Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse

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Some nursing home patients seek care for the long-term expecting they will live out their days in that facility, or in facilities like it. Others know they will need longer-term care less intensive than might be provided in a hospital, but hope eventually to improve and return to home to independent living.nursing home abuse lawyer

Unfortunately, when nursing homes provide care that is substandard, patients’ health may not improve as fast – or at all – as previously expected. Nursing homes that are negligent in providing proper care may be held accountable for the negative impact to patients’ health.

That is what one Boca Raton man is trying to do, alleging treatment at a poorly staffed nursing home in South Florida left him requiring more medication and needing treatment longer than he otherwise would have. Continue reading →

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A $6,000-per-day penalty imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on an Illinois nursing home was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently. The fine stemmed from a finding that the nursing home put patients in immediate jeopardy when it failed to protect them from nursing home abuse and theft. The CMS investigation also revealed the facility failed to timely report or thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse inflicted on residents, and didn’t implement policies on abuse, neglect or property theft. nursing home abuse

The appellate court ruled there was substantial evidence to support CMS’s conclusions that formed the basis for the penalty. It stemmed from a site visit by investigators with the state health department back in 2014.

There was an allegation at the time that a resident and his wife suffered emotional abuse when a female staffer approached the male resident, grabbed his face in her hands, kissed him on both cheeks and then the forehead before telling him she had always loved him. Administrators did launch an investigation into the incident, but only insofar as they questioned staff and other residents. However, they did not formally interview the resident or his wife.  Continue reading →

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A class action lawsuit has been settled for $345,000 after dozens of patients and family members of patients allege they were given powerful drugs without due consideration for the harmful impact those drugs may have on patients. nursing home abuse

In one example, the son of a nursing home patient alleged he was explicit in explaining his mother’s wishes and directing doctors not to give her any painkillers except aspirin and no antipsychotic medications. Despite this, they gave her Restoril, an anti-anxiety medication, Norco (a pain medication with a high risk for addiction and dependency also known to cause respiratory distress) and Lexapro, an SSRI anti-depressant. Plaintiff alleged the nursing home signed a paper saying the doctor had received consent from patient and/ or health care power of attorney to administer the drugs, but no such permission had been given. Other patients/ families alleged they were given anitpsychotic medications to suppress certain symptoms of dementia – a practice known as “chemical restraints” that is not only largely ineffective, it can be harmful. It’s generally done more the convenience of staffers than for the benefit of the patient.

Although the amount of money to be awarded to each family is minimal, but plaintiffs say their larger goal was to compel changes at the facility. As part of the settlement agreement, the facility will be required to undergo random spot inspections of health records. The nursing home must enact clear standards explaining the benefits and risks of psycho-therapeutic drugs to residents and/ or legal representatives. Continue reading →

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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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