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.
With the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this nation has seen the beginning of a dramatic shift in both the delivery of healthcare and the means by which payment is made for medical services. Under the ACA, a new type of medical agency was created, known as Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). These entities are required to coordinate all levels of care in a fashion that is both more efficient and better focused on the provision of quality care
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.
A recent article in The Bergen Record, New Jersey ranks poorly on long-term nursing care, discusses the fact that New Jersey nursing-home care is less affordable and patients are more likely to suffer bedsores or need trips to the hospital than in many other states. New Jersey ranked in the second tier of states — 22nd — for choice, affordability, quality of care and support for family members who take care of the elderly and disabled at home.
Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made certain information regarding safety issues in hospitals public information. Data tracking “hospital acquired conditions” – injuries/conditions a patient suffers that they did not enter the hospital with – are now available to the public. They are serious conditions that if proper procedures are less likely to occur.
Currently pending in congress is bill HR5 sponsored by Representative Phil Gingrey. If HR5 passes, it would protect some of the worst nursing homes from even the most egregious abuses by severely limiting damages.
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.
A disturbing recent story was released and ultimately televised involving an over-stressed nursing home employee who was caught on tape assaulting an innocent resident. No matter how difficult the job, harming an innocent senior is vicious and wholly worthy of the prosecution that this employee faces. It is imperative that nursing home owners carefully screen and supervise employees to prevent the needless harms that inevitably will ensue.
A recent study of nursing home risk factors conducted by the American College of Preventive Medicine shows that washing hands with soap and water is far more effective in preventing norovirus – a virus common in nursing homes characterized by vomiting and diarrhea – than using alcohol based solutions found in dispensers throughout most nursing homes and hospitals.
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.
Here’s a great health care industry article that says the same thing that we’ve been saying on this blog for years: Spending more time and money on improving the care for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens is not only the right thing to do, but will actually save taxpayers money. This report from the Kaiser Family Foundation confirms that these type of improvements to long term care can save taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars each year.
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.
A recent Attorney General’s investigation using hidden cameras lead to the arrest of 22 nursing home health care workers for resident abuse and neglect. Examples included not turning and repositioning an immobile resident for an entire shift, not administering medications, not treating a bed sore, and not changing resident undergarments for long periods of time.
In this video, David Cohen, Chair of Stark & Stark’s Nursing Home Litigation Group, discusses the benefits of assisted living facilities. Mr. Cohen states that assisted living facilities are a great alternative to traditional nursing homes for people who need assistance, but do not require the level of care offered by a nursing home.
Leaders from Democracy for America, Blue Wave NJ and the Anakbayan Filipino Youth Group and other community groups collected over 3,600 signatures for a petition which was sent to the administrators of four area nursing homes in support of workers who have been in contract negotiations for nearly three years.
Nursing home care is proving to be a growing priority. After being faced with alarming delays in investigating nursing home complaints, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services avows to speed up scrutiny to ensure safety and avoid resident harm.
As a trial attorney for over twenty years and a litigator who has devoted his entire career to protecting the rights and safety of the elderly, I have seen a disturbing trend in recent years in the interplay of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. As many are aware, when our loved ones’ health declines, families are faced with critical and emotionally heart wrenching choices.