Articles Posted in Hot Button Issues

nursing home workers

National Safety Month: Care Workers Have Right to Safe Workplace 

June is celebrated as National Safety Month. As we emphasize the safety of nursing home residents on the blog each week, this also feels like an excellent opportunity to talk about the struggles nursing home employees can face when overexerted, working on demanding schedules with less staff and performing care duties for violent residents who require greater services. These workers can also become too easily hurt by excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, and pulling while caring for residents because of a lack in injury prevention training and poor enforcement of safe workplace policies.

Nursing homes must follow OSHA standards and provide workers with an environment that does not have any known hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury. Some of the frequent complaints nursing home workers have of the safety and injury risks related to their job include:

elderly medical care

National Survey Evidence Shows Behavioral Health Services Inadequate in Most U.S. Nursing Homes

Researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine started surveying randomly selected skilled nursing facilities in 2017, asking questions about the types of behavioral health issues residents have, available behavioral health services, quality, satisfaction, staffing, staff education, turnover and service barriers. Now complete, the results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on June 5, 2019 and show that mental health disorders can affect up to 90 percent of nursing home residents in as many as a third of the nation’s nursing homes and community-based care facilities.

In this first review of its kind, researchers measured four different outcomes:

nursing home neglect

Falls Remain Leading Cause of Injury-Related Deaths for Older Adults and Understaffed Nursing Homes Could Be to Blame

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among persons aged 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the age-adjusted rate of deaths from falls is increasing as well. Ironically, as many as 75 percent of nursing facility residents are reported falling each year and carry twice the chances of falling compared to a senior who lives in their own home or community.

For elderly patients living in care facilities, hazards that contribute to fall injuries can include:

sexual assault

Suit Filed Against State After Rape and Pregnancy of Incapacitated Woman

Lawyers for a young Arizona woman who was consistently raped and then impregnated by her nurse have filed a 54-page claim against the state seeking $45 million in damages. The 29-year-old woman was a patient and resident under the care of Hacienda Healthcare long-term care facility located in Phoenix. She has been nonverbal and intellectually disabled since the age of three after a drowning accident. Due to repeated sexual assault by a staff member, the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy in December of 2018.  Shockingly, the claim also says the woman could have been pregnant before.

Hacienda Healthcare did publicly apologize for the incident and has promised to follow more robust hiring and training practices. The Arizona Department of Health Services has not yet released a comment regarding the case. 

nursing home neglect

Long-Term Care Resident Left Unattended Dies While Smoking Near Oxygen Tank 

Ohio police in Oakwood Village are investigating the death of a resident from Grande Oaks Nursing Home. The man had caught on fire while smoking a cigarette in his wheelchair outside of the facility. Reports show he was allegedly smoking outside while using an oxygen tank when his wheelchair caught fire. Because staff allegedly were not aware, they did not respond. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until someone driving by noticed the fire and smoke and immediately contacted 911. Local police say they arrived to a smoldering wheelchair parked in front of the building with a male laying on the ground, face down. The man had already stopped breathing and CPR was administered. He later died from his burn-related injuries at a nearby hospital.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policies show, “Oxygen use is prohibited in smoking areas for the safety of residents (NFPA 101, 2000 ed., 19.7.4). Facilities should ensure resident safety by such efforts as informing visitors of smoking policies and hazards to prevent smoking-related incidents and/or injuries.

elder abuse attorneys

Nursing Home Countersues Although Liability Accepted for Man’s Choking Death

In 2013, an 82-year-old man died from a preventable choking incident at Woodhaven Care Center in New York. The nursing home accepted liability for the man’s death, and a jury awarded $1 million to the man’s family highlighting the issues with understaffing. The wrongful death lawsuit stated that inattentive nursing home staff failed to provide the man with his dentures and fed him food that was not a part of his dietary plan. The man was then left unsupervised, choked on the meal and died within moments after a nurse’s station video camera caught the incident. Staff also waited nearly 20 minutes before calling for help and dialing 911.

Today, Woodhaven has outrageously presented a countersuit against the family of the deceased for alleged money yet owed for his stay. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys plan to follow this story as mediation in the case will be scheduled in the future.

wrongful death attorneys

Nursing Home Associated with Large, For-Profit Network Sued After Woman Suffered and Died

News of a recent lawsuit against Three Mile Curve Operations LLC, dba Logan Center, Genesis Healthcare LLC a nursing home in Logan Center, West Virginia alleges that poor care provided at the facility caused a woman who required rehabilitative services and assistance with day-to-day tasks to suffer from neglect related injuries and eventually die.

According to a March 25th report in the West Virginia Record, an incident took place on April 12, 2018, which triggered the untimely death of Ms. Lilian Messer soon after being admitted to the facility.

nursing home falls

Assisted-Living Resident Suffered Multiple Injuries Due to Inadequate Fall Prevention Care

One of the nation’s largest for-profit assisted-living providers in the country, SavaSeniorCare, operates Cheyenne Healthcare Center, a Wyoming care facility that recently settled a 2018 lawsuit alleging negligent care of a patient in 2015. The man claimed to have suffered multiple injuries from several falls and blamed an “inadequate level of staffing care and the facility not developing a comprehensive care plan that met his medical and physical needs.”

In addition, the lawsuit allegedly claimed the facility failed to notify the man’s family of his injuries and other medical issues that developed during his stay.

healthcare fraud

Miami-Dade Nursing Home Owner Convicted in Largest U.S. Healthcare Fraud Scheme

Just last week, a 12-person jury deliberated for four days before finding Philip Esformes, a 50-year-old entrepreneur and owner of a network of 16 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida, guilty on 20 out of 26 charges related to healthcare fraud. This is believed to be the largest fraud scheme ever charged by the U.S. Justice Department and a reflection of the business owner’s greed through receiving kickbacks, money laundering and conspiracy to commit federal program bribery totaling $37 million. In an April 5th, 2019 public statement, prosecutors called him a “despicable,” “vampire” who was fueled by “unbounded greed.”

“Esformes exploited and victimized patients by providing inadequate medical care and poor conditions in his nursing homes. We will continue the fight against such parasites.”

types of strokes

Nursing Homes Are Not Always Equipped to Recover Stroke Patients

2016 recommendations from the American Stroke Association (ASA) still stand true in 2019. If someone living in a nursing home has a stroke, they should be treated in an inpatient rehabilitation facility, rather than remain in the home. The resident may need intensive, multidisciplinary treatment and initial rehabilitation should take place in a specialized care facility equipped with the appropriate care staff. The ASA recommendations go on further to say that the “patient should participate in at least three hours of rehabilitation a day from physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists.” Since nurses are continuously available and doctors visit more often than at nursing homes, any form of recovery will be faster than if the patient remains under previous nursing home care.

6 Types of Stroke

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