May 14, 2013

National Nursing Home Week 2013 - Honoring “Team Care”

by Levin & Perconti

This week--May 12th through May 18th--represents the official “National Nursing Home Week.” With many participants, including the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the event is a yearly reminder of the needs of long-term care residents and the terrific work that so many valuable caregivers perform day in and day out. It is easy for those of us working on matters related to nursing home neglect and mistreatment to appear unconcerned with the great work that facilities are able to provide. But on the contrary, because we are so familiar with the many instances of poor care, we are better able to understand the value and service of great care, when it exists.

The theme of this year’s week-long event, according to the AHCA site on the event, is” “Team Care.” In summarizing the event, the site explains that the week is for the residents and dedicated staff who “pitch in for optimal outcomes.” This is a timely theme, as with the complex needs of many seniors, proper communication and shared commitments to positive outcomes for senior residents requires clear coordination between all members of the caregivers process. When too many nursing home employees are forced to go it alone or do not receive the support they need for owners and operators, harm results.

National Nursing Home Week Events
Facilities across the country are participating in the festivities--in big and small ways. The AHCA website, for example, include information that different homes have taken to build their own programs. Some of the events are designed to integrate the facility with the community. That includes inviting those into the who normally do not see it or bringing residents outside to mix with their neighbors.

This also includes ensuring friends and family members are involved as closely as possible with care. Our nursing home neglect lawyers know well that so many seniors who languish in terrible conditions are only brought out of the situation by the vigilance of friends and family members who do not let their suspicions be ignored. Proper “Team Care” goes well beyond paid employees of a home, as loved ones must maintain as close a relationship as possible with those in these long-term care settings so that problems (like bed sores) are caught early-on,before damage develops.

Other aspects of the “Team Care” that some homes are working on include:

* Developing relationships with local elementary schools, to offer seniors and students a chance to mingle, become pen pals, and otherwise learn from one another.

* Inviting community members--elected officials, businesses, non-profit groups--to come to the facility as a service project, performing a specific (i.e. repainting a room or building a garden).

Any facility that is still looking for last-minute participation should head over to the AHCA website to review the provided materials, which include sample press releases, activity lists, and more. Also, for community members, many local skilled nursing facilities may already have plans in place, and so it is worthwhile to contact a local facility and see if there is any way for you to participate as part of the Team Building theme of this year’s official event.

See Other Posts:

Arbitration Fairness Act of 2013 Introduced in Congress

Levin & Perconti Filed IL Nursing Home Lawsuit Against Applewood Rehabilitation Center

March 5, 2010

U.S. Supreme Courts Rules Nursing Home Resident has a Private Right of Action Under FNHRA

by Levin & Perconti

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied certioria in a case where the Third Circuit Court of Appeals said that a nursing home resident and Medicaid recipient may sue their facility under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Amendments (FNHRA). The plaintiff in the case was a nursing home resident and Medicaid recipient. After the victim wrongfully died her daughter filed a nursing home lawsuit against the facility under a §1983 action. The nursing home lawsuit claimed the facility violated the FNHRA by not providing proper care. The nursing home tried to commit the complaint by claiming that the FNHRA does not provide an enforceable right of action through §1983. They argued that FNHRA only sets forth requirements that a nursing facility must comply with in order to receive federal Medicaid funds. The district court did agree with the nursing home, and the victim appealed the ruling.

Luckily, the Third Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling and held that the FNHRA does give Medicaid recipients rights and remedies under §1983. Elder Law Answers reported that the appellate court reasoned that both as a nursing home resident and Medicaid recipient, the victim was an intended beneficiary of the FNHRA. The court believed that the language of the FNHRA laid out specific enforceable rights for victims of nursing home abuse. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the writ of certioria and rested on the Third Circuit’s ruling. They believe this will cause all nursing homes to rethink patient’s rights. The Chicago nursing home lawyers agree the rulings of both the Third Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court and thank them for their support of nursing home rights.

September 15, 2009

2009 NCCNHR Annual Meeting & Conference to be held

by Levin & Perconti

The 2009 National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Conference is scheduled for October 22, 2009 until October 25, 3009. It will take place at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC. They have a renewed commitment to achieve “quality care, no matter where”. The conference is geared toward citizen advocates, resident and family councils, ombudsmen, non-profit organizations, researchers, policy makers, residents, family members and others involved in long-term care advocacy. This conference will help many people detect elder abuse. To sign up for the nursing home conference, please click the link.

September 10, 2009

Family Sues Nursing Home after Fatal Bedsore Leads to Wrongful Death

by Levin & Perconti

A 73-year-old woman entered a nursing home in 2005 after she fell and injured her arm, believing it would be a quick month stint for therapy. However, two years later, after repeated denied requests to go home, the woman died due to a horrific infected bedsore. Her daughter has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit stating that none of the staff would check on her mother. On one visit, a family member went to change the victim’s gown and noticed a bedsore, already in an advanced stage, on their mother’s tail bone. The pressure ulcer was infected within days. The victim’s family states that you could put your whole hand down in their mother’s back and you could see the bones and spinal cord. Pressure ulcers are lesions caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. They are largely preventable by making sure a patient is regularly moved or turned every two hours. However, they are fatal once they become infected. If you or a loved one has experienced bed sores as a result of nursing home abuse, please contact an Illinois lawyer. To read more about the wrongful death, please click the link.

September 9, 2009

Alleged Abuse Found at Group Home

by Levin & Perconti

Authorities have uncovered what are described as prison camp conditions at a group home housing the elderly. Investigators say the elder abuse took a new form as the seniors, some mentally disabled, were abused, crammed into chicken coops and forced to go to the bathroom in buckets. Authorities say that the facility was an illegal adult group home that was not licensed by the city or the state. The home owner was arrested and accused of forcing mentally ill adults to live in prison camp-like conditions. The woman’s nursing home abuse included housing the elderly in converted chicken coops with razor wire fences surrounding the facility and padlocked gates. 22 people were living in three dilapidated buildings, none of them with indoor plumbing. The woman was charged with 16 counts of elderly abuse. The facility has been shut down considering the grave elderly abuse. The 22 residents were picked up by family members or taken to licensed care facility. To read more about the horrid nursing home conditions, please click the link.

August 27, 2009

Nursing Home Patient Charged with the Murder of another Resident

by Levin & Perconti

An 87-year-old man has been charged with killing his 91-year-old fellow resident at a nursing home. The victim was sitting on a bench outside when the resident struck him in the head. The man was taken to hospice where he died of personal injuries. The death was ruled a homicide and he was charged with second-degree murder and first and second-degree assault. According to experts, elder abuse or exploitation affects 1 million to 2 million people a year in the United States. Incidents in which one elderly person kills another are unusual. Certain incidents can be triggered by a “catastrophic reaction to some event.” Nursing home staff may have anticipated the attack. Residents who show signs of violent behavior are often relocated quickly to avoid both wrongful death and nursing home abuse. To read more about the nursing home death, please click the link.

August 19, 2009

Nursing Home Death Prompts Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

The family of a woman who died in 2007 of acute sepsis and other complications stemming from a large Stage 4 pressure wound is bringing a nursing home negligence lawsuit. The pressure ulcer was discovered two months before her death, causing paramedics to rush the 82-year-old woman to the hospital. A felony elder abuse trial is pending in addition to the family’s civil suit, claiming negligence and wrongful death. The licensing division began license revocation proceedings as well. This case highlights the importance of law enforcement in nursing home negligence. By educating others on the importance of carrying for the elderly, nursing home negligence may decrease. To read more about he wrongful death lawsuit, please click the link.

August 13, 2009

83-year-old Patient Restrained While Employee Took Nap

by Levin & Perconti

A nursing home aide tied an 83-year-old woman to her wheelchair with a bed sheet, took her into a common room, turned out the lights and napped. The victim remained restrained for approximately one hour. The elder neglect incident occurred in May of 2008. The certified nurse’s aide pled guilty to violating public health law involving the abuse, neglect and mistreatment of a person. The 72 year old employee had to surrender his nurse aide’s certificate and is prohibited to work in such a capacity for one year from his sentencing date. A director for a watchdog group that tracks enforcement actions against nursing homes and assisted-living facilities stated that this type of incident is not what you do to a human being. The resident of the home was unable to walk or care for herself without the assistance of others. The nursing home’s video recording system showed that the employee pushed the resident down the hallway while she was restrained in her wheelchair with the bed sheet. The use of bed sheets to restraint residents is highly discouraged due to a risk of suffocating and strangulation. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click the link.

August 13, 2009

Physician Testifies in Elder Abuse Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

A family filed an elderly negligence suit against a nursing home physician claiming that the doctor was negligent in prescribing a medication for her. The physician took the stand and testified that the family called months later asking for the exact medication in order to curb’s the woman’s anxiety. The nursing home negligence lawsuit alleges that the medication, Haldol, contributed to the victim’s immobility and bedsores while she was living at a nursing home. The plaintiff alleged the pressure ulcer required surgery and could have been prevented. The nursing home negligence lawsuit claims that the prescription decreased her motor activity. To read more about the nursing home lawsuit, please click the link.

July 27, 2009

Support Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009 (S. 512/H.R. 1237)

by Levin & Perconti

Last week, two of the country’s largest arbitration firms said they are no longer handling consumer arbitration cases. In the Wall Street Journal, Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. PIRG said “In the long run, I think that this is the beginning of the end of forced arbitration in all consumer contracts, from credit cards, to nursing homes to cell phones.”

While this development is encouraging, it is still important to speak out in support of the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009. This Act would invalidate all current and future arbitration agreements that many people entering into nursing homes and assisted living facilities unknowingly sign. These agreements take away one’s right to argue their case in front of a jury. Follow the link to learn more about nursing home arbitration. To find out how to contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators to show your support for this bill, click here.

June 30, 2009

New Requirements Look to Improve Quality of Life for Nursing Home Residents

by Levin & Perconti

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released a new set of requirements that focus on improving the quality of life for nursing home residents. According to the CMS Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera, “The improvements in the guidance are intended to support efforts underway to transform nursing homes into environments that are more like their homes through both environmental changes and resident-centered caregiving.” The new guidance focuses heavily on creating a welcoming environment that centers upon the individual nursing home residents’ needs. It also gives residents choices in activities, grooming, eating and bedtimes. To read more about the new CMS requirements, follow the link.

June 7, 2009

Federal Government Initiates a Web Based Program to Rate Nursing Homes

by Levin & Perconti

The federal government now has an online tool consumers can use in evaluating the quality of nursing-home care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will start running a pilot program to see if cash incentives to nursing homes can improve the care they provide, especially in areas like nurse staffing and preventable hospitalizations. Recently, the federal government started a star program that rates nursing homes and flagged 135 of the most troubled nursing homes. Many nursing home residents are forced to pay for their own care, because they earn too much for Medicaid, and are only given Medicare. They are then surprised by Medicare’s limited coverage for nursing-home, which is up to 100 days after a hospitalization of three days or more. To qualify for this, a patient must have a doctor’s order to go to a nursing home for the same illness or injury that she was treated for at the hospital. The new online website will list the nursing homes with summarized data from state and federal inspections and information the nursing homes reported to regulators. The website will contain information about nursing homes in Chicago, Illinois. To read more about the nursing home program, please click the link.

April 24, 2009

Nurse’s Aide Enters Plea to Abuse Charge

by Levin & Perconti

A 27-year-old nurse’s aide charged with abusing elderly couple has entered a plea of no contest. The man pled no contest but mentally ill to first-degree abuse of a vulnerable adult, which is a 15-year-old felony. A second count of the same charge had been dismissed as part of a pretrial settlement. The nurse’s aide had initially been charged with two felony counts stemming from a 2008 incident involving the elderly couple, both of them being 81 years old at the time. According the police, the man was at his usual shift and threw food all over the kitchen. When he came back the next morning to clean up the mess, he allegedly went into the living room and urinated on the head of the man’s wife. Unfortunately the woman is physically unable to care for herself. The man also allegedly poured liquid soap over the man’s head and threw soap around. After the man was charged it was determined that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial. It is unfortunate when mentally incompetent people are employees at nursing homes. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click the link.

March 26, 2009

Elderly Woman Raped at Nursing Home

by Levin & Perconti

Authorities believe that an 87-year-old woman with dementia may have been sexually assaulted at her nursing home. The woman is currently being treated for pneumonia where she is in serious condition. Nurses found evidence during the examination that she may have been molested at the nursing home. The woman’s daughter believes that pictures show that her mother was sexually assaulted. The woman also asked that a rape kit test will be done on him. Although no previous incidents of sexual assault have been reported, eight complaints have been filed since 2006. Investigators have been unable to interview the elderly sexual assault victim because of her condition. To read more about the sexual abuse, please click the link.

March 6, 2009

Lawyer Alleges Negligence in Nursing Home Death

by Levin & Perconti

A jury started hearing arguments in a wrongful death lawsuit in which the family of a 90-year-old woman claims the nursing home where she lived was negligent in her care and caused her death. They contend that she received inadequate care during her stay at the nursing home. The woman died from injuries she sustained in her falls. The woman’s attorney told jurors that workers at the nursing home falsified records, violated internal policies and were generally negligent in how they watched over the woman. The woman continued rehabilitation from a broken pelvis she suffered in a fall her home. The family is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from the nursing home and it’s management home. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click here.

February 12, 2009

House Bill Will Protect Nursing Home Residents

by Levin & Perconti

A bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives that will help put an end to unfair mandatory arbitration agreements. The bill, introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), would put an end to pre-dispute arbitration agreements that nursing home residents and their family members are often forced to sign when completing nursing home contracts. When signed, the agreement waives their rights to have a jury decide the case. For nursing home residents and their families, this bill will protect their right to take their case to court in the event that they become the victim of injury or death as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect fare better when given the opportunity to plead their case in front of a jury. A trial by jury provides a public record of wrongful conduct and alerts fellow residents and their families of the nursing home’s misconduct. It also ensures compensation for victims when a home does not follow through on the promises they make to care for their residents. Additionally, jury trials send a message to wrong-doers that misconduct will not be tolerated and will not go unpunished, helping to deter others from these practices.

Follow the link to read more about how this bill would protect nursing home residents.

February 4, 2009

Problems Found with Nursing Home Rating System

by Levin & Perconti

Some believe that the five-star facility rating system may not be the best of the best. The system only compares the homes against the peers statewide, instead of against the 15,800 nationwide. The system also automatically assigns five stars, which is the highest possible, to the top 10 percent. Some critics call it grading on a curve. Experts say that the ranking system should only serve as a starting point in a consumer’s assessment of a nursing home. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also warned that the database should not be the only tool family’s use. Additionally there are no official penalties for a low rating. Family members should research nursing homes in order to insure that their loved ones are not the victims of nursing home abuse. To read more about the nursing home rating system, click here.

January 13, 2009

CMS Puts Pressure on Nursing Homes to Prevent Bed Sores

by Levin & Perconti

CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has published new guidelines regarding pressure sores (decubitus ulcers). SNFs (Skilled Nursing Facilities), like nursing homes and long-term care facilities, are commonly cited for elder abuse and neglect. Often this nursing home abuse and neglect can result in the development of pressure ulcers on elderly patients. The new regulations specify that “a resident who enters [a] facility without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable.” With attentive care, pressure ulcers are usually preventable. Therefore, all nursing homes under the Medicare/Medicaid program will receive amplified attention from State Surveyors with the goal of zero tolerance for bed sores. This will put an increased burden on nursing homes and facilities to treat and prevent decubitus ulcers, which are often concurrent with elder abuse and neglect. For the full article, click here.

November 28, 2008

Nursing Home is Fined After Employee Abuses Patient

by Levin & Perconti

A nursing home was fined after state authorities began investigating a case of elderly abuse. Additionally, state authorities will not allow any new patients to be admitted to the home after the elderly abuse case surfaced. The story surrounds a nursing assistant who committed elderly abuse against a blind patient. The employee has been charged by police with willful and physical abuse. A resident was hit with a clipboard and incontinence pad and the information was reported to the senior person on duty where there was a delay in investigating the matter. Additionally, the patient was also slapped and had her hair pulled. The patient has now been fired after the elderly abuse incident. Since the nursing home gets federal funding for Medicare, Medicaid and VA Patents the federal authorities are part of the elderly abuse investigation. The department of health has fined the nursing home $1,500 and ordered them to complete a plan of correction while not permitting any new patients. The nursing home also faces civil fines that are stacking up by $3,500 a day. To read the full story, click here.

November 20, 2008

Nursing Home Caregiver Charged With Sexually Assaulting Residents

by Levin & Perconti

Kurt Johnson, a 49-year-old certified nursing assistant of Golden Living Center in Wisconsin Dells, has been charged with three counts of second degree sexual assault. According to the criminal complaint, Johnson’s co-workers witnessed the sexual elder abuse. In particular, they saw him fondle female residents’ breasts on three separate occasions while working in the facility’s Dementia/Alzheimer’s unit in September and December 2007.
For the full story, click here.