Lawyer Resources for Connecticut

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Fines and Doing BusinessWhen families place a loved one in a nursing facility to receive quality health care, maintaining their safety and well-being in the loving environment is usually their biggest concern. However, to the nursing home, the level of care provided is often dictated by the cost of doing business, which is usually at the expense of the residents. In recent years, the Connecticut Department of Public Health fined six individual nursing facilities when residents died or suffered serious injuries from numerous falls.

Avon Health Center

In September 2014 Avon Health Center in Avon, Connecticut was fined over $1000 because of falling incidents involving two residents. One incident involved a resident falling out of a mechanical lift sling in March 2014 when the clip broke, causing a broken bone at the base of the resident’s skull. The individual succumbed to their injuries six days later. As a result, the medical professionals at the facility were retrained to ensure proper use of the equipment. But just 11 days after that incident, another resident broke their wrist as the result of a fall when a nurse’s aide in charge of their care left the individual alone.

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Inclusion of Convicted Felons In Nursing HomeWhen searching for a nursing home for a loved one, many turn to statistics on how well the nursing home performs as far as reported complaints, yearly inspections and other data. While these numbers are helpful, they do not address who else may be staying in the home. Many convicted felons are also housed at nursing homes, and some states want to increase those numbers by releasing prison inmates into nursing homes for their care.

Saving Millions But At What Cost?

Connecticut has just passed a law allowing incapacitated prison inmates to be released into long-term care facilities. The governor’s budget office says this will save the state millions of dollars in healthcare that normally has been billed within the prison system. Medicare would now pick up these costs. They insist that these inmates will not be a danger to other patients at the long-term facilities due to their medical conditions.

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Picture-32-300x232A sizable contingent of the nursing home population has difficulty swallowing due to a variety of medical conditions including stroke, muscle weakness and Alzheimer’s.  Diagnosing patients with swallowing problems is part of the nursing homes overall responsibility when it comes to patient care. While a series of sophisticated swallowing are now available to assist in the diagnosis of swallowing problems — such as an X-ray with a contrast material (barium X-ray) or A visual examination of your esophagus (endoscopy), most facilities rely upon an exam conducted by a physician or speech therapist with specific training regarding swallowing. After the patient has been assessed, the patient’s physician will assign restrictions based upon the patient’s abilities.  A doctor will write an order for the type of diet– and food consistency that a patient requires: whole, chopped, pureed, liquid or even the use of a feeding tube in some cases.  Just like any other order from a doctor in a patient’s chart, the nursing home staff are to adhere to the order until otherwise instructed.  However, just as with any medical complication, nursing home staff need to be present to monitor patients and provide assistance when needed.  Primarily when staff fail to abide by standing orders or when staff fail to monitor patients during meals, patients with swallowing problems are at risk for serious life threatening complications due to choking. I was reminded just how serious choking episodes in nursing homes can be when I read about how three nursing home patients in Connecticut nursing homes have choked to death over the course of the last three months!  These terrifying incidents include:

  • On April 29th, a developmentally disabled patient at Meridian Manor nursing home choked to death on ziti procured from a take-out restaurant that actually delivered the food directly to the patient’s room without any intervention from facility staff.
  • On March 6th, an 82-year-old patient at Aurora Senior Living Center in Cromwell choked to death on marshmallows.
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Some of the most vulnerable patients in the nursing home community remain physically disabled patients with feeding tubes.  Reliant on staff for their nutritional needs, specific protocols must be followed: before, during and after feedings in order to achieve their highest level of functioning.

Poor Care Of Patients' With Feeding TubesI was reminded about the heightened vulnerability of feeding tube patients when I heard about how an investigation into the care of patients at a Connecticut Nursing Home revealed that staff were providing incompetent care to two patients at their facility.

The state’s investigation confirmed that staff at the facility allowed one patient suffer extreme weight loss and another feeing tube patient to suffer noticeable dehydration during an admission to a New Haven, CT facility, now known as Paradigm Healthcare.

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