Articles Posted in Nursing Home Neglect

The Washington State Department of Health has suspended the license of Laszlo Molnar, an Auburn nursing assistant, pending charges of sexual misconduct.

According to the WADOH news release, Molnar was allegedly caught on video camera sexually assaulting a vulnerable resident in the adult family home that Molnar works.

The family of the victim had installed a “nanny cam” in the victim’s room and that was how they were able to discover the abuse. The victim Is unable to talk or walk.

Molnar admitted to police that he sexually assaulted the woman on 10 separate occasions.

seattle nursing home abuse lawyer

Nanny Cam

Nanny cams are hidden video cameras that people install to monitor the activities of nannies and home care givers. Camera can be hooked up to broadband or a DV recording device or memory card so that the film can be viewed live or at a later time. Cameras can be hidden in household objects like clock radios, clocks, a plant or even an AC adapter.

When a family can not be with their loved one 24 hours of the day and they suspect abuse or mistreatment of their loved ones, they have turned to nanny cams to understand the care that is provided their loved one. In some cases, they have caught caregivers stealing jewelry, money or other goods but in instances like this, they can reveal abuse.

In one case, the family of a patient with dementia installed a camera after their mother told them that she was being physically assaulted. When they discussed the report with the care home, the facility attributed the reports to the dementia. The family secretly installed a camera in a clock after they found their loved one bruised and it captured a 22-year-old employee of the care home striking their loved one in the head and face.

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is intentional actions including abuse or neglect that causes harm or puts a vulnerable person at risk for harm. It is unknown how many people are victimized by elder abuse but it is believed that female patients are abused more than males. Authorities believe that elder abuse is vastly under reported.

Many of those that abuse the elderly are family members including spouses, partners, and adult children. Family members with drug or alcohol dependency, emotional illness or

Elder Abuse in Nursing Home and Long Term Care Facilities

Elder abuse can and does occur in institutional settings. In some cases, there is not proper oversight of staff, the staff is stretched to thin or proper background checks were not performed on employees. Negligent hiring, understaffing, and inadequate training are all grounds for a nursing home abuse claim.

Bellevue Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

The Farber Law Group has more than three decades of handling elder abuse lawsuits and helping nursing home residents and their families with their claims. While each nursing home abuse claim varies, we have recovered significant awards in some nursing home abuse cases for our clients.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to nursing home abuse or a neglect, contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation. We will work hard to provide you with the help you need.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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bellevue nursing home abuse lawyerIf you have a family member or loved one in a nursing home, you might want to listen to this article produced on National Public Radio (NPR), “Old and Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes.”

In the article NPR reports that 300,000 nursing home patients are given antipsychotic drugs which are prescribed for patients with anxiety or aggression that often accompany dementia or Alzheimers. While antipsychotic drugs were approved by the FDA for mental illnesses including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, they are prescribed for dementia but with health warnings that are often ignored.

It is against the law to prescribe psychoactive, sedative and antipsychotic drugs to patients for the convenience of the staff, to simply keep patients quiet or restrict a patient’s movement or freedom. When drugs are used for sedation, it is called “chemical restraint.”

The federal government and most states have laws which prohibit chemical restraint. Chemical restraints are to only be used for the safety of an individual and the patient or family of the patient has the elgal right to refuse treatment with these powerful drugs.

The Federal government publishes the rate of antipsychotic drug use at every nursing home in the country. However, in some nursing homes, nearly 80% of all patients receive antipsychotic drugs.

The powerful drugs that can chemically restrain patients are generally only approved for short term use. There have been many cases of patients who died as a result of being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs. One Food and Drug Administration official estimated that up to 15,000 nursing home residents may be killed every year due to unnecessary anti-psychotic drugs.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You

The Farber Law Group is a personal injury law firm located in Bellevue, Washington and we review potential lawsuits for chemical restraint or excessive physical restraints.

We believe that every nursing home resident has the right to live their lives without being physically abused, chemically restrained or mentally abused.

If you believe a loved one or a friend has been seriously injured due to nursing home abuse or neglect, we will provide a free consultation to evaluate your legal claim and to insure that your loved one’s rights are protected. In some cases, your loved one may have a claim for compensation from the nursing home or parent company.

We provide a free consultation however some claims are time sensitive so contact us as soon as possible.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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The Telegraph, a British newspaper, recently ran an article by author, Max Pemberton, in which Pemberton stated that cameras (also known as “Granny cams”) are needed in nursing homes and care facilities to end elder abuse. We wrote in 2008 that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo increased the number of hidden cameras in nursing homes after cases of abuse came to light.

We have seen time and time again that some people who care for some of the most vulnerable among us are guilty of elder abuse in the form of physical abuse, neglect and mental torture. Often the abuse of the elderly and vulnerable goes undetected because the victims often cannot advocate for themselves.

One infamous case of elder abuse in this country was when six nursing home assistants at an Albert Lea nursing home were criminally charged with poking, groping and taunting the elderly patients they were supposed to care for. Two young women, 18 and 19 years of age, as well as four juveniles were charged in the case.

In 2012, Pennsylvania woman suspected that her mother was being abused in a nursing home and, after installing a hidden camera, found that her mother was in fact being abused.

In the U.K., just few days ago, two women were secretly filmed in Greater Manchester with “slapping, jabbing and taunting” a man with brain-damage whom they were supposed to be caring for. The pair were also seen hurling verbal abuse and demeaning the man.

The man in this case was not elderly. His parents were concerned about his welfare so they secretly installed a camera and caught the abuse on video tape which brought the abuse to light.

The Telegraph article states that often inspections of care facilities are only a snapshot of what is truly happening at a nursing home. Often, family members are fooled that their loved ones are being well cared for but only with video cameras do they find out the truth. Says Pemberton:

It’s a sorry state of affairs when we have to put CCTV cameras in the rooms of all vulnerable people being cared for, but I can’t think of another way of clamping down on abuse and neglect once and for all.

One of the biggest deterrents to nursing home abuse is regular visits since abusers often do not abuse a resident who is visited regularly.

If you notice that your loved one has signs of physical abuse or neglect or emotional abuse, you can report your fears to the nursing home administrator or adult protective services.

If your loved one has been seriously injured, you may seek the counsel of Bellevue nursing home attorney, Herbert G. Farber. Mr. Faber has been representing nursing home abuse victims and their families for more than 30 years. Contact him for a free and confidential case consultation.
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The Farber Law Group has frequently represented residents of nursing homes and their families after the resident was neglected or abused causing a serious injury such a hip fracture or a bedsore. In these types of cases, we work hard to obtain compensation for the patient and insure the future safety of the patient.

Another form of nursing home abuse that concerns us because it is so insidious is theft and fraud. Both identity theft and fraud against nursing home residents and other vulnerable adults is on the rise.

We hear too frequently that personal items, heirloom wedding rings, treasured family mementos and priceless jewelry have gone “missing.” The theft of treasured belongings adds to the loss of self-worth and dignity that an elderly adult may already feel having to leave one’s home to live in a group home, care facility or skilled nursing facility.

There are many stories in the news about thefts at nursing home. Sometimes it is the spouse of a resident that realizes her husband’s wedding ring has gone missing from his jewelry. Upon investigation, detectives found that a nursing home employee had been stealing jewelry and other items like digital cameras and selling them to pawn shops. Variations of this scenario is in the news far too frequently.

Nursing homes and other adult care situations have a duty and responsibility to ensure that elderly and vulnerable adults in their care have their rights protected. This includes that residents have a right to privacy and have a right to keep and use their own personal belongings and property.

To protect residents, nursing homes are required by law to conduct background checks including fingerprint checks on employees who have direct contact and unsupervised access to any resident. Caregivers are also required to complete 75 hours of training and be certified to work in a licensed Washington nursing home.

If you suspect a vulnerable adult is being abused or mistreated, you have a moral impetus and you may have a legal responsibility to report your concerns to proper authorities. Call 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276*) if you suspect abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult or call 9-1-1 if the situation is an emergency.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We have represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect for more than 30 years.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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medication error attorneyThis Saturday, the Seattle Police Department will be participating in the National “Drug Take Back Day”. People can bring any unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs to one of the five Seattle Police Department precincts between 10am and 2pm.

The “Drug Take Back” day is a coordinated effort with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It allows people to safely rid their homes of medications which could be stolen or abused.

The SPD accepts the prescription drugs on an anonymous basis and does not charge a fee for accepting the drugs. Last September, more than 2 million pounds of drugs were turned in across the U.S. at 5,200 “Take Back Drugs” sites.

Deaths to intentional and unintentional drug overdose and pharmaceutical drugs is a significant problem in the United States and has risen over the past decade. Some of the most commonly abused drugs are opiods which are contained in pain killers like oxycodone, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone and fentanyl.

In fact, prescription drug overdose kills more Americans than car accidents and is the leading cause of accidental death and in 2009, killed 37,485 people.

Accidental drug overdose are the highest in men between the ages of 20 and 64.

Ridding one’s home of unused and unneeded prescription drugs can help subvert misuse and abuse. Many of those who have died of accidental overdoses took the medication from the medicine cabinet of a friend, a parent, or a grandparent.
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A California nursing home chain has reached a settlement with the California Attorney General’s office to increase staff in 20 of its facilities and pay for a monitor to insure the nursing home are in compliance with minimum staffing levels and are providing proper documentation reports the Los Angeles Times.

Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. has been under investigation by the California Department of Justice for some time for neglecting patients. According to the Attorney General’s office, patients suffered from bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition and were being over medicated due to inadequate staffing.

In the agreement with the AG’s office, Skilled Healthcare has agreed to pay for an independent monitor, which will cost the company approximately $350,000 per year.

In 2010, a class action suit against Skilled Healthcare was won by plaintiff’s who were awarded $670 by a jury but the award was reduced to $50 million.

Inadequate Staffing Chronic Problem in Nursing Homes

Because of the for-profit of so many nursing homes, often the staffing levels are not up to par and this is one of the reasons that neglect can occur. Couple that with high staff turnover and it is a recipe for disaster.

Federal Law Requirements for Staffing

According to Federal laws, nursing homes that have been certified by Medicaid or Medicare are required to have a registered nurse (RN) director of nursing (DON); an RN on duty 8 hours of the day every day; and a licensed registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse on duty the rest of the time. However, the Federal requirements does not specify minimum requirements for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who provide most of the hands-on care.

According to Social Security Law, Sec. 1919. [42 U.S.C. 1396r], nursing homes must “care for its residents in such a manner and such an environment as will promote maintenance or enhancement of the quality of life of each resident.”

How Can Inadequate Staffing Lead to Bed sores?

Bed sores or pressure sores are a common name for decubitus ulcers. Bed sores are often a red flag that a patient in a nursing home is being neglected. Bed sores are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue over a bony area. They can develop as a result of pressure or friction. Common areas where bed sores can occur are at the base of the spine, the buttocks, hips or the heels but they can also occur on the back of the head, elbows, knees and ankles.

Bed sores can be treated by frequently repositioning the patient, providing a balanced diet with enough protein and keeping the skin clean and dry. If left untreated, a deep ulcer can form and a patient can experience life-threatening complications.
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Every year, between one and two million elderly and vulnerable Americans are mistreated, exploited or injured. This may happen in their own home at the hands of a family member, it might happen at the hands of a stranger such as con man or thief or it might be at the hands of someone charged to take care of the adult such as a nursing home, retirement home or group home.

We have almost become immune to headlines such as “Son kills his father in Austin homicide” or “Elderly woman found living in NYCHA housing squalor” or “Caregiver accused of stealing $75000.”

In cases of elder abuse, the most likely offender is a close relative, spouse, partner or the elder’s adult child. In fact, in approximately 84% of the cases of elder abuse, it is a close relative who abuses their relative.

The elder being abused might be your neighbor, someone you know from church or a friend of your parent.

Signs of Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation is the theft of an elder person’s money, belongings or other property and it can occur at the hands of a relative, a conman or someone who has been hired to care for an elderly person. Unscrupulous caregivers or people who have gained the trust of an elderly person have been known to steal art collections, forge checks and loot bank accounts. Conmen have been known to perform costly but unnecessary home repairs or collect funds for non-existent charities.

Signs of Physical Abuse

Not all signs of physical abuse of an elder are apparent. However, if you notice signs of bruising, burns, welts, cuts or broken bones, there might be physical abuse going on.

Signs of Neglect

Elder neglect can be intentional or unintentional. Sometimes family members or in denial or ignorant about the care their loved one needs. In the an institutional setting, neglect can occur when employees of the facility are undertrained and overworked.

Some of the most frequent signs of neglect include unclean clothing and bed linens, poor personal hygiene including dirty hair and long nails, malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores and the lack of medical attention.
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The family of Catherine McCann, 92, an Alzheimer’s patient, has filed a civil suit against a nursing home for negligence and emotional distress after McCann was found to have 57 maggots in her ear.

McCann’s ear was examined by a physician 9 days before the maggot infestation was discovered. The physician prescribed ear drops and one of the questions that needs to be answered is whether the treatment plan was carried out which may have led to discovery of the infestation.

The family pays nearly $10,000 monthly for McCann’s care.

Reasonable standard of professional care.

For the family’s lawsuit to prevail, they will have to prove that the nursing home fell below the standard of care. In the healthcare field, failing to provide an appropriate standard of care which a prudent professional having the same training and experience in good standing with the community would provide in the same or similar circumstances.
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The Bellevue Reporter reports that a registered nursing assistant, Benson M. Mbichire, has had his credentials suspended by the state Department of Health due to charges that he neglected a mentally ill and mute patient under his care.

According to the article, police found one of Mbichire’s patients wandering outside of the care home where Mbichire was responsible for caring for and supervising three adult patients.

When police went to the home, they found Mbichire under the influence of alcohol.

The Washington State Department of Health provides certifications/license for Nursing Assistant Certified. The program for the certification is one quarter in length and covers basic care, safety, emergency preparedness, following care procedures, restorative care and death and dying.

A review of the list of suspended licenses or certifications for health care providers in the state, including Nursing Assistant Certified, the following are common reasons for certificates to be revoked:

  • Misuse or theft of patient’s money
  • Using a patient’s debit or credit cards
  • Stealing patient’s medication
  • Failing to enter or complete substance abuse programs
  • Writing fraudulent prescriptions
  • Being intoxicated at work
  • Sexually assaulting patients.

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Police are investigating a 25-year-old nursing home worker for theft from a 99-year-old man and other residents of the Park Vista retirement and assisted living facility in Port Orchard.

According to a article on KIRO TV, the unidentified woman is suspected of one $100 theft and two other thefts at the home.

Loss Prevention at Nursing Facilities

Lost or stolen items is a common problem at nursing homes. Clothing and money can easily be lost or stolen. With the elderly, it’s easy to chock up some missing items to dementia or senility. It is the duty of the nursing home facility to have procedures to protect residents and to reduce lost and theft. These procedures should include:

  • Background checks on all nursing home personnel.
  • Employee training on how to respond to theft allegations.
  • Maintain an inventory of a resident’s personal possessions.
  • Marking resident’s personal property.
  • Documenting theft and property loss of $25 or more.
  • Reporting stolen property with a value of $100 or more to authorities.

Drug Theft at Nursing Facilities

Another type of theft in nursing home and adult care facilities is prescription drug thefts that some employees or visitors do to feed their own addiction or to sell the medication. In drug theft cases, the elderly are often denied their pain medication. Prosecuted cases include theft of pain patches and pills, and also cases where a patient’s pain medications were stolen to be replaced with Tylenol or some other medication so the patient would not notice the theft.
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