Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse lawyer

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Increasingly, relatives of Florida nursing home residents are installing cameras inside the rooms of their loved ones to ensure they are receiving quality care. Fears of inadequate nursing home care and even nursing home abuse are certainly founded, as the Government Accountability Office reports a quarter of U.S. nursing homes have deficiencies that cause actual harm or have the potential to inflict serious injury or death. Further, a survey of more than a dozen states found state and federal complaint procedures lacking, meaning at-risk patients suffered abuse and neglect in silence for months. nursing home abuse lawyer

The idea of hidden cameras in nursing homes isn’t brand new, but it’s garnering renewed attention from Florida lawmakers. ABC-10 News in Broward County reports that family members of a nursing home resident in Pompano Beach installed a camera inside the room of their 94-year-old patriarch, who suffers from dementia. They were horrified at the images that returned.

The video reveals a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who is impatiently and forcefully trying to get the man to move off the bed. She pulls him, and sends him falling into a chair. She then hits him on the head. In a separate clip, the same nursing home worker is witnessed pouring mouthwash on him. Aside from the obvious cruelty of the act, the family’s nursing home abuse attorney explained it was one that ultimately proved fatal. Alcohol is a drying agent. The man reportedly was already suffering from Stage 3 pressure ulcers. Ultimately, it was those ulcers that killed him, plaintiff attorney alleges.  Continue reading →

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Most residents of nursing homes, being over the age of 65, grew up in an era without computers, let alone cell phones or social media. Yet many are fast finding themselves confronted with the ugly underbelly of these technologies, as those entrusted with their care abuse their trust, snapping and posting inappropriate, embarrassing or abusive pictures of elderly patients. nursing home abuse

This can be sexual exploitation by a caretaker, particularly if the patient’s private parts are displayed – even if the images themselves aren’t necessarily intended to be of a sexual nature. Many of the images, as reported by NPR and ProPublica investigations, are by workers who may intend to “blow off steam” from being stressed and overworked. Nonetheless, it violates the patient’s rights, and may be actionable in civil court, particularly if there is evidence the nursing home may have been informed of it and failed to take action. ProPublica identified at least three dozen cases of this happening last year, the majority of those occurring on Snapchat.

Yet another incident was reported recently, this time in Illinois. According to local news source The Pantagraph, reports two certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who were a couple snapped and shared numerous residents in photos that were both unauthorized and “inappropriate.” The images included shots of elderly individuals who were dressing, bathing, toileting and resting in bed. All of these images, according to a recent nursing home lawsuit filed, were of the residents in situations that were embarrassing or humiliating.  Continue reading →

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A recent government audit blames Medicare for failure to enforce a federal law that requires immediate notification of nursing home abuse and neglect to police.nursing home abuse

Based on preliminary results from a large sample of cases over 33 states, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services reported that while this is just early data, immediate action was required. The IOG investigates instances of waste, fraud and abuse within the health care system. This particular audit was part of a bigger investigation, which is ongoing, and additional results are expected in the coming months. The agency released an early alert memo regarding these initial findings, prompting the Senate Finance Committee to request additional information regarding elder abuse in nursing homes. Specifically, the committee chair has requested information on whether HHS intends to reevaluate its procedures to make sure nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect is not only identified but also reported.

It’s estimated approximately 1.4 million people live in nursing homes across the country. According tot he Florida Health Care Association, there are 683 licensed nursing homes in Florida and another 3,100 assisted living facilities. The IOG report revealed there were more than 130 cases wherein emergency room records showed possible abuse – physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. This was over the course of a two-year-period. Of those, 28 percent – more than 1 in 4 – had no record of any report being made to local law enforcement. 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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Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, there is no denying that Medicaid is the by far the biggest funding source for care of those in U.S. nursing homes. It supports approximately three-fifths of the residents who receive care at nursing home facilities. A health care bill being weighed by lawmakers would enact significant cuts to the Medicaid program, and there is concern, as noted in a recent Op-Ed in The New York Times, that this could gut benefits for nursing home residents, which could mean their level of care could take a hit. nursing home abuse lawyer

In fact, there is concern many nursing homes, without that steady income, would be forced to shutter their doors, leaving elderly residents high-and-dry.

The American Health Care Act (passed by the House but later scuttled) would reduce Medicaid funding by $834 billion. Meanwhile, the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, would still slash Medicaid funding by $772 billion by 2026. This is especially troubling considering people are living longer lives than every, with many requiring a high level of care in their last years. Almost 42 percent of nursing home patients are over the age of 85, but there are also a significant number of patients whose home-and-community-based care is covered by Medicaid as well. Because Medicaid payments for assisted living facilities has been frozen at $49 daily since 2010, many people are unable to access this option, even if they may be better-served by this than 24-7 care. The potential for these cuts would make both options much less attainable.  Continue reading →

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Although our population as a whole is growing older, an increasing number of nursing homes are taking on younger patients. This can lead to conflict and potentially danger for those most vulnerable. hands of time

Recently on NPR Morning Edition, KRCC in Colorado explored this phenomenon, attributing the situation largely to the fact that there are very few long-term care facilities for younger people in need of constant care. These would include individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries who need around-the-clock care and assistance.

One case detailed by the station involves a man in his 40s. In 2015, he suffered a traumatic brain injury when he reportedly “head-butted a car” and “scrambled the old brain bucket” (those are his own words). Today, he struggles with speech. Daily tasks are a challenge. He spent several months in a nursing home, where the majority of residents were over the age of 65. However, he was one of a growing number of under-65 residents at the facility. This is not an isolated phenomenon, and we see it in Florida too.  Continue reading →

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State lawmakers in Texas haven’t given up the fight to hold accountable nursing homes that provide substandard care. It will be the second time state lawmakers are making the effort, after a failed bid two years ago. holdinghands

The push involves three bills that would make it more difficult for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, such as assisted living facilities and home community service agencies, to cower from regulatory discipline and litigation when wrongdoing has been uncovered.

One measure involves imposing higher fines on facilities where inspectors have discovered serious violations that breach the care and safety of residents. Another measure would do away with the so-called “right to correct,” a legal loophole that gives many nursing homes an out in avoiding disciplinary action if administrators “correct” the violation after it’s discovered upon inspection. The final measure would require nursing home facilities to carry at least $1 million in liability insurance, which would make it easier for victims and loved ones to recover damages in the event the facility is found liable of nursing home abuse, neglect or negligence.  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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A woman is suing a nursing home in Virginia, alleging her 84-year-old mother was tied to a wheelchair with bed sheets and injected with a powerful narcotic drug in an effort to keep her quiet. The physical and chemical restraints forced on the elderly woman were reportedly kept in place overnight. wheelchair

Such information, if proven, would likely be a violation of criminal laws as well as the patient’s civil and resident rights. Specifically, patients have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to be free from abuse and neglect and to be free from restraints. Nursing homes aren’t allowed to use physical restraints, such as side rails, or chemical restraints, such as drugs, to discipline patients or for the staff’s own convenience.

The Virginian-Pilot reports local police were not contacted about the case and there haven’t been any criminal charges filed. However, the state’s health department received to complaints regarding the alleged incident, indicating at least two patients were placed in restraints the nursing home. Ultimately, the department devised a correctional plan.  Continue reading →

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Workers at state-run nursing homes face a higher risk of on-the-job injuries than construction workers or those in manufacturing.stethascope

That’s based on the latest figures from the annual report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on workplace illnesses and injuries. There were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses across the private sector last year and another 753,000 in the public sector, according to the Labor Department. On the whole, that works out to three injuries per 100 full-time workers in the private industry and 5.1 injuries per 100 full-time workers in state and local government. Meanwhile, when it comes to nursing home employees, those who work at state-run nursing homes and residential care facilities are injured at a rate of 12 per 100 full-time workers. This represents more than 13,700 cases of recorded injury or illness suffered by nursing home employees last year. That’s even more than local police, who suffered an injury rate of 11.3 per 100 workers. The Bureau of Labor pointed out also that these figures are actually low because these incidents are often unreported.

Work-related injuries among nursing home workers can have a direct impact on the quality of care that patients receive. First of all, a facility that is well-run prioritizes the safety of all who are present – including the employees, who are critical to the process. A facility that does not have or does not enforce worker safety guidelines is not likely to do so when it comes to patient safety either. Continue reading →

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