Articles Posted in Nursing Home Negligence

The State of New York has unveiled a distressing lawsuit that exposes the grim reality of nursing homes’ misuse of taxpayer money and the horrific consequences it has on the elderly. The case sheds light on the heart-wrenching mistreatment faced by vulnerable residents at four nursing homes in New York, owned and operated by a profitable corporate entity. The ordeal endured by these individuals emphasizes the need for strong legal representation to combat such atrocities and seek justice for the victims.

According to the facts discussed in a recently released news article, the owners, operators, and landlords of four nursing homes in New York allegedly diverted more than $83 million in Medicare and Medicaid funds away from the essential care of their residents. As a result, the elderly individuals entrusted to their care faced unimaginable suffering, including neglect, humiliation, and even death. The lawsuit highlights instances of severe dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores leading to infections and sepsis, as well as life-altering injuries caused by preventable falls.

This lawsuit highlights the critical importance of robust oversight and accountability in the nursing home industry. The accused nursing homes have reportedly been associated with such negligence for years. The lawsuit draws attention to the fact that these horrors were exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but their existence predates the outbreak. This demonstrates that addressing the inadequacies and misconduct within nursing homes is an ongoing battle that requires persistent effort and legal intervention.

There is an inherent power balance between residents and staff in nursing homes. Staff members are in charge of feeding, treating, and caring for residents, often making residents fully or largely reliant on staff members. That imbalance can result in a hesitation to report or take action when abuses are occurring. Additionally, many residents may have trouble directly or clearly communicating their experiences. As a result, it often falls to visitors and loved ones to advocate for them when things go wrong. It is extremely important to take a resident seriously if they disclose or report instances of nursing home neglect or abuse.

A recent survey by the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a nonprofit organization that advocates for residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, examined 100 complaints by nursing home residents across the country. One of the biggest issues, the report found, was that residents rely so much on staff members, that any perceived issues could be met with retaliation, big or small. For many residents, staff members provide daily basic care, including assistance using the restroom, showering, and getting changed. The power imbalance is extreme, making individuals in nursing homes uniquely vulnerable to abuse. The survey even documented instances of staff members threatening family members of residents if they reported issues to the state or ombudsman association. Residents interviewed for the survey told investigators “they were afraid to voice concerns ‘because it backfires on you,’ as ‘staff became aggressive.’”

Compounding many of the existing issues is the lack of funding for nursing care facilities. The survey acknowledges that many nursing home staff members are “underpaid and undervalued.” The report suggests staff education as one of the methods to combat abuse within nursing homes. The survey stated: “What we already knew but learned again in horrific detail during COVID was that care in nursing homes is unacceptable . . . let’s understand the phenomenon. Let’s name it, let’s teach, how to prevent it, how to anticipate the way it feels to families and older people and the staff.”

A recent news report highlights that a New Hampshire nursing home is under investigation after a state report accused the facility of abuse of several residents and of failing to prevent abuse that might have contributed to a resident’s death. According to the report, a resident had unexplained injuries that contributed to their death, and several other residents were allegedly abused by staff. The Department of Health and Human Services conducted an inspection of the facility. The report alleges that the facility failed to ensure that residents were free from abuse and neglect. In one incident, a resident said that a licensed nursing assistant “slapped his buttocks, smacked them with plastic bags and laughed about it.” The report also documented that a resident’s autopsy should that they had a fracture and dislocation to the right shoulder and a dislocation to the left shoulder which contributed to the resident’s death. The case is being further investigated. The report also detailed some changes made by the facility, which included random weekly audits to make sure staff members are following procedures to prevent abuse and neglect.

What to Do to File a Lawsuit After Nursing Home Abuse?

Elder abuse in Maryland is unfortunately not uncommon. In 2020, the Maryland Department of Aging, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program received a total of 283 abuse allegations. This included 110 physical, 70 gross neglect, 49 psychological, 37 financial, and 17 sexual abuse allegations. This one department in Maryland, although there are multiple departments that received other substantial reports of alleged abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities in that year. When preparing to file a lawsuit due to abuse suffered in a nursing home, it is important to collect the necessary evidence to help prove your case – it can even be helpful to collect evidence that you have available before meeting with your lawyer, although your lawyer can help figure out ways to collect such evidence. Evidence may include medical records from the nursing home, medical records from hospitalizations related to the suspected abuse, an autopsy report and/or death certificate if applicable, funeral expenses if applicable, any documentation of relevant communication with nursing home, photos of injuries, and any other documents you believe may be helpful. In addition to collecting evidence, it can be extremely helpful to find a lawyer who has experience handling these types of personal injury cases to discuss a plan for filing a claim, and a timeline.

Under the best of circumstances, it can be difficult to select a good nursing home or care facility for your loved ones. Trusting such institutions to help our loved ones and family members following hospitalizations or for long-term care is a stressful and complicated process. That decision can be even more nerve-wracking when widespread practices of elder abuse, medication errors, and financial abuse are uncovered. When nursing homes and care facilities fail to meet the basic requirements of care for residents, they must be held accountable.

A recent news report detailed a concerning pattern at a local Washington D.C. rehabilitation and nursing home facility. According to the report, The D.C. Department of Health has launched an investigation into Capitol City Rehab nursing home following a near-deadly medication error episode on site. The report states that Rosezena Jackson’s family checked her into the nursing home in December of 2022 to recover from a hospitalization for a blood clot. They trusted the facility to take care of Rosezena fully, including administering prescription medications. However, issues quickly arose, and doctors had to put the 74-year-old Rosezena into a medically induced coma for over a week to help her survive. At the nursing home, Rosezena was given medications that were not intended for her, including a blood pressure drug that she is severely allergic to. The drugs had a different person’s name and were not meant for Rosezena.

Further review of federal inspection reports revealed that Capitol City Rehab had similar episodes in 2020 and 2021. In both years, the facility’s pharmacist failed to properly identify a medication error and on several occasions, staff members failed to administer prescription medication. In one instance, the staff failed to administer a physician-ordered drug for 19 days. The D.C. Health Regulation and Licensing Administration is currently investigating Capitol City Rehab and declined to comment on the ongoing case.

Selecting the right nursing home or care facility for a family member is a stressful and complicated process. It is vital to know that our most vulnerable loved ones 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 or worse, they must be held accountable.

According to a recent news report, the attorney general’s office of New York has engaged in an enforcement action against the Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Long Island. The action alleges that the owners of Cold Spring Hills created shell companies that illegally diverted more than $22 million in Medicare and Medicaid funds while leaving patients in shocking and inhumane conditions. The lack of treatment led to multiple patients being sent to the hospital, with many dying or suffering from malnutrition, unhygienic conditions, and a complete lack of supervision. In one situation, a diabetic patient was given a wheelchair with no footrests, forcing him to use his feet to drag the chair, resulting in part of his toe being amputated. He would later die at the facility. Another man was admitted to Cold Spring Hills to recover from a car accident, and during his time there lost 30 pounds and was admitted to a hospital with malnutrition and dehydration, a stage 4 sacral pressure injury, and right foot osteomyelitis (an infection in his bone).

How Common is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

According to the advocacy organization Nursing Home Abuse Justice, in 2020, over 15,000 complaints filed with nursing home ombudsmen were about abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, Maryland is no exception to this trend. If you have a loved one or family member in a nursing or long-term care facility, it is vital that you recognize the signs of neglect or abuse and report them promptly to the relevant authorities in order to hold the perpetrators accountable. Signs of abuse range from unexplained bruising to the sudden onset of depression and confusion, or dramatic changes in spending habits. It is important to remember that abuse can be perpetrated by a loved one, caregivers, and staff at a nursing home facility.

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.

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.

Choosing the right nursing home to send our loved ones is often a stressful and research-intensive process. After all, we want our most vulnerable family members and loved ones to be cared for properly with the attention, quality of care, and comfort they need and deserve. When nursing home facilities and staff fail to provide these basic necessities of care, however, they must be held accountable for their actions.

According to a news report, first responders arrived at a local nursing home after a resident had called 911 for the second time that day. Among the 98 residents of the facility, many of them had been left to sit in their own waste with limited water, medication, and food for hours. When firefighter crews arrived on the scene, they paired off with EMS crew members and went from room to room to check on residents, monitor their vital signs, and administer medication. For the firefighters, it was the first time they had been asked to respond and care for nearly 100 people at once. The incident remains under investigation.

Shockingly, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 95 percent of nursing home residents have been neglected or have witnessed some form of neglect. Unfortunately, Maryland is no stranger to similar incidents of neglect in nursing homes.

Nursing home neglect has been in the headlines a lot recently, as nursing homes across the country struggle to keep a full staff. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as several other industry-wide challenges, has resulted in many nursing homes losing large numbers of employees, as well as a corresponding difficulty in finding available workers.

Nursing home neglect occurs when nursing home employees fail to provide the level of care a resident needs. When family members decide on a nursing home, one of the primary factors they use is the institution’s safety record. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect is often swept under the rug by nursing home management, which means it is not reflected in their ratings. However, some instances of neglect are impossible to hide.

For example, the owner of a South Carolina nursing home was recently arrested and charged with neglect, exploitation and breach of trust of the residents in his care. More specifically, the charges included 10 counts of neglect of a vulnerable adult, two counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult and one count of breach of trust with fraudulent intent.

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