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The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has reported that at least 5,000 deaths each year are due to nursing home injuries and negligence. The statistic has been jarring for years yet the numbers don’t seem to be decreasing and the injuries that occur in nursing homes remain incline. Falls remain one of the highest causes of both nursing home resident injuries and deaths. In fact, 20 percent of all elderly falls and accidents occur in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Sadly, another 2,000 residents will die each year from a fall while many more suffer from other serious, fall-related injuries.

While we know that every injury can’t be prevented, and some are caused by an aging population that is more apt to injury due to failing health, our experience representing nursing home neglect victims has also shown us that if a facility does not provide sufficient staff training and resident safety systems are not set in place to protect against falls, the risk of injury among residents will go up. And those are the times a family may have a case for neglect. In addition, here are several other reasons why a nursing home could be held liable for a fall injury.

  • Some nursing homes in Illinois are guilty of overmedicating their residents with powerful sedatives, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medication and increasing a patient’s injury risk.
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Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are busting at the seams with type 2 diabetes patients. Nearly 30 percent of this elderly population is living with diabetes along with a host of other health issues or disabilities, while relying on the care of someone else to manage the disease’s burden with medication, diet, monitoring, and exercise. Unmanaged diabetes can create deeper medical complications like organ damage or even death.

American Diabetes Association Standards for Long-Term Care

In recent years, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has issued detailed care standards for elderly patients in long term care facilities living with diabetes. 2018 standards now include things such as:

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We know there are many high-quality nursing home facilities committed to ensuring the residents in their care are receiving the best attention possible but that doesn’t stop the common misconceptions and myths family members may fear in regard to what it may be like for a loved one to live in a nursing home or long-term care residence. Our team has collected six myths we often hear about nursing home care facilities and provided a response to each one in hopes to better prepare you or your family member for a care stay.

Reality No. 1: Residents May Get to Go Home

Most nursing facilities have a job to rehabilitate residents to the point that they can safely return to their own community, enter an independent facility or be moved to their own home or the home of a loved one. An ideal situation would be for patients to be in the comforts of their home where they would receive at-home care. This would only occur though if programs like Medicare and Medicaid could pay more for them, and if services were not so focused on which cases would profit them and which would not.

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Research supports that family involvement during a nursing home stay is likely to ensure that the facility is providing the quality care necessary for residents to thrive. Our nursing home attorneys agree that this couldn’t reign any truer as it is typically family members who are speaking up for the care their loved one is receiving and they are also the ones bringing neglect or malpractice concerns to our firm. That is why it is so important family members know of their specific legal rights to participate in nursing home issues, especially those related to their loved one’s care. In fact, family members do not need special legal authority to exercise the right to participate in assessments and developing meaningful and effective care planning.

What is Involved in Care Planning?

If you are the family member tasked with ensuring your loved one’s care is being appropriately planned and handled, it should start with their initial health assessment on the day of admission. The assessment information along with a care meeting with family members, staff, and medical professionals will be used to develop a plan that will serve as a guide to discuss the resident’s needs and progress. The nursing home must work with you to develop this individualized, written care plan and must update it every 90 days and any time the resident’s condition changes. The care plan will be used to help a resident on a daily basis and clarifies what each staff person will do and when they will do it. It may also include information such as what kind of equipment or supplies are needed, dietary restrictions, what type of staff should be in charge of each of the services and how often they will be needed.

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The choice to move a family member into a nursing home or long-term care facility is often anxiety driven. Choosing the best home will require a full evaluation of a facility’s ability to give the constant care and supervision needed so your loved one will not be neglected, abused, or forgotten. Because of this, we often advise family members to consider taking time to research and prepare before making any nursing home decisions on behalf of their loved one.

1) Decide What Is Best

First, above all else, consider what is most important when it comes to the needs of your loved one. Will they need hospice or memory care support? Do they have special dietary restrictions or require physical therapy? What about health insurance coverage? Would they do best in a setting that has a religious connection or is close to family? If you are able to have these discussions with your family member and their treating physician before you make any formal inquiries about services, it can help narrow down the best facilities to choose from.

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Former HCR ManorCare CEO Paul Ormond is set to receive $116.7 million from the now-bankrupt nursing home giant. In September, Ormond resigned in the midst of speculation that ManorCare would be filing for bankruptcy due to its inability to pay back rent on its 295 skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities. Thanks to recently released bankruptcy documents, it has been revealed that ManorCare is $7.1 billion in debt.

The parcels of land on which ManorCare facilities sit have been leased to them by Quality Care Properties, (QCP) a real estate investment trust, since a deal inked in 2011. Within 14 months of the agreement, ManorCare began having problems paying rent on their properties. The company was able to get by for a time thanks to other businesses within their corporate portfolio, including profitable home health and outpatient rehab divisions. These segments were able to transfer $500 million to the skilled nursing facility area of the business to help cover rent payments, until eventually the company realized they would be better off filing for bankruptcy. At one point last October, ManorCare residents and their loved ones were frightened at the possibility of being evicted from their facilities when the chain waited until the last possible minute to respond to a lawsuit filed against them by QCP. At the eleventh hour, ManorCare submitted a request to extend the deadline to file a response, a motion which was thankfully approved.

ManorCare Debt to be Repaid After CEO Gets $116.7 Million Check

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Did you know that the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration Grant (MFP), a federally funded program that helps keep those needing long-term care out of facilities and in their own homes, has officially expired? As part of a grant system, 43 states and the District of Columbia were awarded funds that allowed them to establish a system that could help provide in-home or community based care and services to those who traditionally may have just been placed in a nursing home. According to, “Over 75,151 people with chronic conditions and disabilities have transitioned from institutions back into the community through MFP programs as of December 2016.”

Levin & Perconti is hoping that you will join us and other elder care advocates in contacting congress to urge them to continue to fund the MFP program by passing the Empower Care Act. The bill, introduced by Ohio Senator Rob Portman this past December, asks Congress to contribute $450,000,000 to the MFP Program each fiscal year from 2018 until fiscal year 2022.

The information shared below is courtesy of the National Consumer Voice for Long-Term Quality Care, an organization dedicated to ensuring that our loved ones have access to the best possible care and services.

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Sava Senior Care, a national nursing home chain with 4 locations in Illinois, is at the center of a lawsuit accusing them of illegally evicting residents at 6 of their California facilities. The lawsuit, filed by residents who had each been dumped from a Sava nursing home, is seeking a injunction to prevent the chain from illegally evicting other nursing home residents, as well as damages. Some residents were essentially left homeless, with two of the 6 said to have been in poor health that made their eviction dangerous. One was left at a motel and then ended up in the hospital for emergency surgery.

Federal law requires nursing homes to give residents 30 days notice of their decision to evict them from the facility, as well as the opportunity to appeal the decision. That same notice must also be given to the state long-term care ombudsman, an elder rights representative assigned in every state. If the resident chooses to appeal a discharge, they cannot be relocated before a decision has been reached. The nursing home must also give a thorough and specific explanation as to why they cannot care for the resident, if that is the stated reason for the discharge. They must also assist in arrangements for a transfer, either to the resident’s home or to another home or skilled nursing facility, including sharing care plan details with intake facilities.

The lawsuit against Sava Senior Care alleges that they evicted residents without following federal laws requiring sending notice to an ombudsman, as well as not providing an opportunity for appeal.

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Last year, a 75 year old man suffering from Alzheimer’s was aggressively arrested and pepper sprayed after he was discovered wandering within the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, NJ. He was left blind as a result of the pepper spray and spent the last 10 months of his life never again able to see his daughters. According to a lawsuit filed this month in Passaic County court, Angel Pantoja was freely roaming the halls at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehab, where he was a resident. For unknown reasons, nursing home staff alerted local police that a resident was on the loose within the facility, exaggerating his behavioral and health status enough to lead police to believe that forceful arrest measures were necessary. When the responding officer came across Mr. Pantoja in a hallway, they claimed he was carrying an unidentified weapon and advancing towards the officer, justifying his use of pepper spray. The pepper spray blinded him, a pre-arrest tactic that the lawyer for his estate deemed unnecessary. As a result, Mr. Pantoja was hospitalized and was blind until he died 10 months later. He was also arrested and charged with assault, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. The responding officer said in a statement that he was led to believe that Mr. Pantoja was dangerous because the facility told him Mr. Pantoja had stabbed one of his own daughters in the eye, a claim his daughter denies.

While family acknowledges that the pepper spray was not Mr. Pantoja’s cause of death, the complaint filed by his family against both the local police and the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehab says they are seeking damages for their father having to “sustain mental anguish, distress and damage. [He] was never able to open his eyes again and was not able to see his daughters in his time of passing.”

Local Police Trained to Handle Situations Involving Those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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In November, a video was released to the public that showed 89 year old WWII Veteran James ‘Jack’ Dempsey’s cries for help go ignored by 3 members of Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation nursing staff. The video shows Jack Dempsey paging a nurse at 4:34 a.m. on February 27, 2014 while struggling to breathe and gasping ‘help me’ multiple times. A nurse finally responds after 8 minutes, ignoring his labored breathing and casually checking tubes and turning off his nurse call light before exiting the room.  After that, the video shows the nurse supervisor and a CNA coming to check on him and laughing while attempting to start oxygen. He appears to be lifeless and the nurses show no sense of urgency typically associated with a code situation. Mr. Jack Dempsey, a man who managed to survive war and live to the age of 89, died that night, alone and afraid in an Atlanta nursing home. The camera was placed in his room by his son, who said that his father was scared of living in a nursing home, and the camera was an attempt to alleviate his fears.

This week, two nurses and one CNA were indicted by an Atlanta grand jury on an array of charges, including murder. All 3 were charged with concealing a death. Loyce Picquet Agyeman, a licensed nurse, has been charged with murder, neglect to an elder person and concealing a death. Wanda Nuckles, a licensed nurse and nurse supervisor, has bee charged with depriving an elder person of essential services and concealing a death. CNA Mable Turman has been charged with neglect to an elder person and concealing a death.

Thanks to News Station, Video Made Public, Police Become Involved