When we think about workplace safety issues, it’s easy to default to a mental image of construction workers or firefighters. Those jobs have very visible risks thanks to big machinery and precarious working conditions. However, caretakers at nursing homes face serious workplace risks as well. This is due largely to employers’ and owners’ failures to adequately staff these facilities.
Nursing homes and corporate raiders don’t seem like they’d have much in common at first blush, but nursing home management is coming under the microscope after Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) directed a pointed letter to the CEOs of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm specializing in corporate private equity.
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.
The House has passed H.R. 4334, the Dignity in Aging Act of 2019, which reauthorizes the Older Americans Act. The bill maintains funding for the important work of the long-term care ombudsman program and continued authority for the National Center on Elder Abuse and National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC). These organizations are critical in preserving the rights and dignity of the elderly and the bill addresses their need for funding to continue providing necessary social services.
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.
Falls of patients in nursing homes are often preventable, yet they are still the leading cause of injuries in seniors who are residents there. Research shows elderly adults are four times more likely to die of fall related injuries if they live in a nursing home as compared to those who live at home. Part of that is due to the home’s improper follow up investigation and care, and part is due to its failure to implement proper fall prevention.
The New Jersey State Health Department and Westfield, New Jersey police are currently investigating a claim of physical abuse of an elderly woman at a nursing home facility, who sustained severe injuries to her face.
The woman’s son claims his mother was physically abused, posting pictures on Facebook of his mother’s injuries which include two black eyes, facial wounds, and a swollen nose. The facility claims the injuries were the result of a fall, but the son says his mother frequently told him she was hit and treated roughly.
The rise and spread of drug-resistant germs, including infections and funguses, has been tied to nursing facilities and long-term care facilities. Due to lack of staff training on infection procedures, understaffing, and not being equipped to deal with serious infections, patients wind up being cycled through the hospital and back again. As a result, these dangerous germs spread not just within the facility, but also to hospitals—with devastating results.
In a recent incident at a memory care and dementia facility in Illinois, two employees can be seen on Snapchat videos mocking and humiliating residents. Police investigating the incident have called the footage “disturbing,” highlighting a discrepancy between the facility’s seemingly well-intentioned mission and the actual events occurring under its care.
Residents at the facility in Burr Ridge, Illinois suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Entrusted with the compassionate care of its patients, the videos showed employees instead emotionally traumatized patients – an ordeal no resident should have to go through. While there was no physical abuse shown in the videos, the emotional damage done can have long-lasting effects on its victims.
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.