Articles Posted in Neglect

According to a recent report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), almost 16 percent of residents at long-term nursing homes are being treated with antipsychotic medications. While down from 24 percent in 2011, the CMS report and many doctors question the efficacy and necessity of these powerful mind-altering medications. According to the report, decreases in antipsychotic usage were seen across all fifty states, with New York seeing one of the smallest reductions.

antipsyhotic-and-elderlyThe majority of elderly residents receiving the antipsychotic medicine are diagnosed with dementia. Antipsychotic drugs, such as Abilify, Seroquel, Risperdal, and Zyprexa, have not been proven to treat dementia, nor have these drugs been shown to reduce the symptoms of dementia. In some instances, antipsychotic medication can also cause serious side effects for the senior citizens who have been prescribed these drugs. In addition to a higher rate of death, antipsychotic drugs also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and slip and fall accidents. Consequently, medical associations and patient advocacy groups believe the number of dementia patients taking antipsychotics should be closer to zero. Continue reading

In the first study of its kind, a new report found that many nursing home residents experience violence from other residents while residents.  In America, 18 percent of staff at one residential facility reported aggression by residents as a daily occurrence. Further, 90 percent of the nursing home resident aggressors had a diagnosis of dementia. Because of the rules surrounding reporting nursing home abuse, the study found it is likely that much resident-to-resident violence goes unreported.

elderly-man-abused-300x169Dementia appears to be the largest cause of resident-to-resident violence in assisted living facilities. According to the Australian report, other risk factors that would make a nursing home resident more violent include being male and recent admission to a nursing home. However, of all these factors – dementia stands out, a diagnosis found in 90 percent of nursing home aggressors in Australia. Continue reading

A new report by Time Magazine shines a harsh light on the hospice care industry in America – reporting that 21 percent of hospices, accounting for more than 84,000 patients, failed to provide critical care to patients in 2015.  The report, which includes vivid and heartbreaking stories, points towards a largely unregulated industry that received almost $16 billion in federal Medicare dollars last year.

sick-man-nursing-home-300x200Hospice is provided to Medicaid patients if they are expected to pass away within six months. Starting in the 1970s, hospice care focuses on relieving the symptoms of a patient and providing “comfort care.” The use of hospice care has become increasingly popular in the last couple decades.  According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, enrollment in hospice care has more than doubled since 2000.

While most Americans think of hospice as a location, the reality is that most Americans utilize hospice care so they can pass away in their own home. With 86 percent of Americans saying they want to die at home, the trend is unlikely to reverse anytime soon, either.

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Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have become increasingly focused on their bottom line in recent years to the detriment of their elderly patients. A recent piece by the New York Times describes the trend where nursing homes have transitioned from non-profits to corporate behemoths – focused on outsourcing and consolidating to minimize costs, reduce their tax liability, and reduce their liability in lawsuits.

According to the nursing homes, consolidation provides a cost-effective way to deliver care to their elderly residents. Through a complex web of corporate ownership, nursing home businesses can reduce their tax liability. According to these nursing homes, those savings are passed on to the residents.

missing-patient-300x196There are also legal benefits to the owners of these nursing home chains – often coming at the expense of the elderly residents. Whenever a person is injured in a nursing home, a complex web of corporate ownership may help the nursing home avoid liability for the harm it has caused. By siphoning the profits of a nursing home into unrelated corporations, injured victims of elder abuse may not be able to hold their nursing home responsible for their damages. Continue reading

courthouseThe Dumont Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care has received 65 total citations over the four-year period between November 2013 and October 2017, according to the New York State Department of Health. With 65 citations, the nursing home and assisted living facility in Westchester County has almost twice the number of citations for the average nursing home in New York, which stands at 34 for the same time period. Perhaps more ominously, though, five of these citations were “related to actual harm or immediate jeopardy” – up from the average nursing home, which only had one of these kinds of citations.

Here are some of Dumont Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care’s most serious violations:

  1. Failure to provide care and services for residents to maintain the highest well-being possible. Per Section 483.25 of the Federal Code, each resident is legally entitled to receive the care and services necessary to “attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.” The New York State Department of Health said that Dumont Center failed to meet this standard because it did not have “effective policies and procedures” to make sure all of the staff knew Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR. Sadly, the government agency found that a resident who was found unresponsive was not treated with CPR by two nurses because they did not know how to perform CPR. The nursing home lacked documentation on the incident and failed to ensure that at least some of the nurses on staff that night were CPR-trained. The New York Department of Health not only ranked this as the “most severe” kind of citation but also described the problem of sub-standard care at the Westchester assisted living facility as “systematic and severe.”

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In October of 2017, two nursing home residents in Westchester County were diagnosed with Legionnaires disease. One of the residents passed away due to complications from the disease. Unfortunately for the Sky View Rehabilitation and Health Care in Croton-on-Hudson, this was not the first time that Legionnaires disease has been found at its facility.

woman-hospital-225x300Legionnaires disease is not typically fatal if it is treated promptly with antibiotics. The bacteria that causes the disease are not spread by human-to-human contact,.  It is usually found in soil or water.  The likelihood is that the disease at the nursing home spread through its air conditioning systems or showering facilities. While the New York State Department of Health said an investigation was ongoing at the time of the outbreak, no information has been released by the government agency accounting for the source of the bacteria as of January 2018. Continue reading

sick-man-nursing-home-300x200In August of 2016, the New York State Veteran’s Home in Montrose, New York had a horrific rhinovirus outbreak. At one point, the facility in Westchester had one-out-of-every-four residents sick with the virus. Altogether, there were 58 documented cases of rhinovirus at the 221-bed retirement home for veterans. Sadly, four of the elderly residents with rhinovirus passed away.

Speaking to ABC News 7, Dr. Dennis Nash of the CUNY School of Public Health said that “If so many are affected by the same infectious disease, it does point to infection control issues. And that’s something that the state will want to be looking at right away.” At the time, the New York Department of Health told ABC News that they were investigating the outbreak and whether the nursing home facility had implemented sufficient infection prevention and control measures.

However, it does not appear that the New York Department of Health investigation went very far. The Department of Health provides a “profile” for each assisted living facility or retirement home in the Empire State. According to its profile on the New York State Veterans Home at Montrose, the nursing home facility had zero citations related to “actual harm or immediate jeopardy.” Continue reading

A Bronx nurse’s aide has been convicted of three counts of willful violation of public health law and three counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. The nurse, Sandra Kerr, was convicted on December 24, 2015, for violations that occurred at Gold Crest Care Center, a nursing home in Bronx, New York.

The conviction stems from Kerr’s vicious treatment of an elderly resident of the facility. The resident, whose name is protected for privacy purposes, physically struck an elderly resident whose Alzheimer’s disease is so advanced that is unable to verbally communicate. The horrific case of elder abuse came to light because of the elderly woman’s granddaughter who installed a “hidden video camera” in her grandmother’s room.

Suspecting that her grandmother may be mistreated, the victim’s granddaughter, Diana Valecam-300x225ntin, said that “when I actually saw [the abuse] I was horrified and heartbroken.” When she had previously told Gold Crest Care Center of her concerns for her grandmother’s well-being, hospital administrators replied that her grandmother was hurting herself. Continue reading

A recent study by Health Affairs shows that elderly Americans enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans are more likely to end up at a lower-quality nursing home or assisted living facility, compared to senior citizens with traditional Medicare coverage.

elderly-couple-300x264A Medicare Advantage health insurance plan is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional Medicare plans. A Medicare Advantage plan is a health insurance plan that is run by a private health insurance company, and these types of plans “must offer coverage that is comparable to original Medicare parts A and B,” according to U.S. News World & Report. In forgoing the traditional Medicare plan, elderly Americans who choose a Medicare Advantage plan may pay nothing more each month, or they may choose a pricier plan that has better coverage. Like other private health insurance plans, and unlike the pay-for-service system utilized by traditional Medicare plans, there can be deductibles, monthly premiums, and co-pays. Continue reading

New York Attorney General’s Office has arrested two nurse aides for allowing an elderly patient with dementia to leave a New York nursing home facility. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the charges against the two nurse aids, Janet Rose and Verlanda Paulma, of White Plains Center for Nursing Care. Both nurses are charged with endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person, and if convicted, could face up to five years in jail.


According to the Attorney General, video footage shows the 74-year-old resident leaving through an unlocked door shortly before 8:00 PM on May 26, 2017. The nurses then neglected to perform the mandatory safety checks on the nursing facility’s residents evpexels-photo-101808-300x200ery 15 minutes. Between 8:00 PM and 9:30 PM, no one at White Plains Center for Nursing Care noticed the resident has left the facility. According to the indictment, Rose falsely recorded that the safety checks were performed during this time period. For that reason, Rose also faces a felony charge of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.

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