WTOC in Savannah, Georgia had an article another nursing home care taker charged with stealing from an elderly couple at Savannah Specialty Care Center.   Yvonne Winslow took the couple’s debit card and used it at several businesses.  Winslow worked at the Savannah Specialty Care Center where Oglesby’s grandparents Ron and Charlotte Miller live.  Winslow is in the Chatham county jail and is facing six felony charges including elderly abuse.
 

We have many people call us asking for advice on how to choose a nursing home. Many of the people seeking advice want to rely on Medicare’s star ratings.  We are not convinced that these star ratings give an accurate assessment of a nursing home’s ability to provide good care.  The ratings are primarily based on surveys and investigations done by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  Well, the problem with that is DHEC tells the facilities when they are going to investigate or conduct a survey giving the facilities time to get their best nurses in the facility, to staff more than typical, and make sure all the documentation is revisited and changed if lacking.  

When abuse or neglect is reported, the state’s investigations procedurally favor the facilities. Violations must be actually found in the facilities’ own documentation, which are very self-serving. We cannot rely on the state for enforcement of regulations that are designed to protect residents and ensure proper care.

The key to quality of care is competent, compassionate, and well-trained staff.  They are less likely to get burnt-out and more likely to stay in the job thus lowering turnover rates which are detrimental to residents especially those with dementia.  The reality often is that staff who complain about resident neglect don’t remain employed.  Fortunately there are laws to protect workers from retaliatory firing, but many employees still fear losing their jobs by speaking up.  Regulations exist to protect residents from neglect, but residents and employees fear retaliation. Many times families aren’t aware neglect is occurring. Facilities lie and cover up to protect themselves from liability.

There are no "good" facilities here.  Unfortunately the best that one can hope for is "average" — with most "below average."  It is tragic that our area does not have "above average" facilities available. We should be outraged. Our tax payer money is going to these facilities. instead of providing quality care and adequate staffing, the facilities send the money to "management" companies that are owned by the same people who own the nursing home and don’t actually provide any services.

Our community needs to make it less profitable for nursing homes to neglect our elderly. A society is ultimately judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. At this time civil actions are the only effective solution. The state won’t do it.
 

MPNnow.com had an article about an employee of a nursing home accused of abusing an elderly resident.  I have seen more and more articles about employees abusing residents.  I am wondering if the abuse occurs often or have the incidents gotten more media attention lately?

Nellie Weller is accused of tying a 76-year-old resident’s nightgown around his neck and legs, leaving him unable to move or even use his urinal at the Edna Tina Wilson Living Center on Island Cottage Road. The nursing home is part of the Unity Health System, which includes Unity Hospital in Greece.

Weller, who was a certified nurse assistant, was charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and willful violation of the health laws.  

The Attorney General’s Office announced a second arrest in an unrelated case. Monique Jones, 32, of Rand Street in Rochester, is accused of kicking an 88-year-old resident in his ribs while she was employed as a certified nurse aide at the Kirkhaven Nursing Home on Alexander Street in Rochester.

 

Tulsa World had an article discussing another nursing home employee accused of sexually assaulting a nursing home resident.  Something needs to be done about the hiring practices of these nursing homes.  There are hundreds of incidents like this every year.  It is disgusting and the nursing home industry ignores and covers up the problem.  I think videotaping should be the norm in nursing homes despite the alleged privacy issues that may arise.

The article states that a nursing home worker was charged with caretaker abuse amid accusations that he sexually assaulted a resident he was bathing. Edward Lee Marshall faces a felony charge of sexual abuse by a caretaker after allegedly fondling a physically and mentally disabled man at the Southtown Nursing Home. He was arrested after an honest nurse reported the allegation, police said. Marshall worked as a restorative aide and provided various types of "therapy" to residents.  Marshall was giving a blind patient a bath when the abuse is alleged to have occurred, police said.

 

McKnight’s had an article discussing salaries and wages of employees of assisted living facilities.
Directors of nursing at assisted living facilities saw a pay increase in the last year. Their national average salaries rose to $60,000 in 2008 from $59,627 in 2007, according to the eleventh annual 2008-2009 Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report.

RNs and CNAs in assisted living fared better, receiving a 3.34% and 3.17% pay raise, respectively. Meanwhile, the turnover rate among assisted living RNs fell from 42.33% last year to 35.5% this year, though the turnover rate for CNAs held steady at just more than 42%. This number is very high and explains the lack of consistency in care at most assisted living facilities.

The annual salary and benefits report, which was published by Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) in cooperation with the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, tracks compensation for 16 management and 24 non-management positions in all types of Assisted Living facilities across the country. 

If salaries and wages were increased (as profits have increased), turn over rates would go down.  If facilities were truly interested in quality of care, they would use their resources to adequately pay the people proving the care instead of funneling money to the corporate owners of the facilities.

 

The CantonRep.com had an article about an unsupervised visitor to a ManorCare nursing home who was accused of fondling a physically disabled female patient at Cincinnati facility. Alvin Meyer was charged with gross sexual imposition by force. The allegation was made by the patient at the Heartland of Mount Airy facility in Springfield Township, which has about 105 patients.   Nursing home spokeswoman Julie Beckert said the alleged fondling happened in the patient’s room and that the patient was able to immediately tell staff what happened.

ManorCare Health Services of Toledo owns the facility. ManorCare has policies and procedures in place that should have protected the resident, including training and in-service of staff.

Meyer’s address is listed on the same street as the home, about a mile-and-a-half away.

 

Carl Hessler Jr wrote an article in Delaware County Daily Times about the woman accused of assaulting a resident skipping another court date.   For the second time in a month, Henrietta Sprual was a no-show in court, where she was supposed to be sentenced for using a belt to repeatedly beat an elderly Alzheimer’s patient while she worked at an Upper Merion assisted-living facility.

Defense lawyer Robert Datner couldn’t explain Sprual’s absence to President Judge Richard J. Hodgson, who was prepared to sentence Sprual.

"It appears to me that Miss Sprual is running 90 miles an hour down a dead-end street, and at the end of the day, she’s going to hit the brick wall and she’s going to have to face Judge Hodgson," said Assistant District Attorney Bradford Richman.

Hodgson issued a bench warrant for Sprual’s arrest, the second warrant in less than a month. Hodgson initially issued an arrest warrant for Sprual Jan. 7 after she neglected to show up for a sentencing hearing.

The judge had rescheduled the hearing for Thursday.

Richman said Sprual’s nonappearance for sentencing "is incomprehensible" and another example of her lack of remorse for her crime of striking an 87-year-old man who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease with a belt some six to eight times while she worked as a patient-care worker at Arden Court in December 2007.

Relatives of the victim were in court hoping to observe the conclusion of the case. They had to leave the courthouse without their justice.

"They were very distraught. It really inflames the wounds suffered by this family," said Richman, describing the reactions of the victim’s relatives. "They want to put this behind them and they want this part of (the victim’s) life to be put to rest so they can celebrate the good aspects of his life."

 

STLtoday.com had a tragic story about the rape and abuse of a resident at the hands of a nursing home employee.  Why aren’t these people checked and supervised?  How can this happen to the most vulnerable citizens?  How many others were raped and abused by this villian?  Was a criminal background check done?

The accused employee was a former janitor at a nursing home in Normandy. He has been accused of raping an elderly resident. Santonio McCoy of St. Louis is charged with forcible rape. He is accused of attacking a woman at the home.

McCoy turned himself into Normandy police on Wednesday last week. He is being held in lieu of a $200,000 cash bond. McCoy had worked at the nursing home for about a year, Madigan said. The attack was interrupted when three workers at the home walked by.
 

This entry is a follow-up to the entry about a resident in Concord, N.C. who was allowed to wander away from the nursing home and fll off a loading dock.  A state investigation shows that a nursing home in Concord made several mistakes, which played a role in the death of a patient.  The 21-page report says that the staff and director of Five Oaks Manor knew that 87-year-old Annie Bell Scarboro was at risk for wandering because she had wandered off before.

State inspectors from the Department of Health and Human Services went into Five Oaks Manor in December after the Alzheimer’s patient died. The report shows Scarboro got through three sets of doors unsupervised.

First, she went through the dining room doors. A worker says those doors hadn’t locked properly for at least eight months. Then, Scarboro went through the kitchen doors and out a back door leading to the loading dock. The back door, according to the report, had no alarm.

Scarboro fell 4 feet off the loading dock .The "merry walker" chair she used to get around landed on top of her. A nurse who found Scarboro told inspectors, "I went out there and saw her blood was running everywhere."

A nursing assistant at Five Oaks told investigators, "Everyone knew that she wandered around. We all knew that she did that. She got out that kitchen door before."  The report shows that on May 22, 2008, Scarboro had exited the building through the same kitchen door.   The solution then was to check on her every 15 minutes.

The state investigation found the nursing home failed to meet several federal standards of care, meaning Five Oaks could be forced to pay a big fine and could lose their funding altogether.

NewsChannel 36 tried to get comment from the director, but he hung up on us.

To view the full 21-page report, click here.   The report does not mention the staffing levels at the time of the incident.
 

Alliance for Retired Americans had an interesting report in June 2002 titled Nursing Home Care: When Will We Get It Right .  It has some great information and meaningful recommendations on how to improve care provided in america’s nursing homes.  Specifically, the report addresses staffing levels and how staffing affects the quality of care provided.  This report should help lawyers, judges, and juries understand the importance of staffing adequately in the nursing home setting with vulnerable residents. 

We have also uploaded the testimony of Toby Edelman who is a Senior Policy Attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, a private, non-profit organization that provides education, analytical research, advocacy, and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain necessary health care.   Since 1977, Toby Edelman has represented and worked on behalf of nursing home residents.  He also explains the correlation between adequate staffing and quality of care.

See also U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ May 2003 Report titled: Staffing Ratios in this annotated review of the literature hereThe purpose of this project is to inform federal and state policymakers about what can be learned about the implementation and enforcement of state minimum nursing staff ratios for nursing homes, and related issues, such as labor shortages and resident casemix. The experiences of states that have already grappled with the complexities of setting, monitoring, and enforcing minimum staffing ratios could be instructive. The project will describe the states’ minimum ratios and their goals, the issues states confront as they implement the ratios, and the perceived impacts of these ratios on the quality and cost of nursing home care.

The study took a two-pronged approach to determining what is currently known about state minimum nursing staff ratios and their implementation. The first was an annotated review of the published and unpublished literature on state standards. The purpose of the literature review was to identify states with minimum nursing staff ratios and to learn howthis type of standard is being implemented. This paper provides the annotated review ofthe literature.