A recent series of disturbing stories by NPR report finding with objective data what many of us practitioners know already – that in many substandard facilities residents are over medicated with sometimes dangerous medications just to keep them quiet. This is disturbing because these medications are sometimes powerful, dangerous, and ineffective. Some even get “black… Continue Reading
I’ve noticed in my practice a dangerous and burgeoning phenomenon. That is, the emergence of non-disparagement clauses for people who know the dangerous secrets of the worst of the worst long-term care facilities. I am finding that the vast majority of these clauses are found in assisted living facilities. These organizations appear to have very… Continue Reading
A very convenient tool for concerned families to evaluate nursing homes is the “Medicare Compare” website. Included within this is a section that designates what are known as “Special Focus Facilities.” A Special Focus Facility represents the bottom 1% or 2% of all nursing homes in the country which have demonstrated not only under-performance, but… Continue Reading
I read with great interest the recent article in The New York Times about the particular challenges faced within a growing elderly population and an alarming statistic with regard to the number of deaths caused by falls in the elderly. A 2012 study revealed that 24,000 elderly individuals died from falls – a number that… Continue Reading
Nursing homes, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, must maintain enough nursing staff to provide nursing care, and related services, to their residents to maintain the residents’ physical, mental, and social well-being. In facilities across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, front-line workers make-up the primary healthcare personnel responsible for delivering that care and service to the resident…. Continue Reading
As an advocate for nursing home residents, one of my greatest frustrations has been the lack of oversight for self reported staffing levels. This has lead to an extraordinarily low incidence of short staffing citations – and worse yet, has allowed some understaffed facilities to crow over their lack of such citations. The reality on… Continue Reading
When I began working in this field, I was astonished to realize that very few nursing homes and no assisted living facilities have a full-time doctor working there. I found that facilities at times may be staffed almost entirely with nurse aides and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) as opposed to Registered Nurses (RN). RNs received… Continue Reading
A new study shows how problematic a sedentary lifestyle can be. The study found that adults over the age of 60 spend roughly 9 sedentary hours per day, and that “[e]very additional hour adults over age 60 spend sitting increases by 50% their risk of being disabled for activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and walking”.
In many ways, what we do when we’re younger affects our health in the future. Women must get enough Calcium when young in order to prevent osteoporosis in the future. For men, keeping a healthy weight as a younger man reduces cancer risk and other complications as an elderly person.
People may spend quite a bit of energy planning and saving for retirement. However, a new study from France reported in the Washington Post suggests you may want to hold off. Research done by INSERM, the French government’s health agency, has concluded that people who delayed retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
A recent article from the BBC reports a new study published in Neurology, which shows that exercising the brain slows down cognitive decline.
In one of the worst examples we have seen involving the abuse of the elderly, a company whose product was only approved to promote weight gain for HIV patients started to aggressively promote Megace to frail and elderly nursing home residents when the HIV population began to dwindle. Knowing the dangerous side effects of this supplement (ie death), this represents a tragic example of profits over people. To read more, click here.
Though we’ve always known that poor staffing leads to falls and pressure ulcers, new research shows that Norovirus is also causally linked to poorly staffed nursing homes. The Journal for the American Medical Association recently published these findings and they are summarized in an article by Dr. Jeffry Levine.
Experience shows many seniors that develop pressure ulcers begin a downward spiral in their health. Without proper care, a pressure ulcer can develop into a mortal condition. The wounds are painful and require surgery when large and infected. Once the skin is compromised, it never regains its original integrity
A recent article details a lawsuit by Public Citizen, a consumer rights and protection group, against the FDA to stop the sales of the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept in its highest dosage. The group says that the FDAs testing shows that the drug benefits at that dosage are outweighed by the dangers posed.
A recent article details a new program launched by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) called the “Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes” in order to address the problem of over medication of the elderly suffering from dementia in long term care.
One of the most common mental conditions we see with nursing home residents is Alzheimer’s disease. It can be very difficult for a family to watch a family member slowly slipping away mentally. This condition can also increase someone’s risk for falls and other injuries.
A new study confirms that a large percentage of nursing home residents are prescribed anti-depressants, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While in most cases, anti-depressants are beneficial to the well being of the residents, in patients suffering from dementia, they can significantly increase the risk of falls – leading to serious injuries, and even death.
While nursing homes should always look to prevent bed sores – a painful and sometimes deadly condition – a recent study conducted revealed that the prevention of bed sores is also cost effective. Foam mattresses which reduce pressure were found to be cost-effective 82% of the time as opposed to using standard mattresses. This simple change could save on average $115 per resident. Additionally, foam cleansers for incontinence were found to be cost-effective 94% of the time, as opposed to traditional soap and water, which results in an average savings of $179 per resident.
I have had cases where a person suffers from a bed sore that is so large the spinal column is visible, and yet the cause of death listed on the death certificate states, “natural causes”, or “dementia”, or “Alzheimer’s”. While we may still pursue a claim to hold those responsible for the large and painful wound accountable, it is frustrating to the family that the bed sore is not listed on the death certificate.
After an analysis of FDA records, the non-profit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen sent a petition to the FDA requesting that they recall two models of bed rails produced by Bed Handles, Inc. Public Citizen claims that evidence shows that if a weak or frail elderly person – assumingly those whom would purchase the bed rails in the first place – falls in-between the bed rails and the mattress, they can suffocate to death.
By now, most of us have heard of the tearful testimony of the great Mickey Rooney in Congress, on abuse and victimization of the elderly. Here is yet another story on how abuse of nursing home residents is not only physical, but often financial. In this case, Tanya Fredrick, the business office manager at Golden Living Center, was fired after police revealed that she had been stealing thousands of dollars from the center and residents.
With painfully shocking testimony, American Icon, Mickey Rooney, told a gripping story about even he was the victim of elder abuse. It has become quite clear that the degree of this form of elder abuse is much more widespread than previously thought. We all need to be on the lookout for this for our loved ones.
The Milwuakee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported this disturbing story. A woman died after bleeding to death when her emergency pull cord located in her “independent living” apartment went unanswered for four hours. Apparently the nurse aide who was working at the time shut off the sound alarm, disregarded a phone call from another resident who heard the alarm, and went back to watching television while the woman was bleeding to death.