Bedsores: A growing $11 Billion Industry

new jersey philadelphia bedsores pressure sores attorneys medical negligence nursing home abuseA recently published study estimated that the annual cost of medical errors in the U.S. in 2008 was $19.5 billion dollars.
Of that 19.5 billion, 11 billion payed for the treatment of bedsores or pressure sores.

The study reported that about 1.5 million measurable medical errors happen annually, according to co-author Jonathon Shreve. It also found the 10 most common medical errors in the U.S., and found that most of the cost of medical errors can be attributed to 5 common errors:

– Pressure Ulcers
– Postoperative Infections
– Mechanical Complications of Devices, Implants, or Grafts
– Postlaminectomy Syndrome – persistance of pain and/or disability following back surgery and
– Hemorrhages complicationg a procedure

Bedsores alone are costing upwards of $11 billion dollars a year to treat. Bedsores are completely avoidable occurences, and there is no excuse for the astounding amount of patients suffering through them. They cause immense pain, and in many cases, infection.
Nursing home and hospital care must become more attentive and compassionate in order to move in the direction of correcting this serious plight.

Are you a Victim of Medical Errors or Negligence?

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a medical error, or perhaps negligence or abuse at a nursing home or long term care facility, you’ll need the help of nursing home abuse or medical malpractice attorney.

Contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Let us get you the compensation you deserve.

What is a Nursing Home Care Plan?

A care plan is a document specific to each nursing home resident that identifies all of their medical issues, the treatments the staff is supposed to provide to treat those issues, and a list of goals to reflect the expected improvement their medical condition.
A federal law known as OBRA requires nursing homes to provide a multi-disciplinary team of care givers who are charged with ensuring that the nursing home resident receives the care and services needed to ensure that the resident reaches and maintains “the highest practicable degree of physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.

This team is primarily made up of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, and dieticians (and essentially any other discipline involved in the resident’s care).
To deliver on the quality of care the resident and their family were promised by the nursing home, the team must develop a comprehensive care plan which provides a framework for the staff who are treating the resident on a day-to-day basis. To be effective and comprehensive, the care planning process must include the input of all caregivers that are involved in the care of the resident.

Care planning is an essential part of properly caring for a nursing home resident. A good care plan provides a ‘road map’ of sorts, to guide all who are involved with a resident’s care. A caregiver that was just hired, or is coming back to work from a vacation, can look at the care plan developed for a resident and know exactly what needs to be done to care for that resident.
A care plan is not a stagnant or stationary document. The care plan changes just as the resident’s condition changes. The care plan needs to be reviewed and updated by the caregivers, especially when there is a change in the resident’s condition.

What is a Care Plan Conference?

Care plans should be created at a care plan conference held at the nursing home. The resident, and their family members, should be involved in the conference. The nursing home should invite the resident, and their family members to attend the conference. If they don’t, the resident, and their family members should tell the nursing home Administrator that they would like to be present at the conference.
At the care plan conference, the resident’s medical issues are identified and the treatments that the staff is supposed to execute to care for the resident are set forth. Goals for improvement are set. Whether the resident’s health improves, or declines, the care plan needs to be adjusted to reflect the best way to treat the resident at that time.

It is important for the family to attend the care plan conferences because they can discuss what they know about the resident to ensure that the resident’s medical issues are properly identified. It is also important for the family to discuss and understand treatment strategies and goals with the caregivers.
Understanding a resident’s care plan will help the family understand what should be happening at the nursing home, and to bring it to the attention of the Administrator and resident’s physician if the family feels the care plan is not being followed. Not following the care plan can often lead to nursing home abuse, debilitating falls, and pressure ulcers for the resident.

Relevant Federal Statute concerning Care Plans

$483.20(d) (A facility must…) use the results of the assessment to develop, review and revise the resident’s comprehensive plan of care.

$483.20(k) Comprehensive Care Plans

The facility must develop a comprehensive care plan for each resident that includes measurable objectives and timetables to meet a resident’s medical, nursing, and mental and psychosocial needs that are identified in the comprehensive assessment. The care plan must describe the following:

(i) The services that are to be furnished to attain or maintain the resident’s highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being as required under $483.25; and

(ii) Any services that would otherwise be required under $483.25 but are not provided due to the resident’s exercise of rights under $483.10, including the right to refuse treatment under $483.10.

Nursing Home Neglect: Mininno Law Office

If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact the Mininno Law Office immediately and get a free case evaluation. You could also call us toll-free at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Let us work to get you the compensation you deserve.

Healthcare Reform: Helping Our Senior Citizens

Healthcare reform is set up to do wonderful things for the long term care industry.
Healthcare reform has been a hot issue for years. It’s obvious that our healthcare system, nursing homes, and long term care facilities are in dire need of help, but figuring out exactly how to provide that help has proven difficult for lots of reasons. But on March 30th, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the final healthcare legislation approved by the senate, wrapping up his momentous effort to enact healthcare reform.
The Legislation was called “The Healthcare and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.” The Act is going to change healthcare, and more importantly, nursing home and assisted living facility care, as we know it. Some changes will not be immediate, but change is coming.

What Do These “Changes” Mean?

Many families are wondering what those changes will mean for our senior citizens; especially for those who may need to enter a nursing home and/or long term care facility. At least one nursing home advocate has strongly supported this measure. That supporter is Cheryl Phillips, MD, president of the American Geriatrics Society. Ms. Phillips is excited about what healthcare reform means for our elderly citizens, saying:

All told, healthcare reform includes numerous, important provisions that will improve elder healthcare now and in the future, and support geriatrics careers. The AGS has long advocated for these provisions.

There is a substantial list of changes coming to nursing homes and long-term care facilities after the enactment of healthcare reform. Some of those changes include:

Long Term Care Insurance – Under the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS), all Americans will be automatically enrolled in a long term care insurance program. This insurance can be used by seniors who need to be placed into an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Citizens will have the ability to opt out of the program. If they choose to stay enrolled in the program, citizens will start paying a premium immediately and will be able to benefit from the program after contributing for 5 years. The yield is expected to be about $50.00 a day.

• Patients will immediately begin receiving rebates for prescription drug costs that fall into the Medicare Part D gap. Overtime, the gap will be phased out entirely.

• Drug manufacturers will be forced to provide discounts on brand name drugs.

Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act – this nursing home and assisted living facility act will require that nursing homes provide consumers with plentiful and up-to-date information about the quality of care nursing homes provide. These standards will address the prevention of bed sores and pressure ulcers in nursing homes; address fall protection to prevent injuries from falls; and provide seniors in nursing homes with quality of life standards. This is a massive weapon in the fight against sub-par care standards in nursing homes and long term care facilities. The AARP has called this bill “one of the most significant nursing home reform initiatives in two decades.”

Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act – this will create a national system of background checks, to prevent nursing home employees with criminal backgrounds from working in the long term care setting. This Act is designed to protect nursing home abuse, physical assault and sexual assaults by staff members.

This is just a brief list of the many changes headed for nursing home and assisted living facility care. Advocates of nursing home care reform are thrilled by the imminent changes, looking forward to an increased quality of care and decreased instances of nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse. These healthcare changes will hopefully do wonderful things to prevent nursing home abuse so our senior citizens can get the care they deserve.

Has Nursing Home Abuse or Negligence Affected You?

If you or a loved one has suffered the effects of nursing home negligence or abuse, the attorneys at Mininno Law Office are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free case evaluation, or call for a free consultation at 856-833-0600 in New Jersey or 215-567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Fight Scheme

Did you know that nursing home abuse can be lucrative? Insurance companies do! The economy is struggling. You and I, our families and friends, even big companies are struggling to stay alive in a toxic economic climate. The difference is, these insurance companies have corporate shareholders to keep at bay. Their answer? Cash in on nursing home residents’ insurance policies of course!

Nursing home abuse against scheme to make death profit

nursing home abuse attorneys new jersey philadelphia Fight Scheme
Greedy Scrooge McDuck in the 1983 Disney animated feature

Remember when Ebenezer Scrooge died and his house cleaner sold his stuff to cash in? Well, insurance companies and nursing homes are now scheming to do the same to residents. It involves encouraging patients in long term care and assisted institutions to sell their policies for a discounted cash amount. The patients get a pittance of a return – which they can spend at the home for “care.” In exchange, the nursing homes and the insurance carriers get the insurance policies from the patients. These policies are then packaged and sold to Wall Street as future bonds. When the patient dies, Wall Street or the care facilities gets the payout. Talk about a conflict of interest! The longer the patient lives, the greater the cost to the nursing home and the smaller the profit on the policy. Conversly, if the patient dies just after the purchase, the care center reaps the profits.

Nursing home abuse and the “profits over people”

We believe that these institutions should be in the business of caring for our elderly loved ones, not stealing from them. They should not be in the business of leveraging a patient’s health and life as a commodity to be traded on the market. Such practices are depraved. But, this nursing home business IS big business, and as is often the case, “profits over people” is business as usual. Every day, we read about how nursing home abuse and negligence take the place of adequate and compassionate care, only to make an easier and quicker profit. People and their medical care should come first. We understand this and are ready to help you.

Nursing home abuse lawyers in NJ and PA

If you feel that your rights are being violated or that a loved one has not received proper care or may be a victim of nursing home abuse, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. The nursing home abuse lawyers at the Mininno Law Office will make sure that your loved ones’ voices are heard and their rights protected. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Make sure that care is put before profits and advocate for these rights. Let the Mininno Law Office team earn you the compensation you deserve.

Full NY Times article, Wall Street Pursues Profit in Bundles of Life Insurance

Is Grandma Safe in the Nursing “Home” for the Holidays? Safety violations reported in 94% corporate nursing homes

“More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued on Monday.” Robert Pear, The New York Times

The Department of Human Health and Services has found nearly 94% of for profit nursing homes, many run by large corporations, have been cited for safety violations.This statistic is appalling, considering the millions dollar profits being made by these nursing homes. For the year 2008, nursing homes charge families $77,380 on average for a room and $36,372 for assisted living rooms.With costs increasingly rising, poor patient care and frequent violations are inexcusable.

If it wasn’t bad enough that these corporate nursing homes drastically overcharge, for the quality of care they provide, they are also supplementing their profits by overcharging taxpayers.Inspector General of the Department of Human Health and Services said he had found some cases in which nursing homes billed Medicare and Medicaid for services that, “were not provided, or were so wholly deficient that they amounted to no care at all.”

The decision to place a member of your family in a nursing home or assisted living is difficult, but often necessary.If you currently have a family member in assisted living or a nursing home, please make sure that someone you trusts checks them regularly to ensure that the home is providing proper care.Never hesitate to ask the staff any question, and always bring up any concern you have.Write down the names of the individuals with whom you speak.Do not let nursing home staffs tell you that you are worrying too much.When it comes to the care of your family, you can never be cautious enough. Finally, remember that neglect and abuse has many signs, some of which can be hard to immediately detect.Every time you visit your family member, be sure to always check the following by talking to the staff, and making your own observations: 1. be sure that there are no signs of bruising on your family member from possible abuse, 2. make sure that they are receiving the proper and necessary medication and nutrition, 3, makes sure that the staff is frequently monitoring that there are no bed or pressure sores developing, and 4. make sure that nursing home staff is capable of responding immediately to an emergency situation.

If you suspect abuse, you can report it to the local regulatory authorities:

In Pennsylvania you can go to the Office of Aging website

In New Jersey, contact the Adult Protective Services

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New Jersey

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Pennsylvania

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in New Jersey

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Pennsylvania

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Patient’s advocate to preventing bedsores

Whenever a patient is in a nursing home, that patient is at risk of developing a bedsore. Although there are both and federal and state guidelines specifically designed to prevent bed sores, many nursing homes and hospitals have failed to follow these guidelines. As a result, nursing home patients are developing bedsores at an alarming rate. This article is designed to help patients and their families prevent bedsores when in a nursing home.

First, some background. What is a bedsore? A bedsore is skin and tissue that has died because it has not received sufficient oxygen from the body. Since blood carries oxygen to all parts of our body, a bedsore is developed when the blood vessels that feed the skin are compressed or damaged in some manner.

The compression or damage prevents the blood from reaching the skin and the skin cells begin to die. If the blood supply continues to be damaged or compromised, more tissue will die. Eventually, the blood supply compromise can infect the underlying tissue, bones and joints. It takes as little as two (2) hours of sustained blood flow compromise to begin this process.

Bedsores are common in the lower back, buttocks and on other boney protrusions that routinely come in contact with a patient’s bed. Although every patient in a nursing home is susceptible to bedsores, the majority of cases are easily preventable. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has published clinical guidelines for bedsore prevention since 1992.
These guidelines can be found at this website

In addition, all nursing homes are required to enact, publish, and follow similar guidelines to prevent bedsores. Despite longstanding published guidelines, why is it then that nursing home patients continue to develop bedsores resulting in hospitalizations, medical complications and, in some instances, death?

Basically, the failure of healthcare facilities to employ enough qualified staff members is the primary reason for the high incidents of bedsores. Typically, licensed practical nurses that work in a nursing home setting are less experienced and cheaper to employ when compared to registered nurses. Furthermore, the resident to nurse ratio is very high. The nurses are simply unable to spend the necessary amount of time with each patient to ensure that the guidelines are being followed. Sadly, understaffing at nursing homes is a serious problem that leads to patient neglect.

For example, many residents are immobile and unable to regularly reposition themselves while lying in bed. The guidelines require nurses and aides to physically move these patients every few hours to prevent bedsores. Unfortunately, by the time an overwhelmed nurse gets around to checking on the resident, the two-hour time frame in which a bedsore can develop has already expired.

Similarly, bedsores are also caused by prolonged exposure of the skin to moisture. It is no wonder then that patients who are left to sit for hours in urine soaked diapers and sheets quickly develop bedsores in places that go unnoticed by the nursing home staff and family members alike. Sadly, the situation spirals out of control and the resident suffers because the staff could not make time to provide them with dry diapers and sheets.

So, what should patients do to prevent these devastating injuries? Fortunately, nursing homes fear the civil tort system where juries can hold them financially accountable for failing to follow the guidelines. Family members should not hesitate to seek legal advice if their loved one develops a bedsore. In addition, family members should go to the web, print up several copies of the guidelines and bring them to the nursing home. Family members should sit down with the nursing home’s medical director to ensure that the guidelines are being followed with respect to their loved one. They should leave a copy of the guidelines prominently displayed on the resident’s bedside table. Finally, family members should follow-up in writing asking the director of medicine and nursing if the guidelines are being followed on an every other-day basis.

The real key is involvement. Family members cannot sit back and blindly trust that their loved ones are in good hands. Most residents are already in poor health when they enter a nursing home facility. Therefore, any neglect can have serious physical consequences. It is only by being a patient advocate in the manner set forth above that family members can ensure that their loved one is receiving the federally and state mandated required bedsore prevention care.

In order to prevent other potential abuses in nursing homes go to our nursing home abuse or our bed sore prevention web pages.

John R. Mininno, Esq. is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania trial lawyer representing clients in medical malpractice, defective products and other serious injury claims. He also writes about issues concerning patient safety. His offices are in Collingswood, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.