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New Mexico AG sues nursing home chain over care, staffing issues

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New Mexico AG sues nursing home chain over care, staffing issues

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

December 14, 2014

A new lawsuit filed by the New Mexico attorney general accuses seven nursing homes for failing to have adequate staffing to treat patients properly. Attorney General Gary King alleges that low staffing levels made it mathematically impossible for the care facilities to, in fact, provide care, according to McKnight’s.

McKnight’s reports that if the lawsuit is successful, other states could file similar suits. The facilities targeted are staffed a levels that are below average. The suit asserts that the facilities, which are operated by Preferred Care Partners Management Group, didn’t have enough aides to help residents unable to eat or drink on their own. The suit also says managers were aware that aides did not have time to properly assist in resident bathing practices.

Preferred Care Partners is based in Plano, Texas, and has facilities spread across ten states. The group owns facilities in the southwest, southeast and Midwest regions. The suit includes testimonies from staff witnesses, according to McKnight’s.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect

Iowa’s nursing homes riddled with problems

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 30, 2014

It was a bad year for the state of Iowa and its nursing home residents, as long-term patients suffered from a drop in quality of care and services that saw state facilities drop to one of the country’s worst rankings.

Families for Better Care rankings were released recently, and Iowa fell five spots from 2013. Iowa’s facilities are now collectively ranked 46th best in the country, or 5th worst.

According to Families for Better Care, “dangerous conditions became more prevalent in Iowa’s nursing homes as severe deficiencies swelled 7 percent over the last year,” and “Iowa’s nursing home residents continued to have a difficult time getting much needed help from caregivers.”

The report said residents received less than two hours and 25 minutes of direct care per day, and that nine of 10 state nursing homes were cited for one or more infractions.

“Iowa’s nursing homes remain riddled with problems as the ombudsman program investigated and verified an overwhelming percentage of registered complaints,” the report read.

Iowa ranked last in the central region in direct staffing hours and percentage of facilities with severe deficiencies, according to the report.

Click here to read the full story in the Des Moines Register.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News

Troubled nursing homes in Kentucky

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 30, 2014

Some of the worst nursing home facilities reside in the state of Kentucky, according to national rankings for quality of care, staffing and service.

One-third of Kentucky’s 284 nursing homes scored two stars or fewer out of five stars on the national Nursing Home Compare website, which is operated by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, KYCIR reported.

KYCIR reports that only eight states had a higher percentage of such low rankings, placing Kentucky in the bottom fifth in the country in long-term care quality.

In 2013 the state was faced with 190 cases of nursing home patients experiencing “immediate jeopardy” due to quality of care, according to KYCIR and the Health and Family Services Cabinet. On its annual Families for Better Care report, the state of Kentucky received a letter grade of “D.”

“That just shows there is widespread abuse, neglect, mistreatment of residents occurring in far too many nursing homes,” Families for Better Care executive director Brian Lee told KYCIR.

Yet despite all this, the state of Kentucky is pushing legislation that would make it more difficult to file suits against state facilities, KYCIR reports. Fourteen Republican senators that have voted for such bills have received financial support from Terry Forcht, owner of one of the most deadly nursing home facilities in the state.  Click here to learn more about Mr. Forcht’s efforts to minimize nursing home accountability.

Click here to read KYCIR’s full report.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News

Powerful owner of harmful nursing home wants to avoid accountability

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 28, 2014

A nursing home in Kentucky serves as a site of continued horrors, with long-term patients falling victim to abuse and neglect.

Hazard Health and Rehabilitation Center, in Hazard, Kentucky, was the site of two separate sexual assaults in 2009. In both cases the victim was a 91-year-old Alzheimer’s patient and one assault took place within sight of a caregiver, KYCIR reported.

Those incidents occurred in 2009. Two years later the center allowed dementia patient Glenda Lykins to fall 11 times, with the patient finally breaking her hip. Another patient had died from complications arising from bedsores and an ulcer, according to KYCIR.

The facility remains open despite heavy fines and a failure “to protect residents from unwanted sexual contact,” according to a state report. In regards to the sexual assaults, the state also said the facility “had knowledge that two male residents with cognitive impairment had a history of exhibiting sexual behaviors.

In 2012, the facility was cited again for “providing substandard quality of care” to another patient, according to KYCIR.

Five other cases against the nursing home are pending at the moment, KYCIR reported. Overall, the facility has been fined tens of thousands of dollars for its failures, but remains open and an example of how facilities meant to serve as later-year oases can turn into long-term nightmares.

Click here to review the KYCIR report.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Dangerous use of restraints persists at homes for disabled

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 26, 2014

Six years after falling under fire for immoral and restrictive treatment of persons with disabilities, the state of Minnesota still harshly disciplines persons with disabilities living in assisted facilities, according to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune report.

Disciplinary practices include strapping patients to furniture and secluding them, and are enforced for infractions as minor as touching objects that caretakers don’t want touched, according to The Star-Tribune.

A federal court monitor filed a 57-page report last week that probes into the states treatment of its 35,000 persons with disabilities in 1,300 state-licensed programs, homes and facilities, the Star-Tribune reported. The state could come under disciplinary action itself, now.

More than 900 people with disabilities were restrained as a form of disciplinary action in the last 14 months, according to the report. The report detailed 70 of those cases that involved patients being left secluded, and 40 others during which patients were mechanically restrained, the Star-Tribune reported.

The Star-Tribune also reports that over that time period 289 patients were subjected to prone restraints, a technique that involves holding a patient’s face to the ground. The reports surfaces even though prone restraints are banned in state facilities because of their danger.

“It is reprehensible that we are still allowing providers to engage in practices that are universally condemned and potentially fatal,” Roberta Opheim, state ombudsman for mental health and disabilities, told the Star-Tribune.

In one situation, a disabled woman was left strapped to a chair for nine hours per day for months. She was not allowed food or bathroom breaks, according to the Star-Tribune.

In another case, a disabled woman was strapped by her shoulders, waist and arms to a metal chair for up to nine hours per day. Again, this woman was not allowed food or to use the bathroom.

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes, group homes, and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News

Nursing home faces sanctions after maggots found in resident’s bandaged wound

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 23, 2014

A Maine nursing home’s failure to install proper windows and screens led to an infestation of flies which led to maggots being found living in a resident’s wounds, according to WGME 13 News.

Now federal sanctions have comedown against the nursing home, Eastside Center for Health and Rehabilitation, on Mt. Hope Avenue in Bangor, Maine, according to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

The Bangor Daily News reports that flies were allowed to fester in the building because the nursing home “failed to ensure the environment was free from hazards associated with windows with broken and missing screens,” according to the DHHS.

The resident victim suffered burning and itching in her chest area, where a wound was supposed to be healing. But “when the bandage was removed, the staff observed that the resident had maggot larvae coming out of the resident’s chest open area,” the DHHS said.

The state has suggested a $500 fine for every day the home was out of compliance and putting its residents at risk of infection, according to WGME 13. The facility was also cited back in 2001 for a myriad of issues including abuse, neglect and care deficiencies, according to WGME 13.

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Too many nursing homes still don’t meet fire-safety rules despite deadline

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 12, 2014

June Liccione monitored her mother’s health for years as her mother spent the last part of her life in and out of nursing homes. Liccione always had her mother’s health on her mind. Was she being properly treated? Properly fed? Properly cared for?

“There were so many other things to worry about,” Liccione told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I didn’t worry about a fire.”

But a recent survey illustrates just how susceptible nursing home residents are to the usually forgotten threat of a fire. The government recently released a damming report that accuses hundreds of nursing home facilities around the country of failing to comply with adequate sprinkler system requirements. Fires devastated two nursing homes in 2003 killing a combined 31 people, according to the Star-Tribune.

“That’s really quite shocking,” David Randolph Smith, an attorney who represented the families of the victims of one of the blazes, told the Star-Tribune. “Lots of things catch on fire in these buildings. Some of them are so old that they have polyurethane insolation. They’re tinder boxes in many cases.”

Many incoming residents never give these threats any thought, reported the Star-Tribune.

In an attempt to eliminate this doubt, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will deny payment and terminate provider agreements with facilities that fail to comply. All nursing home facilities were required to comply by last year.

Thirty-six of the noncomplying facilities are run by local and state governments, the Star-Tribune reported.

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News

Medical superbugs: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria carried by more than a third of nursing home residents, study

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 11, 2014

Over-administering and overuse of antibiotics in nursing homes has led to the presence of superbugs, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, in more than one third of nursing home residents in Australia, according to an ABC News report.

A study out of Monash University found that more than half of the infected patients had recently received antibiotics, proving the bugs impervious to the drugs and opening the possibility that they could be actually spawned from them.

The study warns that the increasing rate of antibiotic overuse could make the superbugs more widespread, according to ABC News.

“They aren’t the safety net that we think they are,” Monash professor Anton Peleg told the news. “They do have consequences and the consequences of overuse, or inappropriate use, is the development of these antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

Peleg warned that understaffing issues and service inadequacy problems lead to the increased dependence on antibiotics. Bacteria can live and foster in carpets, beds and other living conditions in nursing homes, where they are much more difficult to control. The preventive measures taken at hospitals are not practical in nursing homes, leaving patients highly susceptible.

“Our concern is that nursing homes are acting as a sort of reservoir, if you like, of antibiotic resistant bacteria,” he said.

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Disabled retiree disgruntled with nursing home care

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 11, 2014

A nursing home patient paralyzed from the waist down complains of mistreatment and neglect in an Iowa nursing home, saying workers don’t follow techniques and ignore his calls for help.

Hershel Smith was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 2008 and has lived in nursing homes ever since, the Des Moines Register reports.

But he is not satisfied with his new residence.

He’s not alone.

Iowa received an “F” rating in an annual nursing home review conducted by nonprofit Families for Better Care, according to the Register. This year Iowa dropped in the national rankings as well. The Register reported that Families for Better Care ranked Iowa nursing homes 46th in the nation.

The Register reports that Iowa has eight long-term care ombudsmen, who are required to hear complaints and resolve issues of more than 54,000 nursing home patients living in the state. We will repeat that again.

That’s eight ombudsmen for 54,000 patients. “I’ve run out of advocates,” he told the Register.

Nursing homes themselves are also commonly understaffed, reports the Register.

The state has been ravaged by nursing home injuries, deaths and sexual assaults in recent years.

From the Des Moines Register story: dangerous conditions have become more prevalent, residents have a harder time getting help from caregivers and an overwhelming percentage of registered complaints are verified by the state’s overworked ombudsmen.

Smith said he feels desperate when his wife can’t be at the home to take care of him, and he is left with the home staff. At one point, he ditched the home for a motel.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

 

TOPICS:   Neglect, News

Report Shows Rampant Patient Harm in Skilled Nursing Facilities

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

October 8, 2014

Are you suspicious that your loved one is being harmed by the nursing home care that is supposed to be nurturing him or her?

A new study shows that you may be right, even if you don’t want to believe it.

According to AARP, one of every three skilled nursing home patients were harmed by the treatment he or she received. The study was released by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Harm” includes infection, medical errors and conditions such as extreme bleeding, kidney failure, blood clots and fluid imbalances, according to AARP. The patients consisted of those who received care following a hospital stint.

The study said that physicians found 59 percent of the mistakes preventable, while 1.5 percent of the mistakes contributed to a patient’s death.

Those numbers translate into 1,500 patients dying in one month alone as a result of complications from nursing home mistreatment, out of around 22,000 patients harmed, according to AARP.

Much of the mistreatment resulted in hospital re-admittance, to the cost of up to $208 in a single month for Medicare, according to AARP. When stretched over a full year, those costs balloon to $2.8 billion, the report says.

Click here to read the full AARP article.

Click here to read the study by the Department of Health and Human Services / Office of Inspector General, entitled “Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries.”

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.