Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Oppose the Use of Chemical Restraints to Care for Dementia Patients

new jersey , philadelphia, nursing home abuse lawyers, attorneysAThe use of chemical restraints is, unfortunately, nothing new. Nursing home abuse lawyers have long known that medication is often used to sedate and restrain residents. ABC News online recently published an article on the detrimental effects of a certain prescription often given to Dementia patients in nursing homes. Most of the time, these prescriptions are dispersed not only to sedate patients so they become more “manageable,” but also to help the nursing home make money from the Medicaid reimbursements they receive for ordering the medication.

Medication Causes Increased Death Risk in Dementia Patients

study of over 75,000 nursing home residents – 65 and older, who suffer from dementia – has found that those that take the anti-psychotic drug Haldol double their risk of death compared to those taking Risperdal. It seems that the risk was highest during the first 40 days of treatment. Krsita Huybrechts, epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, commented on the recent findings:

“The evidence provided in our study reinforces the important risks associated with the use of these drugs and underscores the need to try alternative means of dealing with behavioral problems in older patients with dementia. [The use of Haldol] cannot be justified because of the excess of harm. ”

Conversely, patients taking Seroquel appeared, according to the study, to have a decreased risk of death compared to those taking Risperdal. However, the use of any of the medications seems unneccessary, seeing as their effect on dementia symptoms is quite limited; so much so that the FDA never even approved many of these drugs for use in the treatment of dementia. Nursing homes are being reimbursed by Medicaid for the off-label distribution on anti-psychotics, or chemical restraints.

Dr. Jenny McCleery, consultant psychiatrist with the Oxford Heath NHS Foundation Trust in the U.K., believes that doctors are prescribing these antipsychotic drugs due to a lack of resources for non-drug interventions.

“Clearly, doctors find compelling reasons to prescribe antipsychotics to patients with dementia, reasons that are unlikely to be found in the evidence base alone.”

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

Nursing home residents suffering from dementia are indeed a difficult population to care for. That does not, however, condone the use of drugs to sedate patients so they become easier to care for. Nursing homes should provide competent, compassionate, and attentive care to your loved ones living in long term care facilities.

If you believe that the home in charge of your loved one’s care is acting negligently or abusively, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers of Messa & Associates, P.C. Call 1-800-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry. You may also click on the CHAT LIVE icon to the right to speak with a representative immediately.

Nursing Home Neglect of Oral Health Leaves Woman Gravely Ill

Nursing home neglect can affect many areas of care. One often overlooked area is oral hygiene. Oral health can affect the overall health of the already at risk population and there is little dental care in place in many of the country’s nursing homes. But dental care is starting to get better and they are even offering their patients Invisalign in Calgary.

A resident of a Kentucky nursing home contracted a potentially life threatening gum infection because the staff failed to remove her dentures for six months. A staff member was told of the woman’s dentures when she was admitted, but it was never noted in the chart. From there on out, the teeth were believed to be natural. The dentures were never removed or properly cleaned in the six months she had been under the nursing home’s care. It wasn’t until the resident’s face started to swell that she was examined by a dentist, who discovered that the dentures were corroded and had not been cleaned in quite some time.
The nursing home was issued a Type A citation, which qualifies an event as an immediate threat of death or injury to a nursing home resident. The home lost federal funding and has been temporarily shut down. The residents have been transferred to other facilities.

Oral Health Affects Overall Health

new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers Oral Health Woman Gravely IllMany nursing home residents have physical and psychological disabilities that make caring for themselves difficult or impossible. These residents need the staff to be attentive to thinks like oral care in order to prevent the physical complications that can result. Eating less and losing weight is one problem associated with poor dental care, something that can cause severe problems in the elderly.

Better oral care is desperately needed in many nursing homes and can easily be improved upon. Training the facility staff in dental hygiene is one small change that can significantly enhance the care of your loved ones. Long-term care facilities are required by law to follow certain guidelines and protect the health of their residents.

Nursing home neglect lawyers always recommend frequent and unscheduled visits to the facility where your loved one resides. The best way to be aware of the kind of care the home provides is to show up often and unannounced. Advocate for your loved one’s quality of life by doing what you can to improve it. If that fails, turn to the nursing home neglect lawyers at the Mininno Law Office, who will advocate for your loved one’s legal rights.

Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If your loved one’s dental hygiene is not being cared for, they could be in very real danger of more serious complications. You should discuss this issue with the staff at the nursing home and, if you aren’t completely satisfied with the responses you are receiving, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, and (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Let the nursing home neglect lawyers at the Mininno Law Office fight for your loved one’s rights.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Reveal Poor Care at Holiday Care Center

Because we are attorneys that represent many clients in nursing home abuse cases in New Jersey and Philadelphia, we continue to investigate and post on nursing homes that have been given below average ratings on a report card published on the Medicare website. This is the official US Government website for Medicare, and as such, they compare nursing homes all across the United States. Based on their own specific criteria, they rate each nursing home with one to five stars. Those with 5 stars are considered to be well above average, and those with 1 star (the minimum rating you can receive) are considered to be well below average, with all others falling somewhere in between. The nursing home we will post on today has been given a one star rating. It is located in Ocean County, New Jersey. It is a corporately owned for profit nursing home with 180 long term patient beds.

The Holiday Care Center Fails to Impress

new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers expose holiday care centerThe Holiday Care Center located in Toms River, New Jersey. This nursing home was inspected routinely on 9 occasions and cited for 40 deficiencies during the period from December 2008 through November 2010. It was also necessary for the NJ Division of Health Facilities and Evaluation and Licensing to conduct 10 complaint inspections with 5 more deficiencies cited during this time period. Some of these citations were for failing to keep the rate of medication errors (wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong time) to less than 5%, for failing to have a program to keep infection from spreading, and failing to make sure that a residents nutritional needs are being met. These types and amount of deficiencies are those that lead to nursing home abuse. Patients’ families must remain vigilant when their loved one is in a for profit nursing home such as Holiday Care Center, to make sure that they are being cared for in an acceptable and effective manner.

Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If your loved one is a resident in a nursing home or long term care facility, and you believe the care they are receiving is negligent or abusive, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Let the nursing home abuse attorneys at the Mininno Law Office earn you the full and fair compensation that you need and deserve.

Be Aware: What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Negligence?

As nursing home abuse lawyers, it is important that we educate people about what is considered nursing home abuse. We have discussed forms of physical abuse and the signs that a nursing home patient may be a victim of such abuse. However, nursing home patient abuse can take many forms. Negligence is a very common detriment to care quality in nursing homes, and definately a form of nursing home abuse.

Nursing Home Negligence IS Nursing Home Abuse

Neglect is defined as:

–verb (used with object)
1. to pay no attention or too little attention to; disregard or slight
2. to be remiss in the care or treatment of
3. to omit, through indifference or carelessness
4. to fail to carry out or perform (orders, duties, etc

The above definitions accurately describe the kind of negligence that we are talking about; negligence that results in illness, injuries, bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, isolation, fear, and an all around poor quality of life. Certain standards must be met regarding nutrition, hydration, medication, shelter, hygiene, personal safety, and comfort. When nursing home staff members do not fulfill these obligations to their residents, they are indeed committing a form of nursing home abuse.

Signs of Negligent Care

new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers aware signs negligenceAs a family member of a nursing home resident, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of nursing home neglect and abuse. Keep a close watch not only on your loved one, but on the facility in it’s entirety, for the following signs of neglect:

  • Unsanitary or hazardous conditions that go without repair (i.e. bed bug or flea infestations, lack of heat, broken railings, doors, or equipment)
  • Bed sores
  • Soiled bedding that is not immediately changed
  • Signs of Malnutrition – anemia, unexplained weight loss, dry scaly skin, confusion or irritability
  • Slow reaction time from nursing staff
  • Little to no interaction between resident and staff
  • Constant sedation

As always, it is imperative to listen to your loved one’s comments and complaints, and follow up with a proper investigation. Neglect can do serious harm to a person already suffering from a debilitating condition.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If your loved one is a resident at a nursing home or long-term care facility and you believe they may be victims of abuse or neglect, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia. The nursing home abuse lawyers at the Mininno Law Office are dedicated to the fight against nursing home abuse, and to earning victimized patients and families their due compensation.

Bedsore Prevention Tip #13: Educational Programs

As nursing home abuse attorneys, we have found that one of the most effective ways to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect is to be properly educated in the needs and care of your loved one. Each and every nursing home patient has unique needs which calls for the implementation of unique care plans. Nursing home patients that are susceptible to bed sores and pressure ulcers are in particular need of staff awareness and education. As we always state, “Prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to preventing nursing home abuse and neglect, such as bed sores and pressure ulcers.”

Tip #13: The Importance of Educational Programs for Staff and Families

new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys educational programs prevent bedsoresOne way to prevent bed sores from forming is to have a staff that is properly educated. Educational programs about bed sore and pressure ulcer prevention should be made mandatory for all levels of health care providers. They should also be made available for patient families so that they can make sure nursing home staff members are giving their loved ones the care they need and deserve. Patients who have the appropriate mental capacity should also be given instructions so that they can be advocates for their own proper care.

The important information that we have posted on previously, such as proper nutrition, hydration, and the need for repositioning, should be taught, along with particularized patient needs. Many of the nursing home patients’ particular needs in terms of bed sore prevention can be discovered by a proper risk assessment. This risk assessment can then be used as a tool for re-evaluation on a periodic basis to ensure that the nursing home patient is not being neglected, and that all of their needs to prevent the contraction of bed sores and pressure ulcers are met. This proper staff and caregiver education can make the difference in whether a bed sore does or does not occur!

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

Your loved ones deserve, just as anyone else does, proper care when placed in a nursing home or long term care facility. Families like yours pay top dollar for a medical staff to effectively and safely treat the family members that they can no longer care for themselves. It is unacceptable for a nursing home to allow it’s residents to suffer from bed sores or other dangerous conditions.

If your loved one is receiving sub-standard, negligent, or abusive care at a nursing home, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadlephia.

The team at the Mininno Law Office will work hard to earn you the compensation you need and deserve.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Provide Tip#10 for Bed Sore Prevention

As nursing home abuse attorneys, we have been posting a series of tips to help the prevention of nursing home abuse and bed sores. Our last few posts concerned the nursing home patient’s need for proper nutrition and hydration, as well as the importance of repositioning. Today’s bed sore tip once again deals with proper positioning of the nursing home patient to prevent a painful and often deadly bed sore. As we have indicated in the past, “Prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to preventing bed sores and pressure ulcers in nursing homes.”

Tip #10: Proper Pressure Redistribution

The 9th tip for the prevention and treatment of bed sores involves making sure that the patient is using the proper materials and mattresses for proper pressure-redistribution. Long term care residents should be using pressure-redistribution mattresses and chair cushion surfaces. new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers proper pressure redistributionThese surfaces typically have layers that help provide optimal immersion and comfort for the nursing home patient. These surfaces are designed to have independent zones to provide the correct pressure for each weight range. These surfaces are designed, in fact, to help aid in both the prevention and the treatment of bed sores and pressure ulcers. Redistribution of surface pressue is very important as the pressure causes the small blood vessels in the skin to collapse, which deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients, causing them to die. Nursing homes should avoid using donut-type devices and most sheepskin products for pressure redistribution. Staff members should be aware of the need for proper surfaces. Not using the proper surface for patients is tantamount to nursing home abuse. The use of the proper pressure-redistributing surfaces along with proper repositioning may be two of the most important bed sore prevention tips that all families should be aware of and vigilant to for the well being of their loved ones.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If your loved is a resident at a nursing home, and you believe that the treatment they are receiving is below standard, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. We are skilled in earning compensation for families whose loved ones have been mistreated by nursing homes or long term care facilities. You may also call for free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Offer Tip#3 For Bedsore Prevention

As a New Jersey and Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorney, I am providing a continuation in our series of posts involving the subject of nursing home abuse and, particularly, tips for the prevention of bedsores and pressure ulcers. In our last post, I provided nursing home patients and their family members with Tip #2 to help prevent the serious medical problems that result from nursing home abuse and bedsores.
These tips are helpful because prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to protecting nursing home patients from bedsores or pressure ulcers.

Tip #3 for Preventing Bedsores and Pressure Ulcers

A third tip from nursing home abuse lawyers which will help prevent pressure ulcers or bedsores is to:

Identify any and all potential factors that could increase the risk in a nursing home patient of developing a bedsore or pressure ulcera.

For example, a major factor that exposes a patient to bedsores or pressure ulcers is moisture in a bed. new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers third tip prevent bedsoresAs New Jersey and Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers, we hear from nursing home patients and their families that nursing home staff members do not change the bedding or sheets on a regular basis and, in particular, do not change the nursing home sheets when they become wet.

Nursing home bed sheets frequently become wet when a patient is incontinent. Incontinence can be caused by a decreased mental state, decreased mobility, or medications that increase urination. Other times, sheets become wet when patient have difficulty feeding themselves, and food and drink end up in their beds.

The moisture that results from wet bedding can lead to pressure ulcers or bedsores. As such, bedsore and pressure ulcer prevention requires nursing home staff members to frequently check residents’ bedding to ensure that it is clean and dry. If, as a nursing home patient or family member, you discover that bed sheets contain moisture, promptly insist that the nursing home staff change the bedding before the patient is placed back into the bed. No one likes to lie in a wet bed, but if a nursing home patient is forced to do so, it will put that patient at a greater risk for pressure ulcers or bedsores.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

Neglecting to change resident bed sheets is just another sign of potential nursing home abuse, and any nursing home abuse should be reported to the New Jersey Ombudsman. After reporting the abuse to the ombudsan, 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.
A nursing home abuse lawyer will be necessary to seek full and fair compensation for negligence and abuse in a nursing home or long term care facility.

Six Steps to Skirt Nursing Home Abuse

New Jersey Attorneys - nursing home abuse
Nursing home abuse is an ugly truth in a necessary industry.
Nursing home abuse can play an extremely daunting role in where, when, and even if we decide to place our loved ones in a long term care facility. Trends of abuse, negligence, theft, and fraud seem to be taking over an industry that should be known for it’s kindness, compassion, benevolence, and dependability.
Choosing a nursing home can be overwhelming and scary, so the best way to go about the task is to be prepared and know exactly what to look for in a good and trustworthy nursing home. Below are six steps you can take to ensure that you are choosing the right facility to trust with the care of your loved one.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

Step 1: Ask for documentation that will prove that the facility employs regular background checks to ensure that employees of the facility have no record of violent, sexual, or financial crime. Verify that employees are in good standing with the law and that they have the proper credentials to be working in this field. A nursing home in good standing and employing qualified workers will have no problem turning this paperwork over. The National Association on State Units on Aging reported that “An increased risk of abuse is found at nursing homes that have a history of serious noncompliance, particularly if abuse has occurred in the facility in the past.”

New Jersey Lawyers - nursing home abuse
Follow these steps to help keep your loved one from being abused in a nursing home.
Step 2: Request information verifiying the minimum staff to patient ratio, how many hours per week employees work (including max overtime), and leave instructions to notify you should these policies change. Overworked employees are a huge source of abuse and negligence in nursing homes. Make sure the people caring for your loved ones are not responsible for too many patients for too long. The probability of abuse increases as staff to patient ratio decreases.

Step 3: With regard to step 2, verify the number of patients in the home with dementia, and who are physically dependant on nursing home staff. A high number of dementia patients should be accompanied by high number of employees. According to a report done by the National Center of Elder Abuse, nursing home abuse is more common in facilities that are home to a high number of demetia patients, as their required care is far more demanding.

Step 4: Ask about the facilities grievance policy. What is their protocol for reporting complaints? Is it policy to retaliate against staff members who report abuse? What about a patient who reports abuse? Facilities should offer anonymous reporting options to both staff and patients, and investigate all complaints thouroughly.

Step 5: Ask about the facility’s training policy, and whether or not it offers ongoing abuse prevention courses, as well as other courses to keep staff up to date on the newest and best methods of care. The Department of Health and Human Services reports “Besides improving competence and knowledge, training also offers a vehicle for building [staff] self-esteem, which also may help to reduce stress and burnout.” The report also states that ” . . .training can also prepare staff to respond appropriately to difficult situations, such as dealing with physically combative residents, which have the potential to trigger abuse.”

Step 6: Visit often and unannounced. Nursing home abuse is much more likely to occur to patients who do not have visitors, as there will be no consequence if no one is there to find out. If your visits are unannounced and frequent, staff members responsible for the care of your loved one will be forced to “stay on their toes,” providing the best possible care for the resident.

If Nursing Home Abuse Occurs

Nursing home abuse is an awful thing to deal with, and facilities that employ abusive tactics toward residents, or put profits before patients must suffer the consequences of this behavior. The long term care industry is a necessary one, as most of us are not qualified to care for our elderly loved ones when they get too sick to care for themselves. This industry needs to be one we can trust in. If you or a loved one have been negatively affected by nursing home abuse or negligence, you’ll need the help of a nursing home abuse 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 help you get the compensation you deserve.