Articles Posted in Nursing Home Negligence

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.

The last couple of years has been extremely difficult for much of America. The nursing home industry is no exception. Starting with the COVID-19 pandemic in early-2020 all the way up through today, nursing homes are having an increasingly difficult time providing adequate care for their many residents. Not surprisingly, the instances of nursing home abuse and neglect are also increasing, as those that remain on staff in long-term care facilities are overworked. Despite these challenges, a nursing home’s duty to its residents does not change and when a nursing home fails to provide the necessary level of care—for whatever reason—residents and their families can take legal action against the facility.

An all-too-common example of what many families are experiencing comes from a recent news report. A woman noticed a sharp decline in the quality of care her mother was receiving. At first, it was smaller things, but when her mother contracted COVID-19 and things didn’t seem to improve, she called the police. Police officers arrived and arranged to have the elderly woman transferred to a nearby hospital. The woman is in stable condition.

Continuing their investigation, police officers then tried to call the facility to learn more about what was going on behind closed doors. No one picked up. Eventually, police contacted the local Department of Health, which opened an investigation into the facility. All new admissions into the nursing home were also frozen.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on many growing concerns surrounding the care and treatment many residents experience at Maryland nursing homes. At the same time, many nursing homes continue to lobby for additional protections from suits, litigation against these facilities increases. The public perception of nursing homes tends to be poor, mainly stemming from highly publicized cases of abuse and the surge of coronavirus infection amongst many residents and staff.

Many Maryland nursing home cases involve allegations of neglect, physical abuse, restraints, ulcers, and falls. However, regardless of the cause of the incident, these cases are harrowing and can result in serious injuries and fatalities. While nursing homes and assisted living facilities often divert blame onto a “bad seed” employee, the fact remains that these agencies maintain the duty to ensure the health and safety of their residents and patients. Further, nursing homes may be held liable for their actions in concealing their staff’s negligence or wrongful acts.

For instance, a state report recently found that a nursing home hid allegations of abuse and neglect for its residents. According to the report, an administrator admitted to an investigator that they were told not to report abuse allegations to the inspections department. In addition, the report also revealed that a dietary manager and an aide worked for 30 days straight. Another night cook abruptly left the facility after working for 28 days without assistance. The cook’s departure resulted in a maintenance worker taking over the kitchen; however that worker did not know how to run the dishwasher. The disruptions in meal services resulted in nurses holding insulin for patients waiting for meals.

Nursing home abuse and neglect have become endemic in our society today. Cost-cutting measures, staffing issues, and a profit-motive-driven industry all contribute to tragic instances of elder abuse and neglect in American nursing homes. A news report has recently been published that discusses one family’s struggles with the death of their loved one at a nursing home. According to the man’s niece, his condition quickly deteriorated after moving into the facility, and he was dead within two weeks. According to the man’s family, elder abuse and neglect are to blame, and the facility needs to be held accountable for their negligence.

The facts discussed in the local news report note that the 74-year-old man was found unresponsive in his room at the nursing home and first responders were eventually called. The man’s niece reported that she was told by the first responders that her uncle appeared to be suffering from neglect at the hands of the nursing home operators. The niece told reporters that her uncle was dirty, his catheter had not been changed, he was emaciated and had bed sores on his back. Additionally, the niece was told that the man had been unresponsive for several hours before 911 was called. Based on these observations and reports, his niece alleges that her uncle died as a result of elder abuse and neglect, and is demanding an investigation.

Administrative investigations can be an effective way of addressing claims of elder abuse and neglect. State, municipal, and federal agencies have the power to revoke or suspend a nursing home’s license to operate, and the administrative process often leads to an improvement of conditions over time. Administrative proceedings and investigations are not as effective at addressing abuse or neglect that has already occurred. Victims of elder abuse and neglect, and their families may need to seek redress through the courts by pursuing a medical malpractice or negligence claim against the nursing home and medical providers responsible for caring for the residents.

With the holidays fully upon us, many families are making plans to gather to celebrate the season. For those of us with loved ones in nursing homes, it also is likely you are planning a visit for the holidays. These visits are important both for family bonding and catching up, but also as an opportunity to ensure that our seniors are remaining safe, well taken care of, and looked after by the staff in nursing homes.

Unfortunately, even during a joyous and cheery holiday period, nursing home abuse continues to be a major issue—and Maryland residents are no stranger to these challenges. Regardless of the season, nursing home abuse affects thousands of families in each year. With as many as five million seniors affected by elder abuse every year, it is crucial that holiday visits are rich in family time, but also in ensuring that your loved ones are not experiencing any type of abuse at the hands of other residents, family members, or nursing home staff.

Being proactive during nursing home visits can sometimes be challenging, especially if you do not know what exactly to look for. It is crucial to understand who is at risk and who the common perpetrators of abuse are.

Contact Information