Pressure ulcers, which people sometimes call bedsores, develop when a person spends too much time in the same position while lying in bed or sitting in a chair. During that prolonged time, the person’s body weight and bones create pressure by pressing the skin and soft tissue against the—harder—bed or chair surface. The pressure reduces… Continue Reading
Placing someone in a long-term care facility is a very difficult decision to make. Many times, this decision is not due to physical limitations, but mental ones. Older folks who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s may be physically mobile, but due to cognitive issues, they require 24-hour supervision. They may forget where they are, get… 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”.
Arbitration is a process of resolving complaints without the use of the court system. A person basically signs a document waiving their right to a jury trial, and gets nothing in return. The rules for arbitration are different, the process is confidential, and a mediator decides the case as opposed to a jury. The family pays costs to prosecute a claim they would not have to typically pay in the court system (for example, a plaintiff does not have to pay a judge but does have to pay the arbitrator, which can be expensive). Many nursing home corporations and companies want this forum because it is confidential and there is no jury.
I read an article online recently reporting of a nursing home owner and operator stealing from his residents. On June 30, 2009 Michael D. Berg, 72, the owner of an Ocean Township nursing home, plead guilty to stealing approximately $39,000 from one of his home’s residents. Berg plead guilty to one count of third-degree theft by deception.
Because of the length of time it takes to determine the amount and applicability of both Medicaid and Medicare liens, inquiries to these entities should be made as soon as a case is opened.
Before even considering entering the realm of plaintiff’s malpractice litigation, it is imperative to become intimately familiar with your jurisdiction’s malpractice law, including certificates of merit, affidavits of merit and the like.
Some jurisdictions, New Jersey being one example, include provisions of the affidavit of merit statute which addresses situations where a defendant fails to produce a medical record, despite a legitimate request which has been made by certified mail.
A common problem in the prosecution of nursing negligence claims is an over-emphasis on liability (i.e. the conduct of nursing staff) which an under-emphasis on the issues of causation.
Be alert to the possibility that critical documentation concerning the liability issue may not be found in nursing notes.
In addition to state records, check to see if the facility involved is a Join Commission accredited facility. If so, the Joint Commission will have surveys available to identify potential systemic problems at such a facility.
After receipt of all known medical records, conduct a review of those to determine what records they reveal which are not yet available. Put all of this together to complete the timeline of all medical treatment.
Although expensive, it is often advantageous to actually obtain three copies of a chart.
Do not ever take a statue of limitations determination for granted prior to a full evaluation of a claim. Very often, issues, which appear to be beyond the statue of limitations, are not.
In any nursing negligence claim, it is advisable to retain a nurse – who is not necessarily the ultimate expert in the case – to provide a detailed timeline to examine all claims and all sites of alleged negligence or manifestation of injury to determine the proper players in the case.
It is common with nursing neglect claims to focus on nursing negligence and this hinge on the review of a nursing expert.
It is essential to have a physician on behalf of either plaintiff or defendant to relate an injury to the asserted act of negligence.
In all cases involving infection, the practitioner should consult with a physician to address causation issues involving the relationship between that infection and the injuries more directly involved in whatever items of negligence are in the case.
it is a clear violation of the federal regulations (OBRA) for a nurse to fail in complying with a physician’s admission order. These same regulations also strongly suggest that the failure to follow any physician’s order, such as the administration of medication, will constitute a violation of a resident’s nursing home resident rights.
In all aspiration cases, it is important to have a physician carefully scrutinize all X-ray reports.
One should carefully scrutinize issues related to short staffing. Many of theses cases involve a very clear order requiring a two-person transfer, with the actual incident only involving one person.
In all cases involving physical abuse and assault, it is important to commence investigation very early.
Pressure ulcer or bedsore cases have swiftly begun to dominate the legal landscape with regard to nursing negligence claims. Both Plaintiff and defense attorneys should work diligently to obtain all photographic evidence of skin breakdown for bedsore cases.
Preparing and maintaining an enforceable set of healthcare power-of-attorney and durable power-of-attorney documents speeds the process of opening and investigating the claims. Similarly, developing a streamlined system to establish an estate representative, by way of direct estate work to contacts with a qualified state attorney help to accomplish this same end.