Articles Tagged with Palm Beach nursing home abuse

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Most people don’t like to think about their parents or grandparents engaged in sexual contact. It may be an especially uneasy topic when that loved one is residing in a nursing home. But as a recent New York Times article reported, some nursing homes are setting policies that establish guidelines for residents and staffers on this very subject. The purpose is to ensure those who are aging in an institution don’t lose the opportunity for a comforting touch, but also aren’t victimized by unwanted advances.

The difference between a healthy relationship and a potentially abusive one comes down to one thing: Consent.

Although it seems a fairly straightforward issue, it’s the one area where clarification is most needed. For example, can an Alzheimer’s patient give consent? Some nursing homes posit that they can, but only in certain circumstances. Continue reading →

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Many nursing home residents are unable to walk or unable to walk any significant differences. Often, they use wheelchairs and require assistance to perform basic tasks, such as going to the restroom, bathing and getting in and out of bed. 

Although there are accepted industry protocols for the best and safest way to move patients, these procedures aren’t always followed. When facilities are understaffed, caregivers are often inexperienced, rushed or simply careless when it comes to moving patients. This results in nursing home patients being dropped, most often during routine transfers.

When a nursing home resident is dropped, it can lead to serious health complications, including:

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It’s been four years since a Miami Herald investigation revealed systemic problems leading to abuse, neglect and death of residents at some of the state’s more than 3,000 assisted living facilities, which serve approximately 86,00 elderly patients.

That investigation prompted Florida Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, to draft bill after bill to address lapses in state oversight and enforcement of laws to protect these residents. Each year, the measure failed.

Until now.

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Usually when we discuss nursing abuse, we’re referring to staff members who take advantage of and victimize elderly patients.

However, there is an increasing amount of evidence to suggest another problem may in fact be the violence that occurs between residents. In fact, a recent study conducted by analysts at Cornell University indicated almost 1 in 5 nursing home residents is involved in an aggressive encounter each month. Most of these involve other residents.

While some of these incidents may be spontaneous, nursing home staff and administrators have a responsibility take action to prevent foreseeable dangers and to ensure residents have a safe place to live.

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Most states, including Florida, have established a list of rights to which nursing home residents are entitled. Violation of these provisions may result in state or federal sanctions or the right of the resident and/or surviving family member to pursue civil action against the facility or staffers.

For example, F.S. 400.022 states residents have the right to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness, be free from any form of abuse, receive necessary services to maintain and preserve health and well-being, receive written and oral information regarding medical care and nursing services and maintain private communication with family members and loved ones. These are just a few of the rights outlined in the statute.

A similar law exists in California, where the recent case of Lemaire v. Covenant Care Cal., LLC was reviewed by the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Six. In that state, each violation of the statute entitles a plaintiff to receive $500. And based on that statute, a plaintiff suing for the wrongful death of her mother at a nursing home facility (due to what she alleged was inadequate care), received $1.1 million, which included $270,000 in statutory damage.

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Palm Beach County officials are considering tightening rules for home health aides in response to a growing industry that is only loosely regulated by the state and federal government.

While such positions are often assumed by relatives, there are also home health agencies whose workers are hired to run errands, oversee medication and prepare meals for those who wish to stay in their homes as opposed to a nursing home facility.

Nurses and nursing assistants who work in licensed nursing home facilities must adhere to certain training requirements, the same standards are not always extended to those who provide in-home care. Many home health agencies do complete background checks, but it’s not a mandated requirement, and, as some officials point out, this can create problems when employees have prior convictions for crimes of theft and violence.

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