The family of a woman who died in 2007 of acute sepsis and other complications stemming from a large Stage 4 pressure wound is bringing a nursing home negligence lawsuit. The pressure ulcer was discovered two months before her death, causing paramedics to rush the 82-year-old woman to the hospital. A felony elder abuse trial is pending in addition to the family’s civil suit, claiming negligence and wrongful death. The licensing division began license revocation proceedings as well. This case highlights the importance of law enforcement in nursing home negligence. By educating others on the importance of carrying for the elderly, nursing home negligence may decrease. To read more about he wrongful death lawsuit, please click the link.
A nursing home aide tied an 83-year-old woman to her wheelchair with a bed sheet, took her into a common room, turned out the lights and napped. The victim remained restrained for approximately one hour. The elder neglect incident occurred in May of 2008. The certified nurse’s aide pled guilty to violating public health law involving the abuse, neglect and mistreatment of a person. The 72 year old employee had to surrender his nurse aide’s certificate and is prohibited to work in such a capacity for one year from his sentencing date. A director for a watchdog group that tracks enforcement actions against nursing homes and assisted-living facilities stated that this type of incident is not what you do to a human being. The resident of the home was unable to walk or care for herself without the assistance of others. The nursing home’s video recording system showed that the employee pushed the resident down the hallway while she was restrained in her wheelchair with the bed sheet. The use of bed sheets to restraint residents is highly discouraged due to a risk of suffocating and strangulation. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click the link.
A family filed an elderly negligence suit against a nursing home physician claiming that the doctor was negligent in prescribing a medication for her. The physician took the stand and testified that the family called months later asking for the exact medication in order to curb’s the woman’s anxiety. The nursing home negligence lawsuit alleges that the medication, Haldol, contributed to the victim’s immobility and bedsores while she was living at a nursing home. The plaintiff alleged the pressure ulcer required surgery and could have been prevented. The nursing home negligence lawsuit claims that the prescription decreased her motor activity. To read more about the nursing home lawsuit, please click the link.
Last week, two of the country’s largest arbitration firms said they are no longer handling consumer arbitration cases. In the Wall Street Journal, Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. PIRG said “In the long run, I think that this is the beginning of the end of forced arbitration in all consumer contracts, from credit cards, to nursing homes to cell phones.”
While this development is encouraging, it is still important to speak out in support of the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009. This Act would invalidate all current and future arbitration agreements that many people entering into nursing homes and assisted living facilities unknowingly sign. These agreements take away one’s right to argue their case in front of a jury. Follow the link to learn more about nursing home arbitration. To find out how to contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators to show your support for this bill, click here.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released a new set of requirements that focus on improving the quality of life for nursing home residents. According to the CMS Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera, “The improvements in the guidance are intended to support efforts underway to transform nursing homes into environments that are more like their homes through both environmental changes and resident-centered caregiving.” The new guidance focuses heavily on creating a welcoming environment that centers upon the individual nursing home residents‘ needs. It also gives residents choices in activities, grooming, eating and bedtimes. To read more about the new CMS requirements, follow the link.
The federal government now has an online tool consumers can use in evaluating the quality of nursing-home care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will start running a pilot program to see if cash incentives to nursing homes can improve the care they provide, especially in areas like nurse staffing and preventable hospitalizations. Recently, the federal government started a star program that rates nursing homes and flagged 135 of the most troubled nursing homes. Many nursing home residents are forced to pay for their own care, because they earn too much for Medicaid, and are only given Medicare. They are then surprised by Medicare’s limited coverage for nursing-home, which is up to 100 days after a hospitalization of three days or more. To qualify for this, a patient must have a doctor’s order to go to a nursing home for the same illness or injury that she was treated for at the hospital. The new online website will list the nursing homes with summarized data from state and federal inspections and information the nursing homes reported to regulators. The website will contain information about nursing homes in Chicago, Illinois. To read more about the nursing home program, please click the link.
A 27-year-old nurse’s aide charged with abusing elderly couple has entered a plea of no contest. The man pled no contest but mentally ill to first-degree abuse of a vulnerable adult, which is a 15-year-old felony. A second count of the same charge had been dismissed as part of a pretrial settlement. The nurse’s aide had initially been charged with two felony counts stemming from a 2008 incident involving the elderly couple, both of them being 81 years old at the time. According the police, the man was at his usual shift and threw food all over the kitchen. When he came back the next morning to clean up the mess, he allegedly went into the living room and urinated on the head of the man’s wife. Unfortunately the woman is physically unable to care for herself. The man also allegedly poured liquid soap over the man’s head and threw soap around. After the man was charged it was determined that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial. It is unfortunate when mentally incompetent people are employees at nursing homes. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click the link.
Authorities believe that an 87-year-old woman with dementia may have been sexually assaulted at her nursing home. The woman is currently being treated for pneumonia where she is in serious condition. Nurses found evidence during the examination that she may have been molested at the nursing home. The woman’s daughter believes that pictures show that her mother was sexually assaulted. The woman also asked that a rape kit test will be done on him. Although no previous incidents of sexual assault have been reported, eight complaints have been filed since 2006. Investigators have been unable to interview the elderly sexual assault victim because of her condition. To read more about the sexual abuse, please click the link.
A jury started hearing arguments in a wrongful death lawsuit in which the family of a 90-year-old woman claims the nursing home where she lived was negligent in her care and caused her death. They contend that she received inadequate care during her stay at the nursing home. The woman died from injuries she sustained in her falls. The woman’s attorney told jurors that workers at the nursing home falsified records, violated internal policies and were generally negligent in how they watched over the woman. The woman continued rehabilitation from a broken pelvis she suffered in a fall her home. The family is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from the nursing home and it’s management home. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click here.
A bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives that will help put an end to unfair mandatory arbitration agreements. The bill, introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), would put an end to pre-dispute arbitration agreements that nursing home residents and their family members are often forced to sign when completing nursing home contracts. When signed, the agreement waives their rights to have a jury decide the case. For nursing home residents and their families, this bill will protect their right to take their case to court in the event that they become the victim of injury or death as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect fare better when given the opportunity to plead their case in front of a jury. A trial by jury provides a public record of wrongful conduct and alerts fellow residents and their families of the nursing home’s misconduct. It also ensures compensation for victims when a home does not follow through on the promises they make to care for their residents. Additionally, jury trials send a message to wrong-doers that misconduct will not be tolerated and will not go unpunished, helping to deter others from these practices.
Follow the link to read more about how this bill would protect nursing home residents.