Population of “oldest” population in nursing homes declining

A recent study addressed the fact that the oldest old (age 85+) in nursing homes is declining. While the number of people living age 85+ nearly doubled in the past 10 years, the number of people 85+ living in nursing homes remained about the same.

This article attributes the decrease to: wealthier older people who can afford alternatives; state efforts to increase the availability of funding for alternatives; continued development of alternatives; increased availability of private long term care insurance; and state and federal government initiatives.

For the full report.

Eight steps to managing a parent’s finances

Bankrate recently released a step-by-step guide for people who find themselves needing to manage their parent’s finances. The eight steps include:

1. Finding all financial accounts and documents.
2. Collecting and paying bills.
3. Locating powers of attorney and/or living trust documents.
4. Opening your parents’ safe-deposit box.
5. Becoming a parent’s guardian.
6. Documenting everything you do.
7. Consider hiring a financial planning team.
8. Consider updating investments.

For the full article.

Friendship Manor – Rock Island, Illinois – 11/29/06

In a case of nursing home neglect, the home failed to adequately supervise a resident and prevent elopement. The home negligently allowed the resident’s monitoring bracelet to be removed. As a result, the resident left the facility and was later returned.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

Warning: Look out for Part D related scams

Marketing scams for Medicare Part D plans have surfaced. There have been complaints about scams such as going door-to-door at senior housing facilities to solicit enrollment, enrolling beneficiaries in a more costly plan than they want, or enrolling beneficiaries in a wrong plan. The most recent plan involves Part D sponsors telling beneficiaries they must have a home visit to enroll. Be sure to be wary of anyone trying to influence your enrollment decision.

For the full alert.

“Own your future”: SD’s new long-term care awareness project

Last Wednesday, South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds launched a new long-term care public campaign entitled “Own your future.” Gov. Rounds will send approximately 74,000 letters to households containing residents between the ages of 45-65 promoting awareness of long-term care needs and encouraging people to order a free Long-Term Care Planning kit.

Long-term care is growing more expensive and nursing home costs are rising, so planning ahead is essential. Other states have launched similar projects and hopefully more will continue.

For the full article.

Survive your hospital visit with preparation today

An article recently released by MSN addresses many steps to take to ensure that you will leave your hospital no worse off then how you entered. Overwhelmed emergency rooms are greatly decreasing the safety of hospitals. The fourth leading cause of death in the United States are infections from hospitals and medication dosing errors harm over a million patients each year. Preparing in advance with information is the first step in surviving a hospital visit and keeping yourself safe from medical malpractice.

For the full article.

The Clayberg – Cuba, Illinois – 11/28/06

The facility failed to supervise a resident at risk for wandering and failed to assure the resident did not have access to outside doors at the facility, and to monitor or secure those doors. The resident was found outside of the home.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

Carroll County Good Samaritan Center – Mount Carroll, Illinois – 11/28/06

The facility failed to supervise a resident and assure the safety of another resident. These failures resulted in the first resident inappropriately touching the other resident.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

Nursing home worker charged with theft of elderly residents

Another case of nursing home abuse has surfaced where a nursing home worker, entrusted with residents’ lives and finances, abused her position. A Pennsylvania nurses’ assistant has been charged with theft after accusations arose that she stole money from the rooms of four victims during the course of her employment at a nursing home. One of the victims told police that the nurses’ assistant threatened to harm him if he told anyone about the money she was stealing. The worker charged with deceiving the innocent elderly residents is currently free on bail and working for a Pennsylvania family as an in-home nurse.

For the full article.

California nursing home abuse victim suffers third degree burns

A resident suffered nursing home abuse and neglect at a Redwood City nursing home when a malfunction caused 145-degree water to pour on her lap in a seated shower. The resident suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body. A nurse’s aid on duty put a diaper on the resident and did not alert a supervisor for two hours. After learning of the situation, a supervisor had the resident airlifted to a Santa Clara hospital where she spent more than 2 hours on life support. Currently, the severely burned resident’s hospital care costs $3,000 a day.

For the full article.

Prevalence and value of family caregiving by state

A state-by-state analysis of the number of family caregivers, hours of caregiving services, and their estimated market value has recently been released. Illinois ranks 6th in the nation with an estimated 1.2 million caregivers whose work has an annual market value of over $13,153. For some, caregiving provides a workable alternative to nursing homes.

To see the national statistics.

Death rate from falling rising for elderly people

Since the 1990’s, the death rate from falling has risen sharply for elderly people. Experts have accounted the rise in statistics to be the result of people being less likely to die from chronic disease. Falling is currently the 14th leading cause of death among elders.

Nursing homes should be on high alert for residents who are likely to fall. Unfortunately, some nursing homes are not showing such concern. Nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits often center around staff failing to supervise or protect its residents when the victims have fallen. A nursing home was recently fined $40,000 for Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect in failing to protect its residents when several residents were injured from falls.

For the full article.

Former Illinois nursing home employee pleads guilty to rape

A former suburban Chicago nursing home nurse’s aide charged with raping a profoundly brain-damaged resident changed his plea to guilty last week. The resident, who has cerebral palsy, was living at the Alden Village Health Facility for Children and Young Adults in Bloomingdale when she became victim to the sexual assault. The former nursing home employee faces a sentence ranging from 6 to 30 years in prison.

For the full article.

Reminder: Medicare Part D enrollment started November 15

Resources are available on the internet to help you decide what plan is best for you.

To access the sites:
Center for Medicare Advocacy
Kaiser Family Foundation Part D Resources
Mental Health Part D

Two TX nursing home workers charged with Medicaid fraud

Two former nursing home professionals face up to 10 years in prison for Medicaid fraud. One is charged with taking more than $72,000 in residential trust funds, including forging corporate payroll checks of former employees, writing trust fund checks to her daughter, and manipulating the facility’s petty cash by taking the money and replenishing it with residents’ trust fund balances. The other is charged with fraudulent possession of a controlled substance through diverting numerous physician-prescribed pain medications from patients in need.

It is a disgrace that two nursing home professionals were trusted with the lives and finances of innocent elderly people and abused it in this manner. It is sad to even consider the nursing home abuse and neglect suffered by the residents during the corrupt acts of these two former nursing home professionals.

For the full article.

$100,000 awarded by jury in TN nursing home abuse case

$100,000 was awarded by a jury to the family of a Tennessee victim of nursing home abuse and neglect. The victim suffered from mild dementia and diabetes when he was admitted to the nursing home. Because of the nursing home abuse and neglect, the victim developed severe kidney and urinary tract infections which ultimately led to his death.

For the full article.

NY Department of Health investigates in nursing home abuse case

In a follow up to a previous post, the New York State Department of Health has begun an investigation into the nursing home abuse and neglect of an 86 year-old woman. The victim’s daughter brought a lawsuit against three Long Island nursing homes, alleging nursing home abuse and neglect. The 86 year-old’s condition had gotten so poor while under these nursing homes' watch, that she suffered from extremely severe dehydration and painfully deep bedsores.

For the full article.

Kaiser Family Foundation releases surveys of physician and pharmacist views on health care issues

The surveys revolve around medical errors and medical malpractice, quality issues, prescription drug advertisements, Medicaid provisions, doctors’ willingness to see Medicaid and Medicare patients, and other health care issues.

For the surveys.

Medicare Part D: what are your options?

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a series related to Medicare Prescription Drug enrollment. The open enrollment period for 2007 is from November 15 to December 31. The resources available on the website include state-specific information about benefit plan options, an updated version of the online consumer guide, and an updated fact sheet providing an overview of the benefits. There were criticisms that the government-issued Medicare handbook failed to provide enough objective information for consumers.

For the Medicare Part D enrollment series.
To view a related chart on Medicare Part D enrollment.

Caregiver counseling may keep Alzheimer’s patients at home longer

A New York School of Medicine study recently reported that family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients who received intensive counseling had reduced stress levels and a delayed need for nursing home care for their loved ones. This longer at-home stay resulted in family happiness because they got to spend more time with their loved ones and a dramatic savings of about $90,000 per family. The counseling helped caregivers deal with the many difficult aspects of the disease. Caregivers were better equipped to tolerate the severe memory loss and agitation that accompany Alzheimer’s and were less likely to suffer from depression.

For the full article.

Medicare Part D chart

The Center for Medicare Advocacy has released a handy chart for Medicare Part D enrollment entitled “Part D By the Numbers.” There were criticisms that the government-issued Medicare handbook failed to provide enough objective information for consumers. This chart does a side-by-side comparison of the 2006 and 2007 Standard benefits, costs, and out of pocket thresholds.

To access the chart.

FDA not strict enough with medical device recalls

Vital life-dependent medical devices are poorly tracked in the United States, unnecessarily risking patients’ lives. For example, a 39 year-old Utah woman received a Guidant implant pacemaker device in 2003. The woman was never notified that Guidant, with the FDA’s full knowledge, had issued safety advisories for her new pacemaker. She lived with the faulty device until complications forced its removal in 2004 – the same year that Guidant issued a recall of the device. The recall was not soon enough: the Utah woman’s use of the faulty device exacerbated her already fragile condition.

The FDA needs to be stricter with forcing recalls. Need statistics for proof? There are approximately 8,000 new medical devices marketed in the U.S. each year. There are approximately 200,000 adverse event reports received by the FDA yearly. Only 1,000 medical devices are recalled each year.

For the full article.

CBS special exposes lack of regulation in assisted living centers

With no federal regulation and no comprehensive state laws, CBS found that assisted living centers are especially prone to abuse and neglect. CBS found that state laws were extremely varied. For example, only 32 states require CPR and first aid certification for employees and only 24 require a nurse on staff. Alabama is the only state that requires the medical director to be a doctor.

For the full article.
To watch the special.

Jury awards Indiana man $20 million after 10 year battle with Allstate Insurance

An Indiana state court jury recently awarded a man $20 million dollars, determining that Allstate Insurance acted in bad faith. The man was involved in a 1995 car crash. Since the other driver’s insurance was insolvent, Allstate should have covered the Indiana man’s damages under his uninsured motorist coverage. Instead of paying the claim, Allstate forced him into a 10 year legal battle to collect benefits.

Health reform: what did in mean in the midterm election?

Health issues were on the forefront in the past election and affect the elder population in large ways. Government often plays a key role in helping or hurting the rising health costs that elders face. On November 9, panelists discussed the health issues presented in the midterm election and what they may mean for policy in the future. Participants in the panel included a professor from George Washington University, a director of AARP, and a scholar in health care and retirement policy.

To watch the panel or read a transcript.

CBS special on elder abuse places spotlight on at-home abuse

Earlier this week, CBS aired a special program on elder abuse and found that not all abuse and neglect occurs in nursing homes. CBS found that a hardly studied and largely under-reported problem was elder abuse and neglect occurring in private homes. A new program at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine seeks to combat the problems by making house calls to seniors based on reports from Adult Protective Services.

For the full article.
For the video.

Wisconsin voters oppose ballot initiative proposed to save local nursing home

Unlike the Piatt County voters, voters in Calumet County, Wisconsin were overwhelmingly opposed to a referendum proposed to save a county-owned nursing home. The referendum was opposed by a 2-1 vote. The ballot proposal asked for an additional property tax and would have amounted to an extra $27.50 per year on a $100,000 property.

The referendum’s failure means that the county will need to find money elsewhere and could result in a hiring freeze and waiting lists for human services programs. Unfortunately, the nursing home’s residents will probably feel the effects of the lack of funds in under-staffing and nursing home neglect or poor quality care items.

For the full article.

3 Chicago nursing homes cited for nursing home abuse

Three Chicago nursing homes were recently cited for type “A” violations of the Nursing Home Care Act by the Illinois Department of Health. One home has been fined $27,500 for its nursing home abuse and neglect in failing to ensure a resident who had a history of suicidal attempts did not possess a massive quantity of medications. The resident ingested pills and overdosed on narcotics. The resident was taken to a hospital where he died. The second nursing home has been fined $17,500 for failure to follow policy and procedure in monitoring blood sugar levels. The staff failed to report seriously abnormal blood sugar levels to a resident’s doctor, resulting in the resident being hospitalized. The third nursing home has been fined $60,000 for failing to comply with its plan of correction. Nursing staff failed to monitor and document changes in the conditions of two residents and failed to notify their doctors. As a result, two residents were hospitalized and one later died.

For the full release of violations cited.

Retired Supreme Court Justice worries about courts’ autonomy

Retired Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, said at a gathering on November 3, that she fears judges are under growing political attack nationwide. O’Connor stressed that unhappiness with judges today is at an intense level. She also stressed that the judiciary is the weakest of the three branches of government and therefore, it’s independence needs to be protected. Since she believes the executive and legislative branches have become the attackers, citizens will have to be the defenders of the judiciary, with lawyers taking the lead.

For the full article.

Colonial Manor – Ziegler, Illinois – 11/13/06

The home failed to provide comprehensive nursing services for a resident. An unnoticed change in the resident’s medical condition resulted in death.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

Alhambra nursing home cited for neglecting resident

An Illinois nursing home located in Alhambra, Illinois was recently fined $10,000 for its nursing home abuse and neglect when it failed to provide adequate supervision of its residents. One of its residents left the facility without staff knowledge and suffered abrasions to the face, shoulders, and knees upon leaving the facility.

For the full release of violations cited.

ATLA announces Winter Convention in Miami, Florida

Association of Trial Lawyers of America will be hosting its Winter Convention in Miami, Florida from February 10-14. During the convention, Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. from Delaware will be a Keynote Speaker. The Convention includes CLE programs on advocacy in medical malpractice lawsuits and holding nursing homes accountable for abuse and neglect.

For more information about the convention.
To register.

Sparta nursing home fined in patient’s death

An Illinois nursing home located in Sparta, Illinois was recently fined $22,500 for its nursing home neglect in a patient’s death. The nursing home staff did not check the resident for two hours and later found that the resident had died.

For the full release of violations cited.

Fire safety: more product recalls

ATV Winch kits: Warn Industries Inc. is voluntarily recalling about 218,000 Warn ATV and Utility Vehicle Winch Kits. A component of the Kit can continue to pull current while in the “off” position which poses a fire hazard. For more information.

Peoria nursing home fined $25,000 for nursing home neglect

A Peoria nursing home was recently cited for a Type “A” violation of the Nursing Home Care Act and fined $25,000 for its nursing home neglect. A resident was admitted with a stage one pressure sore. Under the Peoria nursing home’s watch, the pressure sore progressed to stage four. The resident was admitted to the hospital and died.

For the full release of violations cited.

62 year-old woman choked to death at nursing home

In another case of nursing home abuse and neglect, a disabled woman recently choked to death on a chunk of meat at a Boston nursing home. The 62 year-old was only supposed to be given soft foods because she had a swallowing impairment that put her at risk of choking. She had only been living at the home for a few weeks before a staff member accidentally served her a solid meal for lunch. The woman began to choke in the dining room; however, present care assistants state that she showed no signs of distress. They realized what was wrong when a staff member checked to ask why she did not touch her pudding. The care assistant who served the woman the meal said she was unfamiliar with the resident and was not aware of special requirements. At the time of choking, the qualified nurse on staff was on a break.

For the full article.

Holiday tips for nursing home visits

Since the holidays are approaching and many people living in nursing homes eagerly await a visit from an out-of-town friend or family member, Nebraska’s Omsbudsman Program has published suggestions for visiting a loved one in a nursing home:

1. Check to see if the nursing home you intend to visit has specified visiting hours.
2. Arrange a time when your resident will have the most energy.
3. Inquire about pet visits and limitations.
4. If your loved one is in a specialized unit, there may be different visiting hours and regulations. Check ahead to see if these affect your visit.
5. Visits where you will take the resident outside of the facility are always encouraged, when possible. Coordinate these arrangements in advance with the resident and staff.
6. Because visits can sometimes be emotional, seek support and advice from the nursing home social service staff or administration.

For the full article.

Piatt County nursing home will get more funding thanks to an election ballot question

On Tuesday night, the residents and staff of the Piatt County Nursing Home held an impromptu party after learning that Piatt County voters approved a ballot question increasing funding. The ballot initiative proposed a new property tax to help support the facility. Property taxes will increase by 10 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation. Money from the new tax will pay for remodeling, increasing the number of private rooms, and the addition of a new 30-unit assisted living facility.

As we know, nursing home neglect is often blamed on under-funding which contributes to low staffing levels. It looks like the voters in Piatt County wanted to avoid such under-funding in their area and took appropriate action to do so.

For the full article.

Despite TX “tort reform,” the number of practicing physicians decrease

In 2003, the Texas legislature adopted a comprehensive package of “tort reforms” that greatly reduce the frequency of medical malpractice lawsuits. Supporters of the reforms reasoned that if patients’ rights were slashed, access to health care would greatly increase. After the “tort reform,” physician licenses issued actually declined due to a shortage of trained personnel at the Texas Medical Board which grants licenses. So, in effect, the legislation offered false promises and has both slashed patient’s rights and denied them better access to care by under-funding the Texas Medical Board.

For the full article.

2 Rockford nursing homes cited for Type “A” violations

The Illinois Department of Health recently released information about two Rockford nursing homes that were cited for type “A” violations of the Nursing Home Care Act. An “A” violation is the most serious licensure violation imposed by the state and pertains to a condition in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm will result. One home was fined $6,000 for its nursing home abuse and neglect in failing to supervise a newly admitted resident who had a history of wandering. The resident was later found in the facility parking lot. The second home was fined $20,000 for failure to ensure that residents are free of medication errors. Two residents were given the wrong medication.

For the full release of violations cited.

Nurse accused of murder in patient’s death leaves jail on $100,000 bond

A former nurse accused of murder for her medical malpractice was released from jail Wednesday on $100,000 bond. Her patient, a former classmate, was undergoing cosmetic surgery when the former nurse administered a lethal dose of painkiller.

For the full article.

Sign up for ATLA’s E-Newsletter “Protecting Your Rights”

Association of Trial Lawyers of America issues a weekly newsletter to help you stay on top of the issues that matter to consumers and families. The newsletter is issued every Tuesday afternoon and contains a guide to new policy, issue briefs, and important news articles.

To sign up to receive the e-Newsletter.

Nursing home resident’s case could set Florida legal precedent

A nursing home abuse case recently went to jurors in Florida where they will consider whether the life-prolonging measures taken by the nursing home deprived the 92 year-old woman of her right to die with dignity. The lawsuit was filed by the 92 year-old’s granddaughter and is believed to be the first case to seek damages involving wrongful prolongation of life to reach the trial level in Florida.

The 92 year-old had witnessed many deaths filled with pain and suffering and was committed to her desire for a peaceful death. The woman had a living will and advanced directives that life prolonging treatments would be withheld if she was in the process of dying or if there was little likelihood she would return to a state of self-awareness. Despite the nursing home’s knowledge of her wishes, the 92 year-old was subjected to 6 days of invasive treatments before her ultimate death.

For the full article.

Sterling nursing home fined $40,000 for failing to protect its residents

A Sterling nursing home was recently fined $40,000 for failing to ensure that the care provided to residents with a history of falls and significant injury included measures to minimize further falls. Resulting from this nursing home neglect, several residents were injured from falls, including one who died from a head injury.

For the full release of violations cited.

Nun who developed lung disease from 9/11 dies

As we are aware, first responders and others immediately involved with the 9/11 tragedy have experienced severe lung problems. Sister Cynthia Mahoney was 54 when she passed away on Wednesday. She had spent every day for six months after the attacks as a chaplain and EMT. Although no cause of death was given, Mahoney had repeatedly said in interviews that she believed the poisoned air that surrounded the fall of the World Trade Center towers gave her a deadly mix of asthma as well as pulmonary and digestive problems. Sister Mahoney has asked that the results of her autopsy be used in a class action suit by Ground Zero workers.

For the full article.

CEAL Quality Summit to be held November 30 – December 1 in Arlington, VA

The second annual Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL) Quality Summit will be held from November 30-December 1, 2006 in Arlington, Virginia. Topics include nursing home regulation, leadership, resident care, affordability, and assistive technology.

To register.

For more information about the Summit.

Nursing home costs rise

The average daily cost of a private room in a nursing home in the U.S. is now $206. This represents a 1.5% increase from last year. The highest rates were in Alaska, where the cost is $578 and the lowest were in the Shreveport area of Louisiana, where the cost is $111.

For the full article.

Illinois nursing home career programs pushed

Last Friday, Heartland Community College and Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing co-hosted the “Consortium on Issues in Long-Term Care” that brought together nursing home instructors from six schools. Using ISU’s expanding teaching nursing home project as a model, the group focused on long-term care issues with goals of recruiting nursing students into nursing-home careers. The Consortium also included nursing home administrators who shared ideas with the faculty.

Currently, nursing homes are severely understaffed. Additionally, staffing issues are often cited as causes for nursing home neglect. The joint commitment that the Consortium shows brings hope that staffing shortages may be resolved in nursing homes. A second Consortium will be held in January at Southern Illinois University.

For the full article.

Health-Care industry agrees on set of rules to avoid medical malpractice

Quality groups and government agencies working with the National Quality Forum have recently decided (for the first time) to endorse a single set of 30 “safe practices” that all hospitals should use to prevent patient deaths and injuries. This agreement is in response to the landmark Institute of Medicine report that highlighted that as many as 100,000 patients each year die from medical malpractice.

For the full article.

Former nursing home owner sentenced for Medicaid fraud

A Washington state former nursing home owner has been sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay $185,600 in restitution. The judge called his scheme of Medicaid fraud and nursing home abuse and neglect “callous” and “indifferent to the extreme.” The former owner diverted large sums of revenue each month, forcing the faculty to trim expenses and essentials services. For example, nursing home staff had to ration food an linens and bills went unpaid. This led to a health care crisis and ultimately led the state to shut down the hospital in 2001.

For the full article.

Albany County nursing home cited for nursing home abuse and neglect after two patients die

For the second time in 5 years, the New York Department of Health has cited the Albany County nursing home, finding that the facility provides substandard care and places its residents’ health and safety in immediate jeopardy. The most recent citation of nursing home abuse and neglect subjects the facility to a fine and denies all Medicare and Medicaid payments for new admissions. The facility was cited after two people died when the nursing home staff failed to resuscitate them even though their directives stated they wished to have CPR administered in an emergency.

For the full article.

NC Jury awards $480,000 to family of nursing home abuse and neglect victim

A North Carolina jury awarded a $480,000 judgment when it found a Lexington nursing home responsible for the abuse and neglect of an 83 year-old Alzheimer’s disease patient. After 3 hours of deliberations, the jury unanimously decided that the Lexington nursing home owners had to pay the money to the victim and her family. The nursing home abuse and neglect resulted in numerous pressure sores on the 83 year-old’s body that eventually led her to be permanently crippled.

The woman entered the nursing home for care and rehabilitation following knee replacement surgery. Within two months, due to the nursing home’s abuse and neglect, she had lost nearly 20 pounds, was dehydrated, and suffered from multiple pressure sores.

For the full article.

ATLA to host a seminar on litigating injured infant cases

ATLA will be hosting a seminar on litigating catastrophically injured infant cases from February 2-3, 2007 at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona. The program will provide an in-depth understanding of the medical issues involved and a practical approach to proving negligence and obtaining damages in birth injury medical malpractice lawsuits.

To register for the Seminar.

How to survive your local ER

There are ways to minimize the risks of medical malpractice when you visit an ER and Parade magazine suggests the following:
1. Go to a primary-care physician unless it is an absolute necessity.
2. If you absolutely must go to the ER, time your visit. Mornings are best, except for Monday mornings.
3. For any life-threatening symptoms, call an ambulance. You will typically receive faster treatment when you arrive via ambulance.
4. If you arrive on your own, tell the intake clerk or triage nurse everything.
5. Know who is treating you. If you feel uncomfortable being treated by a junior resident, ask for the chief resident or attending physician.
6. Bring an advocate. Have someone who has a little more composure than you at your time of fright and pain accompany you to the ER. This person can ask questions and make requests on your behalf.
7. Speak up. If you’ve gone hours without being seen by any hospital employee, remind a doctor or nurse.

For the full article.

Article addresses nursing home nutrition and hydration issues

The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center recently released an article entitled “Promoting Successful Eating in Long-Term Care: Relationships with Residents are Key.” The article focuses on nursing homes and nutrition and hydration issues with residents with dementia. The article also provides ways to improve the health of residents who require special nutrition and hydration attention.

To access the article.

Virginia birth-injury program may bar entrants

Virginia has a birth-injury program that provides lifetime medical care beyond what is paid by insurance or other government programs if the infant’s family agrees to give up their right to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Currently, the program may be halted because of the mounting costs for the 100 children who are currently enrolled in the program. The high cost of the program which was supposed to ease the hospital’s burdens from medical malpractice lawsuits really demonstrates that medical malpractice birth injuries are a compounding problem. Additionally, perhaps now the government will see that the amount of money awarded in birth injury medical malpractice lawsuits needs to be large to address the lifetime of medical treatment the victims will require.

For the full article.

America’s emergency rooms: a dangerous place

Despite astonishing technology and armies of skilled physicians who routinely save people who would not have made it a generation ago, America’s emergency rooms are dangerous because there are not enough doctors or technology to go around. A recent Parade magazine article explored why America’s emergency rooms are so dangerous and determined that the main culprit is the chaos in an E.R. The emergency rooms are overburdened and under-funded, treating ever more patients with ever fewer resources.

The hospitals lack beds, but patients keep coming, waits increase, and the opportunity for medical malpractice increases. Emergency rooms are so crowded that 500,000 ambulances every year are diverted to other hospitals.

For the full article.

Contact your Senator and ask them to pass The Elder Justice Act (S. 2010)

A reminder from a previous post, call your Senator and ask them to support The Elder Justice Act (S. 2010). Congress is expected to return to work soon following yesterday’s election and one unfinished piece of business is passing the Elder Justice Act. A strong effort is being made to pass the Senate version and then send it on to the House for a vote. The bill has badly needed provisions to protect residents from nursing home abuse and neglect.

Call the Capitol switchboard number to be directed to your Senator. The number is (202) 224-3121.

Fire safety: More product recalls

1. Espresso Makers: Atico International USA, Inc. has voluntarily recalled about 54,000 Espresso Makers because its heating instrument can forcefully separate from its base during the brewing cycle. This poses a burn injury hazard to consumers.
2. Costumes: Family Dollar Inc. has voluntarily recalled about 20,000 “Creepy Cape” Halloween Costumes because the capes fail to meet the standard for the flammability of vinyl plastic film. This poses a fire and burn hazard to consumers.
3. Boilers: Well-McLain has voluntarily recalled about 16,000 Gas Boilers. The boilers were intended for use with natural gas, but could have the incorrect tag on them. The incorrect tag would say that the boilers are intended for use with propane gas. If a consumer connects the boiler to propane gas without installing a conversion kit, carbon monoxide can build. This poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
4. Charcoal Grills: Cobb America Inc. has voluntarily recalled about 2,000 Cobb Premier Charcoal Grills. The grill emits carbon monoxide gas, which can poison consumers if used in doors. The promotional materials accompanying the grills created the impression that they could be used indoors. This creates consumer confusion and poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Victim of medical malpractice tells her story

Three decades after her surgeon botched a surgery on her knee, a medical malpractice victim has released a book entitled “Taking a Stand.” The surgery took place in 1977 to correct a bone defect that doctors believed would lead to arthritis. Her surgeon sliced tendons and ligaments behind the knee, which left her unable to walk. Since then, she has endured 10 surgeries. 16 years after her first botched surgery, one of the woman’s doctors finally confessed the truth: that she was a victim of medical malpractice. In 1999, the surgeon who performed the first surgery was found guilty of concealment, fraud, and malpractice in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The victim is currently a patient advocate working in the medical malpractice field.

For the full article.

Website created to allow search of any state’s nursing home regulations

The University of Minnesota School of Public Health has created a website that makes it possible to search the content of any state’s nursing home regulations, recent state changes, and review analyses of regulatory variation across states. The website also includes information about innovations in the nursing home industry.

To access the website.

Lawrence Community Healthcare Center – Bridgeport, Illinois – 11/3/06

In a case of nursing home abuse and neglect, the facility failed to prohibit food service and housekeeping employees from working while the employees experienced nausea, diarrhea and vomiting before and during a shift. This occurred during an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that affected residents and staff at the facility. The facility also failed to take proper precaution to prevent the spread of the outbreak.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

Westshire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center – Cicero, Illinois – 11/3/06

The home neglected to provide interventions for a resident who displayed mental and psychological adjustment difficult. The resident had multiple episodes of maladaptive behavior including self harm and physical, attention seeking behavior. The facility neglected to prevent this abuse by failing to initiate a plan to prevent such behavior.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

Tanner Place – Paris, Illinois – 11/3/06

The home failed to implement its system to prevent neglect of a resident with a known history of falls, fractures and injuries. The facility failed to take sufficient steps to reduce the probability of the resident purposely falling.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

LaSalle County Nursing Home – Ottawa, Illinois – 11/3/06

The home failed to recognize that two staffers abused a resident when the held the resident down and forced a medical treatment. The resident suffered emotional and physical harm.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

Glenwood Healthcare & Rebab – Glenwood, Illinois – 11/3/06

The home has been fined $22,500 for negligently failing to ensure that each resident was adequately supervised and monitored to prevent resident to resident abuse. This failure led some residents to fear they could not be protected from a resident who showed aggressive behavior.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

Nursing home worker charged with battery for abusing an 80 year-old resident

An Atlanta nursing home worker was recently charged with battery for abusing an 80 year-old resident. The 80 year-old woman states that the nursing home abuse occurred when the attendant hit her, tossed her around, and even threw feces at her. Police have been unable to find the perpetrator and believe that he is on the run.

For the full article.

“Green Houses”: a healthier take on nursing homes

A Philadelphia Inquirer article recently reported about a certified nursing assistant working in a “Green House." The Green House is a small assisted living home with just 10 residents. Nursing aides enjoy their occupation because they get to spend quality time with the residents. The Green House looks like a new home – located on residential streets, with pitched roofs, shutters, and a garden. The hallway feels like a home – with a vase and flowers on a small table, opening up into one large living area. However, the residents are just as frail, sick, and elderly as any other nursing home with one major difference: they are very happy.

The Green House concept was first conceived by Bill Thomas, the pioneer behind the Eden Alternative. There are Green Houses in Mississippi, Nebraska, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. There are two registered Eden Alternative homes in Illinois.

For the full article.

Tennessee nursing home accused of fraud to avoid installing sprinklers

The families of two of the victims of a Nashville nursing home fire claim that the owners of the facility falsified drills and deceived state regulators to avoid installing sprinklers years before the blaze. A September 2003 fire in the nursing home killed 16 residents of the home. If the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' new proposed regulation passes, this nursing home and all national nursing homes will be required to have sprinklers installed and hopefully similar tragedies can be avoided.

For the full article.

Daytona Beach nursing home gets severe warning from Florida officials for its nursing home abuse and neglect

The state has accused a Daytona Beach nursing home of violations in five categories: abuse, accommodation of need, quality of care, accidents and nursing services. Currently, the nursing home is racking up more than $8,000 a day in fines. The nursing home now risks losing their ability to participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs for its nursing home abuse and neglect unless the facility quickly cleans up its act.

For the full article.

Pennsylvania nursing home owner charged in neglect case

A grand jury brought criminal charges against the owner of a Pennsylvania nursing home where a hidden camera caught workers neglecting a comatose patient. If convicted, the company could face fines of up to $9,000. Additionally, a conviction could result in the nursing home being kicked out of the Medicaid program. Earlier this year, five of the nursing home’s employees were arrested for their roles in the nursing home abuse and neglect.

For the full article.

Iowa nursing home fine is just a slap on the wrist

Horrible nursing home abuse and neglect was discovered at an Iowa nursing home recently during a state inspection. There was no medical director on staff, no contract with anyone to handle medical emergencies, and no registered nurse on duty. Moreover, employees had not been tested for tuberculosis, toilets were dirty and leaking, there were dead crickets, a grimy dining room, and broken washing machines. The recent inspection found more than 25 violations and called it a “total system failure.” However, one only offense (the failure to check backgrounds of employees) cost the nursing home anything in fines. Their total in fines? $100! The legislature should impose stiffer fines for such “total system failure” at a nursing home where the potential abuse and neglect is extreme.

For the full article.

Michigan nursing home charged with nursing home abuse after resident nearly dies from drug overdose

A 76 year-old Michigan woman remains hospitalized after being found unresponsive at her nursing home. An emergency room doctor told her legal guardian that the 76 year-old nearly died from a drug overdose administered at the nursing home. The woman’s legal guardian charged the nursing home with nursing home abuse; the nursing home denies any wrongdoing.

For the full article.

Research addresses nursing home mistakes and problems

A current research study at the University of Missouri-Columbia discovered that medication errors may often go undetected in nursing homes. Because most nursing home residents are elderly and frail, even a minor error may have grave consequences. However, they are not always reported because the ‘front line’ staff often seems to be overworked. Nursing home staff admitted frustration, especially from disorganization and few felt well informed about what responsibilities were expected of them.

For the full article.

Edwardsville doctor and hospital sued for medical malpractice

A medical malpractice lawsuit was recently filed against an Edwardsville doctor and hospital. The plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for a colon resection surgery in July of 2005. The doctors negligently and carelessly failed to provide timely hemodynamic support and failed to promptly resuscitate him while he was suffering from hypotension and metabolic acidosis. Because of this, the plaintiff suffered serious injuries, including permanent scarring and a drop foot.

For the full article.

The real victim in nursing home fraud: the residents

A recent Montana article demonstrated the painful effects that nursing home residents experience following the closure of a nursing home due to its fraudulent account practices. They examined the story of a Montana nursing home that was originally a well-run family business until 1998, when the family-owners were approached by a company to buy the business.

Under the new management, the nursing home fell into debt and despair. Soon thereafter, the residents suffered nursing home neglect. The company’s CEO later confessed to filing false Medicaid claims and diverting money intended for patient care.

Continue reading "The real victim in nursing home fraud: the residents " »

Richton Park nursing home fined $25,000 after an unsupervised resident fell out of a fourth floor window

Another incident of nursing home neglect strikes close to home. The Illinois Department of Public Health recently fined a Richton Park nursing home $25,000 for an April incident where an unsupervised resident fell out of a fourth-floor window. The resident suffered a broken leg and ribs in the fall. A hearing on the incident has been set for November 9.

For the full article.

Edwardsville nursing home now offering rehabilitation services

An Edwardsville nursing home is now offering a new line in rehabilitation services, through patented medical devices, on-site education, and training to assist those in need of sub-acute and chronic long-term care. The new service provides electrical stimulation machines that use electrodes to treat and improve muscles suffering from injury, swelling, or atrophy.

For the full article.

NY nursing home to pay $250,000 in sexual harassment claim

A NY nursing home has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim filed by a former speech pathologist at the facility. Court records indicate that at least a dozen other women may have been involved. The employees alleged that they were subjected to propositioning and degrading comments. When the plaintiff complained to the administration, they responded by promoting her primary harasser to be her supervisor. The facility is also under investigation for nursing home abuse and neglect based on a recent Medicare and Medicaid survey that showed the facility was in “immediate jeopardy.”

For the full article.

Blood test to possibly diagnose Alzheimer’s before visible symptoms

Many nursing home residents suffer from Alzheimer’s, a devastating disease. A new study released on Monday showed hope in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease before age-related symptoms become visible. Researchers at King’s College in London presented research that suggests a blood test may be able to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s by levels of two types of protein found in the blood. The Alzheimer’s patients who were tested had higher levels of these types of protein in their blood than those who did not have the disease.
For the full article.

Letter to Bush Administration criticizes Medicare handbook

Senate and House Democrats criticized the Medicare handbook in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. The letter states that the Medicare handbook was used to promote Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, rather than to provide objective information. The handbook fails to inform beneficiaries that the MA plans can require higher out-of-pocket costs. The letter recommends that the information on the Medicare website be corrected to remove problematic and biased language.

For the full article.

CMS publishes 2007 Medicare handbook

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the “Medicare & You 2007” is now available in English and Spanish. The handbook helps people with Medicare review their coverage options. The official government handbook contains information about new policies, health plans, prescription drug plans, and rights for people with Medicare. While the information in the handbook should be very helpful, please note that the handbook has received criticism for being biased and not fully forthcoming.

For the full article.

New ethics rules lead NIH scientists to consider other employment

Last year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was shocked to find that dozens of scientists had run afoul of ethical restrictions and were making a great deal of outside income from private consulting deals with drug and biotechnology companies. New ethics rules, put in place after last year’s discovery, now bans all outside income from such companies. Nearly 40% of the scientists conducting hands-on research at NIH are now looking for other jobs. Officials emphasize that the new ethic rules will boost the agency’s credibility with the public. Certainly, with pharmaceutical companies attempting to exert influence both with researchers and doctors, NIH will gain integrity by steering clear from such monetary influence.

For the full article.

Proposed regulation to require sprinkler systems in all nursing homes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently proposed a new regulation that would require nursing homes across America to install sprinkler systems in order to continue to receive federal funds through serving Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Currently, while newly constructed nursing homes must be equipped with sprinkler systems, older homes are not required to have such systems. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office from July 2004, lack of smoke alarms and other fire prevention systems in facilities that had fatal nursing home fires may have contributed to a delayed response time to the fires.

For the full article.

Lewis and Clark Manor – Pontoon Beach, Illinois – 11/1/06

The home failed to ensure the safety of a resident who suffered injury from self-inflicted wounds. The facility also failed to provide residents with appropriate nursing services in accordance with their needs.

The Illinois Department of Health produces quarterly reports on nursing home violators. To access the website click here.

PAMM organizes patient safety demonstration today at 11:30 a.m.

People Against Medical Malpractice (PAMM) has organized a patient safety demonstration in front of Hopkins Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland today at 11:30 a.m. This demonstration is a “Call to Arms” for the public to speak out and demand safer hospitals free from medical malpractice. The citizens will also demand justice and accountability in the Courts through medical malpractice lawsuits .

For the full article.