Articles Posted in National Nursing Home News

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.

Some believe that the five-star facility rating system may not be the best of the best. The system only compares the homes against the peers statewide, instead of against the 15,800 nationwide. The system also automatically assigns five stars, which is the highest possible, to the top 10 percent. Some critics call it grading on a curve. Experts say that the ranking system should only serve as a starting point in a consumer’s assessment of a nursing home. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also warned that the database should not be the only tool family’s use. Additionally there are no official penalties for a low rating. Family members should research nursing homes in order to insure that their loved ones are not the victims of nursing home abuse. To read more about the nursing home rating system, click here.

CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has published new guidelines regarding pressure sores (decubitus ulcers). SNFs (Skilled Nursing Facilities), like nursing homes and long-term care facilities, are commonly cited for elder abuse and neglect. Often this nursing home abuse and neglect can result in the development of pressure ulcers on elderly patients. The new regulations specify that “a resident who enters [a] facility without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable.” With attentive care, pressure ulcers are usually preventable. Therefore, all nursing homes under the Medicare/Medicaid program will receive amplified attention from State Surveyors with the goal of zero tolerance for bed sores. This will put an increased burden on nursing homes and facilities to treat and prevent decubitus ulcers, which are often concurrent with elder abuse and neglect. For the full article, click here.

A nursing home was fined after state authorities began investigating a case of elderly abuse. Additionally, state authorities will not allow any new patients to be admitted to the home after the elderly abuse case surfaced. The story surrounds a nursing assistant who committed elderly abuse against a blind patient. The employee has been charged by police with willful and physical abuse. A resident was hit with a clipboard and incontinence pad and the information was reported to the senior person on duty where there was a delay in investigating the matter. Additionally, the patient was also slapped and had her hair pulled. The patient has now been fired after the elderly abuse incident. Since the nursing home gets federal funding for Medicare, Medicaid and VA Patents the federal authorities are part of the elderly abuse investigation. The department of health has fined the nursing home $1,500 and ordered them to complete a plan of correction while not permitting any new patients. The nursing home also faces civil fines that are stacking up by $3,500 a day. To read the full story, click here.

Kurt Johnson, a 49-year-old certified nursing assistant of Golden Living Center in Wisconsin Dells, has been charged with three counts of second degree sexual assault. According to the criminal complaint, Johnson’s co-workers witnessed the sexual elder abuse. In particular, they saw him fondle female residents’ breasts on three separate occasions while working in the facility’s Dementia/Alzheimer’s unit in September and December 2007.
For the full story, click here.

Cammy Nye, a certified nursing assistant, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 700 hours of community service, and three years of probation after an Oregon jury found her guilty of contributing to the death of nursing home patient Linda Ober.

Suzanne Ruddell, the nursing supervisor, was also found guilty but her sentencing has been delayed after her lawyer requested a pre-sentencing investigation.

Ober, a patient at Gateway Care and Rehab Center in Portland, was dropped to the floor while being transferred from a wheelchair to her bed, breaking both of her legs. She was then allowed to suffer for 5 days, despite screaming in pain, before finally being taken to the hospital, where she died following complications from surgery.

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