Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Investigation uncovers nursing home abuse in...

A Toronto newspaper investigation into nursing home inspections uncovered numerous incidents of poor nursing home care in Waterloo Region and cited four facilities in cases of abuse.
The Toronto Star discovered hundreds of cases of neglect and abuse of seniors while examining more than 1,500 inspection reports for long-term care homes across Ontario since the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care introduced a new inspection system about a year ago.
Inspections are done in response to complaints of poor care or the home’s reporting of an incident such as an alleged assault. The story was carried in Thursday’s Waterloo Region Record.
The newspaper report sparked action at Queen’s Park, with Health Minister Deb Matthews convening an emergency meeting Friday to find out why long-term care facilities are still not following rules on the reporting of abuse and neglect. At the meeting will be the Ontario Long Term Care Association representing two-thirds of Ontario’s 627 homes and several groups representing family and resident councils in homes.
The focus of the Thursday story was a 71-year-old woman with dementia, who is allged to have been sexually assaulted in her room by a facility staff member, who is now facing charges. Premier Dalton McGuinty responded to story saying there is “clearly more work to do” on the issue of protecting seniors. “I heard about this horrific incident and my heart goes out to the woman involved, her family and friends,” McGuinty said.
Locally, the investigation revealed 46 inspection reports of worrisome incidents in long-term care facilities in Waterloo Region and Wellington County. Six nursing homes were cited regarding reports of abuse, either by staff on resident or resident on resident.
TheRecord - Provincial investigation uncovers reported abuse in...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

man charged in neglect-related death

Authorites on Wednesday charged an Independence man with criminal involuntary manslaughter in the Nov. 1 death of his disabled mother, who died from complications of neglect. Prosecutors allege that James E. Owens failed to provide adequate “nourishment, hygiene and medical care” to his 74-year-old mother. An autopsy determined that Carol F. Brown died from complications of “infected decubitus ulcers and sepsis” due to neglect. Owens, 52, told detectives that he did not feed his mother or summon medical help after he thought she had suffered a stroke because she had said she wanted to die at home, according to a police affidavit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. At the hospital, a maggot was removed from an open wound on one of Brown’s legs, according to court documents.
Read more here:
Independence man charged in mother’s neglect-related death -

New Mat may prevent Pressure Sores

People permanently confined to bed can develop bed sores. New smart cushioning is intended to eliminate the discomforts of lying and sitting. An integrated sensor system equalizes pressure selectively.

Anyone confined to a wheelchair or a bed has to deal with numerous complications. Frequently, they suffer from bedsores or decubitus ulcers as physicians call them. Bony prominences, such as the sacrum, coccyx and ischium, are especially endangered spots. Unrelieved pressure can lead to tissue necrosis. Damage can extend into the periosteum and, at the worst, into bones themselves. The ulcers are entryways for germs, which can trigger sepsis.

While hitherto available passive aids such as air, gel or vacuum cushions relieve pressure, they do not relieve the affected area optimally. Some patients are also unable to actively control the distribution of pressure and alleviate their own suffering. They are dependent on others for help. Personal care assistants or family caregivers must constantly keep an eye out for the formation of pressure ulcers.

A newly developed sensor mat will take over this job in the future and thus prevent tissue damage: researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg are endowing textile cushions with the capability to “feel” by outfitting them with smart sensor systems.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nurse Aide CNA - guilty in Cleveland nursing home abuse

A Cleveland nursing assistant CNA has pleaded guilty in the nursing home abuse of an Alzheimer's patient whose son recorded the mistreatment on a video camera hidden in an air purifier in the woman's room.
Maria Karban, 26, of Cleveland pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal assault on an elder Thursday in Cuyahoga County and faces up to six months in jail. Her attorney declined comment until the sentencing next month.
Karban and another nursing aide are accused of abusing Esther Piskor, 78, between April 8 and May 15 at a at MetroHealth Medical Center facility.
Virgen Caraballo, 45, of Cleveland pleaded guilty last month to seven felony counts of patient abuse or neglect and also is to be sentenced in January.
MetroHealth has fired the women and two other employees.
Woman pleads guilty in Cleveland nursing home abuse

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nursing Home Resident killed in California

Authorities say an 81-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder for allegedly beating to death his 94-year-old nursing home roommate at an Orange County nursing home. According to police, William McDougall allegedly took a bar used to hang clothes from a closet, and used it to repeatedly strike his roommate, Manh Ban Nguyen, about the head.

Detectives are still investigating a possible motive for the nursing home assault, which occurred at Palm Terrace Healthcare Center, a 99-bed residential facility in Laguna Hills. Nguyen, who was found beaten around the head, was pronounced dead at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center.
The report does not say whether either man suffered from alzheimers or had a past record of mental illness or felony.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nursing Home Abuse caught on Tape

Three wnrkers at a nursing home in Pennsylvania have been arrested after being caught on tape hitting and mocking an elderly woman who suffers from dementia. Relatives of the 78-year-old woman installed a hidden camera after officials at the home rejected their suspicions that she was being abused, ABC News reported. The woman had told her daughter she was being punched and slapped by staff, asking: "Why do they keep picking on me?"

The video shows the employees "engaging in acts which I can only describe as humiliating, taunting and abusive of the victim in this case, including forcing the victim to stand topless for several minutes while the defendant and the other employees mocked her," the district attorney said. "The way the defendants allegedly abused this victim is inexcusable. Patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s are among our most vulnerable citizens." The three employees have been charged with offenses including aggravated assault.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Insurance Industry Manufactures Crises and Harms America

Great article today from Center for Justice and Democracy on the planned phony insurance 'crisis' planned by insurance companies to manufacture falsehoods to the American public in order to deny Americans access to the Courts and to advance tort reform.

The first definitive expose of 35 years of manufactured insurance crises. So far there have been three. They document how this industry is now creating a fourth.

Imagine an industry that sold a product which every person and business in America needed. This product was so important that the industry could literally threaten the economy of a state by pulling its product out. The seller of this product was accountable to no federal agency and regulated only by very weak state agencies. It was also exempt from anti-trust laws so the entire industry, including so-called “competitors,” could use the same collusive pricing agencies to help determine the product’s price – price fixing that would land others in jail. Other laws permitted it to keep its financial data secret, enabling it to routinely mislead lawmakers, regulators and members of the media about its financial condition. This secrecy allowed it to create phony “crises” to help promote its own legislative agenda, padding its bottom line at the expense of everyday Americans.

The industry’s economic cycles lead to what are known as “hard” and “soft” insurance markets; there have been three full cycles in the past 35 years, with soft markets characterized by stable or low rates (good for policyholders but disliked by the insurance industry) and hard markets, characterized by sudden and astronomical rate hikes for policyholders. These hard markets lead to sometimes devastating “liability insurance crises.”
While the existence of this self-made cycle is clear to insurance industry insiders, insurers often
publicly deny the cycle’s existence while their lobbyists try to take advantage of skyrocketing
rates to push for so-called “tort reform.”
A bill has recently been introduced to eliminate the anti trust exemption irrationaly enjoyed by insurers over the years at the expense of policy holders:

Study: Repeat Offenders: How the Insurance Industry Manufactures Crises and Harms America

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Former nursing home employees claim firing for reporting fired for reporting maggots

Three former employees of a Pittsfield Township nursing home where maggots were found on a patient have sued the nursing home and its parent company alleging they were fired for reporting patient abuse and neglect at the facility.
The three all worked as certified nursing aides at Whitehall Healthcare Center of Ann Arbor and were involved in the state’s investigation into the discovery of maggots in a patient’s genital area last summer, the lawsuit states.
One was fired after filing a complaint that brought the state to the facility to investigate a patient’s fall, the lawsuit states. Two others were fired after they and the employee who filed the original complaint told state investigators about the discovery of the maggots, the lawsuit claims.

Ex-nursing home employees: We were fired for reporting maggots at Whitehall

New York Scores a dismal rating on Nursing Home Care

New York has a surprisingly poor record in providing long-term care for its residents, according to a new score card comparing all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the availability and quality of services. New York ranked 41st.

The rankings, published by AARP, the Commonwealth Fund and the Scan Foundation, incorporated data on 25 measures of long-term carefor the elderly and the physically disabled, and on the support services given to family members who provide care like bathing and feeding in the home. The report focused primarily on services for people who need assistance with routine activities of daily life but may also need medical care.
New York’s poor marks on the quality of care delivered and quality of life provided are especially disturbing. The state ranked 44th in the percentage of high-risk nursing home patients who develop bed sores, which is often a measure of neglectful care. It ranked 50th in the percentage of home health patients and 28th in the percentage of nursing home patients who were sent to the hospital, which is often considered an indicator of inadequate care in the system.
It also ranked 50th in the percentage of disabled adults living in the community who always or usually get the support they need. This is an ominous statistic given the drive to move larger numbers of people out of institutions and into community-based care.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Drug tampering by nurses in Kansas nursing regulations

A nurse with a prior felony conviction for forging prescriptions dilutes morphine solutions for five Halstead nursing home patients. Another nurse convicted of stealing drugs from patients at an nursing home gets another job in Topeka, where she adds tap water to a painkiller prescribed for a 105-year-old patient.
Still another nurse fired from her last job at a Wichita hospital over drug discrepancies gets a new job in Salina, where she's later accused of taking home syringes full of morphine and replacing the medicine with a dangerous sodium chloride solution.
Drug tampering cases by 3 Kansas nurses highlight gaps in state nursing regulations | The Republic

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Video Treating Pressure Ulcer

Nursing home safety: Troubled Chicago nursing home may lose funding

Nursing home news: Federal authorities are moving this week to terminate Medicaid funding to the troubled Wincrest Nursing Center on the city's North Side after state and federal inspections documented nursing home residents engaged in bloody fights and drug abuse that spilled from the facility out into the surrounding community. An 80-bed home that primarily houses adults with mental illnesses, including dozens with felony records, Wincrest has for years been the subject of complaints by local officials and neighbors, as well as students and staff from nearby Loyola University Chicago. Seven Loyola residence halls housing about 600 students stand within a block of the home at 6326 N. Winthrop Ave. Authorities have documented knife attacks, drug abuse at Wincrest Nursing Center. We earlier pointed out the problems facing residents when past felons are admitted into nursing homes and discussed the danger to elders when this happens.
See blog post
See Release:
Nursing home safety: Troubled Chicago nursing home may lose Medicaid funding -

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nursing home workers arrested for 'waterboarding' a dementia care resident

Two nursing home workers in Georgia were arrested after a coworker reported them to the police for performing a waterboarding-like attack against a resident with severe dementia.
A grand jury indicted the two women, on charges of false imprisonment and battering a nursing home patient, for the 2008 incident, The Huffington Post reported. According to a local report, the workers confined the 89-year-old nursing home resident to a shower room, and held back her arms and wrists while using a shower nozzle to simulate the sensation of drowning. The alleged attack was reportedly sparked by an argument about ice cream. The employees are both awaiting a trial date.
Intentional assaults, such as the type involving Kindred CNA Bernadette Stackpole can and should be criminally prosecuted. In most states not assaults on nursing home residents is a crime.
Nursing home workers arrested for 'waterboarding' a dementia care resident - McKnight's Long Term Care News

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Were Nursing Home Regulations too Burdensome for Lifecare?

In a recent sucessful litigation against Lifecare Nursing Home of Lynn Massachusetts, Lifecare's attorneys filed several motions to exclude evidence or to get advance rulings on the use of arguements they did not want made at trial. The case alleged nursing home negligence involving the wrongful death of a disabled resident.
On such motion "in limine"by Lifecare sought to prevent Plaintiff from arguing that the various state and federal regulations regulating nursing homes constituted the "standard of care" applicable to nursing home care. Actually I never intended to argue that the regulations were the per se standard of care.  In fact the Judge denied their pre trial motion. I was allowed to argue that the regulations were relevant for consideration.

What was eye opening was the language Lifecare put forth in support of their motion:
"When a practical nursing home is compared to these standards, it would be virtually impossible for the nursing home to avoid a finding of negligence."

The Hamill Firm of Quincy, Massachusetts concentrates their practice on advocating for elderly nursing home residents and has a successful track record of verdicts and settlements including some of the highest emotional distress verdicts ever awarded in Massachusetts for nursing home abuse. The Hamill group encourages all residents injured by neglect in Massachusetts nursing homes to call for a free evaluation of their claim. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Flexible Nutrition Aproach recommended for Nursing Home Residents

When planning nursing home residents' meals and dining experiences, Food has to look good, taste good, and be offered courteously and in a comfortable setting... Long-term care facility providers should avoid overcomplicating the operation of food services and follow common sense principles. Multiple factors can complicate fulfillment of nursing home residents' nutritional needs. Altered metabolism, medication, or illness can bring on loss of appetite; shortage of staff to assist dependent residents at mealtimes are also obstacles facing long-term care facilities.
Strategies for enhancing the nutritional status of residents, include:
- Careful assessment of altered nutritional status;
- Flexibility in accommodating residents' food and eating preferences;
- training of staff;
- Improved staff communication

Residents families should always be polled as to their loved ones eating preferences and habits. Following these rules can avoid malnutrition, dehydration and rapid weight loss.

Massachusetts Regulations 105 CMR 150 .. state:
(G) Preparation and Serving of Food
(1) All foods shall be prepared by methods that conserve the nutritive value, flavor and appearance.

Federal Regulations 42CFR 483.35 "Dietary Services" states that:
(d) Food. Each resident receives and the facility provides--

(1) Food prepared by methods that conserve nutritive value, flavor, and appearance;
(2) Food that is palatable, attractive, and at the proper temperature;

Significant weight loss can often be avoided. If not stemmed however it can lead to a downward spiral of a residents health. Adherence to the existing regulations added to a specifically tailored diet for the resident can go a long way toward health maintenance.

The Hamill Firm of Quincy, Massachusetts concentrates their practice on advocating for elderly nursing home residents and has a successful track record of verdicts and settlements including some of the highest emotional distress verdicts  ever awarded in Massachusetts for nursing home abuse. The Hamill group encourages all residents injured by neglect in Massachusetts nursing homes to call for a free evaluation of their claim.