Articles Posted in Nursing Home Study

Published on:

What is the biggest insurance program in the country? Medicaid. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans participate in Medicaid, and that total is rising. According to some recent estimates about 11 million more people will be added to the programs over the next decade.

Of course Medicaid is often associated with Medicare, but there is much confusion over the basic roles of these programs.

In theory, Medicaid is suppose to help lower income Americans of all ages while Medicare is healthcare for seniors. However, the reality is that a large portion of Medicaid costs are actually spent on senior care as well–most notably long-term stays in nursing homes. That is because Medicare usually only covers limited nursing home stays–often 90 days–and only those directly from the hospital. Long-term care for seniors that have significant disability is usually not covered. That means that a senior who needs that care is either required to pay for it out of pocket, use private long-term care insurance (if they have it), or try to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is based on the individual’s assets. That means that many seniors are forced to “spend down” their assets in order to qualify for the program.

Published on:

Chicago nursing home lawyers are concerned about the negative effects of antidepressants on nursing home residents. According to USA Today and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, two new studies were published on the negative effects of antidepressants. The first study focuses on the risks of antidepressant prescription. The second study is concerned with the affect on nursing home residents when their antidepressant prescription is changed.

The first study was done to address that fact that antidepressants are the most common prescription to treat dementia. Specifically, British researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College in London found that Zoloft (sertraine) and Remeron (mirtazapine), which are frequently prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease, are no more effective than a placebo. Placebos are sugar pills given in studies to test a drug’s effectiveness against the drug not being administered in the first place. In other words, the study found that the drugs are no more effective than taking a sugar pill that the patient believes could cure his or her disease. Furthermore, the study found that those patients who took the antidepressant prescriptions were more likely to experience adverse side effects. The researchers as well as Illinois medical malpractice attorneys ask that physicians to think of alternative treatments for dementia.

The second study was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. According to that study, researchers from a Harvard Medical School affiliate found that nursing home residents’ risk for falling increases five times in the two days immediately following a prescription or change in dosage of non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (non-SSRI) antidepressants. Examples of non-SSRI antidepressants include bupropion (Wellbutrin) and venlafaxine (Effexor). In light of this new information, the lead researcher and Chicago nursing home fall attorneys encourage nursing home facilitators and staff to protect their residents from this increased danger.

Both studies bring to light the risks of antidepressants to nursing home residents, but do not necessarily advocate for the prohibition of antidepressants. Instead, both studies are concerned with the increased risks of antidepressant prescription. When antidepressants are prescribed or dosages are changed, the prescriptions should be given on weekdays or times when staff can diligently watch residents for adverse side effects and prevent falls. Due to their age and frailty, even small adverse side effects and falls can result in an injury that causes pain for the rest of their life. This physical pain also translates into emotional and mental pain in the patient and even affects the patient’s family who can only helplessly watch their loved one.
Continue reading

Published on:

The nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have handled all types of abuse and neglect lawsuits against Alden nursing homes throughout Illinois for many years. Today’s Chicago Tribune tells the story of at least thirteen children in the Chicago area who fell victim to abuse and neglect at Alden Village North, a nursing home located at 7464 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago.

The Tribune’s article exposes the sad truth that abuse and neglect not only happens to the elderly living in Illinois nursing homes, but also to younger residents who require ongoing medical treatment that they cannot receive at home. Parents and family members place their trust with nursing home staff to care for their loved ones, but unfortunately neglect and abuse occur, often due to negligent hiring and short-staffing. One of the victims in the Tribune article was just two years old when he died of asphyxiation because staff at the facility failed to properly monitor his tracheotomy tube for over 3.5 hours. The child had a habit of playing with the tube but staff did nothing to prevent this behavior and did not notify his physician of his actions.

In another sad case, a nine-year-old boy who suffered from severe cognitive deficits died due to nursing home neglect. Staff failed to properly care for his g-tube, failed to notice a change in his condition and failed to communicate these changes to his doctor. As a result, he died from bowel obstruction and an infection at a local hospital.
Continue reading

Published on:

A panel of nutrition experts has released new definitions for malnutrition that will be universally applicable. McKnights Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living is reporting that these new definitions will help clinicians and healthcare workers identify and treat malnutrition. Researchers had decided to develop new definitions because there was a lack of generally agreed upon terms for the numerous forms and causes of malnutrition. There are now three categories of adult nutrition: starvation-related, chronic disease-related or acute disease/injury-related. These categories can now include all the major causes of malnutrition. These are important clarifications considering a 2000 study found that between 25% and 85% of nursing home residents are considered malnourished. The new definitions were accumulated by ESPEN and ASPEN. They will be published in the journals Clinical Nutrition and JPEN. To read about the new definitions, please check out the link.

Malnutrition or dehydration can cause many problems in elderly residents. These health conditions include tooth decay, broken bones, anemia and low blood pressure. Severe cases can even lead to death. These ailments can oftentimes be easily prevented if the residents are properly fed and nourished. Many times residents who are suffering from depression will become malnourished. Some experts also believe that residents become malnourished due to a lack of adequately trained personnel. Poor staffing is often the root of most nursing home abuse problems. It is the duty of all nursing homes to ensure that not only they have a sufficient number of staff members, but that these staff members are properly trained to deal with the complexities of the elderly. If you believe that you or a loved one resides in a Chicago-area or Illinois nursing home with inadequate staffing, please confront the nursing home about this problem. If this poor level of staffing has lead to nursing home abuse, consult a nursing home lawyer.

Published on:

Currently nursing home operators and advocates for seniors are debating the amount of change needed to fix the much troubled Illinois nursing home industry. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the nursing home industry is balking at the Nursing Home Safety Task Force and their recommendations for legislative action. The nursing home operators are objecting to the idea of raising minimum staffing levels. They also are not keen on the idea to increase fines and penalties for unsafe and poorly run facility and raising fees to help pay for these new safety implementations.

Also, some senior advocates are in opposition to the task force recommendation that separate wings or facilities become licensed so as to not mix them with vulnerable nursing home residents. They believe that the separate units do not solve the problem that is currently plaguing the mentally ill. The problems associated with the mentally ill and felons in nursing homes are what prompted the safety task force in the first place. Since then state officials, elder advocates and industry representatives are now meeting in smaller “working groups” to determine the best cause of action to solve these problems.

The task force’s report has an ambitious plan to move thousands of mentally disabled people from nursing homes into smaller residential programs. These programs will provide intensive therapy and supervision for those who require it. This appears to be one of many problems plaguing Illinois nursing homes. The AARP’s associative state director believes that many Illinois nursing homes fail to reach the minimum standards of quality of care and safety. To read more about the nursing home proposals, please click the link.

Published on:

Elderly self-neglect is associated with a nearly six-fold increase in the risk of dying within a year. Elder self-neglect and abuse are serious, common and under recognized. There are an estimated 2 million cases of elder self-neglect and abuse in the United States. When elderly persons threatens their own health and safety by refusing to adequately feed, shelter or clothe themselves they are committing elder self-neglect. The Chicago Health and Aging Project created a report saying that of the 1,544 participants in a 9,000 study were guilty of elder self-neglect and 113 participants were reported for elder abuse. Participants with reported or confirmed self-neglect had a one-year mortality rate of 246.36 deaths per 100 person-years and mortality for participants after one year was 9.46 per 100 person-years. This is compared to a mortality rate of 5.01 deaths per 100 persons-years for participants who did not report self neglect. Self neglect is also a marker for increased mortality regardless of cognitive or physical function. The authors of the study suggest that high-functioning elders might be more capable of recognizing elder abuse and seeking help to end such abuse. To read more about the elder study, please click the link.

Published on:

Researches published a nursing home study in the British Medical Journal in which they examined 82 studies carried out in the US and Canada from 1965 to 2003 comparing quality between for-profit and not-for-profit nursing homes. Studies showed significantly better quality in not-for-profit homes with only three showing the quality of care was better in for-profit homes. Quality was judged on overall and quality of staffing, incidents of pressure ulcers, use of restraints and inspection surveys. The analysis found that nursing home residents in the United States would receive 500,000 more hours of nursing care per day if all not-for-profit institutions provided all nursing care. All of the indicators can be traced back to good or poor staffing. In order to alleviate nursing home negligence, the industry needs to create a culture where these are not jobs but mission driven careers. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.

Published on:

In the United States, two-thirds of nursing homes are investor-owned, for-profit businesses. However, making a profit does not seem to decrease nursing home abuse and the overall quality of care. A paper published by the British Medical Journal examined 82 studies carried out in United States and Canadian nursing homes. Forty studies showed significantly better quality in not-for-profit homes and three sowed the quality was better in for-profit homes. The remaining studies had mixed results, suggesting wide variability among institutions. The authors noted that nursing homes substantially in their management styles, motivations and organizational behavior. However, the big picture points to the idea that nursing home residents in the United States would receive 50,000 more hours of nursing care per day if all not-for profit institutions provided all nursing home care. Additionally, more research most be done to examine nursing homes and realize the best methods for combating nursing home abuse and elderly neglect. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.