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caregiver neglect

Caregiver Neglect and Abuse May Happen More Often During Holiday Season

With the National Center of Elder Abuse reporting as many as 5 million people affected by elder abuse per year, and more than 95 percent of which go unreported, it remains an understatement to say nursing home abuse and neglect are a growing concern. And during the busy holiday season, when there are not enough employees to take care of the needs of all the residents and care workers become easily distracted with personal activities, the incidences of abuse and neglect will sadly trend upward. It’s an important time of the year for family members and friends of those residing in long term care facilities to frequently check-in and visit with not only our loved ones but also those responsible for caring for them. Make a daily call or weekly stop this month to see that the quality of services is what you expect. Unfortunately, the result may be that many of our elderly relatives are living with care that is substandard and may even be coated with dangerous abuse and neglect symptoms. Recognize these signs provided by the Nursing Home Abuse Center and report any findings or concerns immediately.

Physical Abuse

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nursing home alzheimers

Alzheimer’s Residents More Likely to Wander and Elope

For the estimated 5.5 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a debilitating memory and mental behavior disease – life is not easy. And as these people with one of the most common types of dementia age, 75 percent of them will be admitted to a nursing home by their 80th birthday and become fully dependent on someone else to care for them. Unfortunately, there are too many times when these residents are ignored, abused or tragically lost in a wandering or elopement incident. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports there are close to 2 million cases of elder abuse incidences each year for dementia residents living in community settings such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Most long-term care ombudsman will say the true incident rates are likely to be much higher though since abuse can come in many different ways including neglect.

Wandering and elopement represent some of the many behavioral problems triggered by nursing home neglect occurring in residents with the Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In fact, six out of 10 people with dementia will wander and aimlessly move about within the facility or grounds without regard of their personal safety. For a better understanding of this phenomena, the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) has identified several different reasons for wandering in nursing homes as well as the different types of wandering such as environmentally cued wandering, recreational wandering, agitated purposeful wandering, fantasy and reminiscent wandering, and elopement. Elopement is the most dangerous type of wandering and occurs when a patient attempts to completely leave the nursing home and wander outside. Patients are often seriously hurt or killed during this type of wandering.

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People with mental health conditions that impact their ability to make decisions cannot consent to sexual relations. To allow elderly residents with dementia to engage in intimate relations in a nursing home under the guise that it is “consensual,” and in some respects promote it as a policy, is inexcusable.

An Illinois appellate court has sided with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on their decision to heavily fine an Illinois nursing home for a policy that allowed residents with dementia to engage in sexual relationships.

Generations at Neighbors in Byron, IL previously allowed residents with dementia or other cognitive difficulties to have intimate relations with fellow residents, provided that the interactions seemed consensual. CMS, citing this policy as an Immediate Jeopardy violation, fined the facility $83,000. Immediate Jeopardy citations are reserved for those “situations in which the provider’s noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment or death to a resident.”

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“Since nurse staffing is directly related to the quality of care that residents experience, CMS is very concerned about the risk to resident health and safety that these situations may present.”

-11/18/18 CMS memo to state nursing home surveyors

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency tasked with regulating nursing homes, has updated rules for nursing home staffing levels and how they report employee hours.

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evacuation plan

Lawmakers in Outrage of Administration’s Relaxed Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness Proposed Requirements

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He has been outspoken on many occasions regarding the outcome of nursing home preparedness in the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster. And with President Trump’s Administration’s recent announcement to ease a home’s necessary preparedness for emergencies, his concern came with outrage expressed in an official letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“It is troubling to see CMS decide to further roll back its already inadequate safeguards with this proposed rule, which does more to cut corners than cut costs,” Wyden wrote. “The Trump administration’s proposal not only strips patients of commonsense protections in order to pad the pockets of medical providers, but goes against the recommendations of well-respected national organizations charged with developing best practices for workplace and consumer safety.”

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nursing home vet

Employee Helps Raise Concern Over VA Nursing Home Care

U.S. lawmakers have sent a demand letter to the head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, regarding more information be revealed following the horrific exposure of negligent care occurring at an already poorly rated Veterans Affairs (VA) facility in Brockton, Massachusetts. Investigators arrived at the facility after an employee whistleblower contacted congress on the failing nature of the home for veterans. When investigators arrived, they found half a dozen staff sleeping vs. caring for residents.

Democrats from the state, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, penned the letter and included concerns such as, “The continued care lapses at VA facilities raise questions about whether concrete, lasting measures are being implemented to prevent misconduct from occurring again.” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie has been requested to give a full explanation regarding the steps that will be taken by the VA to fix the ongoing issues.

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evacuation plan

Senate Report Calls for U.S. Nursing Homes to Create Improved Response to Natural Disasters

When a nursing home or long-term care facility becomes vulnerable to an emergency, such as a natural disaster, all hands need to be prepared for safe resident evacuation, tracking and management of patients, backing up to an effective power and communication system, medication holding and climate control, and a plan for sanitation methods to prevent the spread of deadly infections or illnesses. Unfortunately, both Hurricane Harvey and Irma showed the world that many U.S. nursing homes are not prepared after more than a dozen seniors residing in nursing homes were perished. Months beyond these disastrous response outcomes, ranking members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance have called for more oversight to prevent tragedies with better planning and regulation of facilities, prompted by the release of an 84-page report highlighting the causes and consequences of facility failures related natural disasters.

Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) pushed out new nursing home and long-term care facility standards for natural disasters in 2017, lawmakers featured in this November 2018 report said that federal rules need to be “more robust and clear,” and until changes are made, seniors in America’s nursing homes will continue to be at risk when disaster strikes.”

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nursing home theft

Public Guardian Says Dementia Resident Was Victim of Financial Corruption for Nearly a Year

Attorneys Steve Levin and Mike Bonamarte continue to offer legal support alongside acting Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert for a 97-year-old woman with dementia who was financially exploited by her nursing home care staff for the sum of three quarters a million dollars. It was initially believed the aging resident with dementia and no living relatives, Grace Watanabe, had her life savings of $600,000 taken from her by five care workers at Symphony Residences of Lincoln Park, located at 1366 W Fullerton Ave in Chicago. New information now suggests the amount stolen is actually closer to $750,000.

The legal team for Ms. Watanabe is working hard to recover the stolen money, hopefully with the help of Symphony administrators in releasing all requested documents regarding the financial exploitation. So far, one of the thieves has agreed to repay $15,000 to the victim.

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for profit nursing home

Chicago School of Public Health Research Findings Conclude For-Profit Nursing Homes Need to Provide Better Care

Lee Friedman, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences in the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, recently led a study that found “community-dwelling adults 60 years old and older who need assistance with tasks related to daily living but do not live in a nursing home had the fewest number of clinical signs of neglect compared with those living in any type of nursing facility.”

These findings come as no surprise to the abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti though. For decades, it’s been known that residents receiving care in for-profit nursing homes are twice as likely to experience health issues caused by substandard care compared with those living in not-for-profit facilities or residents in their own homes among the general community. We share the same sentiments published in Friedman’s new report in the journal Gerontology.

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elderly wanderer

Understanding Why Nursing Home Residents Wander

1 in 10 Americans, older than 65, will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. These individuals will experience a drastic decline in mental abilities that make it difficult to complete daily activities most take for granted such as eating, bathing, socializing, or even the ability to remember their own name or address. A majority of dementia victims will require an intense amount of supervised care and physical assistance to go about these routines. More often than not, families will put their trust in a nursing home center to manage the progressive, non-curable disease that will continue to worsen their loved ones until death. For individuals with who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities with dementia and have no family to check-in or watch out for them, receiving the best care can be difficult due to the staff responsible for the growing number of abuse and neglect cases impacting nursing home residents today.

Wandering represents one of many behavioral problems occurring in people with the dementia. In fact, six out of 10 people with dementia will wander and aimlessly move about within the facility or grounds without regard of their personal safety. For a better understanding of this phenomena, The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) has identified several different reasons for wandering in nursing homes as well as the different types of wandering.