Articles Posted in Dementia in Nursing Homes

In recent nursing home abuse news that our Baltimore, Maryland attorneys have been following, two former nursing aides in a Northern California nursing home were sentenced to a twenty day county jail sentence for allegedly organizing a prank for other workers by rubbing eight dementia nursing home patients with ointment to make them slippery to care for.

According to the Ukiah Daily Journal, Jennifer Louise Burton and Monica Rose Smith were found guilty of masterminding the nursing home abuse incident at Valley View Skilled Nursing facility in 2009, receiving a twenty day county jail sentence and two years probation for misdemeanor charges of elder abuse. Douglas Parker, Deputy District Attorney claimed that the elder abuse convictions and the fact that their nursing assistant licenses have been revoked by the state will ensure that the producers of this prank will on longer have the opportunity to work in a position of trust at a skilled nursing facility in the future.

The nursing home abuse incident reportedly occurred in November of 2009, and was investigated by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, after he received an alert about the abuse by another nursing home operator. The company reportedly instantly fired six employees—Burton and Smith, along with three other defendants, all five of which have had their nursing home licenses revoked. Jared Buckley, the third nursing home defendant was also charged with a misdemeanor for elder abuse, and two other nursing assistants were found guilty of failing to report the elder abuse. The sixth nursing assistant had the charges against her dismissed.

The dementia patients were reportedly not physically injured or harmed in the prank, but they were unable to object to their mistreatment or stop it because of their mental and medical conditions and limitations.

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According to a recent Baltimore County nursing home lawyer blog entry, our attorneys discussed recent cases of nursing home abuse and negligence, where hidden cameras or “Granny Cams” were used in nursing homes by families who suspected that their loved ones were being treated with abuse or negligence, and didn’t trust the nursing home staff responsible for their healthcare and safety—filing lawsuits after the abuse was revealed on-camera.

In another recent nursing home abuse lawsuit, the children of an 87-year-old resident of a New Jersey nursing home have sued the home for wrongful death, after the children caught the their mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, being physically abused by a nurse on a hidden camera placed in her room—which they claim led to her death.

The resident’s children reportedly suspected that their mother was being abused by her nurse, and installed a hidden camera to protect her health and safety. The camera footage reportedly showed the nursing home aide removing the victim’s oxygen mask and negligently, recklessly, and intentionally hitting and abusing her while she was supposed to be providing proper healthcare.

The victim’s family claim that this kind of abuse made their mother suffer, and violated her rights as a citizen and as a nursing home resident—as all nursing home residents under law are entitled to receive quality care and attention in an environment that improves and maintains the quality of their mental and physical health.

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In a recent Maryland nursing home lawyer blog, our attorneys discussed the prevalence of nursing home abuse in facilities across the country, and how families are fighting back by installing hidden cameras to ensure the safe and proper treatment of their loved ones.

In a recent nursing home abuse incident, the son of a 78-year-old resident installed a hidden camera in April of this year, after he feared that his mother was being mistreated at MetroHealth Medical Center’s nursing home care facilities in Ohio.

According to WKYC- Channel 3 News, Steve Piskor felt that his mother, who suffers from advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, was being abused by the staff. Piskor contacted administrators to discuss marks on her face, and the fact that when he approached her, she would raise her hands to protect her face in a fearful manner. He also reported incidents of negligence, after he found the heat off and the window open in his mother’s room in the middle of winter.

After MetroHealth reportedly ignored his complaints of abuse, Piskor installed the camera to prove that his mother was experiencing nursing home abuse and mistreatment. Although the camera was hidden inside a fan, Piskor put up a sign warning workers that a camera had been installed in the room.

Piskor said that it took only a few days to capture abuse—showing a nursing aide striking his mother’s face, violently shoving her into bed and the wheelchair, and pushing her face into the wall. Other footage reportedly showed another nurse’s aide hitting his mother, while another nursing home employee turned a blind eye to the abuse. Piskor kept the hidden camera rolling for two months to ensure that MetroHealth wouldn’t dismiss the nursing home abuse.

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According to a recent Los Angeles Times report from the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting, the United States needs to prepare itself for the growing number of elderly people with dementia and other mental illnesses—as the first group of baby boomers are turning 65 this year.

The problem, according to the report, is not due to an increase in mental illness with older people— but rather that 20% of this country’s population will be 65 and older by 2030. This will be a 12% increase from now.

The average life expectancy is also increasing with seniors, so elderly people who suffer from mental problems like dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease are living longer, with illnesses that can cause forms of behavior that are aggressive, with disorientation, delusions, nursing home wandering and other behavior, leading to harm or resident injury.

A recent Queen’s Medical Center study in Honolulu, Hawaii, found that the number of senior patients with mental illnesses receiving emergency treatment has spiked, with a 30% jump from 2008-2009. Many elderly patients were reportedly brought into the hospital by caregivers or family members who were unable to deal with the severe symptoms of the mental illnesses, and were exhausted or overwhelmed by the caregiving. The study found that emergency room treatment often occurs after many attempts of local placement for the senior.

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In a recent Talbot County, Maryland nursing home lawyer blog, our attorneys discussed a devastating nursing home wandering case, that was allegedly caused by negligence and resulted in the resident’s wrongful death.

Nursing home wandering frequently occurs with residents who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and suffer from confusion and disorientation. It is important for nursing homes to recognize residents who are at-risk for nursing home wandering and falls to prevent patient injury or wrongful death.

In another tragic nursing home wandering case, a home was recently fined over $20,000 after an elderly blind resident with dementia wandered from the Kernersville home and drowned in a puddle around 200 feet away from the facility.

The resident reportedly approached the staff in the home’s lobby three times late in the evening, each time in a disoriented state, wanting someone to take her across the creek to the next county. The staff reportedly took the resident back to her bed each time, where she remained until they did the 2 a.m. bed check.

According to the state investigation, the resident left the building sometime between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. The alarm on the door did not turn off, as it had been reportedly deactivated so staff could go outside for smoking breaks. The staff allegedly neglected to turn the alarm back on.

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According to a shocking Miami Herald expose that our Hartford County, Maryland nursing home abuse attorneys have been following, nursing homes throughout Florida are being accused of horrific cases of elder abuse and neglect. The series of articles in the Herald highlight an alleged breakdown in the state’s nursing home enforcement system—leaving thousands of residents in conditions that are both dangerous and decrepit.

The Herald spent a year examining assisted living facilities and found that as the number of homes have increased to accommodate the state’s major elderly population increase, Florida has failed to protect the very people it was meant to safeguard. Although the number of new nursing homes has totaled 550 in the last five years, the state has reportedly dropped necessary home inspections by 33%, allowing homes with the worst abuse and neglect offenses to remain open.

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration oversees 2,850 facilities, and has allegedly neglected to monitor nursing home operators for abuse or neglect, investigate nursing home reports citing dangerous practices, and shut down the homes with the worst offenders—many of which lack necessary staffing, disregard nursing home regulations and deprive their residents of the most basic needs, like food, water and safety.

The investigation found that nearly once every month, residents die from nursing home abuse and neglect. In one incident, a 75-year-old dementia resident, who was at high risk for nursing home wandering, walked away from the Pinellas County nursing home, and reportedly had his body torn apart by alligators. In another home, a 71-year-old resident with a mental illness was burned so severely from being left in a bathtub that was carelessly filled with scalding hot water, that he died from a result of the burns.

Many nursing homes, according to the article, are also regularly caught using restraints that are against the law, including ropes and powerful tranquilizers. In one assisted living home a 74-year-old woman was bound for over six hours, with restraints allegedly wrapped so painfully tight that the device her tore into her flesh, causing her death.

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In a recent Baltimore, Maryland nursing home lawyer blog, our attorneys discussed a shocking case of nursing home abuse, that was only discovered after a family installed a hidden camera after witnessing their terrified mother speak of abuse. What they found was harrowing evidence that their mother, a dementia patient, was being physically and emotionally abused by the nursing facility staff, and even made to stand topless during the assault and harassment.

In related news, the nursing home abuse victim, 78-year-old Lois McCallister is now living with her daughter Mary French and her husband. French has recently come forward, speaking for the first time about the abuse case, and how devastating it was to see her beloved mother be abused and beaten.

Last month, as our Prince George’s County nursing home attorneys reported, three nursing home employees from the home, Quadrangle in Haverford, were arrested, on charges ranging from assault, to negligence and misconduct. Mark Ordan, the Chief Operating Officer of Sunrise Senior Living, Inc., who operates Quadrangle, claims that this nursing home abuse was an isolated incident, and that he has been cooperative with the authorities.

French claims that if Ordan would have been cooperative, the home would have reported the early abuse complaints to the Department of Public Welfare in Pennsylvania. But instead, Sunrise ignored McCallister’s initial complaints of abuse, citing her Alzheimer’s disease as the issue. French plans to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit to change how Sunrise treats future nursing home abuse complaints. French hopes that when the next family reports abuse, Sunrise won’t blame it on dementia.

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Our Maryland nursing home abuse attorneys have been watching the shocking news development this week of yet another nursing home abuse incident, where 22-year old nursing home worker Samirah Traynham and two co-workers from Delaware County were arrested after being caught abusing a 78-year old patient on a hidden camera.

According to Philly.com, Lois McCallister, a dementia patient of Quadrangle Assisted Living Facility in Haverford, repeatedly told her family that she was being slapped, punched and picked on by the nursing facility staff. The family discussed the nursing home abuse with the home administration, and the home reportedly blamed the claims on McCallister’s dementia, calling the allegations unfounded.

After discovering bruises on McCallister’s hand and wrist on a later visit, the family secretly installed a hidden camera or ‘nanny cam” in a clock, to record McCallister’s treatment at the home.

The video reportedly showed McCallister being hit in the face and head while being dressed, along with other abuse. In another reported video, Traynham and two other workers laughed and mocked the victim’s dementia for 12 minutes while McCallister stood in front of them, with no clothes from the waist up, trying to leave the room. Another employee reportedly danced on McCallister’s bed post like a stripper, or pole-dancer, while one of the other employees tried to pull on McCallister’s ears, knowing they were sensitive from previously having hearing aids.

Traynham was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment, neglect of a person who is care-dependent, recklessly endangering another person, and criminal conspiracy, and according to the assistant district attorney, addition arrests at the home are expected.

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As our attorneys discussed in a recent Baltimore nursing home abuse blog, elder abuse is a huge and growing problem in the United States, with more than one in ten elders experiencing abuse and only one in five reported every year. According to the U.S. Government, approximately 700,000 to 3.5 million elderly Americans are abused, exploited and neglected in this country every year.

The New York State Department of Health released new documents last week detailing a disturbing nursing home abuse case where employees in Wheatfield nursing home harassed and abused two elderly residents suffering from dementia by placing them in the same bed together and trying to convince them that they were husband and wife—to allegedly spur inappropriate interaction for their own amusement.

According to the report, Gloria Maxwell, an employee of the home, and Alicia Clemens, a certified nursing assistant, placed an elderly female resident who suffers from schizophrenia and mild retardation, into a room occupied by an elderly resident and his actual wife. The elderly man, who suffers from dementia and is reported to be legally blind, is described in the documents as being occasionally prone to sexually inappropriate behavior. By placing the female resident in his bed, Clemens and Maxwell reportedly engaged in nursing home abuse by attempting to convince the two residents that they were married in order to solicit physical interaction—providing sexually provocative commentary, and taking cell phone photographs of the two.

According to the 10-month investigation conducted by the health department, the evidence of the case did not rise to the level of criminal activity, but was considered inappropriate interaction with residents, and the nurses aides were immediately fired and fined after the incident, and are not eligible to work at any other nursing home in the state.

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As Baltimore County nursing home injury attorneys, we have recently read about yet another nursing home negligence lawsuit filed in Illinois, where a health and rehabilitation center is being sued for failing to properly care for Betty Dressel, a resident suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, who reportedly developed pressure ulcers all over her body while residing at the home that her family claims led to her wrongful death.

Decubitus Ulcers, also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores often occur with elderly nursing home residents suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, who are resting in the same position for long periods of time without moving—causing areas on the body to lose circulation, which leads to skin breakdown, a problem that our lawyers recently stated in a Maryland nursing home injury blog, is entirely preventable.

Without proper nursing home staff attention, pressure sores often progress into the four stages of bedsore development, where small sores turn into deep painful craters as a result of skin breakdown, damaging joints and tendons and causing major infections which can lead to personal injury or even death.

The lawsuit claims that Betty Dressel was treated at Cedar Ridge Health Care and Rehab Center with substandard care, and as a result of her deteriorated mental condition, they restrained her to her bed, placing her at a high risk of physical deterioration. According to her daughter, this negligent treatment lead to the development of pressure sores that reportedly formed on Dressel’s back, legs, buttocks and feet that became infected, causing sepsis, a potentially fatal infection of the blood.

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