About the Nursing Home Law Center

There is no place for abuse or neglect in our nursing homes. When a loved one is placed in a skilled nursing facility, they deserve to be treated with respect in an environment that is safe. This is not just wishful thinking. This is what Federal and State Law dictate.

Recognized as leaders in the field of nursing home litigation, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers established the Nursing Home Law Center to provide families with the tools they need to make the decisions that impact their loved ones.

In the event that your loved one has suffered an injury or episode of mistreatment, we invite you to contact our nursing home abuse attorneys for a free review of your case. Our office has helped hundreds of families from across the country recover the maximum compensation the law provides for.

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Illinois Nursing Complaint Anonymity Bill
When nursing abuse victims fear for their safety due to threats and repeated abuse; their anonymity can be the difference between reporting their plight to authorities and choosing to suffer in silence. Illinois has indicated in the past that it takes abuse very seriously and is one of the states in the country that still allows unlimited damage limits for those who sue because of mistreatment. For profit nursing corporations are seeking to insulate themselves by backing an Illinois bill that would remove the ability of those who complain to remain anonymous and our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys agree with many opposed to the measure that the bill would only scare abuse victims into silence.

Ways the Bill Would Benefit Large Nursing Care Companies

Republican lawmakers are overwhelmingly in support of the nursing industry backed bill, which would require anyone who complains about nursing concerns to provide contact information. They would also be presented with a warning that they could be fined for submitting false complaints or deceptive claims. Considering all of the disadvantages for complainants, it is important also to understand the advantages that nursing homes would have if this measure ever became law.

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Judge Rules on RapistMany sexual assault cases against the elderly go unreported, especially when the victim suffers medical conditions such as confusion, memory loss or difficulty in communicating. In many cases, the perpetrator tricks, coerces or manipulates the other victim to have undesired sexual contact.

Often times, cases of elder sexual abuse involve live-in nurses, nursing home assistance, family members and friends or other type of caregiver who is trusted to handle their health and hygiene requirements. Statistics from a 1998 National Elder Abuse Incident Study indicate that more than two thirds of cases involving sexual assault on the elderly happen within nursing facilities. Such is the case that happened in a Minnesota nursing home when a nursing eight sexually assaulted a female resident suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in December 2014.

Home Worker Charged with Sexual Assault

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Selecting a Nursing Home Takes Time and PatienceMany families face the undesired position that their loved one no longer has the ability to live on their own safely and without assistance. As a result, they are required to find a safe and loving environment and place their trust into the hands of strangers who have competency and training to provide much-needed health and hygiene assistance. But choosing the right nursing facility is not easy. Without proper research and advocacy, making the wrong decision could have serious consequences.

Choosing the Right Nursing Home

Often times, placing a loved one in a nursing facility is one of the most challenging decisions the family will ever face. The need for a nursing facility often occurs at a time when the loved one is suffering some serious medical crises. Other factors might also be involved that limits the possibility of where the loved one can reside. This is especially important if payments will be made by Medicare or Medicaid that require the facility to be certified. However, other factors are also involved including:

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Charges Against a NurseThe disabled and elderly patients in nursing homes often live lives at the mercy and kindness of their caregivers. Unfortunately, physical assault, sexual abuse and mental anguish are often common occurrences to many vulnerable residents at nursing facilities nationwide. One purported attack involved a 50-year-old “non-verbal” woman staying at a Bethlehem Pennsylvania ManorCare Rehabilitation Center who was an alleged victim of sexual assault by a caregiver.

Victim Unable to Consent

The incident allegedly involved 45-year-old Quakertown resident Robert Poindexter who has is facing charges of aggravated indecent assault against a woman noted to have “extremely limited movement.” The charges were filed after an extensive investigation that presented witnesses and testimony before a Lehigh County investigative grand jury. Court records indicate that the sexual assault against the victim reportedly by Poindexter occurred without her consent and that the woman would have been “unable to consent” due to her physical limitations.

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Pharmacists and Their ImportanceIf the pharmacist provides the wrong medication or the right drug at the wrong dose, the consequences are often extremely dangerous and, at times, deadly. When the drugstore is extremely busy the pharmacist may fill 20 prescriptions or more every hour.

Some statistics reveal that approximately 1 to 5 percent of all prescription medications filled by pharmacist the United States involve some type of error. An error might involve an incorrect prescription label that provides the wrong directions. However, it may be the wrong medicine, especially drugs that sound alike or even those that have similar spelling when the pharmacist arranges all medications alphabetically on the drugstore shelf.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains active files on the drugs that are most commonly associated with common pharmaceutical errors. One common mistake involves filling a prescription of methylphenidate used as an proven treatment for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children for methadone (a dangerous narcotic prescribed for the treatment of heroin addiction).

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Profits in Nursing HomesNursing homes are big business that provide valuable investing opportunities for private equity firms around the world. While not a glamorous business, nursing home chains can make money. In 2009, the U.S. nursing home industry provided more than $104 billion worth of health care to the elderly, infirm, rehabilitating and disabled. This number was up substantially by more than 20 percent just four years before. As the baby booming aging population grows larger every year, the demand for health care in nursing facilities is expected to grow substantially in the decades ahead.

A Profitable Private Equity Investment

Statistics indicate that nursing facilities owned by private equity investors pay more, albeit smaller, fines and receive more citations for a greater number of deficiencies then other for-profit facilities. In addition, these homes tend to have fewer registered nurses on the medical team, which tends to negatively impact residents. The nursing home care industry run by for-profit companies have long had tumultuous issues, especially multi-facility chains where the size of the parent company and their geographical scope nationwide facilities makes it difficult to control serious problems that each individual nursing home.

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Antibiotics in Nursing HomesAccording to public health watchdog groups, nearly 75 percent of all antibiotics given to ailing residents in nursing facilities are incorrectly prescribed. In many cases, the resident was given the wrong medication or the right medication for the wrong duration or wrong dosage, or never should have received the drug at all. Unfortunately, incorrectly prescribing antibiotics can cause a severe consequence where the drug can easily lose its effectiveness in safeguarding the patient against an infection it could have otherwise treated. In other incidences, the antibiotic can actually cause life-threatening side effects.

In September 2015, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) advised nursing homes to be more proactive at protecting the millions of individuals residing in their facilities nationwide. This warning was given in the hopes of curbing the growing number of “superbug” infection cases across the United States that are beginning to resist the effectiveness of the antibiotics.

Infections that resist antibiotics threaten each one of us, but most specifically elderly individuals residing in nursing facilities. This is because their bodies tend to have a compromised immune system that is unable to fight infections efficiently and effectively. According to the CDC, nearly 20 different types of antibiotic resistant infections cause serious illness to more than 2 million individuals every year and take the lives of nearly 23,000 people annually.

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Hospital Stays Longer Because of Nursing HomesWhile many low income individuals who have Medi-Cal (California Medical Assistance Program) are thrilled to have state-provided medical insurance, it may not be enough to provide them the coverage they require to stay in nursing homes long-term. Recently, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a watchdog group, alleged that administrators of nursing facilities throughout California have been sending patients covered by Medi-Cal to hospitals to free up beds to make room for patients with insurance that can pay the nursing home more. Because of that, many low income patients only have the option of staying in hospitals indefinitely because no nursing facility will readmit them back in.

By federal law, states are required to provide patients a readmission hearing after an initial hospital stay is over and they have been formally discharged. However, California has been slow to enforce this requirement, creating a loophole for nursing home administrators to generate greater profits. The lawsuit filed by the advocate group claims that this refusal of a readmission hearing mandates that welfare patients must remain in the hospital to receive much-needed care. This lack of enforcement directly violates the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act when Congress passed sweeping reforms to ensure that residents of every nursing facility would receive optimal medical care and hygiene assistance.

To remain financially lucrative, many nursing facilities receiving Medicare funds will turn away low income potential residents in favor of lucrative clients with better insurance. The practice of “patient dumping” often goes unchecked, especially when the patient is suffering a severe mental or medical health condition.

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People Unfit Taking Over Nursing Home OwnershipFederal and state regulators and inspectors are required to detect serious problems at nursing facilities to ensure a resident’s health and access to quality care. However, problems still arise especially at facilities that have repeated violations, filed complaints, opened investigations and recurrent fines. Ownership in a nursing facility can be a lucrative business opportunity that is available to nearly anyone, even those who are unfit and untrained to operate a home.

An October 15 article published by ProPublica exposed serious problems with SentosaCare, one of New York’s largest nursing facility networks that operates approximately 25 nursing homes with more than 5000 beds. Eleven of their nursing homes have averaged approximately 24 violations occurring over the last 36 months. Three of their nursing homes had double the average number.

Business Growing in Spite of Violations

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Poor Care in Nursing Homes Can Lead to DeathAs of November 2015, Families for Better Care, a watchdog advocate group that protects the elderly, began ranking Missouri fourth on a list of the nation’s worst states concerning nursing homes. This is in response to Missouri inspection reports showing how many statewide nursing facilities have either caused or contributed to dozens of deaths involving the elderly in the last three years.

Additionally, ProPublica, a nonprofit journalist investigative group released a troubling report outlining allegations of verbal and physical abuse, rape and neglect that were uncovered through nursing home inspections in recent years. These disturbing inspections were performed by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The massive database details deficiencies uncovered at nursing facilities all throughout the state. The report details deficiencies by their severity that shows harmful incidences or deficiencies that tend to occur as a pattern at the facility.

Many of the lives taken at the hands of caregivers acting negligently or abusively were frail victims who tragically died prematurely. This unseen pandemic commonly goes unnoticed even by state inspectors who perform routine certification and licensure surveys, and are required to investigate incidences of neglect, mistreatment and abuse. Many of the deaths are the result of life-threatening neglect that can be directly traced back to the nursing staff whom residents rely on to receive health and hygiene care along with assistance with exercise, nutrition and hydration. Many cases of unlawful neglect and abuse go unreported or are never prosecuted.

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