Lawyer Resources for Arkansas

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Lonoke, AR Personal Injury Attorneys Protecting the Rights of injured Victims

Many elderly citizens need to be relocated to nursing centers, assisted living homes, rehabilitation centers to ensure they maintain the highest quality of living. Unfortunately, not every nursing home provides even the most basic standards of care. When Medicare determines the nursing center is providing resident’s insufficient care, they reclassify the home as a Special Focus Facility (SFF). The facility is then given the opportunity to correct serious problems that have the potential of causing minimal to severe harm to the residents.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently added Grand Prairie Care and Rehabilitation Center to SFF status due to serious safety concerns at its facility. The information below can be used by families interested in finding the best location in their community to place a loved one who requires ongoing medical attention and assistance with activities of daily living in a safe and loving environment. The facility will remain on the list until they correct their problems and maintain a good standing as defined by Medicare and Medicaid. If the nursing home fails to correct serious concerns, CMA will likely terminate their contract to provide care to Medicare patients and participating in the federal program.

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Nursing Home Verdict against Nursing HomeElderly people who have succumbed to a disease or illness are vulnerable and frail. They are in a very precarious state, where the slightest aggravation to their body can cause severe health damage. Family members are usually not equipped with the expertise and resources to care for their ill loved ones, so they decide to admit their elderly family members in nursing homes.

When an elderly individual is admitted to a nursing home, family members are assured that their loved ones will be taken care of. The nursing home staff guarantees optimal care and tells the family members not to worry. However, once the family members leave, the situation becomes quite different.

The Reality of Nursing Homes

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Arkansas FlagIn a ruling that could set a legal precedent for nursing home care, the Arkansas Supreme Court determined that a one-person nursing home board wasn’t ultimately responsible for a patient’s neglect. “Duty…(recognizes) that relations between individuals may impose upon one a legal obligation for the other,” the court said in official documents. “We found that (the board) owed no personal duty to (the patient.)”

The patient, Minnie Valentine, was 73 when she died, according to Fort Smith’s Citywire.com, and had spent her last six months on a grueling regimen of nursing homes and hospitals. Her family alleges that her health deteriorated as a result of poor care at Little Rock Health Care & Rehab (LRHC) – the first nursing home she entered after having a stroke in May 2004.

“Valentine entered LRHC with a feeding tube, a urinary tract infection, and a pressure sore on her coccyx,” court papers say. “Despite treatment, Valentine’s pressure sore did not heal. Additionally, she showed signs of dehydration and malnutrition.”

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Withholding Oxygen To ResidentTwo nursing home workers in Arkansas are facing criminal charges, manslaughter and elder neglect, following the 2007 death of a resident.  The charges stem from failing to plug an oxygen line into the wall spigot for an oxygen-dependent patient.  By the time the workers came back to check-in on the patient her hands were blue and cold.

Upon learning of the resident’s condition, the workers told the nursing director, but failed to alert the resident’s family or physician that her condition was related to a lack of oxygen.  Authorities believe that withholding the circumstances surrounding the lack of oxygen to the resident’s physician contributed to resident’s death.

My take is that of course mistakes–no matter how serious–happen and will continue.  The real problem in this situation is that the staff failed to catch this mistake before the resident’s injury became irreversible.  Had a simple observation plan been in place, this situation could have been avoided.

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