July 21, 2014

Nursing Home Nightmare in Oklahoma

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

One family in Oklahoma is having a hard time after getting their bruised and battered loved one out of the nursing home that they claim caused his condition. According to a report by a local Oklahoma news source, the family had a difficult time getting the nursing home to cooperate after they claimed that the nursing home abused their loved one.

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Evidently, the man was in the nursing home for a short time recovering from a recent illness. While he was there, the family discovered that their loved one had been abused while in the care of the nursing home.

The elderly man—a Vietnam veteran—claims that one of the nurses in the facility punched him in his stomach; there are bruises to corroborate his story. Apparently, when the nursing home was confronted about the bruises, they could not explain where they came from. When the family claimed that their loved one was being abused by the nursing home, the nursing home stopped giving the elderly man his medication.

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July 14, 2014

North Carolina Cites Nursing Home for Inadequate Care and Abuse

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

happy-oldman-1-1194225-m.jpgIn yet another story of nursing home abuse, a North Carolina nursing home was recently cited by the State in relation to a patient’s death caused by injuries he sustained while fighting with a nursing home staff member. According to a report by a local news source, the nursing home was cited by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for “failing to keep residents free from abuse.”

Evidently, the elderly patient suffered from dementia, a seizure disorder, and other ailments. At some point during his stay, he was involved in a scuffle with nursing home staff and sustained serious injuries. He was hospitalized for his injuries, but 15 days later he died from the injuries. The patient died while in hospice care.

The nursing home denies any wrongdoing but commented that they will try to do better in the future.

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July 7, 2014

Condom Found in Nursing Home Resident’s Stomach

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Screen%20Shot%202014-07-01%20at%203.34.24%20PM.pngIn a truly disturbing story out of Chicago earlier this month, a nursing home is being sued after a procedure conducted on one of its patients revealed a condom inside the patient’s stomach. According to a report by CBS Chicago, the patient was a resident at Westchester Health And Rehabilitation Center between January 2010 and June 2012. At some point in June 2012, the patient was taken to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital with gastrointestinal bleeding and low hemoglobin levels.

Upon conducting the required procedure, the doctor noticed something strange in the patient’s stomach. According to the doctor’s own description, “it look liked it was a condom and it was about 6 to 7 inches long with hardened material inside.”

The patient was bedridden and nonverbal at the time of the procedure, and had been so of some time before as well. He underwent the same procedure back in 2010, so the condom must have entered the man’s body sometime between January 2010 and June 2012. A loved one of the patient brought a lawsuit against both the nursing home as well as the hospital, because the man had been admitted to the hospital 14 times over the course of the two year period and it was possible it could have occurred at the hospital.

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June 24, 2014

Male Nurse Pleads Not Guilty to Mistreating a Patient

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month in El Dorado, Kansas, a male nurse named Geofrey Nyanswego appeared before a judge in Butler County and entered a not guilty plea to several counts of neglect and abuse of patients at Victoria Falls Nursing Center. Evidently, the man was charged with the abuse or neglect of at least one patient and also the false imprisonment of another.

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According to a report by a local news source, after entering his guilty plea, the man was released on his own recognizance and will return to court later this summer for a preliminary hearing. If convicted of the offenses, he faces potential jail time as well as a fine of up to $100,000. He was forced to surrender his nursing license and is prohibited from contacting the nursing home management, its employees, or its patients.

The CEO of the nursing home told reporters that the man has been fired from his post and that two other nurses were suspended as a result of the investigation. The nursing home was fined $155,000 for its failure to meet regulations.

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June 17, 2014

Kitchen Fire in Towson Assisted Living Facility Raises Concerns Over Resident Safety

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month, a two-alarm fire in a Towson assisted living facility threatened to evacuate a multi-story building. According to a report by a local news source, the fire occurred in an assisted living facility on Joppa Road shortly after 7:30 in the morning. Evidently, fire officials say that they found thick, black smoke on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors. The fire apparently began in one of the units' kitchen and was kept under control by the kitchen’s sprinkler system.

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While no one was forced to evacuate the building, several residents chose to do so on their own, citing concerns over their own safety. After fire crews arrived and began to put the fire out, it was completely contained within 20 minutes. Thankfully, there were no injuries.

Fire Preparedness is Crucial in Assisted Living Facilities

The assisted living facility mentioned above was a high-rise with hundreds of people inside. Many of the people in the building had limited mobility due to a variety of health conditions. Therefore, the threat of a fire must be taken very seriously.

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June 10, 2014

Surprise Visit to Nursing Home Results in the Discovery of Abuse and Neglect

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month in Kansas, state officials conducted a surprise visit to a nursing home in order to inspect the level of patient care that was being provided to residents. According to a report by a local news agency, the report came back showing that several residents were being neglected and/or abused by nursing home staff members.

hospital-corridor-3-65901-m.jpgEvidently, the surprise visit and subsequent report were triggered by a report of inadequate resident care back in November 2013. State officials received the complaint and decided to look into the issue more thoroughly. Upon doing so, investigators discovered four instances of potential neglect or abuse. The nursing home has approximately 63 residents, 27 of which were interviewed.

The 150-page report explains all the violations found by the investigation, as well as remedial measures that the nursing home is expected to take. According to federal guidelines, the nursing home has six months to comply with the report before it will lose its Medicare funding. In addition, the home is being fined $8,2000 per day for each day between March 26 and April 13th. In addition, the nursing home will be fined $1,000 a day until it is back in compliance.

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June 3, 2014

Nursing Home Pays Out $3.3 Million in Negligence Suit

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In May of this year, a Colorado man and his sister recovered $3.3 million in a lawsuit against a nursing home for the negligent care the home provided to the man. According to a report by a local news affiliate, the man, who suffers from dementia and mild mental retardation, was admitted to the home in 2011.

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After her brother spent some time in the facility, the woman began to notice that he “wasn't treated with dignity and respect.” Moreover, according to the co-plaintiff, her brother suffered various preventable conditions, including “bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition, UTIs, skin tears and abrasions, hyperkalemia (high potassium), multiple infections including E. coli, and significant weight loss.”

After taking the case to trial, a jury awarded the woman and her brother $3.3 million. Of that total, $300,000 was based on the nursing home’s negligence, and the remaining $3 million were punitive damages assessed due to the reprehensible behavior of the nursing home.

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May 27, 2014

New Studies Consider the Effect of Nursing Home Staff Turnover on Resident Care

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Two studies were recently released by the American Medical Directors Association and the Journal of Nursing Administration that looked at the relationship between higher nursing home staff turnover and the quality of care being provided to residents. Not surprisingly, both studies found an adverse relationship, meaning the higher the turnover in the nursing home, the lower the quality of care being provided to residents. A recent article by Nurse.com outlines the findings of both reports.

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The first study, entitled ““Are Nursing Home Survey Deficiencies Higher in Facilities with Greater Staff Turnover,” was published by the American Medical Directors Association and found that “turnover for both licensed nurses and certified nursing assistants was associated with quality problems as measured by deficiencies considered to be closely related to nursing care.”

The second study, “Turnover Staffing, Skill Mix, and Resident Outcomes in a National Sample of U.S. Nursing Homes,” published by the Journal of Nursing Administration, looked at adverse patient effects, such as bedsores and pain, and tried to see if there was a tie to a higher staff turnover rate. After controlling for a number of factors, the study did find that, as nursing home staff turnover rates increase, especially in the certified nurse assistant position, adverse patient experiences increase.

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May 20, 2014

Two Charged with Elder Abuse after Videotaping the Abuse

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month, police caught up with two employees of the Emeritus at Farm Pond in Framingham, Massachusetts, who had videotaped themselves abusing elderly residents in the nursing facility. According to a report by a local news affiliate, one of the employees had several videos on her phone detailing a number of abusive situations including:

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  • One video of a female employee hitting a 78-year-old Alzheimer’s patient on the arms, flicking her ears, and then pinching her nose closed. Once the woman was let go, the employee wiped mucus from the patient’s nose and rubbed it on her mouth.

  • Another video shows a male employee taking a boxing stance opposite a 71-year-old Alzheimer’s patient, slapping the patient as he tried to defend himself. When the man turned away to escape the assault, the employee slapped the man on the buttocks, nearly knocking him over.

  • There were also photos of partially nude residents on the female employee’s phone.

In an interview with investigators, the female employee claimed that the attacks were a poor attempt at humor, indicating no ill-will towards the patients. The male employee claimed that his behavior was necessary to get the man back into the room which he was supposed to be in. He did not comment when asked if he thought that there was a better way of handling the situation.

Both employees have been fired from the nursing facility and are facing criminal charges of assault and battery against an elderly person. The female employee is also facing charges of unauthorized nude photography.

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May 13, 2014

Seventeen Employees of Michigan Nursing Home Facing Charges for Patient Abuse

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Seventeen employees of the Highpointe nursing facility have been accused of patient abuse and will be facing charges filed by the State’s Attorney General. According to a report by BuffaloNews.com, the employees are all facing felony charges for alleged abuse committed against patients. Highpointe is owned and operated by a larger corporation, Kalieda Health, which owns several nursing home facilities.

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Highpointe is a 300-bed facility that cost $64 million to build back in 2011, when it first opened. In the most recent report, the nursing home was operating at 97% occupancy (April).

Over the past few years, Highpointe has had a higher-than-average complaint ratio, averaging 44.8 per 100 residents. The average is closer to 34 per 100 residents. The nursing home also had more citations issued after inspection than comparable nursing homes. For instance, in 2014, the citation ration was 6.6 per 100 occupied beds, which was almost three times the rate for other nursing homes in the area.

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May 6, 2014

New Legislation in Florida Changes the Landscape of Nursing Home Injury Cases

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

u-s--supreme-court-building-washington-dc-658248-m.jpgState legislatures understand that a significant number of cases each year arise out of nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse. Indeed, one recent study indicated that 10% of all elders suffer some kind of abuse in their old age. Because most older people end up at a nursing home at one point in their lives, a significant portion of these victims are victimized in nursing homes.

Florida’s Response to Increasing Nursing Home Litigation

The State of Florida recently passed Senate Bill 670, that changes the landscape of some nursing home cases. While the law has no practical effect in Maryland, it is a good guidepost to see what other state legislatures consider to be “problem areas” with current nursing home litigation.

The new bill tweaked several aspects of the existing laws in Florida, including:

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April 23, 2014

Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania Nursing Home Sends Authorities on a Search

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Last week, a nursing home resident in West Chester, Pennsylvania reported that she had been raped by a nursing home employee. According to a report by a local news agency, the woman reported that she had been raped on the Saturday morning following the Friday night attack. The incident, which occurred at Heritage Spring, is currently under investigation by both the police as well as by the nursing home’s management.

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The nursing home has said that it intends to cooperate fully with police, and has even gone so far to remove all male employees from the schedule until the matter is resolved. The nursing home has also resubmitted all of the background checks for its employees, noting that they all came back clean.

The victim was immediately taken to the emergency room, where she was questioned about the attack and underwent a physical examination to confirm the event. She is doing as well as can be expected, given the circumstances.

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