Shawna Barlow is Content Editor for, a resource for anyone working in a home health or assisted living setting, and especially for those seeking these services. The organizations collected here offer comprehensive information for both CNAs and their clientele. They are divided into topics and listed in no particular order within those topics. For any CNA considering providing home health care, assisted living services, or elder care in general, these resources are a great place to start.

Researchers from Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and The University of Texas at Austin published new results which detail worker interactions in nursing homes.  They identified two patterns of behavior which workers seemed to engage in at four nursing homes, two of high quality and two of low quality, as seen by their ratings.

Workers seemed to fall into two categories of behavior: common and positive. All four homes engaged in both types of behaviors on some level. The common pattern involved workers avoiding or actively passing on work, blaming others, and tended to work in isolation of others. The positive pattern involved increasing connection between workers, information exchange, and better attitudes. Based on the researchers’ observations, they created a list of 20 strategies to increase positive patterns of interaction.


The Norwichtown Convalescent Home failed to call 911 for a resident found unresponsive. The home’s procedure is to have one staffer call 911 while another performs CPR. Not only did the home fail to do this, but they also stopped CPR after 5 minutes. The supervisor thought the resident had undergone CPR for 15 minutes, and after making that call, the facility failed to continue CPR or call emergency services. The maximum fine is $3,000. The home was fined $1,160. See artilce at The Hartford Courant.

A settlement of $1.5 million has been reached in the case against Rock Hill assisted-living facility Park Pointe Village  to a resident who was smothered to death by an employee in 2011.  Pauline Cook, 82, was found dead in her room at Park Pointe Village.

Braquette Walton was found guilty of murder in November 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison.  Prosecutors say Cook had discovered that Walton was stealing and cashing Cook’s checks and had reported the situation to police.

Walton had been suspended from work the day before Cook was killed. She used an electronic key card to access the community. The complaint alleges Park Pointe Village failed to adequately protect Cook.

President Obama has proclaimed this day of dedication to preserve and protect from harm the most vulnerable of our world, the elderly. They have provided for their family and have earned the right to enjoy their final years.  To abuse, neglect or steal from the vulnerable is a crime against humanity.

“Each year, the international community renews its  commitment to addressing a human rights issue that too often goes ignored ….elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Elder  abuse damages public health and threatens millions of our  parents, grandparents, and friends. It is a crisis that knows no borders or socio-economic lines. On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we strengthen our resolve to replace neglect with care and exploitation with respect”

Please take time and say thank you to your parents and grandparents, for they have led you to where you are today.  Take time out of your day and stop by a Nursing Home and just say thanks. Put a smile on their face, they have earned it and deserve our gratitude.

Take time out of your day and contact the local ombudsman where you live, or the Consumer Voice, an advocacy group that speaks for the abused elderly. See if they need help, or even a donation.

Arthur Bryant at Public Justice had a great article on the new Federal Court Rules of Civil Procedure.  Below are excerpts but I encourage everyone to follow the link and read the entire article.

Last year, Professor Arthur Miller, perhaps the nation’s premier expert on federal civil procedure, published a landmark article, Simplified Pleading, Meaningful Days in Court, and Trials on the Merits: Reflections on the Deformation of Federal Procedure. Reviewing a wide range of developments, including changes to the Federal Rules, Miller decried the fact that our civil justice system was moving away from both the goal plainly stated in Rule 1 – “the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding” – and the “justice-seeking ethos” on which the Federal Rules are based: the belief in “citizen access to the courts and in the resolution of disputes on their merits.”

He noted that the objective of the discovery process was “obvious and seemingly unobjectionable: The parties should have equal access to the all relevant data; litigation was to be resolved based on the revealed facts, not on who was better at chicanery or at hiding the ball.” 

This is why you should care, even if you’re not a lawyer. Your rights are at risk if you can’t find out the facts, especially if you are suing a big corporation or the government, which probably has most of the facts you will need to prove your case – like what they knew and when they knew it, why they did what they did, or how many people their conduct affected.

Given this disturbing recent history, the harmful nature of the original, newly proposed changes was not a surprise. The Advisory Committee on Civil Rules proposed to limit discovery (the information that can be sought in litigation) enormously:  reducing the presumptive number of depositions (sessions questioning witnesses under oath before trial) under Rule 30 from 10 to five, reducing the presumptive number of interrogatories (written questions that must be answered under oath before trial) under Rule 33 from 25 to 15, creating a presumptive limit on the number of requests for production of documents under Rule 34 (for the first time ever) of 25, creating a presumptive limit on the number of requests for admissions (factual assertions that must be admitted or denied under oath before trial) under Rule 36 (for the first time ever) of 25, eliminating the long-standing language that “information reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence” is discoverable and increasing the importance of “proportionality” in evaluating discovery requests under Rule 26(b)(1), and increasing the possibility that those seeking information will have to pay for it under Rule 26(c)(1).

One extremely positive new change also emerged from the process. The Committee amended its proposed change to Rule 34 to clarify that, when a party objects to a request for production of information, it must state what information, if any, is being withheld pursuant to that objection and what it is producing. This should put an end to a longstanding abusive practice, where lawyers make huge numbers of objections, but never tell their opposing counsel whether information is being hidden based upon the objections or not. This is an important and encouraging development:  a proposed change that should substantially reduce stonewalling and discovery abuse.

Access to justice is at stake. Exactly how these rule changes will play out in the real world – and the impact they will have in courtrooms throughout the country – will depend enormously on how familiar lawyers are with them, the notes accompanying them, and the reasons for them. Public Justice will soon be holding a webinar to educate everyone about these changes. I urge you all to participate.


Ann Murray suggested a ‘health tech’ story on the groundbreaking ‘First Opinion’ app — a mobile app that lets you text your doctor for free, making healthcare more accessible and affordable for all.Question:  Why is it so difficult to chat with your doctor without an expensive and time-consuming visit to the doctor’s office? Wouldn’t it be easier to ask your doctor questions about illness and injury, headaches and anxiety, pregnancy, nutrition, or child development simply by sending and receiving text messages?

Enter ‘First Opinion’ [] — a new mobile app that matches each user with a personal doctor (who also happens to be a mom) to answer your individual questions 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

It takes an average of 9 minutes for your First Opinion doctor to respond to your question (instead of 20 to 75 minutes in a doctor’s waiting room).

All users receive a free consulting session with their doctor once a month. (Additional consults cost just $12 for a package of three sessions.)

First Opinion’s signup process asks only for a first name and email address.

WSPA reported that law enforcement agencies’ resources are strained because they are inundated with dozens of service calls from two assisted living homes owned and operated by Obi Melekwe. Cherokee County deputies responded to service calls at the Ivy Grove Residential Care Center in Gaffney more than 60 times in 2013. “We’re going more to a residential facility than we are a beer joint on a Friday and Saturday night.” It’s the same story at Ware Shoals Manor, an assisted living home. Chief Harry Irick said he and his deputies received more than 60 service calls in a few months, something that strains his 7-person department.

The calls, which reports show have come from both patients and employees, range from patients throwing furniture, fights, wandering, hitchhiking, and incidents resulting in serious injuries. The high-volume of calls have stretched his resources so thin that he often has to call in off-duty deputies, something that costs him overtime, and, ultimately, taxpayers.

Obi Melekwe owns both Ivy Grove and Ware Shoals Manor. He didn’t deny that authorities visit his facilities frequently, but said there’s nothing he can do.

The Stop Elder Abuse campaign, located in California, has created a list of signs and symptoms of elder abuse. Some are obvious, some are not. The following are signs your loved one may be suffering at the hands of the nursing home which is supposed to care for them:

pressure sores / pressure ulcers / bedsores
changes of condition / failure of staff to inform family members
broken bones
excessive medication/medication errors
physical abuse
sexual abuse
restraints/chemical restraints
fecal impaction/constipation

See press release here.

Lucy Ramirez allegedly stole about $82,000 from the nursing home where she worked. In an ironic twist, the worker of the Betty Dare Good Samaritan Center proved that she was in fact not a good Samaritan at all, but quite the opposite. Ramirez is accused of stealing $2000 from the home’s vending machines, and nearly $80,000 from residents she was supposed to care for.

In a story all too familiar, Ramirez abused her position at the home and began writing checks from residents’ trust accounts. Family and friends set up these accounts so residents have money to pay for everyday things like haircuts, funeral plan payments, and even their bills from the home. Ramirez diverted funds from their accounts, cashing checks and lying to family and friends about the expenses, using the stolen money for personal use, including to pay for her boyfriend’s cell phone bill. For those two dozen residents, their family, and friends, though the source of the theft has been identified and their peace of minds returned, one thing that will take much longer to get back is their sense of trust. When workers take advantage of elderly residents and their conditions, it is a sad day indeed; and unfortunately, it’s something that is becoming all too common in our society.