An arrest has been made after an investigation into a report of abuse at an Evansville nursing home.  Police say more than one person was accused of hitting a resident at the facility, using their hands, fists, and feet.  Police began investigating the report at Columbia Health Care after the abuse was captured on security cameras.  This is the same facility where an employee was arrested for rape last July.

One of those people, 26-year-old Katelyn Johnson, has since been arrested on charges of battery of a disable victim by a caregiver, battery of an endangered adult, battery provocation and criminal confinement. According to an affidavit, the surveillance video shows Johnson and other nursing home employees taunt and abuse the victim.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported on a recent lawsuit that allege staff members at Paramount Senior Living at Seven Fields nursing home took lewd photos of a resident suffering from dementia and shared the photo on multiple social media platforms.  The lawsuit claims staff at Paramount Senior Living at Seven Fields took a photo of an 83-year-old woman referred to in the court filing by the initials “S.D.”

The photo, allegedly shared on Snapchat, showed the woman naked below the waist and sitting in a shower chair.  The photo showed the woman attempting to cover herself indicating she knew she was being recorded. The Snapchat was allegedly overlaid with a graphic that said “Winter Fail.”

The photo came to light only after an anonymous tip was made to the Butler County Area on Aging, and the woman’s family was unaware of the incident for three days.

“Inexplicably, despite this heinous photograph and/or video being shared with various members of (Paramount) staff … no staff member came forward” and reported the violation, according to the lawsuit, nor did anyone try to intervene when the photo was taken.

The lawsuit further alleged Paramount officials hindered the county agency’s investigation by claiming the woman didn’t appear in the photo and, later, that the photo wasn’t shared publicly. The lawsuit said neither is true.

 

Masonic Homes of Kentucky nursing home and Med Care Pharmacy have agreed to pay nearly $13 million to the estate of a former Judge Dan Schneider who died after he allegedly failed to receive needed antibiotics.  Schneider was admitted to a hospital for an infection and received antibiotics for two weeks before moving to the nursing home in March 2013. Schneider was supposed to receive antibiotics for four more weeks in the nursing home before heading home.  Schneider allegedly never received a single dose of antibiotics while at Masonic Home of Louisville despite staff documenting him receiving the needed antibiotics twice each day.

Schneider was 68 when he died in April 2013, after 24 days at the Louisville campus of the nursing home. Under the terms of the settlement, which was reached on the day before the case was to go to trial, Masonic Homes will pay $11 million to Schneider’s wife and two sons.

Med Care Pharmacy, which was blamed for failing to follow up and ensure Schneider received antibiotics at the nursing home, will pay $1.9 million.

Schneider’s wife, Joann, would not learn of the circumstances of his death until about six weeks later, Gardner added.

“The way the facility failed to provide his medication and its failure to notify the family of what happened presented an insurmountable problem,” Gardner said.

 The nursing home company’s “Care Center” in Louisville has a five-star rating from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “a designation held by less than 10% of nursing homes in the country,” Candler added.

Gardner said Schneider’s family believes the settlement agreement is “respectable to him” and is “glad to bring this litigation to a close.”

“He was a very dear and kind man both on the bench and at home,” Gardner said. “He leaves a wonderful legacy with his wife and two sons.”

A South Carolina nursing facility attempted to avoid accountability by forcing the family of a neglected resident to arbitrate the claim.  Luckily, our client fought back and challenged the enforceability of the arbitration clause in the admission paperwork.

While Hilda Stott did sign the document on behalf of her uncle, Jolly Davis, she did not have the proper authority to make the decision, and was not bound by it, the South Carolina Court of Appeals ruled. We are proud to represent this family and look forward to discovering the truth of his death and get justice for the family.

Davis first entered White Oak of Spartanburg, SC, in January 2013. Niece Stott signed all admission forms on his behalf, despite her uncle possessing intact mental functioning and alertness. He died weeks later and Stott sued, alleging overmedication and dehydration led to his death.

White Oak attempted to enforce arbitration, but the niece’s durable power of attorney for finance did not give her the authority to sign the original agreement because that power was not in place when Davis entered the home. The healthcare power of attorney designation also did not grant the niece the authority to sign an arbitration pact, the court deemed. That’s because the form used was only effective upon Davis becoming mentally incompetent, which he was not at the time of admission.

White Oak Manor Inc and its subsidiaries/agents have asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider their well-reasoned decision.

WSPA recently reported on one of the scarier facts about the nursing home industry:  Nursing facilities fail to report thousands of serious cases of potential neglect and abuse of Medicare beneficiaries even though the federal government requires such reporting.

Auditors with the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office investigated incidents where the patient was taken straight from a nursing facility to a hospital emergency room. Scouring Medicare billing records, they estimated that in 2016 about 6,600 cases reflected potential neglect or abuse that was not reported as required. Nearly 6,200 patients were affected.

Mandatory reporting is not always happening, and beneficiaries deserve to be better protected,” said Gloria Jarmon, head of the inspector general’s audit division.

Overall, unreported cases worked out to 18% of about 37,600 incidents in which a Medicare beneficiary was taken to the emergency room from a nursing facility in circumstances that raised red flags.  CMS agreed with the inspector general’s recommendations to ramp up oversight by providing clearer guidance to nursing facilities about what kinds of episodes must be reported, improving training for facility staff, requiring state nursing home inspectors to record and track all potential cases and monitoring cases referred to law enforcement agencies.

Neglect and abuse of elderly patients can be difficult to expose. Investigators say many cases are not reported because vulnerable older people may be afraid to tell even friends and relatives much less the authorities. In some cases, neglect and abuse can be masked by medical conditions. Investigators found that nursing facility staff and even state inspectors had an unclear and inconsistent understanding of reporting requirements.

The nursing facilities covered by the report provide skilled nursing and therapy services to Medicare patients recovering from surgeries or hospitalization. Many facilities also play a dual role, combining a rehabilitation wing with long-term care nursing home beds.

 

 

New British research suggests that high-tech “robopets” are the next best thing for nursing home residents unable to have a beloved pet or those suffering from loneliness.  The robopets stimulate conversations and trigger fond memories of pets or past experiences.

In the new study, Abbott’s group analyzed data from 19 studies involving 900 nursing home residents, family members and staff at centers worldwide. Five different robopets were used in the studies: Necoro and Justocat (cats); Aibo (a dog); Cuddler (a bear); and Paro (a baby seal).

Many nursing home residents were entertained by the robopet even if they realized it wasn’t a real dog or cat. Of course, “residents’ responses could vary according to whether they were living with dementia and according to the severity of the dementia,” Abbott’s team noted.

Some residents talked to the robopet as if it were, in fact, alive and a real animal. Some even made an emotional connection with the “pet.” For example, one resident told staff, “I woke up today and thought, today is going to be a good day because I get to see my friend.”

For others, just holding and stroking the robopet brought “them back into a space in their life where they feel loved,” as one nursing home caretaker put it in the study.

As to whether the robopet felt “real,” one resident’s family member said that it “doesn’t matter, because I can see that the robotic cat has an impact on my dad’s quality of life.”

Besides their other benefits, robopets appeared to boost social interaction with other residents, family members and staff, often by acting as a trigger for conversation, according to the research.

“Of course, robopets are no substitute for human interaction,” she said, “but our research shows that for those who choose to engage with them, they can have a range of benefits.”

The study, which received no private industry funding, was published May 9 in the International Journal of Older People Nursing.

More than 1 million Americans have lost health coverage since 2016, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds.  The CBO estimates that the number of Americans without insurance has risen from 27.5 million in 2016 to 28.9 million in 2018, an increase of 1.4 million Americans going uninsured.

The report follows other studies, all suggesting that America’s uninsured rate is rising under President Trump, whose administration has passed new rules that make it more difficult to enroll in coverage.

Much of that increase is concentrated in the Medicaid program, where the Trump administration has approved new requirements that make it more difficult for low-income Americans to enroll in the program.  We also have more concrete evidence that new rules requiring Medicaid enrollees to work have led to lower enrollment in that public program, which is meant to serve low-income Americans. More than 18,000 people there have lost coverage since the Trump administration approved that new rule, which requires Medicaid recipients to work at least 80 hours per month (or participate in other qualifying activities) in order to receive their benefits.

There is evidence that the discussion of repeal may be depressing insurance enrollment. A YouGov poll at the end of 2017 found that 31 percent of Americans believed Republicans had successfully repealed the Affordable Care Act. More recent polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 17 percent of Americans believe the law has been repealed and 14 percent aren’t sure if it’s still standing. With that many Americans believing Obamacare doesn’t exist, it makes sense that you’re seeing lower sign-up rates in both the individual markets and Medicaid.

KWQC had a recent article about the benefits of robot pets which are becoming more common in retirement homes. They’re not as much responsibility as a regular pet, and can bring a lot of joy to the residents.  Where it might have gotten lonely before, now there’s a friend. This can help residents who suffers from agitation or dementia with behavior issues.

“When a person is in a room by themselves basically, it’s nice to have something that you feel is there with you,” said Clair Odell, whose daughter is a resident. “The sounds, the purring, the mewing seems to be very soothing.”

Odell remembers the first time he met his daughter’s pet.

“When we went to see her and her new cat, the excitement and the joy that she had when she was showing it off and showing off its antics,” he said.

Officials at Ridgecrest Village say the next step is getting pets with reminders in them for residents – letting them know about appointments and when to take their medicine.

A new study, however, finds that most Americans have signed away their constitutional right to a jury trial when it comes to America’s biggest corporations.  The study, published in the UC Davis’ Law Review, says 81 of the 100 biggest companies now have policies that prevent customers from getting their day in court for everything from fraud or personal injury to harassment or discrimination.  Some of the companies with so-called “forced arbitration agreements” include Amazon, Apple, Walmart, CVS and Best Buy, as well as many cable companies, cell providers, banks and credit card companies.

Those clauses are usually hidden in the terms of service. When you buy something, or fill out an application, you’re asked to click accept on those terms. Even if you bother to read the fine print, and most people don’t, you may not understand it. You’re agreeing to go to arbitration, which is a private process that does not involve courts, judges or juries. There’s no appeals process, so the arbitrator’s decision is nearly always final.

Studies show that few consumers win in arbitration. When they do, they get much less money than they would in court.

If you’re going to give up a right like this, you need to understand that before you sign or click “accept.”

Always read that fine print and ask questions, if you don’t understand it.

Medicaid is the program that covers medical care for the poor. It provides free care in many cases. But nothing is free.  The money has to be paid back when you die.  This is what’s known as Medicaid estate lien and recovery.  The law allows the state to collect what Medicaid spent on long term care during their entire lifetime after they die.

Unlike many government benefit programs, it’s not a grant or a gift. It’s a loan and the loan is paid back after death.  This surprises many families who will lose their home.

Attorney Tim Takacs explained that’s how estate recovery works.

“The government basically says we’ll let you keep your house during your life, but after you’re gone, you don’t need it anymore,” Takacs stated.

There are certain circumstances when family can remain in the house, like when there’s a surviving spouse, a child under 21 or a disabled child. And, adult children are allowed to stay in the house if they lived with the parent and helped care for them for at least two years before the parent moved into the nursing home.

So how do you protect your house from estate recovery? Experts say the best way is through estate planning and it really needs to be done well before you or your loved one has to go into a nursing home, usually at least five years. And, when you are making plans, make sure you talk with an attorney who specializes in elder care law.