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Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse

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When a nursing home is understaffed, patients have a higher risk of getting neglected. Studies show that patients in understaffed nursing homes have a higher risk of  weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, pneumonia, infections and bedsores. When there is not enough staff, nursing home patients do not get proper attention and as a result neglect and medical errors can occur. Additionally working conditions in understaffed nursing homes are difficult. Nursing homes who are trying to minimize their costs are not hiring as many registered nurses and certified nurse assistants as they should and stretch the existing staff as much as they can. Stressed and overworked workers get frustrated and that’s when nursing home patient abuse has the highest risk to occur.

It is estimated that approximately 90% of nursing homes are understaffed in the US. Many nursing homes do not have any registered nurse available for days. In an effort to crack down on this problem, Medicare recently revised its five stars ranking system and automatically downgraded to one star the staffing ranking section of all nursing homes that do not have a registered nurse on site for four or more days instead of 7 or more days in the previous ranking. As a result 1638 nursing homes in the US now have a one star rating for their staffing.

The change in the staffing comes in the aftermath of a decision by the government last year to require nursing homes to submit payroll records to verify staff level. While analyzing the records, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services became alarmed by the frequency of under staffing of registered nurses. Registered nurses are the most qualified nurses. When staffing level increases so does the quality of care.

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nursing homeUnderstaffed nursing homes cause patients to be neglected. The most common result is the development of bed sores or broken bones after a fall, both leading to hospitalization.

Until recently, the five star rating system published by the government  to help American families find a nursing home for their loved ones wasn’t  taking the payroll of each facility into account for their ranking. However in 2010, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicare collect and publish payroll data of nursing home instead of having the nursing home reporting their own data to the government.  Medicare found that many nursing homes were reporting numbers exaggerating staffing that were masking significant fluctuation in day-to-day staffing with huge shortfalls during the weekends.

As a result 1,387 of the 15,616 skilled nursing facilities in the country received the lowest rating, one star, for staffing after Medicare recently changed its rating.

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NYSTLA will hold a meeting of the Medical Malpractice Committee on April 19th at 6:00 p.m. and should last until 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at NYSTLA Headquarters at 132 Nassau Street Suite 200.

Red Alert!

As you probably know by now, federal legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 1215 would impose severe restrictions on medical malpractice actions and actions against nursing homes throughout the country including a $250,000 cap on awards for non-economic damages as well as other toxic limitations. The bill has already passed committees in the House. It was scheduled to be brought to the House floor on March 29th, 2017, but that has been delayed. It is anticipated, however, that it will still be brought to the floor, and that it has a good chance of passing.

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nursing home abuse“Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s nursing homes” is the title of a new investigation recently released by CNN. According to this investigation, sexual abuse at nursing homes is widespread and little is being done to stop it.

It is very saddening that many elderly that have issues with memory or who can not defend themselves because they are too weak are being sexually abused by the people who are caring for them.  Some of the stories revealed in the CNN investigations are extremely sad, sometimes terrifying. It is very difficult to get an accurate picture of how bad the situation is because predators choose victims with Alzheimer disease who have trouble with their memories or victims who are too terrified to talk. CNN found out that nursing homes are often reluctant to believe sexual abuse accusations or are trying to hide the truth to avoid lawsuits.  Additionally the police often dismiss the claim and blame the victim for being confused. On the top of it repeated caregiver offenders are often able to work in another nursing home after being fired from a previous one. There is a systematic failure to protect victims from sexual assault in nursing homes.

In the CNN investigation a daughter explained how her mother  who flew away from Indonesia to  avoid being sexually abused by Japanese soldiers was raped in her American nursing home at 83 years old. CNN also reports the story of a male nurse who was caught by a colleague raping an 83 year old patient in a nursing home in 2014. The man was sentenced by a judge to 8 years in prison. The nurse apologized to the judge and his attorney asked for leniency. CNN discovered that the man had previously been suspended 3 times from the same nursing home for sexual abuse accusations.  The earliest complaint was made in 2008, 6 years before. The nursing home continued to let the man work  there again despite knowing he was a sexual predator.

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nursing homeDisturbing complaints of nursing home abuse through social media has recently prompted federal health regulators to announce plans to crack down on this type of despicable and abusive behavior.

Since 2012 Pro Publica has identified 47 cases of nursing home employees taking demeaning pictures or videos of residents and posting them on social media.  This reprehensible trend was also denounced by the Washington Post last year.

Posting explicit pictures or dehumanizing videos of nursing home residents is a new form of abuse that is very disturbing and needs to be addressed by nursing home facilities and regulators.