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Nursing Home Negligence

Info Missing from Nursing Home Reports Says Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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Florida’s new policy for redacting nursing home reports may make what’s going on in these facilities a mystery says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

The State of Florida, which investigates complaints of abuse and neglect and issues reports after these investigations, is accused of leaving out so much information on these public reports that they are of little use to those who want to know what’s going on in these facilities. Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne says this trend may make it easier for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to avoid being held accountable for mistreating residents.

The Orlando Sentinel, in an article published last month, stated that if you want to look at public records concerning a nursing home or assisted living facility where you might place a loved one, you may find so much information redacted that the reports have little or no practical use. Dates, places and words describing what happened may be removed from public view.

Brian Lee of Families For Better Care based in Austin, Texas, a watchdog group focused on the welfare of nursing home and assisted living facility residents, called Florida’s heavily censored reports “shocking.” Lee told the newspaper he first noticed more information was being withheld starting late last year. Lee also said someone reading a report may not be able to make any sense of what went on.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (FAHCA), the agency creating the reports, denied that allegation. The Sentinel states the reason they gave for the redaction is to protect personal health information as required by federal privacy laws. The agency’s press secretary stated if the information wasn’t redacted someone may be able to connect it with publically available information to identify protected health information.

The agency provided the Sentinel an internal email from December referring to a “new redaction process” which is being done by an automated process which may have eliminated more information than necessary. The agency official stated they were working on improving the quality of the redactions.

The FAHCA routinely inspects the state’s 683 nursing homes annually and once every two years for Florida’s more than 3,000 assisted living facilities. There are additional investigations when serious complaints are filed. Reports from the investigation are normally posted online on FloridaHealthFinder.gov.

The Sentinel quoted Lee as saying,

“I haven’t seen anything this blatant, as far as the disregard of the public records laws, as what’s coming out of the Agency for Health Care Administration right now,” he said. “And their attitude is very nonchalant, that this is just a computer glitch. It’s crazy — and, most importantly, it’s a disservice to residents and their families.”

These reports can be helpful when we investigate possible neglect and abuse at a nursing home or assisted living facility and the state needs not only to be concerned about privacy, but also the safety of residents. Incident reports that look like Swiss cheese also won’t help families choose safe facilities for their loved ones to try to avoid abuse and neglect before it starts.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury caused by neglect or abuse at a nursing home or assisted living facility in the South Florida area, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

Nursing Home Rapes Not Unusual Says Boca Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Joe Osborne

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Rape in long-term care facilities is common, underreported and often ignored, allowing it to continue says Boca nursing home abuse attorney Joe Osborne.

 If you read the term “sexual predator” in the news you might assume it involves the sexual assault of children. Sexual predators also operate in Florida assisted living facilities and nursing homes, where they work. Nursing home abuse attorney Joe Osborne says rapes in nursing homes are underreported and the government does little about them.

In a lengthy and grim report CNN goes into detail about the problem of rape in nursing homes and how ineffective government regulators are to prevent it from happening. They summed up their findings this way,

…(V)ictims and their families were failed at every stage. Nursing homes were slow to investigate and report allegations because of a reluctance to believe the accusations — or a desire to hide them. Police viewed the claims as unlikely at the outset, dismissing potential victims because of failing memories or jumbled allegations. And because of the high bar set for substantiating abuse, state regulators failed to flag patterns of repeated allegations against a single caregiver…It’s these systemic failures that make it especially hard for victims to get justice — and even easier for perpetrators to get away with their crimes.

CNN found it’s difficult to learn the extent of the problem because state regulators lump allegations of sexual abuse with other forms of abuse. When these claims are investigated it’s rare that allegations are substantiated. Of 386 sexual abuse cases in Illinois since 2013, 59 were substantiated. In Texas 11 of 251 sexual assault complaints in the 2015 fiscal year were substantiated. Wisconsin informed CNN it didn’t substantiate any reported sexual abuse in the last five years.

Federal data from the Administration for Community Living shows that there have been about 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse reported in long-term care facilities since 2000. Agency officials told CNN that number represents part of the problem because they count only cases where state long-term care ombudsmen got involved.

CNN reports that facility inspection reports filed nationwide between 2013 and 2016 and an analysis of actions taken against long term care facilities show,

  • The federal government cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities.
  • Nearly a hundred of these facilities were cited multiple times.
  • At least a quarter of the reports included allegations that assaults were allegedly perpetrated by aides, nurses and other staff members, while a small portion involved facility visitors (including family members) or unknown assailants.
  • Most citations dealt with cases of residents abusing other residents, accusations against caregivers and other workers tended to be far more serious.
  • More than 500 facilities were cited for failing to investigate and report allegations of sexual abuse to authorities or for not properly screening employees for potentially abusive pasts. One nursing director told a state inspector that “if the facility reported all allegations it would be numerous and the State Agency wouldn’t want that either.”

CNN found this epidemic of sexual assault of the elderly and disabled couldn’t happen without the negligent or intentional actions of nursing home management.

  • Allegations by residents are often questioned or dismissed because victims have cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Workers often lack training needed to spot sexual abuse so abuse that should be found and reported is not.
  • The reputation and continued operation of the facility may take priority over resident safety. Staff may fear investigators looking into a facility may expose other issues, threaten a nursing home with closure or open the door to costly lawsuits.
  • There are also instances where administrators and employees actively impeded investigations.

CNN’s investigation shows that government regulators are not equipped to handle this problem for many reasons. The reality is that lawsuits filed on behalf of sexual assault victims in nursing homes may be the most effective way to hold a negligent nursing home accountable for allowing these crimes to take place.

If a family member living in an assisted living facility or nursing home in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties is the victim of a sexual assault, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse attorney Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. We can talk about the situation, how the law could apply in your case and the best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

Arbitration Limits Rights of Residents Says Boca Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer

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Arbitration clauses take away nursing home residents’ rights to go to court says Boca nursing home negligence lawyer Joe Osborne.

 Arbitration is a way to resolve a legal dispute instead of a trial. It’s a private trial, not a public one in court and the problem is the ground rules by which these arbitrations take place can essentially take legal rights away from Florida nursing home residents and their families. Boca nursing home negligence lawyer Joe Osborne says if possible don’t sign an agreement with a nursing home mandating that legal disputes be resolved through arbitration.

In this process an arbitrator (usually a lawyer or retired judge), or panel of arbitrators, acts as the judge and jury in the case. Both sides present evidence and make legal arguments in a private setting, not in a public courtroom. Many nursing homes have in their contracts language that at least tries to prevent residents and their families from filing civil lawsuits over injuries and wrongful death claims. If you need to quickly find a nursing home for a loved one it may be difficult, if not impossible, to “shop around” for a good facility that doesn’t require arbitration.

In many cases it’s the nursing home that sets up the rules for the arbitration. They decide who the arbitrators are and as a result an arbitrator may be tempted to decide in the nursing home’s favor in order to get more arbitration cases. The rules may also restrict what evidence can be used and generally it’s very difficult to appeal an arbitration ruling.

In late 2016 the Obama administration issued a rule stating that if a facility wanted to use Medicare or Medicaid funds it couldn’t force residents to resolve disputes through arbitration. That rule was challenged by the nursing home industry and prevented from going into effect. Whether the rule will be defended in court, changed or removed by the “business friendly” Trump administration is unknown. What is known is that many families aren’t taking this lying down.

Whether an arbitration clause is valid and enforceable or not under the law depends on its language and the circumstances of each case. The Florida Supreme Court in September ruled that a contract with a forced arbitration clause signed by the nursing home resident wasn’t binding on his family, who sued his nursing home due to his death.

Late last year the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a Kentucky decision that a nursing home’s mandatory arbitration clause was invalid against the daughters of their deceased parents who were residents. The daughters signed contracts with arbitration language in it but the Kentucky Supreme Court found residents have a “God given right” to go to court and the parents didn’t authorize the daughters to sign the forced arbitration agreement on their behalf. The issues to be decided will be whether arbitration-friendly federal law supersedes Kentucky state law.

The story of one family fighting for its right to sue a negligent nursing home is in a recent edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Though the death of 89 year old Gerald Seeger occurred in Minnesota, these situations happen all over the country, including Florida, all the time.

Seeger had a history of hernias. Before his death Seeger suffered for hours, vomiting and telling staff of pain in his badly swollen abdomen. Staff didn’t call for an ambulance but his daughter Joan Maurer did but it was too late. State investigators found the nursing home failed to provide medical attention in a timely manner.

Staff ignored, or were ignorant of, a physician’s instructions to notify medical professionals immediately if Seeger had any pain or tenderness in the groin area. He complained of stomach pain and vomited but staff didn’t promptly report it to a nurse, state investigators found. A lawsuit filed by the family is being challenged by the nursing home because of a mandatory arbitration clause.

If a family member living in an assisted living facility or nursing home in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties and is the victim of negligence, neglect or abuse, contact Boca Raton nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. We can talk about the situation, how the law could apply in your case and the best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

Poor Communication Has Deadly Results Says Boca Raton Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

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Nursing home staff need to be informed of steps needed to keep residents safe or injuries or death may result says Boca nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne.

Small things can have a big impact when a nursing home is caring for someone who’s frail, elderly or suffering a serious disability. In an average workplace a failure to communicate may lead to a simple mistake or an unhappy customer. In a Florida nursing home if staff don’t properly communicate with each other the results can literally be deadly says Boca nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne.

A small nursing home in Minnesota has been found by state officials to have acted neglectfully in the accidental death of a resident, reports the Duluth News Tribune. An investigator from the Office of Health Facilities Complaints, part of Minnesota’s Department of Health, found,

  • The resident had been admitted to Cornerstone Villa in Buhl last May, the day before the accident, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, sensory difficulty and generalized weakness.
  • An evaluation by a physical therapist found she had no concept of time or place and a staff member should have a hand on her when she walked to try to prevent her from falling.
  • Later that same day five staff members witnessed the resident walking with a walker but failed to intervene.
  • An alarm went off after the front door opened and two staff members found her outside lying face down on the sidewalk, which was stained with a lot of blood.
  • The walker apparently got stuck in the door frame, according to the nursing home, which may have caused the resident to fall.
  • She was transported to a local hospital with multiple facial fractures and later transferred to a larger hospital.
  • Because the resident was so severely injured family members decided she should receive “comfort care” and the resident died two days later.
  • The cause of her death, according to the death certificate, was “complications of cranial facial fractures secondary to a fall.”

The outcome of the investigation, released last month, was that “based on a preponderance of evidence, neglect occurred” in the incident. The facility’s manager described the situation as “the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing” and the problem was corrected internally before the state investigation started. The Office of Health Facilities Complaints found that Cornerstone Villa made needed corrections and was back in compliance with state standards by last September.

The facts of this case paint a classic picture of negligence by a nursing home.

  • The nursing home owed the resident a duty of care: If a facility determines a resident needs help to walk safely that needs to be communicated to staff and staff need to provide that help.
  • There was a breach of that duty: The finding by the physical therapist either wasn’t communicated to staff or staff ignored it.
  • The breach in the duty of care caused an injury: No one accompanied the resident while she was walking to prevent her from falling or going outside, she fell outside and was mortally injured.
  • Damages resulted: The resident suffered deadly injuries. She and her family also suffered pain and suffering.

This kind of miscommunication and neglect happens all the time in nursing homes across Florida and the country, it’s just not reported.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to neglect by a nursing home in the South Florida area, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

Beware of Financial Abuse of Loved One Says Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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Financial abuse of nursing home residents can be the result of negligence by management says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

 

Nursing home and assisted living facility residents are at risk of financial abuse by unscrupulous staff members. You may have thought the facility could be trusted with your family member but the reality is there may be staff members willing to steal and management unwilling to take the necessary steps to stop it. Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne says nursing home residents are often targeted by employees who treat residents as ATM’s, not people.

The amount of money embezzled and stolen from the elderly and frail in this country is truly astounding. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 1 (CFPB) states.

  • One study estimates elderly Americans had at least $2.9 billion stolen from them due to financial exploitation by a wide range of criminals in 2010, though the true cost may be much higher.
  • A 2011 study stated that only a fraction of these cases are reported and investigated. Protective services agencies or programs for victims dealt with about one in 44 cases of financial exploitation.

The CFPB lists some warning signs of potential financial abuse, including,

  • Missing possessions.
  • Possessions replaced with cheaper ones.
  • The resident lacks basics (such as underwear) but his or her personal needs account is depleted.
  • Blank deposit slips or withdrawal forms are in plain sight for easy taking.
  • A new acquaintance shows intense affection for the resident, isolating he or she from others.
  • Checks or other financial documents signed or dated when the resident can no longer write.
  • Suspicious signatures (there are many versions, some are shaky, others firm).
  • The resident’s checkbook shows checks made out to “cash” frequently and/or check numbers are out of sequence.

One extreme example of financial abuse is that of Avigdor Ziskin, whose son, Zachary Ziskin accuses his father’s former nursing home, Regents Park at Aventura in Northeast Miami-Dade of negligently allowing staff to financially exploit his father over a five-year period, costing $2.5 million according to the Miami Herald.2. A lawsuit filed against the nursing home claims:

  • Employees would write out checks to themselves, or to other people, using Victor’s checking accounts
  • Would force Victor to sign the checks or would forge his signature

If the nursing home failed to screen its employees to at least try to prevent hiring someone who may financially exploit a resident and that resulted in the thefts, the nursing home may have acted negligently. Nursing homes are responsible for the well being of their residents, including taking steps to make sure they’re not the victims of theft by staff, residents or visitors.

The exploitation can be,

  • Simple theft of money, an ATM or credit card or identity theft.
  • A scheme involving getting into the good graces of a nursing home resident to convince him or her the employee should be handling their finances, resulting in bank accounts being emptied, investments sold and property being signed over.
  • Staff members could also forge signatures or threaten a resident if checks or legal forms aren’t signed.

In these cases it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to get back the money stolen by the individual employees. But if it can be shown the nursing home acted negligently and didn’t prevent the thefts, or failed to become aware of them and stop them, a legal action might be able to recoup the losses. Victims of financial exploitation may also be victims of other types of abuse and neglect.

If you or a loved one have suffered financial exploitation by the staff of a nursing home in the South Florida area, contact Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for the harm done.

 

Footnotes:

1 CFPB http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201406_cfpb_guide_protecting-residents-from-financial-exploitation.pdf

2 Miami Herald http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/aventura/article86493302.html

Nursing Home the Scene of the Crime Says Boca Raton Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

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Nursing home residents are vulnerable and can be the victims of crimes committed by staff says Boca Raton nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne.

A poorly run nursing home staffed by people whose backgrounds are not sufficiently investigated, where supervision is poor and abuse is overlooked is a place where it’s just a matter of time before a crime occurs. The victim will likely be a vulnerable senior says Boca Raton nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne.

If you are concerned that your loved one may be the victim of a crime at their nursing home and would like to read more on the subject, please read: Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Says Nursing Homes Can Be Crime Scenes.

Earlier this month a woman from the Tampa Bay area was arrested and is facing a charge of abuse or neglect of an aged or disabled person because police accuse her of beating a resident of an assisted living facility with his own leg brace. Raven Sonota Eduardo is the one accused, an employee of the Loving Care Nursing Home in St. Petersburg, according to WFLA.1

After the police received a call of a worker abusing a resident from the facility they went there and looked at surveillance video which showed the victim being struck repeatedly, providing enough evidence to justify an arrest. Police are investigating whether there may be other victims at the facility and have asked the public for information about other possible instances of abuse by this employee.

The facility’s administrator, Rene Bird, says they started an investigation, looked at the video and contacted the police. Eduardo told management the resident attacked her and she defended herself but the video contradicts her claim. The facility asked Eduardo to work an extra shift but the real reason was to have her arrested by police officers who were at the facility waiting for her.

Nursing home and assisted living facility residents can be the victims of any number of crimes, which are only limited by the imagination of those willing and able to victimize them, says Joe Osborne Boca nursing home abuse attorney. These crimes can include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Sexual assault and rape
  • Larceny and theft
  • Manslaughter or murder

Though it’s an individual employee or a group of them committing the crime, depending on the facts of the case the nursing home may be held accountable for the crime and be responsible for paying compensation to the victim due to the physical, psychological and emotional harm caused.

There are several mistakes a nursing home could make, possibly resulting in a negligence claim, after a crime is committed.

  • Nursing home management should perform criminal background checks and contact prior employers before hiring someone. This is to try to screen out job applicants who have harmed nursing home residents in the past. If this isn’t done at all or is done poorly, it could lead to a resident being victimized.
  • Employees need to be properly supervised and any complaints or evidence an employee may have harmed a resident needs to be investigated. If evidence is found corrective action needs to be taken, including, when appropriate, firing the person and contacting the police.
  • If management learns an employee has been arrested and criminally charged for an incident outside the facility, it needs to decide if having such a person work around residents is worth the risk to their health and safety.

If a family member living in an assisted living facility or nursing home in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties and is the victim of a crime, contact Boca Raton nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. We can talk about the situation, how the law could apply in your case and the best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

 

Footnotes:

1 WFLA http://wfla.com/2017/02/04/police-alf-worker-beat-patient-with-a-hollow-leg-brace-repeatedly/

Resident on Resident Abuse Common Says Boca Raton Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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Study finds about 20% of nursing home residents suffer some type of abuse by other residents says Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

When most people hear the term “nursing home abuse” they probably imagine a resident being victimized by an employee. While that happens, it’s also often the case a resident is abused by another resident. Either way a negligent nursing home that allows such abuse can be held accountable says Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

It’s become common for nursing home residents to be abused by other residents, according to a study covered by CBS News.1  The lead author, Dr. Mark Lachs, states about 20% of nursing home residents suffer verbal or physical mistreatment by other residents. Lachs and other researchers watched residents for a month in ten nursing homes in New York State. More than 2,000 residents participated in the study. It’s the first large scale, systematic study looking at resident on resident abuse, reports Boca nursing home neglect attorney Osborne.

“Mistreatment” suffered by residents covered a wide range of what were considered “unwelcome behavior” that could lead to physical or psychological distress in the person on the receiving end. It includes,

  • Coming into a resident’s room and rifling through their belongings
  • Being struck by a wheelchair
  • Having food taken away
  • Verbal abuse and name calling
  • Physical violence
  • Sexual assault

Lachs says three-quarters of the events were verbal and one quarter were physical. Mistreatment was tracked by performing interviews with staff and residents, observations, chart reviews and reviewing accident or incident reports. Lachs says he wasn’t surprised that violence occurred between residents, but what struck him was how common it was. Of the 2,011 residents in the study, 407 suffered at least one instance of mistreatment.

Lachs says the focus of abuse in nursing homes should change. “(Abusive) staff should be arrested, fired, and prosecuted. But aggression between residents needs to be given attention. You’re probably at greater risk than from a staff member — but we just don’t have good numbers on that yet,” he’s quoted as saying.

Lachs suggests changes in the average nursing home environment could help, including:

  • Improved lighting
  • Controlling overcrowding so stressed residents have more space to themselves and there are less interactions with abusive residents
  • Reducing noise, which can aggravate resident, especially those with dementia
  • Safer public and private spaces for residents with dementia

Developing a new culture in nursing homes could help, Lachs says, because the issue may not be taken seriously. Having nurses and aides to respond to a resident yelling at another instead of ignoring it would be a good step. He compares it to bullying among school students which for a long time was seen as normal but it’s taken much more seriously by schools today.

A nursing home is under an obligation to keep all its residents safe and prevent abuse from whatever the source, including other residents, says nursing home abuse attorney Osborne. Residents who abuse and victimize others need to be properly controlled and, if necessary, removed from the facility. If management doesn’t take this issue seriously and a resident is harmed by another, the facility may be subject to legal action for compensation for the harm done to the victim.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury caused by a fellow resident of a nursing home in the South Florida area, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

 

Footnotes:

1                   CBS News                  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nursing-home-violence-common-but-from-an-unlikely-source/

 

A Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Thinks Mixing Addicts and Seniors is a Bad Idea

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Nursing homes must be careful who they admit to keep residents safe from potential harm by other residents says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

Nursing homes are often desperate to get as much income as possible and sometimes that means admitting people who shouldn’t be there. With the closing of state facilities for those with serious psychiatric issues some of those who otherwise would be placed there end up in nursing homes instead. Other residents may be substance abusers supposedly getting treatment. Having such a mixed population in a nursing home can be a recipe for disaster if elderly patients are not kept safe from others who may pose a threat, says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne. If you have concerns about potential abuse of a loved one by another resident, and would like to read more about nursing home neglect  read Ask Questions to Find the Right Nursing Home says Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer.

One Illinois facility is an example of what can go wrong. As reported in the Chicago Tribune1, state and federal regulators are seeking to fine a Chicago nursing home more than $100,000 after five residents overdosed on heroin inside the facility earlier this year.

The Continental Nursing & Rehabilitation Center residents were hospitalized and recovered but at least two used heroin again hours after they returned, although they were supposed to be on close watch. One of them overdosed again. A sixth overdose was reported in 2015.

Continental is facing fines from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services totaling $76,000 and another $25,000 fine from the state public health department, which claims the facility failed to properly monitor and treat residents with drug addictions. Not surprisingly, Continental is contesting the fines.

Continental, which had a mix of older residents, younger adults with mental illnesses and residents who are substance abusers, did not admit deficiencies when it stated what corrective actions it would take in response to the overdoses but stated that, “The facility has ceased admitting any residents with active substance use.”

The 208 bed nursing home (which pulled in $11 million from Medicaid and Medicare last year) reported to Illinois officials in March that 108 of its residents were younger than 65, 129 had been diagnosed with mental illnesses and 29 had felony records. What can happen with this combination of residents?

  • Chicago police responded to sixty reports of alleged batteries at Continental from 2011 through 2015, according to a Tribune analysis of police data.
  • Police came to the Continental in October 2015 after residents told staff of drug abuse inside the facility. Staff searched rooms and found paraphernalia for cooking and shooting drugs that were turned over to police.
  • Police also came to the facility in 2014 after a 61-year-old patient (admitted for treatment of bipolar disorder, depression and alcohol abuse) broke his hips and suffered a collapsed lung after he tried to escape the facility by rappelling from a 4th floor window using six sheets tied together. The resident had been drinking before his escape attempt and a subsequent test showed he had a blood alcohol level over four times the legal limit. He was found on the ground with a broken glass bottle and a beer can beside him.

Continental is part of an Indiana based company with over fifty nursing home facilities in eight states.

If a long term care facility can’t provide proper care for someone, that person should not be admitted. If such a person is younger, mentally ill and/or is using drugs the nursing home is under a duty not only to keep that person safe but all the other residents who may suffer injuries caused by such a person, reports nursing home neglect attorney Osborne. Nursing home facilities trying to profit from as wide a range of residents as possible without proper programs, management and staffing are asking for trouble for themselves and their residents.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury caused by a fellow resident of a nursing home in the South Florida area, contact Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

 

 

 

Footnotes:

1   www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-continental-nursing-met-20161113-story.html

 

Boca Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Joe Osborne Says Bed Bugs Pose A Major Threat

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Bed bugs in a nursing home may be a sign of more serious problems warns Boca nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne.

Many of us chose to live in Florida because it’s such a great place to live with a wonderful climate that makes our lives that much more pleasant. The same might be said of a new strain of bed bugs that may be attacking South Florida nursing home residents says Boca nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne.

A strain of bed bug has returned to Florida after sixty years, capable of spreading at twice the rate of other bed bugs, reports WBBH1. This tropical bed bug, which lays more eggs than other types of bed bugs, hasn’t been seen in the state since the 1940’s.

While that’s bad news for everyone, it’s especially bad news for residents of poorly managed nursing homes who can’t handle the problem. In May of last year a Cape Coral nursing home battled an infestation, according to WBBH 2. A North Carolina nursing home had its license temporarily suspended due to a bed bug infestation in 2012, according to WECT3. An infestation must be handled by professionals and only heat (temperatures over 111 degrees) and pesticides can kill them.

Tropical bed bugs feed on human blood and can leave victims with blistery reactions, itchiness and, in severe cases, anxiety and depression. If you’re in a nursing home or hospital, the last thing you want to be dealing with is bedbugs but exterminators saying they’re getting more and more calls for bedbug infestations in nursing homes, hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Almost 60% of pest control professionals have found bedbugs in nursing homes in 2014, according to an industry survey, up from 46% in 2013, reports Health News Florida. Bed bugs are also increasingly found in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Contributing to the problem, states Boca nursing home neglect attorney Osborne:

  • Pesticides may harm residents and staff so normally they aren’t used in nursing homes.
  • All the linens, beds and personal effects of residents in affected areas must be washed.
  • These personal effects may bring bed bugs with them into the facilities.

Hospitals have a lower rate of bed bug problems (36% of professionals reported bed bugs in hospitals, nearly half of the number reporting them in nursing homes) and they’re normally confined to smaller areas.

  • Hospital cleaning staff, nurses and doctors are vigilant about the problem. If there are bedbugs they’re normally quickly noticed.
  • Hospitals are normally better lit and better cleaned making it harder for bed bugs to survive and easier to see those that survive.

Argentum, an association of assisted living facilities, has these suggestions for preventing and addressing bed bug infestations4:

  • Staff must be trained to recognize the signs of bed bugs.
  • Housekeeping and maintenance staff must conduct regular inspections for signs of bed bugs.
  • Pest management professionals should be notified of signs of bed bugs so they can positively identify the pest and recommend a course of treatment.
  • If bed bugs are identified a nursing home should be prepared to follow the action and treatment protocols developed with the pest management professional’s recommendations.

If a nursing home is having problems with bed bugs it may be the tip of the iceberg. It can be a sign that staff is ignoring the health and suffering of residents, the facility is not being kept clean enough and management may not want to spend money to help residents.

If you or your loved one is suffering neglect at a South Florida nursing home it’s due to the negligent care by the facility and its employees. To learn more about your legal rights contact Boca nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

 

 

Footnotes:

1 WBBH- www.nbc-2.com/story/33684428/tropical-bed-bug-reemerges-in-florida

2 WBBH- www.nbc-2.com/story/31961773/cape-coral-nursing-home-battling-creepy-visitors

3 WECT- www.wect.com/story/19600402/police-called-to-waterbrook-living-facility-during-dss-investigation

4 Health News Florida- http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/your-roommate-nursing-home-might-be-bedbug

5 Argentum- www.alfa.org/News/2788/Bed-Bug-Infestations-Challenge-Senior-Living-Communities

Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Says Nursing Homes Can Be Crime Scenes

By | Nursing Home Negligence | No Comments

Nursing homes sometimes fail their obligation to protect residents from being crime victims says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to keep residents from harm. You may think of that as preventing falls or bed sores but it’s much more than that. It includes keeping residents away from criminals, including those who are employees and fellow residents. Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne states nursing homes’ obligation to keep residents safe includes sufficient supervision of residents and properly screening job applicants.

A former North Miami nursing home employee faces three counts each of grand theft and exploitation of the elderly after her arrest in August, reports WPLG1. Haymee Hernandez is accused of deceiving three sick or disabled residents and stealing more than $13,000 from their bank accounts. She was the Medicaid coordinator at the Claridge House in North Miami, adds Joe Osborne, a nursing home negligence attorney in Boca Raton.

  • The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Florida Office of the Attorney General states Hernandez used some of the money to shop at Macy’s and buy baked goods, among other things.
  • Hernandez is accused of conning victims into giving her their ATM cards, then accessing their accounts and withdrawing cash without their knowledge or consent.
  • She falsely told nursing home residents they had too much money in their accounts to qualify for Medicaid. Hernandez offered to make withdrawals and put their cash in a nursing home safe. Instead she spent the money on herself.
  • It was a successful con at least three times. Her victims included a man with diabetes, anemia, chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Another is wheelchair bound and a third is partially blind.
  • After being confronted by authorities and the nursing home administrator Hernandez admitted to using patients’ money due to financial problems caused by her divorce. She faces a possible jail sentence of up to 30 years if convicted.

It’s not just employees who are a possible threat to nursing home residents. An 87-year-old nursing home resident faces criminal charges after he was found having sex with a 94-year-old man debilitated by Parkinson’s disease and too disabled to consent. Louis Lawson was charged with sexual battery in July, according to the Palm Beach Post2.

  • His roommate told Lantana police Lawson would “screw anything that walked” and was “oversexed.”
  • He was living at the Village on High Ridge. Employees stated they have found Lawson touching himself and was known for grabbing and fondling staff but he had no prior criminal record in Palm Beach County.
  • The Lantana facility is in the bottom 20% of the state’s nursing homes for administration, according to rankings by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Overall the facility received two out of a possible five stars.
  • When the newspaper asked the facility about the situation, they responded the alleged sexual assault of a severely disabled 94-year-old man and resulting criminal charges had been blown out of proportion by the media and declined to comment.

If a loved one has been the victim of a crime in a South Florida nursing home, whether that involves a physical or sexual assault or financial exploitation, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss the case, how the law may apply and the best legal options to protect the nursing home resident’s rights and obtain compensation for the harm done.

 

 

Footnotes:

1 WPLG- www.local10.com/news/crime/former-north-miami-nursing-home-employee-bilks-from-sick-disabled-patients

2 Palm Beach Post- www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/lantana-nursing-home-resident-charged-with-sexual-battery/05XhtFvdXO2BqMbk6CWAPM/