously change patient records.  Continue reading →

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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. couple

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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The children of the elderly woman pleaded with hospital staffers to save their mother, who was suffering from bedsores and pneumonia. The staffers had the resources. They had the tools and the equipment. What they didn’t have, they say, was permission. The woman had previously signed a do-not-resuscitate order. However, her children say the elderly woman lacked the mental capacity to sign such an order – something they tried in vain to argue with the staff as their mother was fighting for her life. She died in that hospital bed of her ailments in 2012. She was 67.hospital sign

Now, Courtroom View Network is covering the developments of the civil lawsuit filed in Texas by her children who alleged medical malpractice against the hospital, the nursing home where she lived for years, the doctor for the nursing home and the physician’s assistant there. There were five opening statements from the defense side – one for each of the five defendants, who are individually represented.

Plaintiffs’ attorney posited to jurors during opening statements that decedent died of pneumonia which was the result of bedsores which were the direct result of nursing home negligence. Further, plaintiff lawyer accused the nursing home of wrongly allowing patient to sign a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order, and also of allowing a neighbor to have medical power of attorney – even though at that time, she suffered signs of severe mental illness.  Continue reading →

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A state health department has cited seven nursing homes in connection with reports that residents were verbally abused by staffers. The state Department of Public Health in Connecticut cited the nursing homes more than $1,000 each in connection with the incidents. point

In one case, a registered nurse overheard an aide swearing and being disrespectful to the patient. However, it was not reported at the time. The aide was later fired.

In a similar case out of that same state two years ago, six nursing homes were fined by regulators in connection with cases of verbal abuse in nursing homes. In one of those cases, a nursing aide who was assisting a resident in using the toilet swore at the resident, prompting the resident to grab the aide’s shirt and yell. The aide then allegedly pushed the resident down, causing the resident to strike his head on the toilet paper dispenser and land on the wheelchair. The incident wasn’t reported for three whole days.  Continue reading →

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