In an article by Bob Connors on NBCConnecticut.com, it was reported that police arrested a nurse’s aide on a charge of assaulting an 84-year-old nursing home patient.  The patient’s family reported their suspicions of foul play to the police upon witnessing the injuries which the patient suffered while living at the Ludlow Health Center in Fairfield County, CT.  The patient’s son was told that his father had bumped his head on a bed rail.  However, the injuries sustained was not consistent with an injury from a bed rail which included a swollen face and a large bruise extending from his neck to his eyebrow.  Upon further examination, a doctor discovered a fractured facial bone and a broken finger.

When first questioned about her involvement, Tina Blake said that the “man bumped his head while being combative.”  Later, she admitted in another interrogation that she became angry and frustrated with the patient so she lost her patience and treated him roughly.  She tried to pry his hands apart and subsequently broke one of his fingers. She also rolled him over to clean him in a manner which could hardly be termed as gentle, and banged his face against the bed rail, as a result.

She turned herself in on Monday, October 15.  In addition to being charged with third-degree assault on a victim over the age of 60, she has been charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons.  However, she was released on bond.   The police stated that their investigation nevertheless continues, and there could be additional arrests made if any further evidence arises.

An Ohio news station, NBC 4, reported that a local nursing supervisor have been found guilty of attempted neglect at a Woodsfield nursing home.  What the heck is “attempted” neglect?

Kathy Schwaben was employed at Monroe County Care Center when she neglected to assist an injured resident.  The resident was injured when she was a passenger in a MCCC van and the driver swerved recklessly, throwing the 81 year old out of her wheelchair.  An investigation discovered that the resident was not properly secured in her wheelchair at the time of the incident. There was no lap or shoulder restraint in use.  Instead ,she was crudely restrained by a bungee cord that was stretched across the arms of her chair. After the incident Schwaben failed to preform a physical assessment so the victim did not receive any immediate medical treatment following the incident. The elderly lady suffered several fractured bones as a result of the incident.

Schwaben was sentenced to a mere 10 day in jail that was suspended and only has to pay fines and court costs.  It is sad that the neglect of a family’s loved one is not taken more seriously and the punishment does not reflect the severity of the damage done.

A press release published by Wiley-Blackwell on a new study discussing the benefits of physical therpay after hip surgery.  Researchers studied the results of patients who receive walking skills training following hip arthroplasty which showed increased mobility. This study was published in the journal: Arthritis Care & Research.   “The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10% of men and 18% of women 60 years of age and older suffer from osteoarthritis.  In the U.S., the National Hospital Discharge Survey reported that 230,000 Americans had hip replacement surgery in 2007.”

Past studies reported patients desired pain relief and ability to move through daily functions and a normal lifestyle.  But improvements in pain and mobility were only temporary after surgery as people with hip replacements had more difficulty walking than healthier peers, they also experienced more pain.  Physical therapy was a major component being left out.

The study was conducted to see the effects of the walking skills therapy, and results show those who took part in the program had increased mobility and less pain. "The training program was well tolerated by patients and no complications were reports,” concludes Ms. Heiberg. “Our findings suggest physical rehabilitation helps improve mobility and function in patients who received hip replacements.”

 

WKYC.com had an article about the tragic case of Gladys Feran who resided at Larchwood Village Retirement Community.  Feran suffered numerous falls that were undisclosed to the family.  Feran had17 falls!  The nursing home’s failed to disclose the family about most of them.

The state cited Larchwood Village for not documenting a 2008 fall that resulted in Feran being rushed to the hospital for a broken hip and collar bone. Feran was pushing another resident in a wheelchair through a door when she fell.  

Feran’s last fall happened in April 2009.  The staff ignored complaints of constant pain for five days and increasing confusion, Feran was finally taken to the hospital, where they discovered a fractured pelvis. Two weeks later, Feran died from a lung infection. The coroner ruled her broken pelvis contributed to Feran’s death.

Saber Healthcare, the chain that runs Larchwood Village, had no comment.

Fatalities from falls are all too common for those living in nursing homes.  While just five percent of the population over 65 lives in nursing homes, they account for 20 percent of the fatalities from falling down. More than 1,800 nursing home residents die from fall-related injuries each year.

Nursing homes are making strides at reducing the number of falls through technological improvements.

See video.

Margaret Mock filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against ManorCare at Elk Grove Village and St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates and their associated parent companies. Mock was living at the nursing home undergoing short term rehabilitation from a hip surgery.

On Sept. 26, 2009, Mock was dropped while she was being transported by a nursing home employee from her bed to her wheelchair.  As a result of the fall, Mock broke her leg in two places.  Because of her weakened condition, Mock was unable to have surgery to repair her broken leg and had to remain in the nursing home for five months. Mock now cannot walk or participate in rehab while she lives at home and is cared for by her husband and nurses.

The lawsuit claims the nursing home was negligent and violated the Nursing Home Care Act by failing to use caution when moving Mock because she was already recovering from hip surgery and in danger of falling.

Alexius Medical Center also is named in the lawsuit because of a pressure sore Mock developed during her stay. The lawsuit claims the hospital should have prevented the sore.

 

The Daytona Beach News Journal had an article about the findings against Ridgecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for various and significant violations including when a patient was ignored as he had lain for almost 12 hours with broken bones. Hopefully, the authorities will terminate its ability to collect  taxpayer funds from Medicare and Medicaid after a state review found conditions there harmful to residents.

Barbara Fasold, 76, fell out of bed at Ridgecrest while her bedding was changed at 5 a.m. on Feb. 19 — breaking both legs and her left shoulder. Rescue workers weren’t summoned to take her to the hospital until after the next shift came on about 4:45 p.m.. The report states that Fasold’s X-rays were completed by 8:40 a.m. the day she fell, but the nursing facility’s staff didn’t read them until 4 p.m. She was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center and admitted for her injuries. Ultimately, however, she died at a hospice facility, six days after she fell. "There was no evidence of the staff attempting to secure the (X-ray) results before then, even after the resident complained of pain," the report states.

A letter from Robert Dickson, field-office manager for the Agency for Health Care Administration’s Quality Control Division, states that his agency is recommending to the federal government the facility be fined $250 a day, retroactive to Feb. 19, until Ridgecrest is in compliance with state nursing-home standards. Also, if the facility is not in "substantial compliance" by Sept. 15, the state agency will recommend that its contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid be terminated.

Dickson’s office issued a letter to the facility March 4, based on the inspection report from Feb. 18, that said, "no discernible deficiencies were noted on the day of this survey."

The new findings gave poor marks to the care for two out of 10 residents whose cases were reviewed. The 59-page report and plan of correction stand in stark contrast to a routine inspection report based on a visit to the 160-bed facility the day before the patient was hurt — when no deficiencies were found.  What a surprise.

 

USA Today had an interesting and controversial article on two new studies that show the bones of some post-menopausal women who take bisphosphonates (Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax, Reclast) to ward off osteoporosis can stop rejuvenating and become brittle after prolonged use.   Bisphosphonates are among the top-selling drugs in the USA,with annual sales exceeding $3.5 billion.

Osteoporosis is a health risk for the aging population. An estimated 10 million Americans have the disease and almost 34 million have low bone mass, putting them at risk for spine and hip fractures.   Studying bone biopsies in women who suffered femur fractures, lead researcher Dr. Joseph Lane found the quality of the bone diminished after long-term bisphosphonate use.

 

 

Dr. Rosenwasser’s research notes that bone densitometry (DXA) scans show a buckling potential in the femur area of the hip in patients being treated for osteoporosis with bisphosphonates. His studies note the decline after four years of use or more. "It can be thought of as a brittleness," Rosenwasser says. "Think of it as not a lack of quantity of bone mineral but of quality of organization."

 

Lexington Herald-Leader had an article about Kentucky indicting nursing home employees for neglecting a resident and trying to cover it up.  A nurse and two nursing assistants have been indicted in connection with a case of neglect at Creekwood Place Nursing Home in Logan County.

One of the nursing assistants, Melissa L. Lyon, was trying to transfer a patient into bed on her own, even though the patient’s care plan called for two people to lift the person.   As a result, the patient suffered a fractured leg.   After the incident, Lyon and the other nursing assistant, Destiny W. Duncan, "concealed the true facts of the incident," the news release says.

The nurse, Barbara A. Moore of Beechmont, "did not call a physician or family member or check on the victim, all of which caused the victim prolonged suffering and pain," the release states.  Each of the women was indicted on a single count of knowing abuse or neglect of an adult, a Class C felony. 

 

The Madison Record had an article about a lawsuit against a nursing home that allowed a disabled elderly woman to fall and fracture both her hips. Hazel Timmons, guardian of River Reed, filed a suit against Stearns Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on May 21 in Madison County Circuit Court.  Reed lived in the Granite City nursing home from May 25, 2007, through July 7.

When Reed was admitted to the nursing home, employees were aware she suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia and was usually disoriented and confused.  Nevertheless, employees allowed Reed to wander unattended in the hallway during the middle of the night on May 29, 2007. During her unsupervised walk, Reed predictably fell and fractured her left hipYet again, on June 6, Reed was left unattended in a wheelchair and without a personal alarm. And, again, she injured herself when she fell out of the wheelchair.

Reed fractured her right hip after she was left unattended in her wheelchair with her tab alarm in the off position on June 15, 2007. During this incident, Reed attempted to walk unassisted when she was known to be non-weight bearing and at high risk for falling.

 

The St. Clair Record had an article about a Madison County jury compensating a plaintiff in a negligence trial close to $150,000 in damages.  Jurors deliberated late into the evening before finding for Paul Graves in his suit against Rosewood Care Center of Edwardsville.

The 2003 case was brought by Graves on behalf of his deceased father’s estate.   Alfred Graves received inadequate care while at Rosewood Care Center of Edwardsville and that lack of care and violations of the home’s own procedures led him to fall and break his hip.

The jury awarded Graves damages for his father’s loss of life experienced, pain and suffering and medical expenses. The largest damages were for the loss of life the jury found Alfred Graves, the plaintiff’s father, experienced after a fall at the nursing home in January 2003. Those damages totaled $75,000. An additional $30,000 was given for Alfred Graves’ pain and suffering and over $44,000 for his medical and nursing expenses.

Rosewood argued that the fall was an accident that had nothing to do with the care Alfred Graves received.