The latest tort reform measure, H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, would place caps on medical malpractice damages, limit attorney fees, and modify statutes of limitations. Among other changes to current law, non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits would be limited to $250,000 – and juries would not be informed of… Continue Reading
A caregiver may face the overwhelming decision to place a loved one in a nursing home after a sudden event such as a fall or a stroke. Sometimes, there is more time to prepare, as in cases where the loved one suffers from a chronic or debilitating disease, including diseases where the patient is expected… Continue Reading
In its five-part “Failing the Frail” series, a PennLive investigation reveals the 18 most understaffed Pennsylvania nursing homes. The series includes an interactive map to search for staffing levels of individual nursing homes. Based on PennLive’s analysis of 559 facilities, nursing homes in Pennsylvania provided residents with an average of only 3.6 hours of care… Continue Reading
Special kudos to the Reading Eagle on its recent series on nursing homes – in particular the editorial We Must Demand Better from Nursing Homes, Regulators, published on December 11, 2016. For those of us who work hard to hold nursing home corporations accountable when seniors are neglected, abused, seriously injured, or die, this series… Continue Reading
During much of the 20th century, hospitals did not have a duty to treat patients who entered emergency departments. Without any given reason, they could refuse to treat certain patients. The practice of “patient dumping” arose from that lack of duty. Patient dumping refers to situations when hospitals deny emergency medical screening and stabilization services…. Continue Reading
I was recently speaking with someone about a woman who worked for a non-profit nursing home for many years. She liked it there and the facility provided good care. Then the facility was sold to a for-profit corporation. Overnight, staff hours were cut, pay was cut, and care declined. The person I was speaking with… Continue Reading
Often, many of the problems that occur in nursing homes are a direct result of terribly insufficient staffing. This knowledge is born out in studies that show a direct correlation between staffing ratios and quality of care. Despite all of this clear evidence, many facilities only meet the bare minimum hours required under state regulation. Some… Continue Reading
Recently, the August 2015 Special Focus Facility List was published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS regularly visits nursing homes to assure that they are administering the quality of care that Medicare and Medicaid require. With these regular visits, the CMS will identify any deficiencies in the quality of care… 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 New Jersey, Assisted Living encompasses providing various coordinated supportive personal and health services, available 24 hours per day, to residents who need those services. Its purpose is to promote resident self-direction and participation in decisions, with an emphasis on independence, individuality, privacy, dignity, and homelike surroundings. And thus, corporations that operate Assisted Living Facilities… Continue Reading
Harborview, a defendant in a case we took to trial last year, is back in the news. During the trial, the ownership and management spoke of the facility in glowing terms – terms that were contradicted by state inspections and other testimony. The article recounts rodent problems – and even chronicles a resident that bought… Continue Reading
Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs, are a common complaint among families with a mom or dad in long-term care. UTIs can be dangerous. First, UTIs can become a serious infection if untreated. However, UTIs also lead to falls, because UTIs cause people to feel as if they have to go to the bathroom constantly –… Continue Reading
As an advocate in New Jersey 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…. 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
Lancaster ratings reveal that while some facilities have improved their standings, Golden Living is now one star and has been found to have a history of poor care.
Claiming that it was corporate policy, an assisted living facility refused to provide medical care that might have saved a woman’s life. This is an example of corporate disinterest in the safety and welfare of the elderly.
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.
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.
Families for Better Care – a citizen’s advocacy organization – showed in a recent study that the largest publicly traded nursing home chains remained very profitable despite Medicare payment cuts last year. The director of Families for Better Care, Brian Lee, believes that the profits are driven by lower nursing hours and less care based on a study conducted last fall.
A new study conducted by Center For Medicare Advocacy (CMA) concludes that while “some for-profit nursing facilities give excellent care and some not-for-profit nursing facilities give poor care – the general rule is documented in study after study: not-for-profit nursing facilities generally provide better care to their residents.”
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.
Recently, I had the opportunity to review a long term care insurance policy. The document was confusing and full of exceptions. It was difficult for me to believe that the people who bought the policy could understand what it said.
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.