Articles Posted in National Nursing Home News

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McClean County Nursing Home Residents Transferred After LeRoy Manor Closes

The former long-term care residents of the LeRoy Manor building, located in the central Illinois community of Bloomington-Normal, have moved to other nursing homes throughout Illinois. The private nursing home closed on February 15, 2019, displacing 75 employees and 66 residents. Administrators say about 90 percent of the residents were receiving Medicaid and poor reimbursement by the state was to blame for the closure. The group announced plans to end long-term care services at the home in January of 2019.

Thankfully, regional ombudsman from the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging told local news outlets that residents and their family members felt individual rights and desires were protected during the transition and that staff saw the process out appropriately. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and many residents preparing for a move out of their control will find themselves neglected or abused during a time of uncertainty and when changing staffing challenges become present. The move may be tough though for many of the LeRoy Manor residents who were originally from the area and able to stay connected with family and friends on a regular basis. These are relationships important when addressing basic care and medical needs and identifying nursing home neglect and abuse symptoms of loved ones.

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Latest Senate Hearing Shows CMS Can Do More to Protect Nursing Home Residents

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019 another government session, this time led by the US Senate Committee on Finance, was held to discuss several disturbing reports of nursing home abuse and neglect and the lack of preventative measures and faulty reporting system used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create environments for quality resident care. The hearing was led by Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R – IA) and Ranking Member, Ron Wyden (D – OR) with special panelist testimony delivered by family members of residents fallen victim to nursing home abuse or neglect.

A Minnesota woman heartbreakingly remembered her mother, an Alzheimer’s patient who was raped by care staff. During the hearing she said, “My final memories of my mother’s life now include watching her bang uncontrollably on her private parts for days after the rape, with tears rolling down her eyes, apparently trying to tell me what had been done to her but unable to speak due to her disease.” A woman from Iowa shared her family’s concern after their mother died in a nursing home ranked with the highest possible quality of resident care scores from CMS even though the organization had been seriously fined for physical and verbal abuse. The elderly woman was allegedly left in severe pain and may have been dehydrated days before her nursing home death.

On Wednesday, the United States Senate Committee on Finance held a public hearing entitled “Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.” The hearing included statements from adult children of nursing home residents who were the victims of rape, abuse, and neglect at the hands of their caretakers.

Letter Describes How Recent Government Actions Endanger Nursing Home Residents

Prior to the hearing, six long term care advocacy organizations banded together to send a letter to the Senate Committee on Finance to remind them of the government’s recent actions that have scaled back protections for those in nursing homes.

Earlier this month, our blog covered the story of a 29 year-old-woman in a vegetative state who had given birth to a baby boy on December 29th. The woman is a longtime resident of Hacienda Healthcare just outside Phoenix, previously falsely reported as admitted to the facility after a near drowning incident as a teenager. Instead, the woman’s family has clarified that she is nonverbal and is intellectually disabled as a result of seizures that began as a toddler. Although she is nonverbal, she is able to move her extremities and head and neck, and can show emotion through facial expressions.

This morning, Phoenix police announced that they had arrested Nathan Sutherland, a 36-year-old male nurse who had been an employee of the facility and was responsible for providing nursing care to the victim. He has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse after he was found to be a DNA match to the infant boy. Police required genetic testing of every male employee of Hacienda after the victim gave birth and although Sutherland initially attempted to forgo testing, he was ultimately forced by police to cooperate.

Sutherland become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in 2011 and it appears that Hacienda has been his sole employer since becoming an LPN. Prior to receiving his nursing certification, he worked as a nurse aide for 6 years. Earlier today, Hacienda released a statement that Sutherland was immediately fired upon learning of the DNA match, also saying that Sutherland went through a background check prior to being hired. Hacienda has publicly apologized for the incident, promising to follow more robust hiring and training practices.

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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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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.

A Special Focus Facility (SFF) is being sued by the family of Delores Green, an 84-year-old woman suffering from dementia, for allegedly failing to prevent her from being ‘repeatedly’ raped and sodomized.

The victim’s daughter, Vivian Colette Green, is suing Christian Care Home in Ferguson, Missouri for the alleged rapes after discovering her mother injuries just last month. A resident of the facility for nearly 8 years, the victim is unable to communicate, unable to walk, relies on a feeding tube, and is a diabetic. She was unable to tell her daughter what had taken place, but Vivian Green said she quickly realized that her mother had suffered sexual trauma due to the bruises and swelling on her body.

Upon discovering the injuries, Ms. Green immediately questioned staff at Christian Care Home but after feeling ignored and realizing the injuries were getting worse, she called the police. An emergency room physician conducted a rape examination, which includes a physical exam as well as a rape kit, and said her injuries were consistent with recent multiple rapes that had taken place over the course of several weeks. An investigation has identified a suspect, a fellow resident within Christian Care Home, but that suspect has not officially been named by police.

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Healthcare Facilities Should Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

Although new Medicare and Medicaid guidelines were set in place after the tragic deaths of over 100 nursing home residents during Hurricane Katrina, cases of patients left behind due to natural disasters such as wildfires, tornadoes, or floods are reported each year. These occurrences are starting to prompt health care officials to raise concern over the need for better public policy support, emergency planning resources, funding, and protections for vulnerable long-term care residents in the event of an emergency prompted by catastrophic events and conditions that threaten their well-being such as no internet and no electricity.

A recent federal review of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) records found that:

Nursing Homes May Transfer Ownership to Hide Questionable Care

In the aftermath of a resident accident, report of abuse or neglect, or serious complaints against staff, a nursing home’s lease or title may simply be transferred to another company as a way to position a band-aid over real issues. When nursing home facilities are often bought, resold and rebranded, families of residents should raise questions about whether administrators or staff are to blame.

“A May 2016 article in the Boston Globe highlighted the findings of a Harvard University study on the impact an acquisition has on nursing home quality. The study found that there was a direct link between the number of times a facility had changed hands and the number of state violations it had. The authors ultimately concluded that the changing of hands wasn’t the cause, but the fact that the facility itself was plagued by troubles and that changing ownership did little to improve it.” – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

This week–May 12th through May 18th–represents the official “National Nursing Home Week.” With many participants, including the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the event is a yearly reminder of the needs of long-term care residents and the terrific work that so many valuable caregivers perform day in and day out. It is easy for those of us working on matters related to nursing home neglect and mistreatment to appear unconcerned with the great work that facilities are able to provide. But on the contrary, because we are so familiar with the many instances of poor care, we are better able to understand the value and service of great care, when it exists.

The theme of this year’s week-long event, according to the AHCA site on the event, is” “Team Care.” In summarizing the event, the site explains that the week is for the residents and dedicated staff who “pitch in for optimal outcomes.” This is a timely theme, as with the complex needs of many seniors, proper communication and shared commitments to positive outcomes for senior residents requires clear coordination between all members of the caregivers process. When too many nursing home employees are forced to go it alone or do not receive the support they need for owners and operators, harm results.

National Nursing Home Week Events

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