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Nursing Home Abuse

Monday, May 15, 2017

New York Faces Critical Lack of Nursing Home Aides - What This Means for Your Elderly Loved Ones


The data is crystal clear – the United States is running out of caregivers. But that’s not all, the country’s population is aging. Put these two together and what you have is a complicated situation that threatens to have millions of vulnerable seniors, many of whom have serious disabilities, facing neglect or abuse in understaffed elder care facilities.

Elder abuse, in whichever form, is a crime. If your loved one has faced neglect or abuse at a care facility, talk to a Read more . . .


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nursing Homes Can No Longer Require Arbitration


How can incidents of nursing home neglect and abuse be prevented?

Today, as our society is aging and more elderly individuals are becoming incapable of caring for themselves, entering a nursing home may be the only option. Not only is this a difficult decision for seniors and their loved ones, there are many factors that need to be considered when choosing a skilled nursing facility.

In particular, it is crucial that residents are provided with quality care, and that the facility is clean  and safe. While visiting a facility or getting referrals from doctors or other medical professionals is helpful in the decision making process, longstanding problems in the elder care system often do not see the light of day.

One reason for this is that nursing home have long relied on fine print clauses in admissions contracts that require elders and their families to resolve disputes through arbitration.


Read more . . .


Friday, February 26, 2016

A Primer on Nursing Home Negligence

As individuals become elderly, for those who are no longer capable of caring for themselves, entering a nursing home may be the only option. This is a difficult issue that affects the entire family. Sadly, there are numerous accidents and failures that occur in nursing homes that lead to injuries. In some cases, intentional acts may cause harm to a resident. Depending upon the circumstances, an elder care facility may be held liable for an injury that arises from an act of negligence, abuse or neglect on its premises.

What types of behavior are grounds for a lawsuit?

The conduct of a nursing home employee or the policies or ongoing practices at such a facility that can lead to a lawsuit include:

  • Failure to keep the premises reasonably safe, free of hazards to prevent slip and fall accidents
  • Failure to prevent abuse or attacks by other residents 
  • Negligence in hiring  when an employee neglects, abuses, or intentionally harms a patient
  • Failure to properly train and supervise employees
  • Negligent supervision of residents who fall or injure themselves
  • Failure to maintain adequate health and safety policies
  • Failure to provide adequate medical treatment

What does standard of care mean?

In order to bring a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit, a patient must have suffered an injury because of a mistake that failed to meet the medical standard of care. This generally means the type of care that a reasonable skilled medical professional would provide under similar circumstances. If the care provided falls short of this standard, a case may be brought against the nursing home facility as well as the individual who was responsible for treating the patient or resident.

If a nursing home accepts Medicare, federal regulations require the facility to ensure that:

  • The resident environment is as free of accident hazards as possible
  • Each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents

If the elder care facility fails to comply with these regulations and a resident is injured, the nursing home may be held liable.

 When a resident is injured at a care facility, determining what went wrong and who is responsible can be complicated. If you or a loved one has been injured at a nursing home, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who has expertise in elder care law.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

State Investigating Mysterious Upsurge in Long-Term Care Injuries & Deaths

Who is liable when an elderly or disabled individual is injured due to caretaker neglect?

Approximately two years ago, Governor Cuomo implemented the Justice Center – an agency with a primary responsibility of investigating suspicious deaths of elderly or disabled individuals involving state workers. Most notably, the Justice Center is expected to conduct thorough investigations of any death that may have been caused by direct patient abuse or neglect. However, according to the details of an alarming new report, the Justice Center actually declined to investigate nearly all of the deaths occurring in state care since June, 2013 – which amounts to nearly 1,400.

Staggering numbers

Relying on New York’s public information laws, an advocate for the developmentally disabled population – to which his son belonged before being smothered in state care in 2007 – requested the investigative data covering June 30, 2015 through the present. During that time, an alarming 1,381 patients died in state care, and only six of those deaths were actually investigated in any measure by the Justice Center. Of course, a percentage of these deaths were immediately linked to natural causes or the natural progression of the victim’s condition. Nonetheless, many are decrying the seemingly obvious conclusion to be drawn from such disparate numbers: the Justice Center is not doing its job.

 

Prior to the implementation of the Justice Center, the New York Times published a horrifying report detailing the patterns of abuse and neglect occurring at state-run facilities for the elderly and disabled. At the time, any situations involving possible abuse or neglect were left to the center to investigate internally. Now, with just six cases making it to the desks of the Justice Center, many wonder if the same problems are occurring in a similarly cyclical nature, with all non-Justice Center cases being left to the center to investigate internally.

 

In 2014, just one fatal case of abuse was prosecuted, and it involved a nurse who fell asleep on the job resulting in the death of an oxygen-dependent patient. In that same year, 169 cases of non-fatal abuse were prosecuted, notwithstanding a reported 25,000 complaints of abuse or neglect lodged to the Center statewide.

 

If you are aware of elder abuse or neglect of the disabled, you may be able to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of your vulnerable family member against the center or facility tasked with their care. 


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Repeated Nursing Home Violations in Western New York

How common are nursing home violations in New York State?

We have all read with dismay, and sometimes horror, the tales of nursing home abuse against the most vulnerable members of our community. The most violations cited with these residential facilities, are health and fire violations. More than two dozen nursing homes in Western New York have been cited in a new statistical study by a national nursing home advocacy group. What makes this study even more disturbing is that the nursing homes in question were cited for repeated violations.

The national organization that revealed this data, The Coalition for Quality Care, is a conglomerate of state and regional groups created to support and maintain the highest possible quality of health care in long-term facilities. The group feels strongly that the country as a whole needs stronger enforcement of regulations regarding long-term care and that nursing homes found to have repeat violations on the same issues for three years in a row should be unable to continue admitting patients.

Facts culled from national data indicate that 44 percent of U.S. nursing homes are permitted to continue receiving public funds and admitting new patients in spite of repeated health and fire violations. In Buffalo and  surrounding western New York, 26 public and privately owned nursing homes are listed with three or more years of repeat health violations. Two from the region were listed for repeat fire code violations.

In addition, the study, which was conducted in conjunction with Voices for Quality Care, using federal inspection records accumulated by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), showed a variety of repeated healthcare violations, including poor standards of food storage, poor bed care resulting in bed sores, and poor record-keeping. It is alarming to think that as our aging population continues to grow larger, we continue to fail them by not ensuring safety at the facilities that house them.

If you or a loved has suffered personal injury as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse in western New York State, or if you would like to consult about other personal injury issues, please contact one of our skilled and experienced attorneys at Wellborn Paluch: 844-855-HURT or 716-254-2554.


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