Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

Many individuals and families must make the difficult decision to send their aging loved ones to nursing homes or assisted living facilities to aid in their care. While this is a perfectly valid decision that can often ensure your family members will get the care they need in their last stages of life, trusting nursing homes can be difficult. Maryland has requirements for mandatory reporting of abuse, provides quality reports on nursing homes, and conducts regular inspections of facilities to help ensure your experience with nursing homes will be safe and positive.

Unfortunately, people who perpetuate abuse and neglect in nursing homes are all too often able to continue caring for your loved ones. A recent article reports that a nurse who allegedly tied an elderly woman to her wheelchair with a bed sheet was able to keep her nursing license. The nurse will undergo 30 hours of patient management education and the care facility involved was fined $41,605. According to reports, the nurse used a sheet to restrain a resident in a way the state nursing board described as potentially adversely affecting the health of the patient. The woman who experienced the abuse was suffering from dementia and cognitive problems when she was restrained, and there is no evidence that this was to protect the staff or others in an emergency situation.

What Are the Different Types of Elder Abuse?

To rectify issues of elder abuse, it is important to be able to identify what it could look like. According to Maryland’s Department of Aging, elder abuse can take many forms, but most fall into one of six categories. However, the Department notes that is common for aging individuals to experience more than one type of abuse at once.

The decision to place a family member in a nursing home is usually not an easy one. Everyone wants their elderly loved ones to be comfortable and receive the best possible care. As a result, it can be particularly devastating when a loved one suffers from abuse at the hands of nursing home staff. After such an egregious wrong, nursing homes should not escape responsibility for their actions—or their failure to act.

According to a recent news article, a woman in Rochester, NY has alleged that a nursing home staff member attacked her 87-year-old mother. The victim’s family members received a call from the nursing home informing them that she fell out of bed. However, after speaking to the victim, her family members learned that her injuries were no accident. Instead, the victim’s daughter claims that a staffer dragged the victim out of bed and threw her to the ground. He then allegedly tried to assault her. Following the attack, the victim required hospitalization for a broken rib, a fractured arm, and several bruises. The family has filed a complaint of elder abuse with the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

What Steps Can You Take After Nursing Home Neglect?

Maryland provides several avenues for victims of nursing home abuse or neglect to seek legal redress. First, a victim’s family can file a formal complaint with the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality. Families can file a complaint by calling the Office, sending an email, or using the Office’s online form. If the initial investigator finds a potential violation of Maryland law, he or she may forward the complaint to a health occupations investigator to gather more evidence and report any additional findings to the Office for review.

State standards and federal regulations are set to help protect and keep nursing home patients safe, to keep the families and loved ones of the patients informed, and to help prospective patients look for a place to call home to make informed decisions. Allegations of abuse or neglect must be reported to the facility administrator, and nursing home facilities must notify the proper individuals within a designated time frame.

In a recent news report, a video captured the moment where two employees of a Texas city nursing home dragged an 87-year-old-man across the floor. The employees can be seen hitting and kicking the elderly man, and tossing him onto the bed. According to his family, facility staff told them that the man fell and had to go to the hospital as a result. The family decided to install a camera after the 87-year-old complained of staff members mistreating him. The patient is currently in the hospital suffering from bruised eyes and wearing a neck brace. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission records revealed that inspectors found 11 violations of state standards at the nursing home during the most recent check-in in July 2021. The nursing home was fined $19,800.

Are Most Nursing Homes Transparent About What’s Going On Inside the Facility?

Transparency in nursing home reports is extremely important because it allows patients and their loved ones, and prospective patients to have more knowledge regarding a facility’s history of care, including any violations of state standards set to protect patients. In February 2022, the White House released a fact sheet detailing information regarding protecting seniors by improving safety and quality of care in our nation’s nursing homes.

In 2019, the population of people aged 65 and older reached 54.1 million according to a report published by the Administration on Aging. As our elder population continues to expand, it is important that systems are in place to protect them from harm, and that our legal system works to help victims and their loved ones. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. In institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, 2 in 3 staff reported that they have committed an abuse of older people in the past year according to WHO. In addition, abuse rates of older people have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent news report, a patient in a Long Island, New York nursing home died due to suspected neglect and abuse, although an official cause of death has not yet been determined. The nursing home patient was unable to speak or move, and when his girlfriend would visit him, she noticed bruises. The patient’s girlfriend then hired a private investigator to put a hidden camera in his room, which later captured the moment when a certified nursing assistant was roughly handling the patient. That nursing assistant has been criminally charged with endangering an incompetent or disabled person in the first degree. The New York State Health Department has cited the nursing home at least once for neglect.

How Can Families Prevent and Report Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?

If you or a loved one are thinking about a nursing home, or already are living in a nursing home, you may be wondering how to ensure safety and health. Although neglect and abuse in nursing homes, unfortunately, cannot always be prevented, there are some things that you can keep in mind. This includes ensuring that you have a plan for checking in with your loved one frequently, ensuring that there are opportunities for them to socially interact, and paying attention to any changes in health, including any unexplained bruises.

When choosing a nursing home, families want to ensure their loved ones receive the best possible care. However, nursing home abuse and neglect can jeopardize residents’ safety. When a nursing home fails to protect its residents, it leaves them vulnerable to serious injury or death.

A nursing home in California is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after a mentally ill resident allegedly strangled his 90-year-old roommate to death. A caregiver at Avocado Post Acute nursing home found the victim in his room with abrasions on his neck. He was also vomiting blood and presenting with respiratory distress. He was then transferred to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries. The victim’s family adult children claim that Avocado never informed them of the attack and omitted details about their father’s visible injuries. Instead, according to the lawsuit, Avocado staff allegedly told the hospital he was suffering from lung cancer and in respiratory arrest. Only after the victim was moved to hospice did his family learn the full extent of what had transpired. The lawsuit also claims Avocado knew the alleged murderer had previously attacked patients at the nursing home, including a prior altercation between him and the victim. Moreover, the family alleges that the nursing home failed to discharge this resident, despite his violent tendencies, in the face of financial pressure to turn a profit.

Sadly, this incident is one of many injuries reported at Avocado. As a recent news article reported, the California Department of Public Health has received 628 complaints against the nursing home since 2019. These complaints allege caregivers at the nursing home sexually assaulted a quadriplegic resident, left a resident with swallowing precautions alone to eat lunch before she choked to death, and slammed a resident into a wall, among other incidents. In light of these allegations, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had previously announced it would terminate Avocado’s contract with the Department of Health and Human Services. However, CMS later reversed its decision, finding that the nursing home had since reached sufficient compliance with its standards. As of now, the nursing home remains open.

Selecting a good nursing home or care facility for loved ones can be a stressful and complicated process. It is important to know that our most vulnerable family members are being placed in a caring, comfortable, and safe environment. Unfortunately, recent events have left many nursing and care homes with a lack of staffing, training deficiencies, and supply shortages. When nursing homes fail to meet the basic requirements of care for residents, they must be held accountable.

According to a recent news report, the attorney general’s office of Vermont has reached a settlement with the operator of four residential care homes in the Rutland area over allegations it failed to properly train staff and adequately document and monitor the delivery of services. The investigation began in December of 2020 and found that the care home operator, Our House, failed to properly supervise the administration of medication, protect residents from abuse, properly supervise and train staff, and ensure that allegations of abuse were timely and properly reported.

In the settlement agreement, Our House did not dispute the facts but instead denied liability. Our House stated that additional information would show a lack of intent and that it didn’t believe it violated any state or federal law. Under the settlement agreement, Our House is required to implement new trainings and compliance practices to prevent further similar issues at their facilities. If they fail to meet the standards of the settlement agreement over the next three years, Our House will be required to pay $40,000 in damages and penalties.

Maryland nursing homes typically include an arbitration agreement requirement amongst hundreds of papers that residents and their families review and sign upon admission. These agreements purport to reduce the likelihood that the parties need to be embroiled in lengthy legal disputes. However, the crux of these documents stands to protect the nursing home in cases of allegations of abuse or neglect. In many cases, Maryland nursing home abuse victims and their families will try and invalidate an arbitration clause in order to proceed with a civil legal claim. However, these cases present two-fold challenges; first, the plaintiff must establish that the arbitration clause is invalid, and then they must still prove negligence in the courts. A skilled nursing home abuse attorney can help families successfully work their way through these daunting claims.

Families of nursing home residents continue to fight against the deceptive admissions process that many nursing and assisted living facilities to engage in. For instance, a recent article described a situation where a woman’s mother passed away following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The woman discovered that her mother had suffered a broken shoulder without any x-rays or treatment. Further, medical documentation revealed that her mother fell at least nine times and suffered multiple urinary tract infections. These injuries led to her mother losing nearly 20 pounds. In response, the woman attempted to file a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the facility, but she was met with a pre-dispute binding arbitration agreement document. She is now encouraging families to assert their rights to decline to sign these agreements.

Are Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements Enforceable?

Lawsuits asking the court to compel arbitration are generally viewed as “favored actions.” As such, courts will lean towards enforcing arbitration agreements. Generally, the court will look to whether there is a valid agreement to compel arbitration. If so, the parties are bound by the terms of the agreement. However, despite these challenges, an attorney can help families overcome these inherently unfair and often deceptive agreements.

Trusting the care of our loved ones to a nursing home is always easier when you have faith in the facilities and staff members. As family members and loved ones in Maryland age, they can sometimes require more care than is available at home, making nursing homes a necessary step to allow them to age gracefully. Unfortunately, due to recent events and hiring levels, many nursing homes are understaffed and or under-resourced. Any location that your loved ones go to must be fully prepared to take care of their physical, emotional, and mental health.

According to a recent news article, nearly a third of all nursing homes are rated as below average. Reasons for below-average ratings can range from overcrowding to substandard care or worse. It is important to research and look out for certain common issues that can be found in nursing homes throughout Maryland. Here are three issues to consider before selecting a nursing home for your family member or loved one:

Staff availability. Not only is it vital to verify that the nursing home you select is staffed at an appropriate level, but nursing homes offer a variety of staff availability levels throughout the day, ranging from around-the-clock care to less hands-on shift times. Additionally, good long-term care locations will offer registered nurses on duty and licensed practical nurses available on request.

As Americans age, the instances of mental and psychological illnesses and adverse events tend to increase. Mental health care can be a delicate challenge in any case, but may be even more problematic in nursing homes. Residents with certain psychological or behavioral issues may be diagnosed and treated for a more severe mental illness without medical justification. Although the reasons for these misdiagnoses may vary, the U.S. The Federal Government, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, recently released guidelines to prevent this misdiagnosis and treatment in facilities that accept federal money.

What Leads to Misdiagnoses in Maryland Nursing Homes?

The reasons that nursing home residents may be misdiagnosed with a severe mental illness vary, but the most concerning reasons are based on behavior control. Anecdotal evidence from nursing home employees has suggested that a difficult resident could be more easily controlled by diagnosing them with schizophrenia and administering them strong antipsychotic medications. This method of behavior management is unethical and illegal, but many nursing home residents and their families are not aware of the misdiagnoses that are occurring. In the past two decades, the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia among nursing home residents has drastically increased. This appears to be the result of a pattern of misdiagnosis and overmedication of patients.

When we send our loved ones to a nursing home or they choose to head to one on their own, we trust that the staff at these facilities will take care of them as we would. This, however, is not always the case. Unfortunately, some nursing home facilities can often be abusive toward its residents—and create situations dangerous for the physical, mental, emotional, and financial health our loved ones.

According to a recent news report, more than a dozen residents had to be relocated amid allegations of abuse at an assisted living facility. Based on an investigation, reports from as far back as 2018 showed previous rule violations such as strong urine odors at the facility, a failure of the facility’s staff to store perishable foods properly, and a failure to properly supervise a resident with dementia. Following recent allegations of elder abuse at the facility, state regulators shut the nursing home down. According to local authorities, criminal charges are possible, but nothing has been filed yet. Details into the allegations and the health of the residents who had to be transferred to other facilities remains under investigation.

What Are the Signs of Elder Abuse?

Because abuse takes many different forms, the signs of abuse can also vary. Some things to look out for include your loved one suddenly becoming isolated from friends and family, unexplained burns, scars, or bruises, new signs of depression and confusion, preventable conditions such as bed sores, or recent changes in spending patterns.

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