When a family member moves into an assisted care facility, their new home is evaluated from many angles. What is the living space like? What are the staff qualifications? Have there been concerns raised in the past? Most likely, you aren’t considering the potential need for litigation.

Yet among the many pages of admissions paperwork, nursing home residents and their families are being asked to sign a forced arbitration agreement before being admitted. This agreement bars a court hearing in the case of disputes, including those that address abuse, injury, or wrongful death while at the facility.


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Three women working at a nursing home have been arrested and charged with assault after engaging in elder abuse, pushing a patient, and encouraging a physical altercation between two residents. The incident was recorded, showing none of the employees stepped in to stop the fight.

The patients, who had dementia, were at the facility and should have received care that made them feel safe. Instead, they were physically abused and encouraged to fight one another, with employees looking on as the fight progressed to punching and choking. Rather than stepping in, one of the employees called out to the resident to punch the other in the face, still not intervening even when the resident called out for help.


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Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from sepsis. Despite its prevalence, many people are unfamiliar with this life-threatening medical issue. To raise awareness about what sepsis is, how to recognize its symptoms, and the importance of timely treatment, September has been named Sepsis Awareness Month.

Sepsis is the body’s response to an infection, and occurs when the immune system sends infection-fighting chemicals to the entire body rather than just to the infection. The damage from these chemicals causes impaired blood flow, organ damage, and death. Of the 2 million people who develop sepsis in the U.S. each year, one-quarter of them will not survive. For those that do survive, many develop post-sepsis syndrome (PSS), which can cause long-term physical and psychological effects.


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Updated 9/20/2019 – Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act — a groundbreaking bill that would prohibit all companies, including nursing homes, from using forced arbitration.

The bill now moves to the Senate, and if passed, access to the court system may be restored to the multitudes of Americans who have been forced into arbitration or even unknowingly signed away their constitutional right to sue. This bill is crucial for nursing home residents, who have had a long, difficult history of being forced into unfair arbitration.

Because these clauses are often buried in a stack of documents, many nursing home residents and their families are unaware of their inability to sue until something bad happens. If passed, the FAIR Act would go a far way to leveling the playing field for nursing home residents.

Original blog below:


Legal rights will once again be stripped away from elderly and disabled residents in nursing homes. On July 16, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid overturned the ban on nursing homes using arbitration agreements with their residents. For decades, nursing facilities could hide their malpractice and handle all claims brought against them behind closed doors by forcing residents to sign away their legal rights in arbitration agreements. For residents who experienced neglect, assault, or death due to a facility’s failures, their families were denied access to the Court system because these agreements waived the rights of residents to a jury trial awarded to them by the Constitution. Instead, claims were decided in a process presided over by an arbitrator often of the nursing home’s choosing, and many times pursuant to the nursing home’s rules. When things went horribly wrong due to their malpractice, nursing homes were able to contain their costs in these arbitration proceedings in which discovery was a less than searching process and awards for damages to the residents would often be low.


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A recent study found significant understaffing in 75% of nursing facilities across the country, raising concerns about the level of care patients receive.

The Harvard and Vanderbilt study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Health Affairs, used data from the Payroll Based Journal (PBJ) to analyze the staffing levels of more than 15,000 facilities. The study examined the staffing levels of registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), and nurse aides, relative to the number of nursing home residents who rely on their care.


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A list of nursing homes around the country flagged by federal lawmakers for persistent health issues has now been made public, and 11 of them are in New Jersey.

The government would previously not disclose the official list of the nursing homes with serious ongoing health, safety, or sanitary problems found by inspectors. The silence cracked on June 4th when Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania released the list of over 400 nursing homes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) flagged with persistently poor survey inspection results.


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The daughter of a 76-year-old man is suing her father’s nursing home in South Holland, Chicago, over a video in which multiple caretakers allegedly coerced him into exposing himself on Facebook Live.

The lawsuit was filed last week against Holland Home, an assisted living facility, and claims that the employees abused and humiliated the resident, who is a stroke survivor and was diagnosed with dementia.


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November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. There are more than 5 million Americans who have been diagnosed Alzheimer’s. Approximately 40% of people over age 65 experience some form of memory loss and symptoms become progressively more severe as age increases. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia, but research is showing that diet, exercise, mental activities and social interactions can help increase brain health.

Common signs of dementia include: memory loss, misplacing things, unable to retrace steps, difficulty planning, taking longer to solve problems, experiencing changes in mood or personality, or becoming confused as to where one is or as to time and date.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia, you can find more information at the Alzheimer’s Association website.


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As a result of the unstable economy, many adults have been forced to work longer hours or multiple jobs, resulting in less time to care for their elderly parents at home. This is no exception for America’s growing Latino population, who often hold caring for elderly family members in high regard as a cultural tradition.

Government statistics show that Hispanics have a life expectancy of 82 years, longer than non-Hispanic white Americans (78.7 years) and non-Hispanic black Americans (75.1 years). Hispanic women have a life expectancy of 84.3 years. However, according to a poll conducted by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, fewer than two out of every 10 Hispanics age 40 and older say they are extremely confident that nursing homes and assisted living facilities can meet their needs.


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