Often, elderly people are prescribed blood thinners, otherwise known as anti-coagulants, like Coumadin and several others. While these drugs can significantly help with conditions such as DVTs (deep vein thrombosis) and strokes, they also present unanticipated dangers. If you have a loved one who is on one of these medications, it is important to know… Continue Reading
When deciding whether to place a loved-one into a nursing home, families attempt to determine whether the nursing home is capable of providing the necessary quality care. Most families visit the nursing home, as well as check the U.S. government’s Nursing Home Compare tool at Medicare.gov. Despite their efforts, some nursing homes have purposefully misrepresented… Continue Reading
In nursing-home neglect and abuse cases, the victims of the nursing-home negligence or abuse often suffer from some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, which is a specific type of dementia that accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is a progressing disease. That means that it worsens over time, causing cognitive and… Continue Reading
Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a framework for tackling the challenges to elder-abuse prevention and prosecution. In doing so, the departments called on all Americans to take a stand against elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
The framework, known as the The Elder Justice Roadmap, directly addresses “a problem that has gone on too long . . . by offering comprehensive and concrete action items for all of the stakeholders dedicated to combating the multi-faceted dimensions of elder abuse and financial exploitation,” explained Associate Attorney General Tony West.
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
I just happened upon an excellent website (http://www.neverevents.org/), promoting the value of 11 years of “Never Events” as establishing safer practices in our hospitals. This site is authored by a physician and notes that another physician, Ken Kizer, MD, former CEO of the non-profit, National Quality Forum (NQF), first introduced this term in 2001.
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.
Earlier this year, I reported about the potential dangers posed to senior citizens (and others) who were potentially exposed to bacteria from antiseptic wipes. Reports indicate that a child may have died from such exposure and we are aware of seniors who appear to have potentially met the same fate. Now, Federal regulators say that although the New York medical products maker promised in June to recall the product, it has since failed to launch that recall for nearly four months.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have recently designated certain injuries in hospitals “never events” – or injuries that should not happen. These injuries include Stage III and IV bed sores and falls with fractures. The penalty to hospitals when these injuries happen is that CMS will not pay for treatment rendered for these injuries. The result is that many hospitals are reporting the incidence of these events has gone down, and in some places tremendously.
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.
A new study analyzed insurance claims from the past several years and noted that in 2008 alone, there were more than 1.5 million medical errors reported which accounted for over $19.5 billion. That averages out to roughly $13,000 per error.
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.
Many of our cases involve terrible injuries and death as a result of neglect, negligence and abuse, such as bed sores, hip fractures and assaults. However, many of our clients and their families also complain about living in nursing homes that are just bad – a lousy building, freezing in the winter, hot in the summer, residents not being changed and bathed, broken plumbing, roaches and rodents, uncaring staff, or not enough nurses or CNAs. After receiving complaints, the nursing home promises to fix these problems and don’t. What can someone do in these circumstances?
A government study released today states that roughly 15,000 Medicare patients die each month due in part to the care they receive at hospitals. The study focuses on understanding adverse events in hospitals, or more specifically, any medical care that causes harm to a patient.
Bed sores (also called pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers) can develop into severe wounds that can be fatal. Wounds can at times be so large that bones become exposed inviting infection. It is not uncommon for a family member not to see the bed sore until it is serious.
I recently wrote an article for the New Jersey Law Journal about the new Medicare Guidelines for Hospitals and Never Events. After some additional research, I have learned that many insurance companies agree that it is unfair for negligent hospitals to pass costs related to their mistakes along to others.
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.
Just because a doctor orders something for a resident in a nursing home, it does not mean it gets done – sometimes with lethal consequences. A California state investigator found that Pilgrim Haven Health Facility in Los Altos failed to install an electronic fall monitor as ordered by the resident’s doctor, and failed to make sure the resident’s walker was in reach.
While resident abuse is shocking and disgraceful, there are times where behavior is simply unbelievable. Six employees were recently arrested at a facility where residents with dementia were covered from head to toe in ointment cream to make them slippery for the next shift as a practical joke.
David R. Cohen, Chair of Stark & Stark’s Nursing Home Litigation Group, authored the article,
Decubitus Ulcers: An Update on Staging and The Impact of Never Events on Hospital Litigation, for the June 21, 2010 edition of the New Jersey Law Journal.
An article out of Minneapolis, Minnesota last week reports of an 89-year old nursing home resident who, even with all of the proper precautions, died after a fatal fall. Despite a bed alarm, a motion sensor, a sound monitor and a perimeter mattress the resident fell in the middle of the night. Due to a severely understaffed wing, the resident died due to complications from the fall.
Nursing home employees in New Jersey have launched a campaign informing the public about the rate of bed sores in patients residing at Omni nursing homes. The campaign includes TV ads, radio ads, Google ads, a mobile billboard and a website dedicated solely to informing people of the poor care provided at these homes.