UticaOD.com had another story about nursing home employees stealing from residents.  This time, the Bonnie and Clyde stole an 89 year old’s diamond engagement ring and pawned it.

The arrest came about as a result of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’a investigation into nursing homes.  He is doing a great job shedding light on the misdeeds that occur frequently in nursing homes.

Certified nurse aide Amanda Thaler and her boyfriend, dietary technician Sheldon Stoddard, both work for Bethany Gardens Skilled Living Facility.   Court records show that Thaler took two rings from the vulnerable woman, a gold and diamond engagement ring and another family ring. When the woman asked for them back later, Thaler ignored her and pawned the engagement ring, which the victim’s husband had given her in 1940.

“These employees are accused of stealing a personal heirloom with priceless sentimental value from a vulnerable nursing home resident for whom they were supposed to be caring,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Allegations like this demonstrate how nursing home patients can be taken advantage of by those entrusted with their care. Whether it is physical abuse or stealing money or personal possessions, my office is taking significant steps to protect New York’s seniors from those who would do them harm.”

Andrew Cuomo is doing a great public service by investigating these types of incidents. I can only hope that other Attorney Generals start their own investigations soon.

Kristen Davis wrote a story in the Virginian-Pilot about a nursing home employee pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a comatose resident. 

Mark S. Albright faces up to 20 years in prison,  Albright, a licensed practical nurse, was working at Chesapeake Health and Rehabilitation Center when a female employee entered the room of a 43-year-old comatose patient the night of July 3. She saw Albright “with his mouth on” the woman’s breast, according to a police affidavit filed in court.

This is a sick and tragic story but at least the witness came forward and reported it.  Many times this kind of assault is covered up by the nursing home.

I got the below email today.  Not sure what to make of it.  It is an advertisement for recruiting nurses in Spartanburg, S.C. 

Nursing, Nursing Assistant/CNA – $52,330 – $74,760

These Are Recession Proof Positions

Top 10 Reasons for Ray Mullman to Be A Nurse in Spartanburg – This opportunity is for both men and women. Request training information before November 28, 2008

130,000 open positions right now. Demand will be even more in the future. In fact, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has projected a shortfall of 800,000 nurses by 2020. Think of the job opportunities there will be.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average nurse earns $63,630 – before overtime and other benefits, which could push your pay to over $100,000.

You can work in hospitals, schools, government agencies, home care facilities, private nurse in patient homes and other locations.

Flexible schedules. Nursing shifts can come in increments of 4, 8, 10 or even 12 hours, on weekends and weekdays.

You’ll make a difference in people’s lives. Caring for people and helping others lead healthy lives is satisfying and important.

You’ll interact with different people everyday, including patients, doctors, medical staff and administrators.

Nursing is exciting. You never know what’s going to happen, and have to stay on your toes, solve problems and make good decisions. Every day is different.

Opportunities for advancement. Get promotions and take on bigger roles over time.

Nurses can change specialties. If you’re interested in pediatrics or trauma, you can move into those areas when the opportunities arise.

Nurses can work anywhere. Nurses are in demand nationwide and with your portable skills, you can work where you want within the United States.

Get Ray Mullman’s online training package and begin work sooner than you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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N.Y Times had a great article discussing the unpredictable impact of falls in the elderly population.  Because of the complex nature of the difficulties that can result from falls, there is a significant need for nursing homes to invest in adequate fall prevention which always includes hiring competent and caring nurses to supervise at risk residents. Residents who suffers falls sometimes never recover because of muscles atrophying or because of the increased lack of mobility causes pneumonia and other respiratory problems.

Once considered an inevitable part of aging, falls are now recognized as complex, preventable events with multiple causes and consequences, calling for a wide range of interventions, both psychological and physiological, that most patients never receive.

All falls need to be taken as seriously as diabetes because they can be a real warning sign that something serious is wrong.   In the article, Dr. Mary E. Tinetti, a falls expert at Yale University medical school, compared falls to strokes in their harmfulness.  Each year, 1.8 million Americans over age 65 are injured in falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some rebound as if the injury never happened. But for some, the fall sets off a downward spiral of physical and emotional problems — including pneumonia, depression, social isolation, infection and muscle loss — that become too much for their bodies to withstand.

Psychological factors can be as devastating as the physical trauma, Dr. Tinetti said. “It’s the fear of falling, the lost confidence. Good walkers stop walking, stop going to church. They become socially isolated and depressed.”

The period of immobility after a fall is particularly dangerous, said Dr. Gray-Miceli, whose research includes studying a group of patients after falls. “Being immobile, you’re not taking deep breaths, you’re more prone to orthostatic pneumonia, or older people can develop urinary incontinence. And that can have a whole cascade of emotional consequences as well as the physical consequences, such as skin breakdown, pressure sores, bladder infection, lung infection.

Patients’ pessimism can be self-fulfilling, because they may not walk to the extent they can. “Their stride becomes shorter,” Dr. Morrison said. “They don’t use their lungs.”

 

Chicago’s Daily Herald had an article about a million dollar settlement between a nursing home and the family of a resident who died after repeatedly falling at the nursing home in Libertyville.  The case, prompted by the 2005 death of 83-year-old Helen Menneke at Winchester House, was settled out of court after mediation.   Attorney Susan Novosad called the figure the largest nursing home negligence settlement in county history.

Menneke, formerly of Mundelein, was admitted to Winchester House in January 2004, suffering from dementia, Novosad said.   She fell several times over the course of the year, suffering a brain injury and broken bones, Novosad said.   Injuries from a final fall in December 2004 required surgery, and Menneke died in January 2005.

After Menneke’s death, Winchester House instituted new policies requiring staff to more frequently check patients’ wheelchair and bed alarms to ensure they’re working properly, Novosad said.

"The family was outraged that this happened to their relative," Novosad said. "(They) didn’t want this to happen to anybody else."
 

 IQ Nursing Homes in a recent press release announced that it is now offering a national database of nursing home and elder care facility deficiency and inspection rankings. Careful research is imperative to ensure that the nursing home to which you entrust your loved one’s care is reputable and safe. Whether you are currently researching nursing homes for yourself or a loved one, or you want to investigate the facility where a loved one is currently residing, this free resource will be useful and informative.

The data in these reports is obtained from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS conducts nursing home inspections in order to determine whether facilities meet the minimum Medicare and Medicaid quality and performance standards. You can review the ratings for any one of the more than 25 deficiency types, such as mistreatment, resident rights, quality care, and building construction. Then, narrow your search by state, and finally, by each individual nursing home.

Nursing home abuse is a widespread problem that can result in serious injury, disease, and death for nursing home residents. The elderly are vulnerable to becoming victims of abuse, especially when physical or cognitive issues affect their ability to communicate the abuse they are suffering to others. Neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse can occur when nursing homes are understaffed, caregivers are insufficiently trained, or nursing homes fail to properly screen employees prior to hiring them.

Visit http://www.iqnursinghomes.com/ to review the database of nursing home deficiency and inspection rankings. You can also find a national nursing home directory, up-to-date nursing home news, and information about signs of elder abuse and nursing home neglect on this site. IQ Nursing Homes offers a free nursing home abuse claim form, which will be reviewed by a qualified nursing home attorney within 36 hours. Nursing home employees who have witnessed neglect can report it anonymously.

About IQ Nursing Homes

IQ Nursing Homes has partnered with nursing home lawyers and nursing home negligence law firms throughout the country with the goal of putting a stop to the victimization of the elderly. By holding negligent staff members accountable for their actions and making it financially devastating for nursing homes to allow neglect to occur, this pattern of nursing home neglect can be put to an end.

 

Ryan Harris of the Daily Post-Athenian wrote a story about a nursing home employee from an Etowah nursing home who was arrested and charged with abusing a 74-year-old blind woman. 
Joyce Stanley is charged with willful and physical abuse after hitting the elderly woman with a clipboard and an incontinence pad, as well as pulling her hair and slapping her.

Stanley is being held at the McMinn County Justice Center in lieu of $20,000 bond and is due in court today. Moses said the elderly victim and four other workers at the nursing home reported the abuse.  Stanley is a certified nursing assistant at Etowah Health Care Center. 

No further investigation at Etowah Health Care Center was done to see if other residents have gotten physically or verbally abused. Stanley has been a certified nursing aid since November 2002, according to the Tennessee Department of Health’s Web site.

How did the nursing home not know about her propensity for violence?  Was she overworked?  Burnt out?    What is the explanation?  did they interview other residents?  Who was her supervisor?

 

Whatever happened to the American work ethic?  Whatever happened to common decency?  Recently one of the nurses at a nursing home was arrested for leaving several elderly residents alone and without proper care and supervision.   One of the residents got injured after the nurse left and put another resident in charge! 60-year-old Epifania V. Fitzgerald returned 2 1/2 hours later.  The authorities were there waiting on her.

One of the facility’s residents, a woman, had slipped and fallen in the bathroom. Another resident had called 911.   Fitzgerald was supposed to have been watching out for 21 elderly patients.

Authorities would not identify the facility.   Why do they protect these homes?  This is outrageous. if this was a day care center, the "authorities" would have shut down the place.
 

U.S News and World Report had an article about the difficulties of caring for an elderly loved one.  Journalist Gail Sheehy writes about navigating through the U.S. health care system during her struggle to care for her gravely ill husband. 

More than a year ago, her husband, publisher Clay Felker, was being discharged from a New York City rehabilitation facility after spending several months there in his long battle with throat cancer. "So, he has to come home now, and we’ve run out of benefits," Sheehy recalled at a recent media briefing in New York City. "We’re coming out, and there’s also nobody telling me what I have to do. He has a feeding tube, he has a tracheotomy, he has medications. I don’t know where to start."

Desperate, she sought out and hired a "geriatric care manager" — at $125 an hour — to advise them. Their insurance might still pay for an at-home nurse, she found out, but only if it’s a Medicare-approved nurse — and there aren’t any available in the city.

There are home health-care aides, of course, "but they cannot do medical services like giving a shot, taking care of a trach, changing a feeding tube," Sheehy said.

Once private insurance benefits end, the only option for most Americans is Medicaid, which requires that recipients have less than $5,000 in assets.

Her geriatric care manager spelled it out to Sheehy: If the couple first exhausts all their remaining assets, then Medicaid will cover Felker’s nursing care.

And if Sheehy, in her late 60s, wasn’t willing to give up all her assets and income?

"Then, you need to divorce him," the geriatric care manager told her.

In Sheehy’s case, it never came to that. She and Felker scraped together enough money to hire qualified, in-home caregivers and Felker’s last months were spent at home, relatively serene. He died in July at age 82.

Sheehy called her 15-year journey with Felker through the U.S. health care system a "nightmare," and she wonders how less affluent and well-connected Americans are faring.

U.S. Census figures project that the number of Americans 65 or over will double by 2030, and that two-thirds of today’s 65-year-olds will require some period of long-term care later in their lives. 
At the same time, the number of geriatricians has actually declined in recent years, to about 7,750: that translates to one for every 4,254 older Americans.   In addition, it’s projected that the country will face a shortage of more than 800,000 nurses by 2020.

Wage issues are keeping the number of geriatricians at an all-time low, as well. Geriatricians are crucial, the experts said, because they look not at a particular disease or body site, but at the older person as a whole. However, a recent U.S. Institute of Medicine report found that geriatricians remain the lowest paid medical specialty of all.

 

Newsday had an article about a 90-year-old Roman Catholic nun who died after an unbolted closet fell on her head at a nursing home. Rockland County, which runs the Westchester County home, was fined more than $17,000 by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.  The Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center faces additional state penalties in the Aug. 31 incident.

The nun was found conscious but bleeding profusely from her forehead, face and left eye after the free-standing wardrobe fell on her.  She was taken first to a nearby hospital and later transferred to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where she died. Her name was not released.

How could this happen?  Who was supposed to be watching her?  Why would they have a wardrobe closet unbolted or free-standing?