Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect

dental-attorney

An August 4 article in the New York Times brings to light the danger many nursing home patients face as a result of inadequate dental hygiene. It quotes Dr. Sarah J. Dirks, a San Antonio dentist who treats nursing home residents, who says that the lack of daily oral care in nursing facilities is “an epidemic that’s almost universally overlooked..

More nursing home residents require dental care than in the past, because more seniors are keeping their natural teeth due to advances in hygiene and fluoridation programs. But aides and other caregivers often fail to provide nursing home patients with dental assistance because of the many other needs of toileting, dressing, and eating which take precedence.
Poor dental hygiene can lead to a host of other physical problems, some of which can be especially dangerous in the elderly population. One such ailment is pneumonia. A study published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that about one in 10 cases of death from pneumonia in nursing homes could be prevented by improving oral hygiene. Untreated oral infections also increase the risk of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease, according to PrevMED Dental Case Management. Dental problems can cause weight loss and increased frailty, as well.

Brushing the teeth of residents who cannot do it themselves is such an important task that it was federally mandated in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, which set new standards for nursing homes. OBRA ’87 makes each nursing home directly responsible for providing both routine and emergency dental services.

Under federal law, facilities must help the resident make dental appointments and arrange transportation to and from dentists’ offices. They must promptly refer residents who have lost or damaged dentures to a dentist. Medicaid residents must be assisted to secure routine dental care to the extent covered by the state plan. Medicare residents may be charged extra for dental services, and the regulation clarifies that the facility is under no obligation to pay for routine dental services.

Dental care for nursing home residents in South Carolina is also covered by Regulation Number 61-17 of the Standards for Licensing Nursing Homes, promulgated by the Board of Health and Environmental Control. Section 1006 provides as follows:
(A) When a person is admitted to a nursing home, an oral assessment by a physician, dentist or registered nurse shall be conducted within two weeks to determine the consistency of diet which the resident can best manage and the condition of gums and teeth. A written report of this assessment shall be placed in the medical record.

(B) Each nursing home shall maintain names of dentists who can render emergency and other dental treatments. Residents shall be encouraged to utilize dental services of choice.

(C) Residents shall be assisted as necessary with daily dental care.

“I always say you can measure quality in a nursing home by looking in people’s mouths, because it’s one of the last things to be taken care of,” said Dr. Judith A. Jones, chairwoman of the department of general dentistry at Boston University, in the New York Times story. If you notice that a family member has decaying teeth, is not eating as much food, or is having trouble chewing, they might be suffering from severe dental problems. Ask the nursing home about what dental services are being provided.

Look for broken, loose or decayed teeth. Observe whether gums are inflamed or bleeding and whether food debris is found in the mouth. Listen for complaints of mouth pain or chewing problems. All of these could be signs of nursing home neglect and abuse.

Inadequate dental care for nursing home patients can lead to conditions just as painful and dangerous as bedsores. Our elderly loved ones deserve to have all of their bodily needs met, including care of their mouth and teeth. If you suspect that your family member has experienced dental neglect or any other form of nursing home abuse, contact the Louthian Law Firm today toll free at 888-662-0434 or locally at 803-454-1200. We are family owned and family focused.

A Pickens County nursing home is back in the news again – and not in a good way.

Thirty-six elderly patients at Majesty Health and Rehab in Easley were forced from their rooms in the middle of the night because of a gas leak.

Each year there are more than 20,000 complaints of elder care abuse in South Carolina retirement homes.

Individuals who are injured as a result of South Carolina nursing home negligence – and surviving family members if they are killed – may have a right to bring a lawsuit seeking financial compensation.

Following is a news report on the gas leak evacuation:
The Easley fire chief said the department responded to the Majesty Health and Rehab on Ann Drive after someone smelled gas.

News 4 was told that 36 patients were evacuated to another part of the building, but they did not have to go outside.

The chief said firefighters found a couple of leaks in the kitchen, and at that point, the gas was cut off and the area was ventilated.

The nursing home called a private contractor to test all the lines and make necessary repairs, according to the chief.

Last summer, Majesty Health and Rehab made headlines after an 84-year-old woman died when the facility’s air conditioning system broke down.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control investigated and found “substandard quality of care and/or immediate jeopardy.” The cause of death was over-medication and overheating. DHEC cited Majesty Health and Rehab for “failure of facility to take action to ensure residents were provided a comfortable and safe environment..

The victim’s family has hired an attorney and is in the process of filing a South Carolina nursing home negligence lawsuit against Majesty Health and Rehab.

People who have a loved one in a nursing or retirement home should be alert for signs of potential nursing home abuse, including sudden swings in patient health, complaints from other patients of mistreatment, emotional agitation, or a refusal of staff to allow you to be alone with your loved one.

Source: WYFF-TV News 4 Greenville http://www.wyff4.com/news/local-news/oconee-pickens-news/Gas-leak-forces-nursing-home-evacuation/-/9654906/17668562/-/13okbss/-/index.html#ixzz2EHOZJnQt

Too many U.S. nursing homes are using dangerously strong antipsychotic drugs to keep patients with dementia drugged, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In fact, 2010 data shows that 17 percent of nursing home patients had daily doses above recommended levels.

Claire Curry, a consumer advocate, said, “The drugging of nursing home residents has long been a national disgrace..

To help curb the misuse of drugs in nursing homes and elder care facilities, CMS announced that it’s beginning a Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, which will include efforts to eliminate drug misuse for dementia patients. Officials say they hope the program will help reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs by 15 percent before the end of 2012.

As advocates like Claire Curry point out, improper and potentially dangerous misuse of drugs is a problem that affects hundreds of thousands of nursing home and long-term care patients. In the case of antipsychotic drugs, the drugs themselves even come with so-called “black box” warnings from the Food and Drug Administration, stating that the drugs can cause the death of patients with dementia.

Dr. Shari Ling, CMS deputy chief medical officer, has said that the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs among nursing home patients has grown in recent years–much of it among patients with dementia. This is particularly dangerous because, as Ling points out, dementia patients often cannot communicate their needs.

The government efforts to reduce drug misuse among elderly patients or those with dementia in nursing homes will include training for nursing home staff focused on care standards, making information about antipsychotics more available to nursing homes, and recommendations for alternatives to drugs. Those alternatives include things like outdoor activity, exercise and pain management therapy.

Whether these efforts will actually reduce improper prescriptions remains to be seen. The Food and Drug Administration has been warning doctors and caregivers against prescribing antipsychotic drugs to the elderly–especially those with dementia–since 2005. In a 2011 report, government researchers warned that improper use of the potentially dangerous drugs would probably continue, as alternative therapies and policies cost too much for many nursing homes to actually use.

About The Louthian Law Firm
The Louthian Law Firm, P.A., of Columbia, S.C., has been obtaining fair compensation for personal injury victims since 1959. The firm was founded by Herbert Louthian, who has more than 50 years of trial experience and is licensed to practice in all courts in South Carolina. The Louthian Law Firm focuses on personal injury cases involving nursing home abuse; medical malpractice; car, truck and motorcycle accidents; and other serious and catastrophic injuries throughout South Carolina. For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact the firm by phone at 888-662-9820 or through its online form.

Columbia, S.C., March 01, 2012 – Reacting to a Charleston TV station’s recent report, South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney Bert Louthian said today that the state’s nursing homes should alert residents and their families when a registered sex offender moves into the facility.

Louthian also said that nursing home operators need to take more steps to guard against sexual abuse in long-term care facilities.

“Sexual abuse in nursing homes poses a grave threat to residents,” Louthian said. “Placing known sex offenders in a facility without issuing alerts or installing safeguards increases the risk that a resident will become a victim of nursing home sexual abuse..

Louthian’s Columbia personal injury law firm, The Louthian Law Firm, P.A., represents nursing home abuse and neglect victims across South Carolina.

He was reacting to report on Charleston’s WCSC Live 5 News. The report revealed that at least three registered sex offenders are living in Charleston area nursing homes.

There is no state law requiring facility managers to notify residents and their families or guardians about their presence. According to the report, the only way to find out if a sex offender resides at a long-term care facility is to check the address on South Carolina’s sex offender registry.

That’s not enough, Louthian said.

“To better protect residents from sexual predators, nursing home operators need to provide active, written notifications before a sex offender arrives at the facility,” he said.

“If a sex offender is placed at a home, management must install adequate security measures to keep other residents safe from any potential abuse threat,” he said.

According to A Perfect Cause, an Oklahoma-based nursing home safety advocacy group, there are more than 2,000 sex offenders living in nursing homes across the country.

The group told WCSC Live 5 News that it has documented more than 80 instances where sex offenders have committed rape, assault and murder while residing in U.S. long-term care facilities.

“It’s not a question of if; it’s already happened. The only question is when it’s going to happen again,” Wes Bledsoe, the founder of A Perfect Cause, told the TV station, referring to the likelihood of a nursing home resident falling victim to a sex offender.

A Perfect Cause makes these recommendations for decreasing the threat of nursing home sexual abuse:

  • Establish separate and secure long-term care facilities for violent and sexual offenders.
  • Post conspicuous notification if offenders are residing in facilities
  • Require criminal background checks for all residents.
  • Install video and radio frequency monitoring systems.
  • Hire onsite security personnel.
  • Provide basic state or federal correctional training for all staff.
  • Develop an offender management and re-entry program.
  • Track all criminal acts in long-term care facilities and the assailants who commit these acts.

Louthian, a South Carolina elder abuse attorney, said it is important for residents and family members to report sexual abuse in nursing homes.

In addition to pressing criminal charges against the perpetrator, the victim may be entitled to recover money damages in an elder abuse lawsuit against the nursing home if it failed in its duty to protect residents, Louthian said.

“If an elder loved one has suffered sexual or other forms of abuse or neglect at a South Carolina nursing home, they or their family should talk to a qualified Columbia elder abuse attorney to find out their legal options,” Louthian said.

About The Louthian Law Firm, P.A.
The Louthian Law Firm, P.A., of Columbia, S.C., has been obtaining fair compensation for personal injury victims since 1959. The firm was founded by Herbert Louthian, who has more than 50 years of trial experience and is licensed to practice in all courts in South Carolina. In addition to nursing home abuse claims,the Louthian Law Firm also handles personal injury cases involving medical malpractice; car, truck and motorcycle accidents; and other serious and catastrophic injuries throughout South Carolina. For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact the firm by phone at (866) 410-5656 or through its online contact form.

The family of an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and several other conditions, received $91.5 million in damages from a Charleston, West Virginia nursing home. The elderly woman was a patient for just three weeks at Heartland of Charleston nursing home where the workers failed to feed and care for her leading to her death just one day after transferring to another facility.
The lawsuit alleged that while living with her son, the woman’s health had improved to where she could walk, speak and recognize family members. However, when she was checked into Heartland the staff confined the woman to a wheelchair, labeling her a fall risk.
The family’s lawyer argued that Heartland did not have enough staff to properly care for the woman and the other patients. Some former Heartland workers testified properly caring for all of the residents was impossible.
Heartland of Charleston is owned by ManorCare Inc, the parent company named in the lawsuit.
Many experts estimate nursing home patient neglect or abuse is grossly underreported. If you or someone you care about has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact a qualified nursing home injury attorney at Louthian Law Firm today. Call toll free at (866) 454-1200 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.

Nursing Home Neglect

The family of a man who died four years at a Georgia nursing home have been awarded $1.25 million after a DeKalb County jury concluded that nursing home neglect was responsible for the man’s death. Tucker Nursing Center allegedly provided inadequate care to the man when he was admitted in 2002 at the age of 67. Nine months later, he had to be hospitalized for a bedsore that infected his left buttock to the bone, said his attorney, and ultimately put him in a death spiral. He died in June 2004.

Elderly people are entitled to basic safety, respect and dignity. If you or someone you love is a victim of elder abuse or nursing home abuse, you have the right to hold the abuser responsible in court. The Louthian Law Firm has represented injured South Carolinians in elder abuse lawsuits and other personal injury suits since 1959. With our firm on the case, you can rest assured that you’ll get the extensive experience and personalized attention you deserve. For a free consultation, call our Columbia office today at 1-866-410-5656.


Nursing Home Neglect Verdict

A new federal report found that nine of every 10 nursing homes were cited for violating federal health and safety standards last year. For-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, according to the report. Problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups and poor nutrition. About one-fifth of the complaints verified by federal and state authorities involved the abuse or neglect of patients.

Elderly people are entitled to basic safety, respect and dignity. If you or someone you love is a victim of elder abuse or nursing home abuse, you have the right to hold the abuser responsible in court. The Louthian Law Firm has represented injured South Carolinians in elder abuse lawsuits and other personal injury suits since 1959. With our firm on the case, you can rest assured that you’ll get the extensive experience and personalized attention you deserve. For a free consultation, call our Columbia office today at 1-866-410-5656.

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A lawsuit that was filed against a nursing home by twenty-three families who had lost loved ones when a bus transporting patients exploded was settled on Tuesday, September 25th, according to an Associated Press Report.

In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the South, killing more than 18,000 people and causing more than 80 billion dollars in damage. So when Hurricane Rita threatened the residents of Brighton Gardens, a Houston-area assisted living community, a month later, the decision to flee the area seemed a wise choice. When the bus that was evacuating the nursing home patients exploded, however, the families of the 23 patients who lost their lives were left to question the decisions and methods of evacuation the home chose.

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According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report the New York Times reported that nursing homes with repeated safety compliance problems usually face only minimal penalties from the federal government.

Congress established “stringent” standards for nursing homes in 1987, but a 1998 GAO report found that nursing homes that repeatedly harmed residents were not being sufficiently penalized.

According to the new GAO report, which is scheduled for release next week, nursing homes with a long history of harming residents still are not held accountable for the poor care they provide and some of the homes which repeatedly harmed residents over a six year period remain in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The report, which focuses on nursing homes with a history of compliance problems, used a California nursing home as an example. In that home a patient choked to death in part because a machine needed to save his life was broken. The facility, which was cited for more than 170 serious deficiencies, was still open in late 2006.

The GAO report went on to state that the Bush administration rarely denies federal payments to nursing homes with compliance problems and typically imposes fines that are much smaller than the maximum fine of $10,000 per day.

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