Articles Tagged with Nursing home neglect

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Nursing home care is often viewed as a sort of moral obligation, a duty to one’s elders. Still, absent federal and state regulations for nursing homes, this care can fall short, leaving the ill and elderly vulnerable to neglect and abuse. In fact, it was widespread nursing home abuse and neglect in the 1980s that led to the federal  Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987. state regulations for nursing homes Florida

Nursing homes that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid (which is virtually all of them) are required at minimum to follow federal nursing home standards. However, state regulations for nursing homes, such as those adopted by Florida, must also be followed if facilities want to continue to receive this funding.

Florida State Regulations for Nursing Homes

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When it comes to the top examples of wrongful death cases in Florida nursing homes, sepsis – particularly when caused by bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers) is a primary example. In fact, as our nursing home wrongful death attorneys in Orlando understand it, a recent report by Kaiser Health News and The Chicago Tribune reveals that despite the fact nursing homes around the country repeatedly fail to prevent bedsores and other infections leading to deadly cases of sepsis, there is no official source that tracks sepsis cases that turn fatal.examples of wrongful death cases

Sepsis is an infection of the bloodstream that can develop within patients who are bedridden if they have pneumonia, urinary tract infections or other conditions – like bedsores.

It’s imperative that plaintiffs who suspect an elderly loved one’s sepsis was the result of negligence discuss these options with a nursing home negligence attorney because the wrongful death statute of limitations in Florida is just two years. That may be just enough time to conduct a thorough investigation and properly prepare a claim – particularly if the case is considered a form of medical negligence. That’s because wrongful death statute pertaining to medical malpractice cases is even more complex because of requirements to file proper notice, retain an expert witness with the same relevant education and experience as defendant and making certain all defendants are properly identified.  Continue reading →

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In Florida, the wrongful death statute outlined in Chapter 768 of Florida Statutes allows civil lawsuits to be filed in court when another person’s negligent act or omission causes the death of another person. This can include care – or lack of care – provided in a nursing home environment. As nursing home neglect and wrongful death attorneys in Fort Lauderdale know, a fair number of these cases center not so much on what nursing home staff did as what they failed to do. This can be the case when individuals suffer the ill effects of poor sanitation and basic care guidelines on how to halt the spread of disease and infection. This includes those condition spread by pests or caused by them directly. wrongful death statute

That includes conditions like scabies. a highly-contagious skin condition (spread most often by skin-to-skin contact, but also with shared towels, bedding and clothing) and caused by a parasitic mite called Sarcoptes scabiei, or the human itch mite. The mite burrows into the top layer of one’s skin, where it then lives and feeds. Although it can technically affect anyone, it is, as noted by the epidemiology program at the Florida Department of Health, it is often reported in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While scabies isn’t typically listed in common examples of wrongful death cases in nursing homes, that is not to say complications from the skin condition can’t be deadly. Continue reading →

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Spinal cord injuries, more than most other types, have the potential to cause significant, profound and devastating disabilities and limitations. Nursing homes that agree to care for patients with spinal cord injuries have responsibility to ensure their patients receive the appropriate level of care. The state and federal government often pays much more for these patients to receive a higher degree of care, and Fort Lauderdale spinal cord injury attorneys know nursing homes that don’t provide it can be deemed liable if it results in further injury, loss of life quality or an untimely death. spinal cord injury attorney

It is possible some spinal cord injuries might actually be caused by negligent nursing home case, such as in a fall where aides or nurses failed to properly assist in toileting or getting in and out of bed.

However, it’s not among the more common injuries associated with nursing homes. More frequently, those with serious spinal cord injuries may be cared for – temporarily or permanently – in such a facility, but due to lack of mobility and independence and lack of sensation in certain areas of the body, they are more vulnerable to the same injury and illness risks all other nursing home patients face. This is especially true for those with quadriplegia, wherein all limbs are affected, as opposed to paraplegia, where only one’s legs are immobile. Those with a complete spinal cord injury (where there is a total severing of the cord) also are at higher risk than those with incomplete spinal cord injuries, as the latter may still retain some sensation and mobility.  Continue reading →

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Our U.S. military veterans deserve our utmost gratitude and respect for the sacrifices they have made to keep our country safer. Much of their care falls under the umbrella of the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, often referred to simply as, “the VA.” One would assume the care provided by the VA would be top-of-the-line. However, a recent report by USA Today reveals the nursing home care provided to veterans appears to be less-than-ideal.nursing home abuse

In fact, some of the lowest-rated nursing homes in the country are apparently those that provide care to veterans. That includes one in Tampa, Florida. This and 10 others scattered nationally from Massachusetts to Arizona have earned the lowest possible one-star rating (on a scale of 1-to-5) from the VA on the basis of the overall quality they provide as well as the findings during surprise inspections.

Among the problems cited by USA Today:

  • Nurse’s aides trying by themselves to lift 90+-year-old patients and transfer them from wheelchairs to beds.
  • Patients struggling to feed themselves unsuccessfully with spoons, despite staffers sitting nearby.
  • Veterans lying naked in beds covered by stained sheets.

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Quality of nursing home care – more than one’s actual diagnosis – is the predictor in whether a patient avoids hospitalizations and rehospitalizations. This is important to know because hospitalization means a patient is already the point of suffering emergency or serious health problems. It disrupts one’s care and with long-term nursing home patients, we often see a significant decline in health and functioning following discharge from a hospital. This is especially true for frail, older adults. nursing home negligence

Avoiding deterioration to that point is preferred, which means we need to know what’s landing nursing home residents in the hospital in the first place.

As long-time nursing home negligence attorneys in Boca Raton, we can tell you that of course not every nursing home patient who is hospitalized is there because of negligence, abuse or medical malpractice by the nursing home, staffers or medical contractors. Many nursing home patients are already quite sick to start. However, if you suspect your loved one may have received care that fell below the accepted standard and that this may have played a role in the decline of your loved one’s health, talking to a nursing home injury attorney can help either put your mind at ease or start the process of seeking accountability for wrongdoing. Continue reading →

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Federal data shows what our nursing home neglect attorneys in Orlando have long known: The majority of nursing homes have fewer care-taking staff and nurses than what they had reported to government regulators. It’s well-established that the fewer individuals on the care-taking staff, the higher the risk the elderly and vulnerable residents will suffer abuse or neglect.nursing home abuse

We often have family members who suspect that staffing levels at their loved one’s nursing home were inadequate, but are often not provided with straight answers by the facility. In some cases, they may be flat-out deceived.

Where evidence of inadequate staffing levels exists, it can go a long way in proving negligence. It’s not difficult to understand that when a patient’s needs are significant (as most nursing home residents are), it’s going to take time to adequately meet those needs. When there aren’t enough staffers, day-to-day care can fall by the wayside. This can result in substantial injuries and illnesses, such as pressure ulcers, falls and major dental problems. 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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Florida’s First District Court of Appeal upheld action from Gov. Rick Scott to shutter a Broward County nursing home that garnered national attention last year following a dozen deaths in the wake of Hurricane Irma.nursing home abuse

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued an immediate moratorium on admissions that blocked the already-evacuated facility from accepting any new residents. The government regulator issued an immediate final suspension order, suspending the facility’s center in the Medicaid program, as well as a suspension order, suspending the facility’s license to operate.

Fighting back with a series of petitions challenging those orders, the facility asserted that each failed to provide sufficient specific factual allegations justifying emergency action. They also alleged the AHCA failed to provide the appropriate administrative hearing. The appellate court ruled the challenge to the immediate moratorium on admissions to the facility was moot in light of the subsequent emergency suspension order which halted the facility’s license to operate, and that the orders to suspend the facility’s access to Medicaid as well as license to operate were sufficiently supported by fact. Further, the court rejected the facility’s argument that it was not given the proper opportunity for a hearing because the record didn’t demonstrate that the facility requested a hearing.  Continue reading →

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