Doris Mitchell suffered a heat stroke from being left in an assisted living facility’s van for six hours. A lawsuit was filed against Elmcroft of Montgomery LLC alleging negligence and outrage.  According to the lawsuit, the facility had taken Mitchell on a field trip with other residents. Several hours later, the daughter of Mitchell received a phone call from the facility asking if she had picked up her mother and that she was “missing.” Shortly after, Mitchell was found inside the van which was parked in the facility’s parking lot with the windows rolled up. According to the lawsuit, Mitchell was rushed to Jackson Hospital where she was diagnosed with a heat stroke and other medical complications.

“We hope to be able to get the full set of facts and find out exactly what happened. This obviously has to be a systemic failure in the system at the facility for something like this to happen,” J.P Sawyer, the attorney representing the family, said. “I’ve been handling these kind of cases for 25 years and I always say nothing shocks me, but this did shock me. It’s just you know unbelievable that they could leave someone on a van for that long and not recognize that she was missing.”

The woman’s family has sent WSFA 12 News the following statement regarding the incident:

What our mother has endured is beyond our comprehension. We are still trying to absorb the appalling circumstances and we provide her the love and care she needs, and we ask for your prayers during this extremely difficult family crisis.”

Her family released the following statement after her wrongful death:

“Our family grieves today for our mother, Doris Mitchell. Only weeks ago, our mother experienced an ordeal that none of us could possibly imagine. She was locked in a closed van, alone, for over six hours on a day on which the heat index exceeded 105 degrees. The physical and emotional trauma of what she went through has broken our hearts.

When our mother got to the hospital, she had severe heat stroke and failing kidneys. Her fever was so high, they had to pack our 83 year old mother in ice. We have been praying for a recovery, but the episode was ultimately too much for our mother to bear.

It is hard for us to stop thinking about those horrible six hours. There is physical evidence to suggest that our mother, who is unable to walk, tried to escape the van. She could not. She was traumatized by the very people we trusted to take care of her.

We want to thank everyone for their messages of love and prayers for our family. It has meant so much during this extremely difficult time. Thank you.”

Collin County Sheriff’s Deputies say an assisted living facility failed to properly do a background check or verify a caregiver’s license and credentials when she lied about her credentials and posed as a registered nurse at an assisted living facility.  They only discovered the fake “nurse” after she assaulted a 91-year-old defenseless resident.  Investigators say she posed as a registered nurse at loving care home from March 2019 until June and assaulted at least two people during her employment.

Basanes initially applied for a “caregiver” job in March, but during the job interview said she was a registered nurse. The owner says Basanes gave her a license number which they tried to verify with the Texas Board of Nursing, but found no match. Despite no confirmation of a license, Basanes was able to begin giving around-the-clock care to some 10 to 12 patients.

Glenda Basanes is charged with injuring the elderly and violating nursing regulations. Basanes does not hold any healthcare certifications in the State of Texas.  Collin County Sheriff’s investigators say Basanes, accused of assault, was actually arrested at the assisted living facility when she attempted to pick up her paycheck.

A short time after starting at the facility on March 4, Basanes allegedly assaulted a 91-year-old patient. She’s also accused of assaulting the co-owner.

During her arrest, detectives found some $50,000 worth of counterfeit bills in her purse along with a controlled substance – THC oil.

 

The operator of South Star Ambulance Service alleges that Pruitthealth—Augusta Hills facility repeatedly tapped the ambulance company for inappropriate, non-emergency services over a two-year period, and is asking for more than $150,000 back for those trips. SSAS first filed suit against Pruitthealth—Augusta Hills on April 8 for repeatedly ignoring warnings to more judiciously use its services.

Regional Services, which operates the ambulance company, alleges that since the SNF is a Medicare-eligible provider, it should apply for reimbursement for non-emergency ambulance transport. The alleged inappropriate trips were made between August 2016 and September 2018, according to the lawsuit.

Parent company Pruitthealth is based in Norcross, GA, and operates about 180 facilities in Georgia, Florida, and North and South Carolina.

On June 12, 2019, a report released by the Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General revealed that Nursing Home Abuse remains largely unreported. The report estimates that one-in-five high-risk hospital emergency room Medicare claims for treatment provided during the 2016 calendar year were the result of potential abuse or neglect, including injury of unknown source, of beneficiaries residing in skilled nursing facilities (SNF).

The report revealed that nursing homes are failing to comply with regulations established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Under these regulations, SNFs are required to report incidents of abuse and neglect to Survey Agencies, who are then required to report the incidents to the CMS or local enforcement agencies. However, both SNFs and Survey Agencies have been failing to meet their federal requirements. Currently, the CMS may not be doing all they can to prevent abuse as it does not require all potential incidents to be tracked in the Automated Survey Processing Environment Complaints/Incidents Tracking System.

The Office of Inspector General (“The Office”) is urging CMS to take action since “preventing, detecting, and combating elder abuse requires CMS, Survey Agencies, and SNFs to meet their responsibilities.”

The Office suggests that CMS work with Survey Agencies to train SNF staff on identifying and recording all potential incidences of abuse or neglect. They also suggest that CMS require Survey Agencies to record and track all incidents of potential abuse or neglect in SNFs, as well as all referrals made to local law enforcement and other agencies. CMS concurred with these recommendations and stated they are creating a plan to ensure more accurate reporting in the future.

James Riley was arrested for allegedly sexually contacting residents at the Good Samaritan Home nursing home he worked at as a Chaplain.  Riley, 58, of Quincy was charged with Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of a Person Over 60.

The police were notified and advised that residents had alleged inappropriate sexual contact by the Chaplain, Riley, who is no longer employed at the home.

 

Video footage caught two CNAs from Abington of Glenview nursing home abusing and taunting a 91 year-old demented and vulnerable adult named Margaret Collins. The video included an aid throwing gowns on the resident when staff was aware of her fear of the gowns. The cruelty made the family feel obligated to file a lawsuit, not only for their family member, but also to bring awareness to the all too common abuse of the elderly.

The two CNA’s, Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa, were both fired and arrested for their actions. Montesa was responsible for recording the video, including the caption of “Margaret hates gowns” with two laughing emoji’s. Cortez was actively waving and placing the gown on Margaret, even though she was clearly upset and in distress. Margaret’s daughter states that her mother suffers from anxiety due to the incident.

With the National Council on Aging reporting that 1 in 10 American elders over 60 experience some form of elder abuse, situations like Margaret’s cannot be left unreported. Furthermore, residents with Dementia oftentimes are unable to report their abuse, leaving it to their families to look for the signs. Margaret’s daughter, Joan Biebel, stated “If they [the CNAs] were in her room, they should have been there for a reason ― to help her, assist her ― not to exploit her and threaten her and demean her and post it on social media,”. Reporting these situations of elder abuse is a way to inform others of the signs of abuse and report it.

Rowenna Carlet Cann, a nurse’s assistant at the Willows of Wildwood, was recently arrested for an alleged attack on a dementia resident.

Cann’s coworker saw her kick the 81-year-old man who is  “nonverbal,” according to an arrest report from the Wildwood Police Department. The man had tried to get away from Cann, but she pursued and then kicked him. Prior to that she struck him three times on the shoulder.

Last year, a staffer was arrested in an attack on a fellow employee at the Willows of Wildwood. Earlier this year, a staffer was arrested in the theft of pain medication at the assisted living center.  These kind of incidents often happen because of short-staffing and burn-out.

She was arrested on a felony charge of crimes against a person and booked at the Sumter County Detention Center. She was released after posting $2,000 bond.

Kaiser News recently reported that many seniors are so scared of the thought that they will be abused and neglected in nursing homes that some discuss “rational suicide”.  The concept of rational suicide is highly controversial; it runs counter to many societal norms, religious and moral convictions, and the efforts of suicide prevention workers who contend that every life is worth saving. More seniors are weighing the possibility of suicide, experts say, as the baby boomer generation — known for valuing autonomy and self-determination — reaches older age at a time when modern medicine can keep human bodies alive far longer than ever.

Is it better to die on your own terms?  The question itself is taboo. Many want the option to take “preemptive action” before their health declines in their later years, particularly because of dementia. A Kaiser Health News investigation in April found that older Americans — a few hundred per year, at least — are killing themselves while living in or transitioning to long-term care. Many cases KHN reviewed involved depression or mental illness.

Dena Davis is a bioethics professor at Lehigh University who defends “rational suicide” — the idea that suicide can be a well-reasoned decision, not a result of emotional or psychological problems. Davis, 72, has been vocal about her desire to end her life rather than experience a slow decline because of dementia, as her mother did.

Suicide prevention experts contend that while it’s normal to think about death as we age, suicidal ideation is a sign that people need help. They argue that all suicides should be avoided by addressing mental health and helping seniors live a rich and fulfilling life.

Public opinion research has shown shifting opinions among doctors and the general public about hastening death. Nationally, 72 percent of Americans believe that doctors should be allowed by law to end a terminally ill patient’s life if the patient and his or her family request it, according to a 2018 Gallup poll.

If you or someone you know has talked about contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat, both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People 60 and older can call the Institute on Aging’s 24-hour, toll-free Friendship Line at 800-971-0016. IOA also makes ongoing outreach calls to lonely older adults.

An audit of Pennsylvania nursing homes warns that staffing levels are insufficient and on track to get worse.  Residents will get harmed and injured from the short-staffing.  One of the main reasons for the staff shortage is the greed of nursing home owner/operators paired with relatively low pay and the intense physical and emotional demands of these jobs.

“Nursing home direct care workers are currently, and have been historically, underpaid. And that is part, I think, of the reason why people choose to work in other environments and other places,” said Ellen Flaherty, past president of the American Geriatrics Society, and director of Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“We are facing an eldercare crisis, and we continue to ignore it at our own peril,” said Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

“Without family-sustaining wages and benefits, the eldercare workforce will never grow to the size we need to care for aging Pennsylvanians,” said DePasquale. “The number of health care workers is clearly not keeping pace with current demand, and is currently not keeping pace with future demand, which is going to explode rapidly.”

It’s a deliberate decision by many of the owners to not hire adequate staffing,” said Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus of the University of California San Francisco’s School of Nursing, where she specializes in nursing homes, staffing and scheduling.

Harrington said for-profit nursing homes are able to make “excessive profits” by employing minimal personnel.

The workers can’t get the work done because staffers don’t have enough staff to do it. Patients are neglected and abused,” she said. “Ulcers … falls … weight loss … overuse of anti-psychotic drugs … all the problems found in nursing homes are related to inadequate staffing.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommends that, at minimum, nursing home residents receive 4.1 hours of direct care.

Voorhees Care and Rehabilitation Center lost its air conditioning on a hot summer day.  While temperatures rose throughout the day placing residents and caregivers, management refused to do anything about the dangerous and oppressive heat.  A worker said many of the lights in the building were off to try to keep the place cool. Nursing home facilities in New Jersey are required to establish a written heat emergency action plan which mandates the procedures to be followed if the indoor air temperature is 82 degrees or higher for a continuous period of four hours or longer, officials said.

Finally, a visitor was so concerned about the community, the police were called as the heat wave sent temperatures outside to triple digits.  Dozens of first responders began arriving to help evacuate more than 100 residents out of the facility.

Nursing home owners and operators declined to say why they did not alert anyone to the crisis, or what went wrong with their air conditioning system.

The nursing home is rated at the bottom for its quality of care, ranked “much below average,” according to the most recent report by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That report in April 2018 concluded the facility had failed to maintain a clean and sanitary environment that was in good repair.  According to state health officials, the department was never notified by the facility about the deteriorating conditions, and was not involved in the evacuation.

Inside the facility’s lobby, though, it still felt muggy in the early afternoon. A portable air conditioning unit sat on the floor near the entrance, an exhaust tube snaking into the ceiling.