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Nursing Home With History Of Problems Now Faces Wrongful Death Lawsuit Related To Poor Care of Patient With Tracheostomy Tube

tracheostomyWe’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about nursing homes on Medicare’s Special Focus Facility (SFF) list, which can be simply referred to as a compilation of the country’s worst nursing homes.

As the name implies, nursing homes appointed to the SFF list faced heightened scrutiny with more frequent inspections due to a pattern of improper care and patient neglect.

Assuming facilities improve the care they provide to their patients, they can graduate from the list.  For facilities not inclined to make the necessary changes, an uncertain future faces them as continued problems could result in cuts in funding from Medicare— the lifeblood of most nursing homes operational budget.

As a lawyer who has worked on matters involved inadequate care at a special focus facilities, I can readily attest to how many of these facilities SFF designation is well deserved by ongoing episodes of inadequate care involving horribly neglected patients.

In case you assume that nursing homes designated as SFF’s are facilities being singled out for a mere episode of poor care, I suggest you take a look at some of the care documented in the Detroit Free Press’s article, “Borgess Gardens nursing home in Kalamazoo faces lawsuit over death.”

The thrust of the article concentrates on a disturbing incident involving a 51-year-old patient who died after her tracheostomy tube became entangled in a bed rail as she was receiving care from a staff member.  However, what makes the incident even more disturbing is the fact that the patient required hospitalization seven times over the year preceding her death for poor care of her trach tube.

Reviewing state inspection reports, the Free Press article chronicles how inexcusable problems plague Borgess Gardens (a Michigan nursing home)— even after the facility was cited for the above incident.  Several months after the patients trach tube became entangled, staff at the facility seemingly solidified Borgess Garden’s place on the SFF list when several staff members pried a patient’s severely contracted legs apart in order to insert a catheter— causing severe damage to the muscles and ligaments in the legs.

While Borgess Gardens has apparently re-dedicated itself to providing better patient care by hiring a new administrator and creating a special lab for staff to work on skills with training mannequins— I can only think of how these improvements are seemingly too little, too late for the patients who have suffered because of this facilities.

Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog entries:

Special Focus Facilities: The Worst Nursing Homes Of All

Staff Must Be Diligent In Order To Avoid Clogged Breathing Tubes Amongst Nursing Home Patients

Tracheostomy Care: Suctioning

Failure To Clean Trach Tube Leads To Lawsuit

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  • Shereese Maynard, MS, CEO MayHAC Corp

    Jonathan, unfortunately you are right about nursing homes who do little to remove themselves from the list of “bad nursing homes”. In Maryland, we find that nursing homes are more likely to cover up problems than to address and correct them. Even when cited by regulatory entities, nursing home administrators are not willing to invest in the hiring, training, and ongoing education of clinical and administrative staff. Low reimbursement rates and high turnover are reasons administrators have given as reasons for not investing in staff development. At the end on the day, its the patient who suffers. Not to self promote here but my firm consults with providers and facility owners to help them understand regulations but more importantly that patients have a right to quality care. Sadly enough, at least here in Maryland, facilities have adopted a “its not a problem until you get caught” mentality regarding care coordination. It’s our hope that health reform will change a lot of the rogue behaviors, but educating administrators seems to be key. By the way, you list DHMH as the resource in MD for nursing home info. It is more direct to access the MD Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ). They license and provide oversight to MD’s nursing home community. They can be accessed at http://dhmh.maryland.gov/ohcq/ Be well!

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