Laura Siano, former director of nursing at Kirkwood House Nursing Home, allegedly stole $16,000 from a 75 yr old resident’s account. In addition, Siano made numerous personal purchases for decorative items, cat supplies and a laptop using the resident’s credit card. The investigation occurred as the result of a complaint to the Department of Public Health. She has been charged with larceny over $250.  See article at Wicked Local Wakefield.

Well, it all depends on the number of residents and the condition of those residents.  Patients in hospitals and residents in nursing homes are much sicker than they used to be and require much more complex care.  Legislatures in at least seven states and the District of Columbia are trying to answer that question as they debate bills that would require a minimum number of nurses on staff at all times.  At the heart of all these bills is a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio — a fixed number of nurses per patient.

California is the only state that has a minimum nurse staffing law.  Since then, nurse staffing laws have failed in every other state because industry lobbyists intimidate politicians. Many nurses and experts say legislation is needed to prevent cost-conscious hospitals from endangering patients by putting too large of a workload on too few nurses.  Short-staffings leads to burn-out, abuse, and neglect.

A 2004 survey of research conducted by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that patients at hospitals with low nurse-to-patient ratios fare worse than those at hospitals with higher ratios.


ProPublica released unredacted write-ups of problems found during nursing home inspections around the country.   For several months now, ProPublica has made redacted versions of this same information available in an easily searchable format in our Nursing Home Inspect tool. These versions, which reside on the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, Nursing Home Compare, sometimes blank out patients’ ages, medical conditions, dates and prescribed medications.

The agency has said the redactions are intended to balance patient privacy concerns with the need to inform consumers about the quality of care. ProPublica requested the unredacted reports because they are public records and because the added information can make them more useful.

For example, prescription information in the unredacted write-ups can help identify cases in which patients received medications such as antipsychotics that are dangerous for those with dementia.

Nursing Home Inspect allows patients and their families to quickly find nursing homes in their states and identify those with serious deficiencies and penalties in the last three years. The entire national collection of reports — listing more than 267,000 deficiencies — is searchable by keyword.

At this point, Nursing Home Inspect continues to link to only the redacted inspection reports. To search through the unredacted versions, you’ll have to download them and use a program like Microsoft Excel or a text editor that enables you to hunt for keywords or phrases.

The unredacted reports are grouped by CMS region and can be downloaded here. A list of states in each of the 10 regions is here.

Brenda Watson is a talented freelance writer who was willing to write a guest post on the benefits of social media for nursing home residents.

Social media platforms are powerful tools used every day by billions across the world to communicate and connect with people, both new and familiar. Specific social media tools like Twitter and Facebook have become extremely popular in recent years particularly with younger generations who use the online services as a primary form of communication between friends and family. I would almost venture to say that the younger generations take such technological innovations for granted, simply because they grew up with it.
Such is not the case for members of the older generations who’ve taken advantage of these same social media tools. The mere idea of a service like Twitter existing seems like a modern marvel to many seniors who create a profile and start connecting with old friends and family members. It’s hard to fathom that there are seniors who have lived to see so many radical progressions in technology, now culminating in an era where a person can banter with a friend in instant time half a world away.
Thus the power of social media tools cannot be understated for senior, particularly those who live a relatively isolated existence in nursing homes. Many who live in nursing home suffer from the emotional pain of being separated from their loved ones. Of course friends and relatives can visit, but one can’t deny that the social dynamics do change for those living in a nursing home. To have access to social media tools and connect and keep track of the lives of loved ones is a gift that many nursing home residents gladly welcome.
I say this from experience, because two close elder relatives of mine live in nursing homes and keep in regular contact via social media tools. Our family spent time teaching both of them how to set up and maintain profiles on both Twitter and Facebook, and they took to the platforms easily. Within days I had the surreal experience of receiving direct tweets from my great aunt and being friended by my own grandmother on Facebook. But I accepted their attempts with open arms, overjoyed that they had found an outlet for connecting with my vast network of relatives.
This all happened some months ago and the novelty of my relatives using social media tools has long since worn off. Now I simply get to enjoy the experience of interacting with my elder relatives online by sharing news stories and silly pictures and catching up on family gossip. When I visit them at their respective nursing homes I noticed that there’s more vitality to their demeanor than there was before—they have links to share with me, stories about distant cousins and long lost relatives they found through diligent Google searches.
In short, social media tools have given my relatives a great experience. I heartily suggest that other nursing home residents consider starting up a profile to maintain and grow the personal connections they’ve cultivated all their lives.
Brenda Watson writes about the healthcare industry, medical technology, and pop science for Brenda loves exploring how innovative technologies improve and challenge the medical field.  Feel free to send her some comments at

Finding a stellar nursing home for a loved one in their golden years is a task that no one takes lightly. It’s a monumental task to find proper care, and the main obstacle (in this writer’s opinion) is the fact that the average person doesn’t really know what to look out for when it comes to selecting a quality facility. Aside from aesthetics and a general “feeling” about a nursing home, I’d say that it’s hard for most people to identify key features that should make one place more promising than another.

Not to sound crass, but it’s not like you can look up reviews for a nursing home like you can for a quality restaurant or a product sold in retail.  There are so many factors at play in a nursing home that it’s impossible for a person to consider them all before making that critical choice.  Just one example of an unknown that might change a person’s mind about a nursing home: hand hygiene. A recent piece in the Journal of Applied Gerontology explains that the number of incidents of improper hand hygiene at nursing homes is on the rise in a plurality of US states, up from levels previously reported on a few years ago.  It seems that many nursing home staff isn’t doing their due diligence when it comes to keeping a sanitary working environment.  This is just one issue that someone looking at nursing homes might never be aware of had they not heard about it.
So the question is, how can a person be certain about any nursing home they choose to house their loved ones?

Luckily now there are tools available online to help people work through the process of selecting a quality nursing home. As was recently reported in The New York Times, there is now a service that allows people to locate and compare nursing homes all across the country. This relatively new service is called Nursing Home Inspect, and it houses thorough reviews and official documentation on over 25,000 nursing homes.

You can search through the service’s extensive database for reports of deficiencies and general problems at play in nursing homes throughout the country. Nursing Home Inspect ranks nursing homes based on the level of deficiencies reported at each facility, information which they’ve obtained either through government-backed sources such as the “Nursing Home Compare” service found on Medicare’s official site or through other legitimate means. Think about the practical implications of such a service: nursing homes that ostensibly look great on the outside might have actually high number of deficiencies reported in their facilities that you don’t know about. Its services like those provided by Nursing Home Inspect that will inform consumers so that they make smarter choices on one of the biggest decisions of their lives.

Leslie Johnson is a freelance health and lifestyle blogger writing for Leslie is keenly interested in the way that today’s mobile technology plays into the healthcare field, and she makes it her mission to inform her readers about new and helpful innovations whenever she can. Feel free send some comments her way!

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that governor Rick Scott of Florida has decided to dump more than 3,300 children with disabilities into adult nursing homes because the state is slashing nursing and other services that would otherwise keep them at home with their families.  A lawsuit was filed to stop the transfers.  The lawsuit mirrors a letter sent this week by federal officials to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi alleging the state is violating federal law by allowing more than 200 children with disabilities and even babies to be kept in nursing homes, often for years.

Children languish in facilities, sharing common areas with elderly patients and having few interactions with others, rarely leaving the nursing homes or going outside.  Investigators noted the children are not exposed to social, educational and recreational activities that are critical to child development.  Educational opportunities are limited to as little as 45 minutes a day, according to a detailed letter by U.S. Department of Justice officials.  Investigators also said Florida is violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and is infringing on the children’s civil rights by segregating and isolating them. The average length of stay is three years.

These kids who are institutionalized in geriatric nursing homes are receiving less services than kids in prison,” said Paolo Annino, a law professor at Florida State University.

The state turned down nearly $40 million in federal dollars for a program that transitions people from nursing homes back into the community. The state has also been paying community-based providers less, reducing payments by 15 percent last year because of legislative budget cuts. Yet the state implemented policies that expanded nursing home care, by offering facilities a $500 enhanced daily rate for caring for children, which is more than double than what the state pays for adults.


Below is Dechert’s press release about the recent lawsuit involving Murray Forman and Leonard Grunstein for ownership and operational control of the national for profit chains Sava Senior Care, Mariner Health Care, Inc., and Fundamental Long Term Care.

“Following a two-week bench trial before Justice O. Peter Sherwood of the New York Supreme Court, Dechert achieved a victory today on behalf of Rubin Schron and Cammeby’s Equity Holdings with the court’s ruling that Cam Equity may acquire SavaSeniorCare LLC, a national nursing-home company, through the assumption of $100 million in outstanding debt.  In so doing, Justice Sherwood rejected the claims of Sava’s owners, Leonard Grunstein and Murray Forman, that Schron had fallen $120 million short on his lending commitments as a “prevarication” and concluded that the “mendacity of Grunstein and Forman” entitled their story to be given no weight.

In its decision, the court ruled that Cam Equity “is entitled to reap the benefit of its bargain now” and ordered Grunstein, Forman, and their companies “without further delay” to move forward with transferring control of the company to Cam Equity.

The trial ruling represents the latest victory for Dechert in its longstanding representation of Schron, Cam Equity and affiliated companies in litigation regarding the control of a multi-billion nursing-home company and related fiduciary duty and malpractice claims brought by Schron against the operating company’s owners and Schron’s former attorneys and investment banker.

The victory follows a series of rulings that Dechert has won on behalf of Cam Equity and affiliated companies in seeking to vindicate their rights to acquire SavaSeniorCare and two other nursing-home companied controlled by Grunstein and Forman. Previously, the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed an earlier victory before the New York Supreme Court (Commercial Division) upholding the validity of the Sava option. The First Department issued an order resolving another Schron-related lawsuit, concerning a separate option that a Schron company, Cammeby’s Funding LLC, has to acquire one-third of the shares of Fundamental Long Term Care Holdings LLC.  The New York Supreme Court has also granted summary judgment in favor of Cam Equity’s right to acquire two-thirds of Mariner Health Care, Inc.

“We are extremely pleased with the court’s decision,” said Dechert chairman and litigation partner Andrew J. Levander, who led the representation of Schron and Cam Equity along with partner Steven A. Engel. “Today’s ruling confirms that Mr. Schron fulfilled all of his commitments in connection with these transactions and squarely rejects the incredible stories that the defendants have advanced to obstruct Mr. Schron’s contractual rights. Per the court’s decision, Cam Equity should now be able to move forward with acquisition.”

Caption: Schron et al. v. Grunstein et al., case number 650702/2010, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.

CNN recently released a disturbing video that shows an employee attacking a resident of an adult group home in Connecticut. The video shows a caregiver ruthlessly kicking the woman in the stomach, whipping her with a belt, and grabbing the poor woman by her hair and dragging her across the floor. The victim of the attack, who has an intellectual disorder, relies greatly her caregivers, requiring assistance with bathing and eating.

The DVD which contained the footage of the attack was anonymously sent to the operators of the home and ironically titled “The Perfect Employee.”  The employee was placed on unpaid administrative leave from the facility and is the subject of an ongoing police investigation.  I wish there were more people willing to protect these residents by reporting abuse or setting up video to record neglect and mistreatment.

Shevin Shaikh is a student at UC Santa Barbara, and an intern at FindTheBest where he recently helped develop new resources that allow users to filter and compare Nursing Homes, Senior Services, and as well as Medicare Coverage.


I think these would be informative and unique tools for our readers. Here are the links:

Nursing Homes

Senior Services

Medicare Coverage