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Articles Tagged with nursing home negligence

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wandering preventionIf a nursing home resident who suffers from dementia or Alzheimers gets injured because he or she wandered unsafely or into unsafe places, got hurt, eloped, got lost or became trapped in unsafe areas, the nursing home can be held liable for negligence because it failed to proprely supervise the resident.  Incidents of unsafe wandering happen most often in nursing homes that are understaffed or in which the staff is not proprely trained.

Because wandering represents a significant safety risk to older adults with dementia it is often a reason why a family makes the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home.  A good nursing home will train employees on how to prevent unsafe wandering and elopement, assess each patient on a regular basis as to his or her propensity to wander and balance safety and autonomy while implementing measures to deter unsafe wandering.

Families also need to understand the risks of unsafe wandering and elopement and what they can do to help. Discussions may prepare residents and family members who may be unused to seeing wandering behavior in others, and because residents may begin wandering after moving in, discussions might invite more conversation about past or current behaviors.

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luxury nursing home roomMany nursing homes have attractive lobbies and enticing amenities but neglect to provide medical care to their patients.  Geriatric researchers call this disconnect “the chandelier effect”. Because short term medicare patients are much more lucrative than long term medicaid patients, nursing home are investing in luxurious facilities but most often neglect medical care. Very often these luxurious facilities are understaffed in nurses and aids and do not have doctors on staff that can provide the intensive care that rehabilitation requires.

In an excellent article Katie Thomas from the New York Times describes how some patients who were promised amazing care ended back in the hospital with infections and bedsores. Katie Thomas also denounced how this race for profitability is marginalizing long term medicaid patients with extensive medical needs.

In New York for example, the Medford Multicare Center for living on Long Island recently open the “LUX” wing for short term rehabilitation with all kind of bells and whistles to lure patients while last year nine of its employees were arrested for negligence that caused the death of patients and injured several others (see previous blog)

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A wheelchair-bound resident of a Long Island nursing home suffered serious personal injury after a nurse committed a medical error and injected him with morphine instead of a prescribed muscle relaxant and then attempted to cover up her error by falsifying documents. The nursing home resident overdosed and had to be admitted to a hospital where Narcan, a medication to counter the effects of an opiate overdose was administered. The nurse, Vicki Price, was charged recently with one count of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person, in the second degree, a class E felony; one count of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, a class A misdemeanor; one count of willful violation of the public health laws, an unclassified misdemeanor; and two counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, a class E felony. She faces up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison if convicted.

Read more in the Press Release

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10 employees of a New York nursing home neglected and mistreated a resident who was completely dependent on the nursing home staff for his care. The patient was a double amputee who also suffered from partial upper body paralysis. An investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed a disturbing pattern of pervasive neglect at Blossom North Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rochester, NY. According to the footage from a hidden video camera, “nurses allegedly failed to dispense prescription medications, measure blood sugar and blood pressure levels or properly care for the resident’s catheter. Aides allegedly neglected the resident’s incontinence care and his prescribed range of motion exercises and several are alleged to have transferred him in a potentially unsafe manner. In some instances, the resident had no hands-on care during the aides’ entire shifts and was left to lay immobile in his bed for hours at a time. The nurses and aides then allegedly falsified documents in an effort to conceal their neglect”.

The employees have been charged with falsifying documents, willful violation of the public health law and for some of them endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person. They may be sentence to up to 4 years in jail.

Blossom North Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has a below average rating of 2 stars by Medicare. An inspection report from last fall shows that the nursing home had mistreatment deficiencies, quality care deficiencies, resident assessment deficiencies, resident rights deficiencies, pharmacy service deficiencies, environmental deficiencies and fire safety deficiencies. Previous complaints also show a history of abuse, neglect and mistreatment. Not surprisingly under staffing is also a major issue at this New York nursing home where a registered nurse spends in average 19 minutes a day per patient compared to a New York State average of 48 minutes.