Articles Tagged with Orlando nursing home abuse

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Adult children making the difficult choice to place their elderly parents in a Florida nursing home often turn to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) when it comes to deciding on a facility. The federal agency has established a Five-Star Quality Rating System to assist consumers, their families and caregivers in order to compare nursing homes and help them more easily identify potential problems. Those with the highest ratings are considered to be top quality, while those at the lower end may have been cited for repeated deficiencies and issues that place residents in direct harm.

However, as a recent story out of Illinois shows, even those scores don’t necessarily tell the whole story. The Des Moines Register reported that despite a proposed fine $30,000 by the state for nursing home conditions allegedly leading to the death of an 87-year-old resident, CMS still gave the facility a five-star rating in terms of quality of resident care. It’s overall rating was two stars, which is considered below average.

The woman reportedly died after suffering from dehydration and severe pain. State authorities opined she may not have had water for several days. Yet the fine hasn’t actually been imposed, which would allow CMS to take over the case. It’s not the first time the nursing home has come under fire. Last year, the state fined the facility for physical and verbal abuse of the residents. The fact that it still has a five-star rating for care has many wondering the measures by which CMS decides one’s ranking and whether they are truly reliable, particularly considering they are based in part on data self-reported by the nursing homes and not verified by state officials.  Continue reading →

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Courts generally enforce the strong federal policy that favors arbitration where such an agreement exists. However, that doesn’t mean a court will automatically dismiss a case that involves an arbitration clause in favor of that alternative dispute resolution. This is increasingly true in nursing home abuse cases, in which Florida judges are carefully scrutinizing arbitration clauses. 

One of the elements they consider is whether the party has relinquished rights to arbitrate.

This was the issue in the recent case of Johnson v. Heritage Healthcare, before the South Carolina Supreme Court. Court records show decedent, within six months of being admitted as a patient at defendant nursing home facility, she suffered severe pressure ulcers and a leg amputation that ultimately led to her death. The legal process to hold the facility accountable has been an arduous one, and like so many nursing home abuse cases, involved an arbitration agreement. The question before the state supreme court was whether defendant waived its right to arbitrate.  Continue reading →

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Abuse of the elderly in Florida is on the rise, according to a recent investigation by the Orlando Sentinel

Although the news outlet did not offer a breakdown of whether the abuse suffered occurred in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living centers, those too were included in the overall totals.

The newspaper noted there is no federal agency that keeps a detailed list of how many elderly people are abused and neglected, there are dozens of government agencies and social service providers that do follow what happens at both the state and local levels.  Continue reading →

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A new report released by federal regulators indicates that the percentage of nursing homes that receive spotless deficiency records is increasing. That means, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, that nursing home residents may be receiving better care on the whole. 

Of course, that’s not to say nursing home abuse, neglect and negligence is no longer a problem. Indeed, relatives and loved ones must still remain vigilant.

But the latest information from the Nursing Home Data Compendium for 2015 is encouraging in some aspects.  Continue reading →

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A nurse in Alabama recently pleaded guilty to elder abuse after she reportedly failed to inform her employer that she had committed a medication error by giving a nursing home patient the wrong drug. 

The 53-year-old licensed practical nurse (LPN) pleaded guilty to reckless abuse of a protected person. Although it was not an intentional act, the fact that the nurse failed to report her action put the patient at serious risk. In fact, the patient almost died.

This kind of medication error in nursing homes is a serious and unfortunately common problem. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) defines “medication error” as any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medicine is in control of the health care professional, patient or consumer. Continue reading →

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For some, being given the wrong dinner is a matter of simple annoyance. For a substantial number of residents in nursing home and long-term care facilities, it could be fatal. 

In a recent nursing home negligence lawsuit filed in Minnesota, the family of an 88-year-old woman who died following an Easter Sunday meal three years ago alleges her death was preventable, and occurred because she was given the wrong food. The complaint points the finger at least partially at a computer malfunction.

Decedent, known widely by the nickname, “Toots,” suffered from dementia and was placed on a dysphasia diet. That meant it was imperative she receive only pureed food. She didn’t get it that day. It was her last meal. Continue reading →

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The family of a Northeast Ohio woman who died while suffering infected pressure wounds – also known as “bedsores” – has prevailed in its $1 million lawsuit against the nursing home in which she resided at the time of her death. Plaintiffs had alleged the 71-year-old’s death was the result of negligent, reckless and/or intentional acts and omissions.

Specifically, decedent at the center of Lang v. Beachwood Pointe Care Center suffered serious, painful and ultimately fatal injuries when she developed severe pressure wounds that were not properly treated. As her condition continued to worsen, neither her doctor nor her family were notified of her rapid deterioration.

In fact, the family later learned that decisions about her health care were made by non-medical staffers. The failure of the nursing home to provide adequate staffing levels was a core cause of decedent’s injuries and subsequent death, the lawsuit alleged. Continue reading →

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A registered nurse and former director of a nursing home care center in New York has pleaded guilty to intentionally acting to cover up sexual abuse and neglect of patients at the center.

News reports indicate defendant pleaded guilty to two felony counts of tampering with evidence. The local state attorney called the neglect shown by leadership at this center was “shocking.” She was originally handed a 40-count indictment when she was first charged. However, she ultimately only pleaded guilty to two of those charges.

The 40-year-old is alleged to have engaged in a number of actions to protect her employer – to the detriment of those vulnerable patients she had promised to protect when she took the job. Although she faces up to eight  years in prison on the two felony charges, she will only receive probation if she cooperates with prosecutors, who are working to obtain evidence in other pending cases surrounding the center. Continue reading →

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The attorney general’s office in New Mexico has sued one of the country’s largest nursing home chains over allegations of inadequate resident care. The lawsuit asserts ultra-thin staffing levels made it a numeric impossibility for staffers to provide appropriate care to elderly and disabled patients.

Preferred Care Partners Management Group L.P., which operates in 10 states, including Florida, has staunchly denied the allegations made in the lawsuit.

Other states are carefully monitoring the developments of this case because it’s a novel approach to a pervasive and serious problem nationwide. Many nursing homes – primarily for-profit centers – give patient care a back seat to profit margins. They skimp on supplies, security tools and, most importantly, qualified staff.

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