Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are an all too common occurrence in nursing homes and extended care facilities. The Federal Government has made a determination that “bedsores,” should not happen in nursing homes. See 42 C.F.R. 483.25(b)(ii) (stating “a resident . . . does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable.”)

Those who are in a nursing home or extended care facility are usually there because there is a need for care beyond what can be provided at home. Elderly patients are especially prone to these potentially life-threatening sores, given their age, lack of mobility, thinner skin, and medical issues. However, bedsores can often be prevented with the right care plan in place. Their occurrence can be a sign of nursing home neglect.


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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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On June 12, 2019, a report released by the Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General revealed that Nursing Home Abuse remains largely unreported. The study examined claims sent to Medicare in 2016 by beneficiaries residing in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The report states that approximately one in five of those emergency room visits were the result of potential abuse or neglect.

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Late last December, a nurse at Hacienda HealthCare in Arizona panicked and called 911 as a patient unexpectedly gave birth. The 29 year old patient, who has been in a vegetative state since age 3, delivered a healthy baby boy. A police investigation concluded that one of her caregivers, a 32 year-old male nurse, raped the patient several times and fathered the child. The victim’s attorneys filed a $45 million notice of claim against the state of Arizona in late May.

After giving birth in the nursing home, the victim and baby were transferred to a nearby hospital. According to the hospital, the baby’s birth was “a repeat parous event,” meaning the victim had likely been pregnant before.


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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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Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) revised their Nursing Home Compare 5-Star Quality Rating System, giving 29 New Jersey nursing facilities a one-star rating. These updates intend to give consumers clearer information about the quality of care residents receive at different nursing centers. The changes also aim to promote quality improvement within the facilities.

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The federal government imposed a $600,331 fine on the New Jersey nursing center where a viral outbreak left 11 children dead and 36 sick last year. Investigators reported Wanaque nursing home’s poor infection controls, lack of administrative oversight, and slow response from medical staff “directly contributed” to the rapid spread of the virus and its related death toll.

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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 this cap on damages. H.R. 1215 would apply to health care lawsuits where coverage for the care was provided or subsidized by the federal government, including through subsidies or tax benefits.

H.R. 1215 would preempt state laws governing health care litigation in several areas, including statutes of limitation, joint and several liability, product liability, and attorney contingency fees.

Proponents of the bill claim that the bill would lower medical liability insurance premiums, and by extension, reduce the incidence of so-called “defensive” medical treatments and lower costs associated with federal health care programs such as Medicaid.


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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 to deteriorate over time.

Once a loved one is safely tucked into a nursing home bed, a caregiver may feel a sense of relief. However, nursing home staff members are notoriously overburdened with the everyday tasks involved in caring for their elderly patients. Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of nursing home staff and management to ensure that each resident receives the care he or she needs.


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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 per day, well below the minimum 4.1 hours recommended for safe care, although within Pennsylvania’s minimum staffing requirement of 2.7 hours of care per day. The analysis found 477 homes, or 85 percent, provided less than the recommended level. The analysis further found that 183 homes, or 33 percent, were dangerously understaffed because they provided less than 3.5 hours of care per day and, less than 32 minutes of care from registered nurses.


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