Tips to Help Ensure You Choose The Best Nursing Home For Your Loved One

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

With nursing home abuse and neglect a growing concern, having to place your elderly loved one in one of these facilities can be a frightening and stressful proposition.  Most nursing homes and elder care facilities today are understaffed, which means residents often do not get the complete care and attention they need.  While there is no way to be 100% certain that your loved one will never be neglected or abused in a nursing home, there are some things you can do to put your mind at ease and help determine that the facility you choose is reputable and trustworthy.

Take a tour of the facility.  You can often get a feel for the care provided at the nursing home by simply walking through and paying attention to the surroundings.  Are there numerous residents who seem to be in a stupor?  Are most of the residents in bed and unable to talk, as if they have been over-medicated?  Pay attention to these small but significant signals.

Go to your State Health Department and ask for a complete profile of the facility you are considering for your loved one.  A profile typically contains the number of complaints that have been filed against the nursing home, how many fines have been assessed and whether those fines have been paid or remain outstanding.

Dehydration and malnutrition are common problems in many nursing homes today.  Visit the facility at various times including meal times and late in the evenings.  When you visit during lunch or dinner time, take note of whether the food looks as though it is nutritional.  Is water provided throughout the day?

Stop by the nursing home during those times that special care is given, such as physical therapy.  Is the care being provided?  Without a little investigating on your own, it’s often hard to know if recommended care is really being provided.

If your loved one is already in a nursing home facility, never ignore complaints that he/she is being mistreated.  While you may think your loved one is just “imagining things” or suffering from dementia, take complaints seriously.  Check regularly for bedsores, as they can get infected and eventually become fatal if not treated properly.

Talk to your loved one’s doctor, and make sure that he/she is actually checking in on your loved one and monitoring their health.  If you have a hard time contacting your doctor, consider having another physician examine the patient to ensure he/she is in good health.

If you do see symptoms of abuse and/or neglect, report them to the state licensing office immediately, and follow up to ensure that proper action has been taken.

By doing your research and checking out the facility yourself during varied times throughout the day, you can get a feel for whether the facility provides good care to residents.

Brown Chiari is a team of New York nursing home lawyers who are dedicated to protecting the rights of those individuals in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.  Contact one of our personal injury attorneys in Buffalo NY.

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Richmond, VA Nursing Home Faces Negligence Lawsuit

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Kenwood Health and Rehabilitation Center in Richmond, Virginia has recently been sued by the guardian of a resident that lived at the center, alleging charges of nursing home negligence.  On August 11th of this year, James Rutherford filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owners of the facility, Fir Lane Terrace Convalescent Center and Extendicare.  The suit was filed against Thomas Davis, the administrator of Kenwood along with five “John Does”.

Viola Fields, former resident of Kenwood, suffered significant medical expenses, physical impairment and embarrassment due to injuries caused by negligence according to the lawsuit which was filed in Madison Circuit Court.  The suit also claims Kenwood is guilty of medical and corporate negligence, and that the facility violated Fields’ long-term care resident rights.

James Rutherford, guardian of Viola Fields, stated that Fields is of unsound mind and incapacitated, and that she received poor care at the facility.  Rutherford also claims that employees of Kenwood displayed a conscious disregard for her safety and rights.  The suit alleges that Kenwood failed to make certain that Fields received prescribed treatment, accurate care assessments, necessary supervision, medication and meals, protection from accidental injury and timely nursing and medical intervention.

Rutherford stated that Field suffered wound and urinary tract infections, weight loss, ulcers, pneumonia and sepsis due to the conduct of the facility and staff, which led to the accelerated deterioration of her health and physical condition.

As is alleged in this lawsuit, negligence on behalf of nursing homes can often lead to serious infections, malnutrition, injuries and other issues that end up requiring extensive and costly medical care.  If Viola Fields had received adequate care, she may not have suffered the physical impairment and medical expenses that ultimately occurred.

When you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or elder care facility, contact the nursing home neglect attorneys in New york at Brown Chiari.  We work aggressively to seek justice and protect the rights of our clients.

Brown Chiari Buffalo Personal Injury Attorneys
69 Delaware Ave # 700
Buffalo, NY 14202
(716) 206-8415

Illinois Nursing Home Described as “Chaotic” in Survey Filed by Illinois Health Department

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The Illinois Health Department filed a 90-page survey in September of 2010 describing the conditions at Plaza Nursing & Rehab Center in Midlothian, IL.  According to the survey, the facility was chaotic and lacking in regards to residents’ quality of life and safety.  The survey revealed that during the year at least 9 residents had suffered falls with injuries, many of them due to unsafe shower and toilet areas. (article produced on behalf of Buffalo injury attorneys at Brown Chiari, LLP)

Other areas were also found to be lacking according to the survey.  In the report Plaza staff were found to be guilty of:

Administering injections to patients without first closing privacy curtains

Taking money from residents as payment for “favors”

Maintaining “scalding” hot water temperatures in bathrooms

Failing to wipe up pooling water next to bathtubs, increasing fall risks

Closing resident smoking area with no notification, and without providing an alternative area

Serving food to patients in an unsanitary environment where flies were present

Throughout the survey reports of suspicious scratches and bruising were common, as well as complaints made by residents that nurses were “rough” in their handling of the patients.  One incident was described in which a man tipped out of his wheelchair while on facility property.

Many of the problems were attributed to the fact that the 91-bed facility did not have sufficient staff to handle all of the residents and treat those who required specialized care.  The survey hinted strongly toward abuse, and noted that an administrator found an anonymous note on the floor which stated that residents at the facility were being abused by one of the nurses.

It was also found in the report that unstable residents who posed direct threats to other residents were admitted to the facility, and that one resident with a history of bipolar disorder pushed another because he could not get the other resident to move out of his way.  Plaza was fined $10,000 as a result of the findings in the Health Department survey.

While it wasn’t noted in the survey, unexplained bruising and scratches could indicate abuse by staff members, or by other aggressive residents suffering from mental disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.  The incident in which the resident fell out of his wheelchair was not addressed by the facility, so it isn’t known whether the chair was in disrepair, was not maintained properly or whether staff members failed to monitor the resident.

There are countless forms of abuse and neglect that take place in our nursing homes today, some of them due to the fact that these facilities are often understaffed, or staffed with individuals through temporary staffing agencies that often do not perform thorough background checks.  Regardless, abuse of residents in these facilities is unacceptable.

Brown Chiari is a team of New York elder abuse law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of nursing home residents and their families.  Contact us today for a free evaluation of your claim.

California Nursing Home Operator Found Guilty of Elder Abuse Files Bankruptcy Prior to Jury Decision

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

On September 30th, Erwin Cablayan, shareholder of San Marino Manor, Inc., advised the trial court that the nursing home had filed bankruptcy.  This announcement came just prior to a jury returning with damages in the case of a woman who died after being abused at the nursing home.  Cablayan was found liable of abusing an elderly resident in the case of Reyes C. Angelo, a resident who died in March of 2006.

The jury returned a verdict that would have led to expected punitive damages of about $20 million and $1.5 million in liability.  An investigator in the case related to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office in 2006 that Angelo’s death was suspicious.  The cause of her death was said to be infection caused by accumulated bed sores.

The patient entered San Marino Manor in January of 2003 and was in reasonably good condition, capable of feeding herself and well nourished.  In October of 2005, she entered a hospital following a stroke and subsequent fall that left her with a fractured shoulder, where she remained for 5 days before going back to San Marino Manor.

If you have been injured in a Buffalo NY nursing home abuse or neglect incident, please contact one of our Buffalo personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation.

In the following months Angelo developed bed sores on her inner thighs and buttocks, hips, toes, lower buttocks and coccyx, more than 5 of them being black, necrotic and infected with MRSA.  The bed sores were hidden from family members with clothing and bandages, and were not revealed until 2006 when Angelo’s daughter found her sitting over a puddle of urine in a wheelchair.  Angelo’s diaper was soaked with urine and fecal matter; at this time the family became aware of Angelo’s condition.

Records at the nursing home reflected that Angelo had not been receiving diabetic insulin prescribed, but records were changed and dosages filled in at a later date in order to attempt to “cover up” the lack of medical care.

Lawyers for the Angelo family stated that while they had known that the Cablayans would refuse to pay the verdict from day one, they would continue to seek justice for Mrs. Angelo.  Erwin Cablayan made many efforts to avoid litigation, including informing the Angelo’s lawyer that he ran the facility without insurance.

This is a sad example of what happens in nursing homes today, but not totally surprising.  Hopefully the Angelo family will win some type of compensation for the grief they have experienced because of this negligent and abusive nursing home facility.

Brown Chiari is a team of New York nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers dedicated to securing justice for our clients.  Contact us at once if you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home or elder care facility.

Kentucky Nursing Home Resident Found Dead; Advocate Calls For Implementation of Staff-to-Resident Ratios

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

A 32-year-old resident of Falmouth Nursing Home in KY who suffered from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, brain injuries and diabetes went missing from the facility on August 4th of this year; he was found dead on September 3rd according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.  While it isn’t unusual for patients to wander off in facilities where staff to patient ratios are a bit uneven, the founder of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, Bernie Vonderheide, has called for action.

Vonderheide has requested that Governor Steve Beshear take steps toward implementing minimum staff-to-resident ratios in long term care facilities and nursing homes.  In face, he asked that the governor issue an executive order establishing the ratios, or call an emergency session of the General Assembly.

A spokesperson for Beshear, Kerri Richardson, stated that the subject of nursing home staff would be best debated and reviewed during the next regular session, and that a special session, which generally costs about $300,000, is best suited for issues where there is a clear consensus. However, Governor Beshear did implement 20 recommendations regarding the process of reporting abuse and neglect in nursing homes last fall, although non concerned staffing.  This does demonstrate that the government at least has an interest in improving care.

Vonderheide, along with other advocates for elder care, argue that patients would receive better care and supervision if staff ratios were increased to meet residents’ needs.  There is no doubt that there is a shortage of staff in many nursing homes today, contributing to poor care, injuries and even fatalities.  Kentucky is one of 13 states with no specific state requirements regarding staff-to-resident ratios.

Bow hunters found the remains of Lee’s body near the Licking River a month after the man disappeared from the nursing facility.

The Buffalo nursing home abuse attorneys at Brown Chiari are dedicated to seeking justice for residents of nursing homes and elder care facilities.  Contact us regarding a free evaluation of your case today. Learn more about Buffalo injury attorneys by Visiting Brown Chiari today!