Articles Posted in Failure to supervise

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It’s a tragic end to a story that should have never happened. On Monday, Chicago Police discovered the body of Ernestine Booker, a 67-year-old woman suffering from dementia who disappeared from her Bronzeville nursing home on October 23rd. Ms. Booker’s body was found at the Sykes Center, a now-closed Advocate outpatient healthcare center at 2545 S. King Drive, approximately 2.5 miles from the nursing home from which she disappeared. The cause of death has not yet been released, but Chicago Police said there is no evidence of a homicide.

While the full details of her disappearance have not been shared with the public, we do know that Ms. Booker left her nursing home unnoticed around 11 a.m. Her family notified the police that same day and Chicago police asked for the public’s assistance in locating her.

When families place their loved ones in the care of a nursing home, the minimum expectation is that the nursing home will keep track of their whereabouts. As we shared in an earlier post, residents with dementia are more prone to wandering a facility or eloping (leaving).

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“They get into trouble, they fix things up just enough to get back into compliance and then they let things slip again. This cycle just goes on for years. Meanwhile, there are people living in these places.”

-Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy to the Lexington Herald-Leader

A tragic story out of a northern Kentucky nursing and rehabilitation center has reignited a topic that we know causes a great deal of confusion and frustration for the loved ones of nursing home residents. How does one find out who the owners of a nursing home actually are and what their history of patient care is? The details of the wrongful death case of 45-year-old Bobby Crail help highlight the ability of nursing homes to repeatedly get away with maltreatment and even skirt financial and legal responsibility. It also highlights why if your loved one has been mistreated, abused, or neglected in a nursing home, you need an attorney who has both the experience and tenacity to successfully stand up to major corporations capable of these horrific behaviors.

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Levin & Perconti has filed a lawsuit against Alden Lakeland Rehabilitation and Health Care Center on behalf of Michael Leonard, a former resident who was injured after allegedly falling on two separate occasions in 2016. Alden Lakeland transferred Mr. Leonard to Presence St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital where doctors discovered a subdural hematoma, nasal bone fractures, facial contusions and abrasions, loose front teeth, altered mental status, and dehydration.

The lawsuit alleges that Alden Lakeland failed in their promise to maintain and adhere to a care plan that would enable Mr. Leonard to improve his health at the facility, ultimately allowing a healthy and timely return home. Mr. Leonard and his attorney-in-fact, Patricia Cagney, are being represented by Levin & Perconti Partner Margaret Battersby-Black.

About Alden Lakeland and The Alden Network

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nursing home neglect

Payroll Records Indicate Nursing Home Staffing Shortages Create Serious Gaps in Patient Care

Only recently did the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) begin collecting and reviewing daily payroll records from more than 14,000 nursing homes. The publishing of the data became required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Kaiser Health News recently analyzed the submissions and caught that most U.S. nursing homes have been operating grossly understaffed and reporting a false review of average employee shifts. Kaiser claims these nursing homes had:

  • Significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing, with particularly large shortfalls on weekends when personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as normal.
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A nursing home in Westborough, Massachusetts is facing two separate lawsuits for falls that ended the lives of two its residents within a 7 week span in 2015.  The lawsuit alleges that staff at for-profit Beaumont Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center ignored and purposely defied physicians’ orders that mandated the use of fall prevention devices, resulting in the tragic falls that caused blunt force head trauma and the death of two elderly residents.

Properly Used Safety Devices Can Aid in Fall Prevention

Per doctors’ orders, both fall victims, 89 year old Betsy Crane and 85 year old Vincent Walsh, were to wear wrist or ankle bracelets that function as tracking devices, referred to as a wander management system.  Devices such as these alert staff to the whereabouts of each resident, including leaving protected areas (such as the resident’s room or designated safe zone) or even making the smallest of movements. When combined with adequate supervision, wander management systems can be a valuable tool in ensuring the safety of nursing home residents who are at risk for wandering, as well as those at risk for falls.

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The family of a woman with a history of falling and rheumatoid arthritis is suing ManorCare Health Services at Mercy Fitzgerald of Yeadon after the victim died following a fall at their facility. The woman, Nellie Louise Howard, had fallen multiple times as a resident of the facility, but it was a fall she suffered after 20 months in the facility that ultimately took her life. Ms. Howard was admitted in May 2014 with documented dementia and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a track record of falls. Because of her high fall risk and her other mobility issues, she was required to have 24/7 care in order to prevent accidents. On February 25, 2016, Ms. Howard fell and was treated in the Emergency Room of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. She stayed for nearly two weeks before being transferred back to ManorCare, this time to the Hospice unit where she died from her injuries less than 2 months later. Ms. Howard’s cause of death was cervical fracture and pneumonia.

Documented Fall Risk Doesn’t Guarantee Better Supervision
Falls are happening with alarming frequency at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Regardless of a care plan that indicated Ms. Howard required constant care, she still managed to suffer a fall so tragic that it took her life. The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin and Perconti have successfully represented the families of many loved ones who have found themselves in the same unfortunately circumstances. Click here to view some of the many victories we’ve secured for victims of falls and other acts of nursing home and medical negligence.

 

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The family of a Pennsylvania man with Bipolar Disorder and Parkinson’s Disease has sued the nursing home where he resided after he died from injuries sustained while smoking at their facility. Kenneth Rodarmel, 73, suffered serious burns while smoking in February 2016 and died less than a month later in a nearby medical center.

The lawsuit alleges that the nursing home, Fair Acres Geriatric Center in Lima, Pennsylvania, neglected to allocate a safe space for residents to smoke, as well as to properly supervise those who had been deemed in need of oversight while smoking. Mr. Rodarmel also endured accidental cigarette burns in 2014 and was transitioned from unsupervised smoking status to supervised.

Lack of Supervision a Continuing Problem at Fair Acres & Nursing Homes Across the Country

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When families move a loved one into a long-term care facility, they are entrusting the home to provide proper support for their loved one. While these transfers happen every day, they are not easy. Many emotions are tied up in the transfer, and most families would prefer to care for a loved one at home–if they could. Trusting a facility to ensure your family member–husband, wife, mother, father, grandmother–is not neglected is a big step that no family undertakes lightly. That is why reading nursing home ratings, visiting the home, speaking with current residents, and other basic steps are incredibly helpful to ensure you are making the best choice.

Yet, no matter how much due diligence is performed, there comes a point when you simply must trust the facility to do the right thing. More specifically, you must trust the individual employees who work at the home. There are few settings where one individual maintains more power over another as that involving vulnerable seniors in nursing homes and their caregivers. That is why it is incumbent upon owners and operators of these facilities to ensure they recruit only qualified nurses, aides, guards, and others so that residents are not placed at risk.

Far too often, they fail in that duty.

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Two members of our team recently reached a settlement on behalf of a family following a preventable nursing home fall in Chicago that led to the untimely passing of a resident. The facts of this case are very similar to those that strike across the city far too often. We hope that more families understand that things like falls in nursing homes are often signs of neglect or caregiving errors that should have been avoided. These facilities must make changes to prevent falls and learn from past mistakes.

Chicago Nursing Home Fall

This particular incident occurred several years ago, in late October of 2007. An 89-year old woman was first admitted into a local nursing home in the summer of that year. Like all residents she has specific vulnerabilities which required around-the-clock care that she could not receive anywhere else. In particular, this resident was known from the first day of admission to be a fall risk. When a resident has serious mobility problems, it is essential that properly tailored care plans be put in place and followed to ensure the resident’s safety. That usually means, as was true here, that the resident receive assistance with any activity that required movement, like leaving the bed, using the restroom, going to the dining hall, and similar events.

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Most community members appreciate that certain products can be dangerous. We have all heard stories of major recalls involving many different things, from cars and trucks to children’s toys and cleaning products. However, even though we know products can be defective or dangerous, we still use them, because it is simply impossible to know for certain whether any indiviual product is defective. We have to rely on the standards of those making the items and the regulators tasked with ensuring overly dangerous materials are kept out of the stream of commerce.

Sadly, the product liability attorneys at our firm know that even with safety standards in place, dangerous products still make it to the market and affect communty members nearly every day. A large part of the work of legal professionals in this field invovles helping those hurt by those products that slip through the cracks, and working to ensure systematically harmful products are no longer available to hurt unsuspecting residents.

The Dangers of Bed Rails in Nursing Homes