The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported the lawsuit filed after a resident was left in a tub for over 8 hours causing her wrongful death.  Steven Moreland alleges in the lawsuit that Lois Moreland’s March 2016 death was the result of negligence by the St. Sophia Health & Rehabilitation Center.

The lawsuit accuses St. Sophia of putting profits above health care by deliberately understaffing its 240-bed nursing home.

“When there are not enough staff members to care for residents, it creates an environment where employees are trying to do too many things that they forget about putting a resident in a bathtub and end up leaving her there for over eight hours,” Steven Moreland’s attorney, David Terry, told the newspaper.

Terry added that Lois Moreland was “unable to comprehend her circumstances or fend for herself because there were not enough employees to meet the needs of each resident. And as a result, Lois Moreland paid the price.”

 After Moreland’s death, government inspectors determined that St. Sophia residents were in immediate jeopardy — the most severe status given to nursing homes. St. Sophia was fined $39,260 and required to file a “plan of correction.”

WSVN reported the release of a video showing a nursing home caregiver with assaulting a vulnerable resident.  The video shows the employee, Jie Xiao, hitting Karam 11 times; being punched repeatedly.

The family of 89-year-old Georges Karam released the video from Karam’s room at the Garry J. Armstrong long-term care center in Ottawa, Canada.  Relatives of Karam said he had previously suffered numerous, unexplained injuries. Nassrallah said the facility “never really gave us an answer” about the bruises and cuts they found on Karam’s body.

Karam’s grandson, Daniel Nassrallah, shared his reaction to the footage with InsideEdition.com, Wednesday. “It was gut-wrenching,” he said. “Literally, my legs collapsed.”

With the center’s permission, a baseball-sized camera was installed on the wall facing Karam’s bed in February, said Nassrallah. He said the staff was told about the device.

“He threw him around the bed,” said Nassrallah. “My grandfather started to flail and tried to bat him away. Then he started punching my grandfather in the head.”

Xiao pleaded guilty to one count of assault on June 27 and is free on bail pending his sentencing hearing, said Nasrallah.

The Buffalo News reported on the torture and suffering of a dying resident.  Marion Halstead was moved to Newfane Rehabilitation and Health Care Center for hospice because of her deteriorating condition.  After just a few days there, Halstead told relatives she was abused by staff, she soiled herself because she could not get help to go the bathroom and and other patients tormented her.

“I hate it here,” Marion Halstead cried out from her wheelchair in the tiny room several days before she died. “This place is torture. You’re not a person here. You’re a thing. You can call out ‘nurse’ a hundred times and no one comes.”

That lack of empathy and compassion was something she should not have experienced in her final days.

“I call out ‘I want to go potty,’ ” said Halstead, whose stage 4 colorectal cancer made it impossible for her to use her shared bathroom unassisted. More than once, she said she soiled herself.

“I feel as though I placed my mother in the gateway to hell,” Kline said. “This is no place for a dying person. Is this the last place she’ll see?”

New York State Department of Health records show that the Newfane facility received 52 complaints against it from 2013 to 2016. Earlier this year, the Medicaid website posted findings from a March inspection of the facility that cited dirty toilet areas, urine odors and dead bugs.

“…the facility did not provide housekeeping and maintenance services necessary to maintain a sanitary, orderly, and comfortable interior.

“Three of four resident care units had issues with damaged walls, stained ceiling tiles, damaged or stained floors, dead bugs in light fixtures, strong urine odor in a resident’s bathroom…stained toilets/toilet seats,” the report, in part, stated.

“I saw a woman patient eating discarded food from other patients in a cart in a hallway. When I told an aide, the aide looked and told one of the nurses on the floor and the nurse shrugged her shoulders and said, ‘Oh well, it’s done now.’ She didn’t care. It was gross and I almost threw up,” Kline said.

“The guy in the room next to Aunt Marion smelled so bad of urine, it made your stomach retch. He would sit in the hallway and scream obscene profanities, really dirty stuff my aunt did not need to hear.

“The woman in the room on the other side would wander into my aunt’s room and lie down on her bed or touch stuff or sit and stare at you. She was nice but it was off-putting to my aunt,” said Heather Torriere.

But the worst of it was when Halstead told family members an aide struck her in the face either late on the night of July 1 or in the early morning hours of July 2.

“She was actually hit by an aide. She was traumatized by that. When we got her to Hospice House, we had to assure her the aide was not there, ” Torriere said.

“The aide said, ‘She kicked me in the back of the head and scratched me.’ My aunt started yelling, ‘I’m not strong enough to lift my legs and I have no nails or strength to scratch.’ My aunt told the aide ‘hold your  arms out’ and there were no marks at all,” Nordin said.

 

 

 

The Des Moines Register had an editorial about the lack of federal oversight for nursing homes.  “The nation’s worst nursing homes have never received enough oversight, and the problem is getting worse.”

In 1998, federal regulators attempted to crack down on homes that had an established pattern of injuring and, in some cases, killing elderly residents, by creating a list of “special-focus facilities.” Nursing homes that wound up on the list were subjected to increased inspections and penalties.

However, fundamental problems with the way CMS implemented the program arose including refusing to share the list with the media or the public. CMS eventually began publishing the list each time it was updated, but only after The Des Moines Register reported on the secrecy and then-Sens. Tom Harkin and Hillary Clinton sponsored legislation to force disclosure.

The designation, as reported by Kaiser Health News in collaboration with the New York Times, have more serious problems with the way the list is compiled. The number of nursing homes that are designated special-focus facilities at any given time has dropped by nearly half in the past five years — and that’s not because care is improving. Rather, it’s because of federal budget cuts; the program’s $2.6 million budget allows only 88 nursing homes to receive the designation, even though regulators identified 435 as warranting the extra level of oversight.

“Kaiser’s research also shows that many special-focus facilities never clean up their act. More than a third of the nursing facilities that successfully graduated from the list before 2014, theoretically because they improved their care, still hold the lowest possible Medicare rating for health and safety: one star on a five-star scale. And of the 528 existing nursing homes that graduated from the list before 2014, slightly more than half subsequently harmed patients or put patients in serious jeopardy.”

“Taxpayers fund Medicaid and Medicare, which means they’re the ones providing the money that keeps these repeat offenders in business. When homes continue to provide poor care or rack up unpaid fines, CMS needs to act quickly in permanently shutting off the flow of taxpayer money.”

Guest Post by: Andy C.; Targeting Cancer (TCA)

Being diagnosed with cancer is a difficult time, not just for the patients but for the family too. Living with a cancer patient means that you will not only have to provide them with physical support but will also provide them with enough emotional support.

At the end of the day, irrespective of the kind of support you provide a cancer patient you need to make sure that you have the right information to pass on to them as well. This means that the sources from where you obtain your information which will consequently allow you to streamline your support strategies for them need to be reliable. Whether it is finding out more about radiation oncology information and other radiology techniques or finding out more about cancer support groups for them to join your job as a caregiver for a cancer patient has no room for any loopholes.

There are experts available in every field to help you out with any problem you may encounter. However, even with this extra assistance you may still find a couple of hassles. A good example to demonstrate this is the dietary recommendations which the cancer patients receive. When undergoing treatment, one of the most common side effects that cancer patients experience is the loss of their appetite. They find it difficult to maintain a healthy diet, but still their body needs the nutrition to keep fighting.

A nutrition expert who recommends individual diet plans for cancer patients that are evidence based can be of great help. Unfortunately, not all cancer patients receive these recommendations. They or their families then turn to the internet where they spend countless hours looking for dietary recommendations. We do not mean to label all the internet resources for providing information to cancer patients as unreliable, but generally there is a lack of consensus which is observed in what they all have to say.

One source will have you follow one rule which will only be marked as something which must be avoided in all cases by another source. You cannot afford this kind of confusion when providing care for a cancer patient. One wrong move can cause you a string of very serious problems.

Some of the information that you look for online can also give you false hopes. Everyone knows that clinical trials are an important part of cancer treatment. Every day there are clinical efforts being made to make treatments for various types of cancer as effective as possible. Reading about the findings of these clinical trials especially of those where they have unearthed some groundbreaking information can be very encouraging.

They can be encouraging only when they are coming from authentic sources!

A good idea here would be to cross check information that you obtain from the internet. If something does not add up, make the extra effort to reach out to cancer specialists and seek their professional opinion.

You are looking after somebody’s life; you have got to be careful.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s health-care tracking poll is showing that given the choice of pursuing a “repeal and replace” strategy or of “working with Democrats to improve ACA,” 41 percent of self-identified Republicans want their caucus in Congress to take the latter approach, with a spare majority — 54 percent — favoring the former approach (the one the Republican Congress has been taking all this year). More amazing yet, self-identified “Trump supporters” split right down the middle, with 47 percent favoring “repeal and replace” and 46 percent the very different option of bipartisan action to fix Obamacare.  Independents overwhelmingly favor the “bipartisan fix” option — nearly as much as Democrats.

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The Columbus Dispatch reported that Eric Banks was accused of causing a fatal overdose by selling fentanyl to a resident of Manor at Whitehall Nursing Home.   Banks has been indicted for involuntary manslaughter and other charges. In addition to involuntary manslaughter, Banks was indicted on one count of corrupting another with drugs and two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs.

Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said Banks went to the Manor at Whitehall Nursing Home on Feb. 10 and sold fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, to Dale Rogers, 56.  Nursing staff found Rogers unresponsive, started CPR and called 911. Whitehall medics administered Narcan, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Rogers had texted an order for ”‘Chinese food’, which is slang for heroin, fentanyl or a mixture,” O’Brien said. Investigators found that Banks was the recipient of the text.

Toxicology tests on Rogers and lab work on drugs that investigators found on Banks all came back as fentanyl, O’Brien said.

The American Pharmacist Association published on their website that the FDA has since 2005 warned about the risks of transdermal fentanyl patches, particularly among opioid-naive patients, but nursing homes have not completely phased out the long-acting analgesics.

FDA has since 2005 warned about the risks of transdermal fentanyl patches, particularly among opioid-naive patients, but nursing homes have not completely phased out the long-acting analgesics. A study led by Camilla Pimentel, MPH, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School analyzed a sample of Medicare patients living in long-stay facilities in 2011. Of more than 12,250 patients who received the patch within 30 days of admission that year, 9.4% had not taken opioid analgesics in the prior 60-day period.

The practice, according to Pimentel, is contrary to FDA recommendations, which indicate that the long-acting opioids “should only be given to patients who have developed tolerance to opioid medications through regular treatment with other opioids. Otherwise, they are at higher risk of unintentional fatal overdose because of respiratory depression.” Although use of the patch persists in opioid-naive patients in nursing homes, Pimentel and colleagues report in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, use of long-acting opioids overall is down in this setting, accounting for just 5% of all long-stay Medicare nursing home residents.

http://www.painmedicinenews.com/Clinical-Pain-Medicine/Article/06-17/Use-of-Fentanyl-Patches-in-Nursing-Homes-Persists-After-FDA-Warning/41582

 

Mother Jones had an article explaining how Trump sided with the nursing home lobby instead of vulnerable nursing home residents.

In October 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to push back on mandatory arbitration. By rule, CMS adopted a novel “condition of participation” for Medicare and Medicaid. Nursing homes that participate in the programs—which is to say, all nursing homes—could no longer ask their residents to sign away their right to sue upon entering the nursing home.

….Predictably, the nursing home industry sued, arguing that the rule exceeded CMS’s authority….Then President Trump took office. In early June, with little fanfare or notice, the administration dismissed the appeal and proposed to undo the change altogether. “Upon reconsideration, we believe that arbitration agreements are, in fact, advantageous to both providers and beneficiaries because they allow for the expeditious resolution of claims without the costs and expense of litigation.”

Forced arbitration clauses signed before admission (and before the claim arises) are not advantageous to nursing home residents.  Arbitration is too expensive; discovery is limited; and arbitrator bias remains a problem.  It is better to leave the choice of arbitration after a claim arises.

“But the extraordinary growth of mandatory arbitration over the past couple of decades is one of the more unnerving developments in modern American law. Genuine consent to arbitration is often fictional. Arbitrators tend to favor the repeat players who hire them—companies, not consumers. Arbitration agreements can forestall class action lawsuits, making it difficult or impossible to hold companies to account for small-in-size but widespread injuries. And where civil litigation can shine a light on shoddy business practices, arbitration is shrouded in secrecy.”

See full article from Nick Bagley at Take Care.