The Akron Beacon Journal reported the conviction of Edward Mcshaffrey for sexually assaulting a resident of Brookdale Montrose Nursing Home.  The jury found  McShaffrey guilty of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony.

McShaffrey, a licensed practical nurse who was working at the nursing home, was seen in January with his mouth on the breast of the 69-year-old victim. The victim has dementia and Parkinson’s disease and cannot communicate.

 

CBS News reported that Garry Steven Davis, a caregiver at SummitCare nursing home in Australia was sentenced to 40 years in prison for murdering two elderly residents and attempting to murder a third with insulin injections.  Davis injected each victim with an intention to kill, but that his motive remained a mystery. None of the victims needed insulin.

Davis’ victims include Gwen Fowler, 83, Ryan Kelly, 80, Audrey Manuel, 91 in October 2013.  Manuel survived the injection, but died later of unrelated causes.

Justice Robert Allan Hulme ordered Davis to serve at least 30 years before he can be considered for parole.

 

Davis sent to colleagues suggested foreknowledge that two of his victims, Kelly and Manuel, were about to die.  A police search of Davis’s home found syringes, needles and literature about insulin, including a description of overdosing causing hypoglycemic effects that could result in death.

 

The Casper Star Tribune reported the settlement between SavaSeniorCare d/b/a Poplar Living Center and resident Gilbert Arellano.  The lawsuit involved a facility employee driving a van into the blind resident standing near the curb waiting for a ride in March 2014. Arellano was knocked to the ground, and injured.  The nursing home did not have someone stand with Arellano while he waited for his ride on the handicap ramp and the man was unable to avoid the danger himself because he is legally blind, the suit says. The suit alleges the facility failed to meet the legal standard of care because it is understaffed, did not accompany Arellano to the curb and allowed an employee to “negligently operate” a company van.

Since the incident, Arellano has had pain and numbness in his right arm.  The amount of the settlement reached on Nov. 1 could not be disclosed because of a confidentiality agreement.

The suit also alleges that SavaSeniorCare, the company that owns the Casper nursing home, kept staff numbers low and didn’t adequately train employees to save money, thus endangering the residents. That allegation is repeated across many of the other lawsuits. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also cited Poplar Living Center for understaffing the facility.

According to its website, SavaSeniorCare operates more than 230 nursing homes across the country, including two more in Wyoming: Cheyenne Healthcare Center and the Sheridan Manor.

“The nursing home’s settlement was the most recent conclusion to six wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits filed against it in the last six years. Repeated inspections by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also detail a pattern of understaffing, improper care and unsafe building conditions.”
The facility is on the Special Focus Facility list that needs close monitoring because of a “history of persistent poor quality of care.”   Inspection records show a pattern of the for-profit Sava nursing home failing to employ enough staff to keep residents safe, take care of residents who showed signs of depression and investigate complaints of neglect.
Improper wound care is repeatedly cited in the reports. The presence of pressure ulcers is an indicator of neglect and short-staffing.  One resident arrived at the facility in January 2015 without any wounds but developed open sores on her buttocks and legs in March.  The nursing home administrator told inspectors in January, “I’m nowhere near where I want to be in terms of staffing,” according to the agency’s Jan. 15 report.  According to a March 2015 report, there were many nights where only one nurse and one nurse’s assistant were in the building to care for more than 100 residents — many of whom require assistance to use the bathroom and navigate other simple tasks.

The reports repeatedly note that the nursing home fails to adequately record, investigate and resolve complaints about living conditions.  Residents who needed help using the bathroom reported they often waited long periods of time — sometimes up to eight hours — before they were taken to the restroom. One resident wandered the halls of the facility just after 8 p.m. March 29, 2015, with urine-soaked pants for at least 25 minutes before being helped.

Residents also told inspectors that the food served was inedible. A district manager who sampled a meal of steak and noodles also said the food was “not palatable,” according to the reports.

Families of previous residents have sued Poplar Living Center at least six times in the past six years alleging that negligence led to the death and serious injury of their loved ones. The nursing home settled four of those suits for undisclosed amounts and one is still ongoing.

McKnight’s reported that The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) recommended that market basket updates for skilled nursing facilities be eliminated for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 — restating for a second year that current payment levels for providers are “too high.”

The group’s draft recommendations include to freeze the market basket update for both FY 2018 and 2019. In a presentation obtained by Bloomberg BNA, MedPAC noted that “broad circumstances” surrounding Medicare payments to the sector “have not changed,” and that “the level of Medicare’s payments remains too high.”

MedPAC also took on the topic of therapy payments, criticizing the payments as exceeding actual therapy costs, and being “driven by the amount of therapy furnished, not patient characteristics.”

The Chronicle had an article on the benefits of lifelike baby dolls for dementia residents in nursing homes. Therapy dolls for dementia residents are one of the forms of treatment in the medical field. According to Central Ohio Alzheimer’s Association Sunday Adult Day Care program, centers started testing the dolls in April 2004 and saw immediate, positive results.

The Welcome Nursing Home was introduced to Bunny Bundles Reborns in the summer.  “We look for new ways to help them (get through) agitation, anxiety and negative behaviors,” said Heidi Freas, an occupational therapist and third generation owner of The Welcome Nursing Home. “And the babies are something that they can relate to because it takes them back to mostly a positive time in their life.”

Many residents do not need pharmaceutical intervention to help alleviate symptoms accompanied with dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. For some residents, just holding a therapy baby settles them when otherwise they may be upset.

The dolls are very realistic.

The Ledger-Enquirer reported that a preliminary hearing was held in a nursing home assault case last week.  Columbus Police Officer Joshua Bailey said he was called to the Magnolia Manor nursing home on Nov. 10 after it was reported that a resident had been assaulted the day before at 10:15 p.m.  A certified nursing assistant allegedly assaulted a resident with dementia in November by slamming her onto a bed at a nursing home.  Diane Ruby Blair pleaded not guilty to one count each of simple battery and exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults and elder persons. However, testimony last week supports her arrest.

Bailey spoke to a LPN who saw 57-year-old Blair forcefully handle a resident with dementia after the woman got tangled in bedsheets.  The witness said the defendant closed the curtain between the victim and her roommate. She then jerked the victim up by her arm, shoulder and neck before slamming her back onto the bed, Bailey testified.

During the incident, Blair allegedly told her, “Bitch, I’m not doing this mess tonight,” according to police.

Another witness said “Blair was very rough with (the victim) given her age and condition.” Authorities said the victim struggles to communicate effectively because of her illness, but she confirmed that she was assaulted.

Blair was terminated from the nursing home after working at the facility for one month.

 

The Boston Globe continues their focus on the issues surrounding the nursing home industry.  A recent article discusses the national for-profit chain Genesis and their expansion into Massachusetts.   Genesis HealthCare, a Pennsylvania company that has grown in the past four years, more than doubling in size, to become the largest owner of nursing homes in Massachusetts and nationwide. Genesis is partly owned by a private equity firm, and counts nearly 500 nursing homes in its portfolio.

However, a recent report indicates this massive expanasion has decreased the quality of care provided to the vulnerable residents.  Here are excerpts discussing certain facilities.

Twin Oaks Center–the nursing home’s linen room reeked of urine and residents’ rooms were so grimy, a state inspector’s shoe came off when it stuck to the floor.

Maplewood Center–administrators admitted to inspectors that they were so short staffed that an activities director and an admissions executive were used to help feed patients.

Meadow View Center–agreed to pay a $56,000 federal fine after a resident with a high fever, “delirious, and talking about monsters,” died from massive inflammation following an untreated urinary tract infection, according to a state report.

Federal and state data prove that the quality of care has declined and serious health and safety problems have increased.  Nearly half of the nursing homes owned by Genesis have seen their ratings by federal regulators decline since 2010, a Globe analysis shows. And most of those whose ratings remained the same were ranked as below average in quality.

A Globe analysis of quality indicators found that Genesis homes had strikingly worse scores than the state as a whole. The analysis suggests that problems at Genesis facilities worsened over time, and by early this year, the score for Genesis homes was twice as bad as the statewide number.

 “The Genesis experience underscores the growing turbulence in an industry that cares for some of the nation’s most frail residents. Across the country, nursing homes are being bought and sold at a rapid pace, analysts say, as companies vie for facilities that attract more higher-paying patients.”

Staffing shortages in nursing homes are typical especially for national for-profit chains but the Boston Globe found more pronounced gaps in nurse staffing levels in Genesis homes in Massachusetts compared with median levels statewide.

Federal data for this year show registered nurses at Genesis homes spend roughly 19 percent less time caring for patients than federal regulators expected, based on the severity of patient illnesses. Nursing assistants spent 14 percent less time.

Genesis was the nation’s fifth-largest nursing home company in 2007 when two private equity companies, Formation Capital and JER Partners, acquired it in a $2 billion deal.  The sale was one of a number of private takeovers of nursing home companies that began more than a decade ago, and the trend continues to fuel concern from patient advocates about quality taking a back seat to profit. Genesis reported losing millions of dollars last year, but also reported paying more than $6 million in compensation to its top seven executives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on the lawsuit filed on behalf of a nursing home resident that  “developed a sexually transmitted disease as a result of being raped” while a resident of GlenShire Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre.  The 63-year-old woman who died last year claims she was sexually assaulted during her seven-week stay at the facility.

The woman, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, was admitted Dec. 7, 2014.  The woman lost nearly 30 pounds before she died Jan. 16, 2015, the suit alleges. An autopsy found the Harvey resident died of sepsis from a urinary tract infection, with heart disease contributing, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her death was ruled natural.

The five-count wrongful death suit claims she was neglected by her doctor and the staff at the facility, where “no plan was implemented to prevent sexual abuse” given her condition.

 

The Eureka Times-Standard reported the Catch-22 situation for residents of Pacific Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.  The facility is closing at the end of the month but many residents may not be transferred before the end of the month.  The residents are set to be transferred to four nursing homes that are also owned by the Los Angeles-based Brius Healthcare Services.

According to Area 1 on Aging long-term care ombudsman Suzi Fregeau, some patients are not willing to be moved until after the holiday season, requiring nursing staff to remain at Pacific until all patients are moved in order to meet state staffing-to-patient requirements. However, the other four nursing homes do not have enough staff to accept more patients until the Pacific nursing staff are able to transfer to them.

“We’re kind of in a chicken-and-egg situation,” Fregeau said. “The residents can’t move to the other facilities until the new staff get here.”

Fregeau said one solution to the staffing conundrum would be to gradually move out staff and patients to ensure that staffing levels are still adequate at Pacific.

 

Brius Healthcare Services originally intended to close three of its Eureka nursing homes due to reported financial losses caused by low staffing and unsatisfactory Medi-Cal reimbursements.