Monthly Archives: November 2017

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WHNT reported another nursing home employee accused of sexually assaulting a nursing home resident at Mitchell-Hollingsworth nursing home.  Zack Reeves, a nursing home aide has been arrested and charged with sodomizing a male nursing home resident.  The 21-year-old was arrested following a week-long investigation into possible abuse on November 2nd.

Police say a co-worker witnessed an incident and immediately notified authorities.  Florence police say Mitchell-Hollingsworth is playing a crucial role in the on-going investigation by speaking with other residents.  “We are kind of letting them lead that part of it since they know their patients. We don’t want to cause any undue stress or trauma to any of the patients,” said Sgt. Greg Cobb with Florence Police.

 

Republicans’ proposed tax reform bill would increase Obamacare prices by an average of almost $2,000 per family in 2019, according to an analysis released Thursday. The tax bill would lead to 13 million added to the list of the uninsured.  The federal Medicare program could be subject to annual funding cuts that would start with $25 billion next year if the Senate tax bill becomes law.

Republicans want to repeal the mandate as part of the bill because doing so would save almost $340 billion in federal spending over the next decade — savings which in turn would be used to increase tax cuts to corporations.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated would be 5 million fewer people enrolled in Obamacare individual health plans, and 5 million fewer enrolled in Medicaid. Another 3 million people who now get coverage through a job are expected to become uninsured as well.

 CBO also estimates that premium prices for Obamacare plans would be 10 percent higher nationally as a result of the repeal of the mandate because insurers would have fewer healthier customers in their risk pools.  The average premium increase for a middle-class family of four that earns above $98,400 in the lower 48 states would be $1,990 in 2019, according to CAP.

“The Senate bill is looking more and more like a vehicle for rolling back health programs,” said Emily Gee, a health economist at CAP.

WKYC reported the horrific death of James Dempsey, a decorated World War II veteran from Woodstock, Georgia.  An 11Alive investigation uncovered hidden camera video catching nursing home staff laughing while an elderly patient dies in front of them. The video was recently released as part of a lawsuit filed by the family.   Hidden cameras are an important way to prevent abuse and neglect and to prevent cover-ups like this one.

The incident happened at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation owned and operated by the national for-profit chain, SavaSeniorCare.  Attorneys representing SavaSeniorCare tried to prevent 11Alive from obtaining the video. They asked a DeKalb County judge to keep the video sealed and then attempted to appeal to the Georgia State Supreme Court. The judge ruled in favor of 11Alive and the nursing home eventually dropped its appeal to the state’s highest court.

Watch the extended deposition here where her story changes after watching the hidden video.

The video includes almost six hours of video court deposition from a nursing supervisor explaining how she responded to the patient before she knew the hidden camera video existed. The video shows a completely different response. SavaSeniorCare was made aware of the video in November 2015, but the nursing home did not fire the nurses until 10 months later.

In the video deposition, former nursing supervisor Wanda Nuckles tells the family’s attorney, Mike Prieto, how she rushed to Dempsey’s room when a nurse alerted her he had stopped breathing.

Prieto: “From the time you came in, you took over doing chest compressions…correct?”
Nuckles : “Yes.” 

Prieto: “Until the time paramedics arrive, you were giving CPR continuously?”
Nuckles : “Yes.”

The video, however, shows no one doing CPR when Nuckles entered the room. She also did not immediately start doing CPR.  The video shows the veteran calling for help six times before he goes unconscious while gasping for air. State records show nursing home staff found Dempsey unresponsive at 5:28 am. It took almost an hour for the staff to call 911 at 6:25 a.m.

When a different nurse does respond, she fails to check any of his vital signs. Nuckles says she would have reprimanded the nurse for the way she responded to Dempsey. She called the video “sick.”  When nurses had difficulty getting Dempsey’s oxygen machine operational during, you can hear Nuckles and others laughing.

Prieto: “Ma’am, was there something funny that was happening?”
Nuckles : “I can’t even remember all that as you can see.”

11Alive showed the video to Elaine Harris, a retired nursing professor and expert in adult critical care. “In 43 years in nursing, I have never seen such disregard for human life in a healthcare setting, is what I witnessed,” said Harris.

In the video, nursing staff repeatedly start and stop doing CPR on Dempsey. Harris says once you start doing CPR, it should not be stopped until a doctor makes the decision not to resuscitate.  “That is absolutely inappropriate. You never stop compressions,” said Harris.

The nursing home operators, owned by Sava Senior Care, declined interview requests.

State health inspection records show Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation continued to have a history of  problems after Dempsey’s death. Medicare records show the nursing home facility was cited at least two dozen times for serious health and safety violations, including “immediate jeopardy” levels, the worst violation. Medicare withdrew one payment and the facility has been fined $813,113 since 2015.  The facility has a one-star rating from Medicare, the lowest score the agency can give. The nursing facility remains open today.

 

Forbes had an interesting article about nursing homes “dumping” residents.  This problem is only getting worse because it is becoming common corporate policy to evict low-income residents to make room for more lucrative Medicare or private pay residents. In other words, they dump Medicaid people so they can make more money on other residents who are paid by better sources than Medicaid.  Some elders are low income and receive Medicaid. Some live in nursing homes, as they need full time care. Medicaid recipients are vulnerable and can be subject to terrible treatment, including being kicked out of a home just because they have to get temporary treatment at a hospital.

“It is disgusting to think that a nursing home will not only violate the law in refusing to allow its own resident back into the home after going to a hospital, but it will callously separate spouses by doing so. Neither has the luxury of choice. One spouse can stay while the other gets the boot?”

The AARP Foundation, the affiliated charity of AARP, is fighting for the residents to stop this despicable practice.  According to Foundation attorney Kelly Bagby, a clear legal right to return to the place where she lived exists, and should be enforced by the state health agencies. The law prohibits it and the law is ignored.

If your own aging loved one is ever mistreated, threatened with being evicted or dumped from a nursing home, know that he or she has rights that can be enforced. The place to start is with the Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman. The ombudsman is assigned the task of being the liaison between the facility and the resident or resident’s family.

The Growing Season is a new documentary directed by Evan Briggs. The movie takes a look at Seattle’s Providence Mount St. Vincent, a nursing home that also houses the Intergenerational Learning Center, a preschool program.  The world premiere was at the Doc NYC festival on Nov. 16 after raising more than $100,000 on Kickstarter

The film focuses on a nursing home that also houses a preschool program.  Over the course of a school year, the Mount St. Vincent residents interact with the preschool kids, enriching the lives of both groups.  Preschool kids and nursing home residents share smiles and laughs as they work on jigsaw puzzles and spend quality time together in the documentary The Growing Season.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit concluded that a confidentiality provision in an arbitration clause in a bank account holder agreement was substantively unconscionable. Larsen v. Citibank FSB, 871 F.3d 1295 (11th Cir. Sep. 26, 2017). The case concerned a putative class of account holders who challenged the bank’s overdraft policy. The arbitration clause in the account holder agreement required both parties to keep confidential any decision of an arbitrator. The account holder argued that this provision disproportionately favored the bank as a repeat participant in the arbitration process. The court agreed, concluding that where the outcomes of prior arbitration proceedings remain concealed, as the arbitration clause purported to require, prospective claimants have little context in which to assess the value of their cases, to avoid repeating past claimants’ mistakes, or to leverage prior successes. The court further reasoned that the information disadvantage that the bank holds at the outset of a dispute may have the effect of discouraging consumers from pursuing valid claims. The court concluded that severing the confidentiality clause would not significantly alter the tone or nature of arbitration between the account holders and the bank. Accordingly, the court severed the confidentiality clause and enforced the remainder of the clause.

Virginia Santillan is suing Manning Gardens Care Center for elder abuse, neglect and violation of patient rights after the nursing home  dumped her outside her home where she had been found soiled with vomit and feces, with cockroaches crawling on her and maggots in a wound on her right foot.

According to Santillan’s lawsuit, Manning Gardens made no arrangements to make sure she would have appropriate care before calling a transport company to take her home last Nov. 7.   Under state law, nursing home residents have the right to a 30-day notice of a discharge, the date of the discharge, the location of where they are being sent, sufficient preparation and orientation at the discharge location to ensure a safe and orderly transfer and to be given information of their right to appeal the discharge and help in submitting an appeal. The lawsuit says the home failed to prepare a safe and orderly discharge plan.

In addition to the alleged illegal eviction, Santillan says the nursing home failed to provide adequate care and did not protect her from a male resident of the nursing home who she says preyed upon and stalked her, violating her privacy and dignity.

The home was cited three times this year for improper patient transfers by the California Department of Public Health, which investigates nursing home complaints.

In Santillan’s case, the state fined Manning Gardens $20,000. State records show Manning Gardens also was cited for the improper transfer of an 82-year-old man who fell and broke a hip after being sent to a facility that was not equipped to take care of his needs. And in a similar case, the state said a man was sent to a facility that could not provide the 24-hour care he required to remain safe. In each case of the two cases involving men, the state fined the nursing home $2,000.

Senate Republicans are trying to remove personal responsibility for getting health care by getting rid of the mandate to get insurance coverage to help finance deep tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.  The move by Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee does not increase coverage or pay for the tax cuts.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated repealing the requirement that people buy health coverage would mean 4 million additional uninsured people by 2019 and 13 million more by 2027.

The “Obamacare” mandate requires most people to buy health insurance coverage or face a fine. Without being forced to get coverage, fewer people would sign up for Medicaid or buy federally subsidized private insurance. Targeting the mandate in the tax legislation would save an estimated $338 billion over a decade, which could be used to help pay for the deep cuts.

It “will cause millions to lose their health care and millions more to lose their premiums,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, angrily insisted when the panel reconvened to work on the tax bill and word came of the Republicans’ move on the mandate.

Outside Congress, as word spread of the Senate Republicans’ intention, major organizations representing insurers, doctors and hospitals urged lawmakers to keep Obamacare’s effective requirement that most Americans have health insurance.  Ending the “individual mandate” would prompt healthy people to leave the insurance market in droves, driving up premiums, the groups argued in a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders.

On Monday, a nonpartisan analysis of the Senate bill showed it would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households.

 

WPRI reported the family of an elderly woman who was assaulted at Coventry Center Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation nursing home has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the home and her alleged assailant.  On Oct. 14, police arrested Francis Kinsey on a charge of first-degree sexual assault after an employee at Coventry Center Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation reported seeing him assaulting an 80-year-old resident.

Now, the alleged victim’s family is suing Kinsey and the owners of the nursing home, Genesis Healthcare.  In the lawsuit, the family claims the suspect should not have been in the nursing home since he was out on bail from a pending child molestation charge.  Police learned Kinsey had been arrested for first-degree child molestation in 2012, and that case was still open at the time of the alleged nursing home assault.

“Genesis Healthcare, LLC knew or should have known that Defendant Francis E. Kinsey, Jr presented a danger to residents he came into contact with for reasons including, but not limited to, his arrest record,” the lawsuit states.  The family claims the nursing home did not take adequate steps to ensure the woman’s safety when Kinsey was moved to or allowed to roam a floor specifically treating mentally frail individuals, such as the victim.

 

Freelance Contribution by Jessica Walter. 

As you may well know, falls are a serious matter in the elderly, and according to the NCOA are the leading cause of fatal injury. Many of these happen at home, where those with accessibility requirements are living in inadequate environments.

Every year, children of the elderly make various alterations and adjustments to their parents’ homes in pursuit of making them safe. Whilst home modifications for seniors are essential and effective, there are some measures you can take to make the home both promote independence and feel intuitive.

Introducing High Quality Rails

It sounds simple, but introducing rails in areas of the home can be incredibly beneficial for a number of reasons. The homeowner doesn’t necessarily need to be expressly disabled, or diagnosed with an ability that affects their mobility. Having rails in areas like the bedroom and bathroom enable anyone to safely navigate their home and prevent falls that can cause long-lasting harm. Essentially, rails are one of the most straightforward ways to ensure senior’s safety at home

There are a huge variety of rails out there, too, to fit with different home styles and setups. This means the homeowner doesn’t need to compromise the efforts they’ve put into getting the home how they like it, benefiting their sense of independence. No more plain white bars as you’ll see in public buildings.

Creating Wheelchair Accessibility

Again, this isn’t even necessarily a measure that is strictly for those who use wheelchairs. Ramps can provide an easier way to get in and out of the house, as well as for transporting heavy goods where stairs are a barrier to getting purchases into the house. The chances of tripping and falling whilst on a ramp are significantly lower and it also means the house is future proofed in case of any changes in future years.

Just like the rails we’ve spoken about above, the homeowner doesn’t need to compromise design for a ramp, either. There is a wide range of ramp styles so the house doesn’t have to have something dropped into it that isn’t appropriate for the overall design of the house.

Internet of Things

The likes of Amazon and Google have released products in recent years with very detailed voice recognition and incredibly intuitive responses to questions. They can also be tuned for a wide variety of circumstances, including those that might affect your parent. They can act as an early warning system, as well as a way to easily contact relatives. Elderly parents can sometimes need to re-learn new technology, but it’s not difficult to learn and could be very useful in maintaining independence whilst assisting.

Home alterations can be frustrating in the way they change the face of the home, but they are necessary. However, home alterations don’t have to be intrusive and there’s many ways to preemptively make a house independent whilst not compromising style.