As an attorney who focuses on holding long-term care facilities accountable for negligent care and abuse of the sick and elderly, I often represent clients who were placed on palliative care, or hospice services. These cases often involve the failure of the skilled nursing facility to provide adequate care to my clients prior to their passing. Litigation of these cases inevitably leads to presenting my client’s surviving children and/or spouse for sworn depositions.Continue Reading Don’t Get Tricked into Hospice Care
At its core, the intentions of hospice care are noble: to provide care for those nearing the end of life. Many who choose to enter themselves or their loved ones into hospice care are drawn to its heavy focus on comfort, dignity, and quality of life during its final stages.
But the reality is a bit messier than that, as evidenced by this interesting article by the New Yorker. The story shines a light on the dark underside of for-profit hospice care, much of which rings true to me from my experience as a healthcare attorney.
Three things that stood out to me are:Continue Reading The For-Profit Side of Hospice Care: One Attorney’s Insight
Through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has doubled down on its efforts to protect nursing home residents and caregivers from illegal debt collection practices.
In 2020, the New Jersey Legislature passed a law setting minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes in the state. These new requirements were intended to ensure a higher standard of care for nursing home residents and prevent cases of neglect caused by insufficient nursing staff.
However, a new report reveals that a majority of NJ nursing homes (Long-Term Care/“Sub-Acute Rehabilitation” Facilities) failed to meet the minimum staffing requirements under the new law. This raises serious concerns about resident safety throughout the state, and it remains unclear whether NJ nursing home facilities will be held accountable for routine understaffing.
A recent report from New Jersey’s Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) sheds light on the poor conditions at some of the state’s worst long-term care facilities—and the surprising amount of taxpayer funding that continues to support these organizations.
In this new report published on February 2, 2022, the OSC examined the fifteen lowest-rated nursing homes in the state and concluded that many of these facilities are unlikely to improve as long as they continue to receive state Medicaid funds.
On Wednesday, March 10th the Biden Administration released an updated set of guidelines for those visiting nursing homes. This is the first set of revisions to the restrictions and nursing home guidance since September 2020, most of which revolve around indoor visitation. Specifically, regardless of whether they (visitors and/or residents) have received a vaccination or not, visitors are allowed to go inside and see residents.
Admitting a loved one into a nursing home, or being admitted yourself, can be an overwhelming process. Every individual deserves to be treated with respect and care when entering these facilities. When entering a nursing home, you may be asked to fill out a procedural form called a “Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement.” This agreement essentially takes away your right to hold a nursing home accountable in court, for any and all potential negligence or wrongdoing. “Pre-dispute” arbitration agreements require giving up this right before neglectful actions even take place. Therefore, you will never have the chance or opportunity to determine whether court is necessary or not should something happen to you.
As the Brain Injury Association of America embarks upon Fall Prevention Month, it is important to highlight the high incidence of head injuries sustained by the elderly in preventable falls in nursing homes. Nursing home facilities are required to provide residents with a safe and hazard-free environment including attention to fall prevention, because it is known to them that a high risk of falls exists for this population. Unfortunately, research shows between 16% and 27% of nursing home falls are caused by factors such as dim lighting, slippery floors, broken equipment, and unclear walkways. Incorrect bed heights and faulty bed rails account for almost 30% of all nursing home falls. These are items easily remedied by nursing homes that often go unmanaged.
Nursing homes have been a focal point in the fight against COVID-19. While the challenges of protecting vulnerable and elderly nursing home residents against an unknown and often silently transmitted disease are significant, the pandemic has made existing problems within the long-term care community even more readily apparent. Poor quality of care, insufficient staffing, and questionable administrative practices among small and large facilities have been noted.
As our country navigates its way through the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that nursing home patients make up one of our most vulnerable populations. Consequently, it is important that nursing homes be vigilant in the care of their patients, and strictly adhere to proper treatment protocols and standards. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
The New York Times has recently published an article about wrongful patient discharges and evictions from nursing homes, sometimes referred to as “patient dumping.” The article was published on June 21 and highlights the evictions of patients from nursing homes, whose medical bills and expenses are paid by Medicaid, to homeless shelters and unsafe locations. In some cases, no advance notice is given to the patients or their families. “We’re dealing with unsafe discharges, whether it be to a homeless shelter or to unlicensed facilities, on a daily basis, and COVID-19 has made this all more urgent,” Molly Davies, the Los Angeles ombudsman, whose office works with residents at about 400 nursing homes, told The Times.