Articles Posted in Nursing Home Neglect

The Department of Health and Human Services issued the results of a study that found, in a random sampling of 260 nursing homes, almost all the nursing home had one more employees with at least one criminal conviction.

Using FBI criminal history records, the DHHS found that nearly half of the nursing facilities employed five or more people with at least one conviction.

The study found that the 44% of those with convictions had been found guilty of property crimes including burglary, shoplifting and bad check writing. Investigators also found that seven registered sex offenders were employed in five different nursing homes.

Most states require nursing home facilities to perform either an FBI or state-wide criminal background check on prospective employees even though there is no Federal requirement to do so. However, nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding are prohibited from hiring employees found guilty of “abusing, neglecting, or mistreating residents.” This policy seems like closing the barn door after the cow has already gotten out.

The DHHS recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) work with the states to develop background check procedures and ensure that States conduct background checks consistently.

It is clear there needs to be a policy which disqualifies people who have been convicted of certain crimes from working with patients at nursing homes.

Nursing home residents often fall prey to all sorts of abuse and exploitation. Nursing home abuse is a serious problem across the nation and it takes many forms from financial exploitation to sexual abuse, bedsores, prescription abuse and neglect.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured due to nursing home abuse and neglect and the family of those who have died as a result of this abuse.

Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General March 2011
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We ran across an article on — Autopsy Cutbacks Reveal ‘Gray Homicides‘ — by Sandra Bartlett that was particularly disturbing. Bartlett writes that because many medical examiner and coroner offices are not properly staffed and have suffered budget cuts they are no longer performing autopsies on people over the age of 60.

Bartlett says that health care providers and law enforcement tend to assume that people over the age of 60 die of natural causes unless there are dramatic signs of trauma or abuse. She says that investigators are concerned that there is an epidemic of “gray homicides” — murder of our elderly that goes unreported and undetected.

Bartlett’s fine article described a couple of suspicious deaths that occurred at nursing homes. When one 80-year-old patient died, he was buried without an autopsy. Later, his widow got an anonymous phone call from someone at his nursing home that informed her that her husband’s death was as a result of “horrific abuse” at the hands of a nursing home employee. The patient’s body was exhumed and the autopsy showed that he had multiple fractures including to the sternum, larynx, ribs and toes.

The Robin Allen of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said that there are many deaths of elderly people under “suspicious circumstances.” Allen said that just proving murder or neglect can be more challenging in senior citizens because of underlying health problems but that doesn’t mean their deaths should not be investigated.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms including physical and emotional abuse, malnutrition and chemical restraint. In Washington State, a vulnerable adult is defined as a person who is 60 years of age or older had livings in a nursing home or long-term facility or does not have the mental, physical or functional ability to care of themselves. State law designates Mandatory Reporters as professionals who are required by law to report if they believe a vulnerable adult is a victim of abuse, abandonment, neglect or financial exploitation. Failure to do so may result in criminal charges.

If one of your loved ones has been seriously injured or died as a result of nursing home staff negligence or abusecontact The Farber Law Group, a law firm that specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect.

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Jolene Larsen, 38, a licensed practical nurse at Merry Haven Care Center in Snohomish, Washington for 14 years has pleaded guilty to a single count of product tampering in the theft of morphine medications. In her plea, Larsen admitted to acting “with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of bodily injury” and held “extreme indifference” to the pain potentially caused by her actions.

The Seattle reports that Larsen admitted to substituting tap water with morphine. The diluted medication then was administered to at least one patient in the care center.

As part of her guilty plea, Larsen admitted that she stole morphine between November 2009 through May.

Larsen is free on bond until sentencing. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

Theft of narcotics in nursing homes by employees is a common problem. Medical professional are addicted to drugs at about a 2 percent higher rate than the general population. Thefts can happen when a nursing home does not count narcotics after every shift or when nurses are negligent in dispensing medications.

Theft of medications intended for patients can endanger the patient’s treatment and quality of life.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice and nursing home abuse and neglect. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

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One of six employees who were indicted for physical and sexual abuse of nursing home residents at the Albert Lea nursing home was sentenced to 180 days in jail on Friday.

Brianna Broitzman, who was a teenager when the abuse occurred, was tried as an adult. Broitzman pleaded guilty to three gross misdemeanors and used the Alford Plea, claiming she was innocent but acknowledged that there was enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

Broitzman will also be required to stay away from vulnerable adults, serve two years of probation and perform community service as well as undergo a psychological examination and write letters of apology to the families of three victims.

The Albert Lea nursing home sexual abuse case has made national attention because of the callousness the abusers, who were all young women, showed to their victims.

The victim’s family members gave victim impact statements to the court and described how their family members were tortured and tormented by their caregivers. Some of the victims suffered personality changes because of the abuse.

A civil suit has been filed by some of the victims and their families against the operator of the nursing home and four of the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) at the residential center. The nursing home abuse lawsuit claims that some of the aides had knowledge of the abuse going on at the nursing home and failed to report it though they were Mandatory Reporters.

The civil lawsuit claims that the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society that operated Albert Lea has direct liability for negligent management, supervision and failed to provide reasonable care for the protection and well-being of the residents.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent the victims of nursing home abuse and the family of those who have died.

Albert Lea
Broitzman gets 180 days
Published October 22, 2010

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1,800 people living in nursing homes die due to fall-related injuries every year. On average, a nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls each and every year. The CDC believes that many falls go unreported.

Falls can cause serious injuries. In fact, 2 to 6% of falls result in a fracture.

Causes of nursing home falls:

seattle nursing home lawyer

  • Muscle weakness – 24%
  • Environmental hazards such as wet floors, poor lighting, improper bed height and improperly fitted or maintained wheel chairs – 16-27%
  • Medications – sedatives or anxiety drugs can increase fall risk
  • Moving from bed to chair
  • Poor foot care
  • Improper shoe fit
  • Incorrect use of walking aids

Nursing homes have a responsibility to care for the elderly patients under their care. Fall prevention interventions include assessing patients and their risk factors; staff education; implementing bed alarms in the rooms of at-risk patients; providing hip pads to at-risk patients; insuring a proper physical environment for patients including properly fitted grab bars, handrails, toilet height and proper lighting.

In the past, nursing home routinely restrained patients. However, studies found that restraining patients lead to reduced physical functions and muscle weakness. Since Federal Regulation prohibited the routine use of restraints, fall-related injuries actually reduced.

Some successful nursing home negligence cases have included a case where employees turned off a bed alarm, a case where a patient was dropped when being transferred from bed-to-chair and a case where there were hazards in the hallway.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney Blog a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured due to nursing home abuse and neglect. Signs of nursing home neglect can include falls, bedsores and abuse.

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Manh Van Nguyen, 94, of Laguna Woods was killed when his 81-year-old roommate, William McDougall, beat him to death in the nursing home where they both lived.

According to The Orange County Register, both men were residents at the Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing facility. Police believe that Dougall beat Nguyen with a pole used to hang clothes in the closet. The Palm Terrace Home is owned by The Ensign Group.

An investigation in the death will surely be conducted. Sometimes patients who have had no history of violence may become violent because of dementia or due to an adverse reaction to prescription drugs like Ambien. While violence is a rare side effect of Ambien, there are documented cases of bizarre behavior, paranoid delusions and even violence due to the drug.

Shawna Hardesty, 37, of Buffalo City, Wis. Is charged with felony intentional abuse of a nursing home patient. According to a report in the Winona Daily News, Hardesty punched a 93-year-old patient several times in the head leaving the patient with a large bruise.

Hardesty allegedly punched the woman numerous times . According to the woman, “Every time she comes in this room, I get a biff.”

Hardesty was a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at St. Michael’s Lutheran Home in Fountain City. She apparently was suspended after the elder abuse was reported and later fired.

The Lutheran Home administrator, Dean Dixon, said that the CNA job is stressful and every couple of years, there are reports of patient abuse in the home. Said Dixon:

“There will be times when things happen,” Dixon said. “We all wish it wouldn’t happen at all, but in the real world it does happen.”

CNA’s are people who are trained to assist patients with activities of daily living and providing bedside care under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse.

Nursing home abuse or neglect hurts some of the most vulnerable adults in our society. Abuse can result in serious injuries and sometimes death. Symptoms of nursing home abuse or neglect can include broken bones, unexplained bruises, dehydration, bedsores, medication errors, infections, sexual abuse and physical abuse.

Employees of nursing homes, nurses, doctors and others are considered Mandatory Reporters and they are legally obligated to report any signs of abuse or neglect.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or a loved one has died due to nursing home abuse or negligence, contact The Farber Law Group, a law firm that specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

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In 2010 The Seattle Times won a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting with their article, The slaying of four Lakewood police officers. In another display of excellent reportage, The Times has an ongoing investigation into Adult Family Homes (AFH) which conceal the abuse and neglect of some of our most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and infirm.

The series entitled “Seniors for Sale” is in 5 parts:

  1. The Owners – describes the home-care industry and how it exploits the elderly.
  2. The Homes – describes how an AFH can stay in business even though there has been a death and evidence of a pattern of neglect of elderly residents.
  3. The Exodus – describes how the State of Washington saves money placing the ill elderly in AFH instead of skilled nursing facilities where they can receive proper medical care.
  4. The Deaths – details cases of suspicious deaths where the deaths were not even investigated despite signs of abuse or neglect.
  5. The Hidden Victims – describes how AFHs hide neglect and how some health-care professionals, despite being Mandatory Reporters, fail to report the problem.

The Times has done a fantastic job in their series and they provide resources such as:

If you suspect a loved one has been injured due to nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in these types of cases. At The Farber Law Group, we have more than 30 years experience representing nursing home abuse and neglect cases including those having to do with bedsores, broken bones and fractures among others. With our help, you may recover compensation for damages and, more importantly, can shed light on nursing homes and adult family homes that behave irresponsibly and criminally.

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Sherree Denise James, 43, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) has been arrested for investigation of abusing an elderly resident at the Grace Center Nursing Home where she worked.

The Lufkin Daily News of Lufkin, Texas, reports that James hit and pulled an 83-year-old woman’s hair as she gave her a shower. Two witnesses said they heard the elderly patient crying and pleading with James to quit hitting her. When the witnesses went into the shower room, they saw James pulling the woman’s hair and twisting her ear.

The administration of Grace Center did the right thing, they immediately notified the local police department and filed a report with the state. The nursing home administrator, Pam Humphrey, said:

“We followed all of our policies and procedures. (James) was let go after the incident happened, and she has not been back in this building since. It’s our duty to protect our residents.”

Often times, nursing home employees do not the right thing and alert police when there is a case of suspected abuse. Legally, however, employees or owners of nursing homes, boarding homes or adult family homes are considered Mandatory Reporters and are required by law to report any time they suspect abuse, abandonment, neglect or financial exploitation.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by Seattle nursing home abuse or neglect and the family of those killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

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A Massachusetts jury awarded Marlene Owens $400K in a case of nursing home negligence. Owen’s filed her negligence lawsuit after her stepfather, John J. Donahue, was seriously injured in 2005 as he was being transferred from his bed at the Embassy House nursing home. His eye was gouged by a metal safety hook on the lift that was used to transfer him from his bed and he developed sepsis and died after having his eye removed.

Owens said of the award, “I feel like I got some closure and some justice of him [her stepfather].”

The Plymouth Superior Court jury found that Embassy House nursing home was negligent in their care of Donahue which contributed to his death. The lift used to move Donahue required two personnel to operate, but in the case of Donahue’s accident, only one person was operating it.