Articles Tagged with elder abuse

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Harmful Medication Overuse Often First Line of Defense for Managing Behaviorally Challenged Nursing Home Residents

There is excessive and unnecessary use of antipsychotics and psychoactive medications in U.S. nursing homes. These powerful drugs are sometimes given to patients living in long-term care facilities to calm behaviors associated with behavior disruptions and mental health illnesses. Antipsychotics can be so powerful that they sedate residents to the point where they become listless and unresponsive. Residents may be slumped in chairs or unable to get up from bed; they may no longer participate in activities like feeding themselves or engaging in routines they enjoy, or even talk with their loved ones. They are also overly-prescribed to residents who may be marked unruly or disruptive or when staff feel overworked and unable to support and service all residents due to understaffing or high turnover rates. Care teams will seek out specific medications that make patients with these issues easier to handle – or sadly, just to quiet them and make them lethargic and sleepy. Nursing home doctors have also been caught on relying heavily on the recommendation of nurses and other care staff when making these medication decisions.

  • According to the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of atypical antipsychotic medications that affect at least 105,000 nursing home residents annually are being incorrectly paid for by Medicare, despite the drugs being deemed ineffective and potentially dangerous for the elderly population.

Identifying Heat-Related Stress and Dehydration Injuries in Nursing Home Populations During the Summer Months

When you help your loved one find a nursing home, you should feel it is a safe place no matter their risk factors for injury and illness. The facility staff members should be trusted to care for your relatives and friends and protect them from harm. However, extreme weather events, including high temperatures, can be particularly tough on a neglected senior population. And unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear stories of elderly individuals in dire situations who face severe injury or even die due to elevated hot temperatures and poor air-cooling options.

But elder community members most at risk are not always those living alone and without extensive social networks. They could also be those who rely on nursing homes and long-term care to keep them cool and safe. And when those in charge fail, and facilities don’t train staff to notice heat exhaustion or dehydration warning signs, the risk of a heat-related injury is high. As a result, facilities must invest in keeping cooling equipment, and doors, and windows well-maintained, so that the potential for hot rooms with uncomfortable conditions never presents itself in the first place.

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Candida Auris Is an Invasive Fungi That is Spreading in Health Care Settings and Proving to Be Drug-Resistant

On Thursday, July 22, 2021, U.S. health officials presented evidence that an untreatable fungus is now spreading in two Dallas-area hospitals and inside a nursing home located in Washington, D.C. Candida auris is a super bacterium the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deems an urgent threat. The fungus is extremely difficult to eradicate even with hospital-grade disinfectants and response plans, reminding health care leaders yet again why infection control is so critical in maintaining healthy human populations

Just as awful, commonly used drugs have little effect on abolishing the super fungus. Moreover, a resistant class of drugs, called echinocandins, once considered a last line of defense, is even useless in some cases, allowing Candida auris to spread quickly among healthcare-reliant populations. 

foster health abuse and neglect

Chicago North Side Nursing Home Facing Heavy Accusations of Neglect and Abuse

News reports and interviews with a former Foster Health and Rehabilitation employee reveal just how terrible conditions and resident treatment are at the North Side nursing home. Just days before, reports and a shocking video of abuse shook residents and family members after a 69-year-old man was found neglected and injured at the nursing home, located at 840 W. Foster Avenue in Chicago.

The former employee, Annette Zegarra, recently worked as an office manager for Foster Health and Rehabilitation Center. Zegarra told WGN9 news she knows the abused resident, now identified by family as James Crowder. Mr. Crowder is also a military veteran. A video shows he was found naked on the floor by another resident’s family member visiting the rehabilitation center. In a video, Crowder appeared confused, with a bloody gash on his head and disabled by an injured foot.

the warning signs of bedsores

What You Don’t Know About Bedsores Could Be Hurting Your Loved One

Sadly, painful bedsores are one of the most common and preventable injuries in nursing homes and can serve as a severe warning sign of underlying nursing home neglect. A pressure ulcer, also sometimes called a bedsore, a pressure sore, or even decubitus ulcer, may not appear serious at first in some nursing home residents. The open wound often begins with minor red marks on areas of the skin that are in continuous contact with surfaces such as bed linens. The sore will almost always make itself known thought, but it often too late and can be a sad situation for any family member to be informed of when the discovery of it gets to a dangerous and painful open wound stage. By this time, the sore has usually broken down so much skin that the underlying tissue, sometimes bone, is now exposed. These injuries are sure to reveal a more extensive scope of care issues impacting your loved one’s health. When not taken care of or treated with the medical attention required, pressure sores can lead to severe infection, a general decline in overall health, unnecessary emotional anguish and painful discomfort, and even death.

Bedsores are serious injuries that can become life-threatening if not treated in a responsible and timely manner. Although alternative therapies to treat bedsores are becoming available, pressure ulcer treatment remains time-consuming for care staff, making understaffed and underequipped facilities commonplace for bedsores to occur.

alzheimer's awareness month

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, Join Levin & Perconti by Going Purple

Today, more than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In Illinois, more than 230,000 are battling the disease. When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, they will require more care, patience, and support as they grow older. The emotional burden and financial costs are overwhelming on those diagnosed, their caregivers, long-term care workers, and even the nation’s health care system. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that in 2021, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $355 billion. And by 2050, costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.

As much as 75% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will eventually become entirely dependent on someone else to care for them. At times, this support can only be found in a facility such as a nursing home or memory care center. Unfortunately, our experience has shown us that Alzheimer’s residents can be too easily ignored, abused, or neglected within these homes.

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U.S. Nursing Homes Must Do More to Recruit, Train, and Retain CNAs

Understaffed nursing home teams have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic, especially certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who consist as much as 40% of a nursing home’s workforce. These employees support the daily needs of residents and long-term care patients, such as dressing, bathing, food preparation and eating, rehabilitation, hygiene, keeping communication with family members, socialization, and ambulating.

When CNAs do not have support or are treated poorly, it ultimately puts nursing home residents in harm’s way. Among many other oversights, call lights will be missed, hygiene becomes unhealthy among residents, patient morale, safety, and mental health reach low levels, medication routines lapse or become too familiar, and rotating residents at risk for bed sores are quickly forgotten.

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Preventable Fall Injury Highlighted in Survey at Illinois Veterans Home

In Quincy, the Illinois Veterans Home recently reported a resident fall incident on March 15, 2021, to the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH). According to a follow-up survey led by the state on March 27, 2021, a resident (R1) was injured from a fall after the facility failed to keep his environment safe and a walkway free of clutter. The resident told surveyors he had tripped on a cord and hit his head after falling to the floor. The man was transferred via ambulance to a local hospital to treat a forehead laceration that required seven sutures and a brain injury diagnostic scan. The man was admitted to the hospital overnight for observation.

IDPH’s fall incident investigation documented this pattern of events:

safety book on covid-19

Medical Malpractice Briefing Includes Facts on U.S. Nursing Home Industry’s Failed Response To COVID

The 2021 update to the briefing book Medical Malpractice: By The Numbers, published by the Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) at New York Law School, has been released and includes the latest statistics and research on issues related to medical malpractice, including long-term care wrongdoing. The 141-page volume includes over 400 linked footnotes and sources. It also discusses how laws could make it harder for patients and their families to place accountability on health care providers and nursing home owners in the case of medical negligence.

Medical Malpractice as it Relates to Long Term Care Providers

nursing homes not getting stimulus checks

Some Nursing Homes Are Taking Residents’ Stimulus Checks

The IRS began making stimulus payments on April 15, 2020. And for nursing home or assisted living facility residents on Medicaid, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had to raise the alarm after several facilities have requested residents to sign checks over to keep their Medicaid benefits going. These facilities have no right to claim residents’ stimulus checks.

FTC’s Elder Justice Coordinator Lois Greisman says that facilities cannot request or take the funds, which are considered tax credits per the CARES Act. Those tax credits don’t count as “resources” for federal benefit programs like Medicaid, so the government cannot claim them, and neither can the nursing homes.

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