Minnesota Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

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Care worker rapes patient at Minnetonka assisted living facility

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

January 15, 2015

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has completed its investigation of abuse concerns at the VOA Home Health at Elder Homestead, an assisted living facility in Minnetonka, Minnesota.  A complaint was filed with the MDH alleging that the resident was abused when an employee of the facility had sexual intercourse with the client.

The MDH investigated the matter and found that sexual abuse occurred when the employee had sexual intercourse with the resident, during a time when the resident was taken off the secured memory care unit and was left unsupervised by the care provider. The resident, who had a diagnosis of cognitive impairment, initially resided on the assisted-living portion of the facility, but due to incidents of leaving the facility, she was moved to the secure memory care unit of the facility for her safety. The resident was forgetful, had impaired judgment, was disoriented daily and made attempts to leave the memory care unit. The client was supposed to receive 24 hour supervision on the memory care unit.

A staff member left the resident unsupervised in an unsecure location of the facility. Later, when the resident was found, the resident was transferred to the emergency room due to suspicions of sexual abuse. A sexual assault examination was conducted and laboratory samples were taken. The samples identified that semen was present. DNA testing matched the DNA samples of the facilities employee.

The MDH determined that both the facility and its employee are responsible for the sexual abuse of the facility’s resident.  [Case no. HL23500004]

Unfortunately, the tragedy of these sexual assaults upon vulnerable residents by their care providers occurs far too often.  Click here to learn more about this common betrayal of trust.

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, including the failure to protect vulnerable adults from sexual abuse.  Click here to learn more about some of our efforts to hold care workers who rape and sexually abuse their patients accountable for their abhorrent conduct.

If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility, 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.

Elder Issues in the News

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

January 12, 2015

Acts of  Kindness: Tips for better nursing home visits

Good Question: Who Takes Care Of Us When We Get Older?

Middle-aged Americans unrealistic about their future health-care needs, U of M study finds

Americans Aged 40 to 65 Underestimate Future Health Care Needs

Lawmakers schooled on aging state, rural issues

Experimental program helps seniors move out of the nursing home

Retire Here, Not There: Minnesota

Long-term care a growing but vexing budget issue

Long-term-care insurance helps relieve stress

Medicare in 2015: The Huge Healthcare Expense It Won’t Pay

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 or other care facility, 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:   Elder Issues

Owatonna nursing home’s neglect causes head injury, broken neck

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

January 12, 2015

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has completed its investigation of neglect concerns at the Koda Living Community, a nursing home in Owatonna, Minnesota.  A complaint was filed with the MDH alleging that a resident was neglected when staff transferred the resident in a manner not in accordance with the resident’s care plan. The resident fell while being transported in a wheelchair and sustained injuries.

The MDH investigated the matter and found that the nursing home’s staff did not follow the care plan for the resident. Three days prior to the fall, the resident was assessed for the use of foot pedals on the wheelchair due to increased weakness.  Progress notes document that the resident was not able to self-propel in the wheelchair and was unable to keep the resident’s feel off the ground during a transport.

On the day of the fall, the foot pedals were not placed on the wheelchair, and staff stated that they were not aware the foot pedals were required for transporting the resident.  The information was not communicated to the staff, or included on the nursing assistant worksheet as a new intervention for the resident.  While being wheeled to the dining room by staff, the resident’s feet dropped to the floor, which propelled the resident forward out of the wheelchair and onto the floor.

The resident sustained head and facial injuries, and was sent to the hospital.  The resident was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, fracture of the vertebrae, a fracture of the neck, and a nose laceration.  The resident was admitted to a hospice care facility. The resident died five days after the fall.

The MDH determined that the facility is responsible for neglect of the facility’s resident.  [Case no. H5426022]

Medicare rates nursing homes, including this 79-bed nursing home facility.  Medicare has assigned an overall rating to Koda Living Community as a “below average” facility.  In addition, Medicare has assigned an overall rating to Koda Living Community as a “much below average” facility based on the government’s health inspections of the facility.

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 or other care facility, 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.

Death lawsuit could impact assisted living standards

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

December 14, 2014

Delores Wiersum froze to death after she was locked outside her assisted living home in Appleton, Wisconsin, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

The report states that “Wiersum died in January 2013 after wandering out of The Heritage shortly after midnight. She wore only pajamas and a light sweater in the 15-degree temperature. She had recently suffered a mini-stroke.”

The report states further that “A police investigation revealed that while staff recorded Wiersum as being asleep in her bed at 2 a.m., video surveillance footage showed the woman walking out the rear exit door at about 12:06 a.m. She tried to get back inside for about 30 minutes before giving up and walking away. She fell at least five times and received multiple broken bones and cuts during the four-hour period before police found her about a mile away from the facility.”

The Press-Gazette reports that the facility’s company, ThedaCare, has denied any wrongdoing.

The Press-Gazette reports that Wiersum fell five times as she tried to get back into the facility. Staff mistakes led to at least 24 deaths over a two-year period in Wisconsin assisted living facilities, according to the paper.

The Press-Gazette recently published a related report entitled “Senior care a ‘ticking time bomb’.”

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.

Another Twin Cities care provider caught stealing potent narcotic patch

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

December 14, 2014

Caretakers are supposed to be there to easy your loved one’s pain, not steal that relief from them. But that’s what several recent cases from Minnesota are showing: caretakers being caught using painkillers intended for patients and nursing home residents.

Most recently, a staff member at Birchwood Arbors assisted living in Forest Lake stole a Fentanyl patch from one patient and is suspected to have stolen medication from two others, according to the Star-Tribune.

And that’s the least grotesque of the cases in question.

Another involved a northwestern Minnesota nursing home nurse peeling painkilling patches off the backs of cognitively challenged patients, then sticking the patches to his tongue. He would then return the patches to the patients’ bodies, according to the Star-Tribune.

The Star-Tribune describes Fentanyl as “a potent narcotic analgesic used to supplement general anesthesia or to treat long-term or chronic pain requiring continuous relief. The opium-based medication is seldom used outside of hospitals because it is powerful and fast acting. It’s considered 80 times stronger than morphine and highly addictive.”

In other words, it’s a drug that exists only for the people who really need it.

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.

Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

December 14, 2014

It’s no secret that overmedication runs rampant in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, but until a recent NPR report, it wasn’t entirely clear how rampant.

The numbers may surprise you.

Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs, according to NPR. Many need them to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s. But many don’t, and that’s the scary part.

NPR found examples of residents being treated illegally with anti-psychotic drugs for “the convenience of staff.” NRP reports that is called “chemical restraint” and is illegal.

One of the patient’s daughters said her mother was often “lost” and/or “out of her skin,” on the drugs.

USC pharmacy professor Bradley Williams explained the dangers of treating with antipsychotics. “They blunt behaviors,” he told NPR. “They can cause sedation. It increases their risk for falls. If you want to get to the very basic bottom line, why should someone pay for something that’s not needed?”

Another patient was being treated with Risperdal and Haldol, which NPR described as “powerful antipsychotics.” After she died, her family and others filed a joint lawsuit. The nursing home settled and was forced to change its practices.

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:   Medication Errors

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

Falls are top reason for lawsuits against skilled nursing facilities, report states

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 17, 2014

Patient falls, once again, are the most common cause of winning claims in lawsuits against nursing homes, according to a recently released insurance company report and McKnights.com.

Almost 42 percent of professional liability claims against facilities insured by CAN regarded falls in those facilities, according to McKnights. The next closest reason for claims came from pressure ulcers, which lagged way behind at 17.5 percent.

McKnights.com reports that the most common types of falls are falls from bed, which came in at 32.4 percent. Falls in the bathroom are also widespread, at 18 percent, the study said.

To read more about this study, click here.

McKnights.com reports that falls are also the top reason for claims at assisted living and continuing care facilities as well. 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.

Nurses getting wrist slaps for incompetence, drug use

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 17, 2014

The state of New York has proved slow, inadequate and both when it comes to disciplining nurses that put long-term care patients in harm’s way, and in doing so, emphasizes a nonchalance towards nursing home safety that has advocates up in arms.

The New York Post reports that the state of New York failed for a long time to act against nurses found to be high on drugs while caring for patients, before giving said nurses slaps on the wrist.

Kathy Dzus was high on cocaine while caring for patients at Good Samaritan Hospital on Long Island, New York, but received just a light fine.

The same went for Daniel McCarthy, who was high on painkillers while caring for patients, according to the Post. Both offenders worked at the same hospital.

Fifty New York City area nurses were disciplined by the state this year, the Post reports, proving criminal care can occur anywhere, at any time.

And even in those cases, New York is often slow to act.

Ted Hirsch, a registered nurse, pleaded guilty to attempted possession of child pornography in 2011. The New York State Board of Regents didn’t discipline him until three years later, the Post learned.

These are just a few examples of a long line of nurse misconduct that the state often turns a blind eye towards.

To read more about this story, click here.

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:   Medication Errors

Nursing home manager accused of stealing $460K from residents

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

November 7, 2014

A former nursing home financial manager was charged earlier this month on two felony counts of embezzlement after allegedly embezzling $460,000 from residents over a three year period, according to multiple news outlets.

Tina Marie Binkley is accused of embezzling money from 136 residents of Boulevard Health Center in Rochester Hills, Michigan, after an accountant found “several significant points of financial concern,” in the home’s financial records.

Binkley allegedly took advantage of her authorization to access and manage the home’s finances. She is accused of transferring patient overpayments to separate accounts and withdrawing the funds for personal use, Macomb Daily reported.

She faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to three times the amount of money lost by residents, according to the Macomb Daily.

“Families deserved to know their loved ones in nursing homes are being cared for, not being exploited for personal financial gain,” Michigan Attorney General Schuette told the Macomb Daily. “Criminals attempting to victimize our greatest generation to line their own pockets will be brought to justice.”

Binkley was fired in April 2013, according to the Consumerist.

Binkley is also accused of bringing others into her scheme.

Click on the following link to learn more about this story: WXYZ ABC News.

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.