Articles Posted in Evidences of Abuse

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Earlier this month, the White House announced executive actions aimed at improving the quality of care at nursing home facilities across the country. Known as the Improving Medicare Post Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 or IMPACT Act, the actions seek to improve care by strengthening the Five Star Quality Rating System used by Medicare.

The star rating system, which families, doctors, and patients rely on to choose nursing homes, has had its share of scrutiny as of late. A recent report from the New York Times assailed the system as unreliable and inconsistent, claiming that it relied on data submitted directly by the nursing homes with Medicare doing little to confirm that information or ensure that nursing homes or their corporate owners were not enhancing their rating by boosting their reported information.

Given the importance of these ratings and the concerns about their accuracy, it was reassuring to hear that the federal government is taking action to ensure better information is available to families when critical decisions need to be made.

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A recent federal survey conducted at a nursing home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee revealed several areas of issue in the care there.  In a complaint survey dated May 14, 2014, NHC Healthcare, Murfreesboro was cited for a number of deficiencies including:

  • not properly obtaining abuse registry checks for employees,
  • not maintaining an environment to prevent cross-contamination, and
  • failing to properly document medication administration and effectiveness.

All three of these deficiencies could lead to endangerment of residents at the nursing home.  If you or a loved one have experienced medication errors, infections, or have seen signs of abuse or neglect on the part of NHC Healthcare, Murfreesboro or its employees please contact Jehl Law Group, PLLC immediately!

The allegations here are serious.  Any one of these deficiencies could lead to life threatening consequences for the residents at this nursing home.  When nursing homes fail to adequately perform background checks on employees, patients can be put at risk of physical, mental, or sexual abuse by nursing home employees.  Far too often, we have witnessed caretakers causing harm to residents in nursing homes in Tennessee.  It is of the utmost importance to conduct proper background checks so that sexual predators or those who may take financial advantage of the elderly are not put in a position where they can take advantage of those dependent on them for their well-being and care.   We encourage nursing homes to seek out employees who respect the dignity of human life and part of this is ensuring that their employees do not have a history of abuse Continue reading →

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The New York Times recently published a scathing report that documents how many nursing homes hide behind artificially inflated ratings and surveys.  In its report, the Times looked at several nursing homes that had received high marks from Medicare and found that the actual quality of their care over an extended period did not line up with the rating they were given.

file3291234309584Medicare gives nursing homes a rating from one to five stars based on several factors including surveys and inspections of the facility, staffing levels, and quality statistics.  These ratings are made publicly available and influence the public and professional perception of these facilities.  It should be troubling, therefore, to find out that these ratings may not be as reliable as you may have been led to believe. Continue reading →

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Worried that your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home? Here are some tips to help ensure your loved one is getting the best care possible:

1. Vary the timing of your visits. If you typically visit the nursing home on weekends, mix things up and show up during the week, preferably around meal times so that you can ensure your loved one is being fed warm, palatable meals in a timely fashion. If you usually stop by after work, change your pattern and come by on your lunch break or after dinner. By changing up the timing and frequency of your visits, you will not be expected by the nursing home staff and thus you will get a truer picture of your loved one’s care and treatment.

2. If you have concerns about care or treatment, communicate them, not only to the nursing home staff, but also to the nursing home’s management team. Ask questions and write down what you are told. Then follow-up by requesting meetings with the nursing home’s administrator (a/k/a executive director) and director of nursing. Make a list of questions and concerns to address at the meeting. Take notes at the meeting of management’s response to your questions and concerns. Schedule a follow-up meeting to ensure that any promises to address care deficiencies have been fulfilled. If there is something that concerns you, document it with a photograph.

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to-sign-a-contract-3-1221952-mMost nursing homes in Tennessee and surrounding states now include arbitration agreements (also known as ADR or alternative dispute resolution agreements) as part of the paperwork presented when a resident is admitted to a nursing home.  So, when a resident is admitted to a nursing home, typically a representative from the nursing home will ask the resident or his or her family member to waive the resident’s constitutional right to a jury trial, should the resident be injured or die due to the nursing home’s negligent care.  What this means is before the resident suffers an injury at the nursing home, the nursing home has already gotten the resident to sign away his or her right to sue the nursing home.  While Federal and Tennessee law require that nursing homes protect the rights of their residents, exactly the opposite occurs most times when someone is admitted to a nursing home.  As a result, residents may suffer injuries such as bed sores, sexual assault, weight loss, infections, dehydration, or even broken bones and not be able to sue in a court of law.
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If someone you know and love is in a nursing home, you probably find yourself wondering if they are getting the care and treatment they need and deserve.  A government report was released in February of this year about the lack of safety for Medicare patients in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities. The report was undertaken by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General’s office.  Doctors reviewed records of randomly selected patients from more than 600 facilities.  The findings were unbelievable.  Roughly, one out of every three residents, in the facilities examined, suffered either a medication error, an infection or some other harm.

wheelchair-945156-mIt’s no wonder why the thought of someone we love being admitted to a nursing home causes anxiety. The report makes clear the fact that a lot of nursing homes are not safe.  For those without medical knowledge for the proper treatment and rehabilitation of a loved one, admitting a loved one to a nursing home can be scary.  It can be difficult to know when something isn’t right, when nursing home staff tells you something contrary to your own observation and intuition about your loved ones’ needs.  However, this report takes a look at the very heart of the issue – medical treatment – by experts. It’s a confirmation that fear for our elderly is not just paranoia, but is a valid concern.

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