Articles Posted in Physical Abuse

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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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 man walked into a Jewish nursing home in the Bronx last Saturday where he attacked and robbed an elderly man on his birthday. According to the NYPD, hate crimes against Jewish people in New York are up nearly 29 percent in 2017. That means that hate crimes against Jewish people now comprise 29 percent of all hate crimes in the city.elderly-man-abused-300x169

On December 2, Alen Califano apparently told the security guard at the door of The New Jewish Home University Avenue Assisted Living that he needed to use the restroom. After being allowed into the building by the security guard, he began searching through the rooms of different residents and eventually made his way to the fourth floor of the building. Continue reading

A new report details the chronic deficiencies in nursing home care and its effect on the elderly and disabled Americans that live in these facilities. The report, published by the Long Term Care Community Coalition, details nursing home facilities that are woefully understaffed and failing to meet the needs of its residents. Because nursing homes receive funds by Medicare and Medicaid, they are largely regulated by the government. The report, consequently, mostly blames bureaucratic incompetence and under-funding for its failure to effectively monitor these facilities.

According to the report, the breadth and consequences of the government’s failure to take care of our elderly and disabled are vast. As the so-called “Baby Boomers” enter into their twilight years, an estimated 40 percent of Americans will at some point spend time in a nursing home that is subject to federal oversight.

A substantial portion of the problem is blamed on the so-called “yo-yo” phenomenon. This occurs when a nursing home or other assisted living facility is found to be out of compliance, but then only corrects the problem temporarily. In an effort to fix the problem, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), created the Special Focus Facility Program (SFF) which was meant to monitor facilities that have racked up multiple compliance violations. Because of under-staffing and insufficient funding and a requirement that states help fix the problem, the program has failed to fix the problem. Continue reading

All nursing homes that receive more than $10,000 are required by federal law to report any suspicion of crimes against their elderly residents. While there have been reporting problems, the Department of Health and Human Services has vowed to increase enforcement of these federal regulations.

The mandatory reporting requirement, originally a part of the Affordable Care Act, more colloquially known as Obamacare, has two main provisions – both of which carry heftier fines as of November 28, 2017. A violation of these laws can result in a fine of up to $221,000. If the failure to report the suspected crime results in more harm to the resident, the fine increases to $331,000. The assisted living facility will also be fined for retaliating against any employee or resident that reports a suspected crime. The maximum fine allowable for a retaliatory measure is $221,000. Continue reading

A scathing report by the Office of Inspector General shows that 25 percent of nursing home abuse cases go unreported. Of these unreported cases, 80 percent involved an allegation of sexual abuse or rape of an elderly person. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has promised to do more to identify abuse and neglect, and step up its enforcement whenever it occurs.

missing-patient-300x196According to CBS, this horrific problem has two main causes. First, CMS lacks the procedures and protocols necessary to ensure nursing homes are reporting abuse. Second, in the rare case that a nursing home does run afoul of the law – the fines are so insignificantly small that its cheaper for businesses to just pay the fine, rather than increase staff or the quality of their retirement home. Continue reading

A recent federal and state report excoriated New York’s handling of complaints against nursing homes and nurses in the state.

An audit by the New York found that the state had failed to properly investigate complaints against nurses. For the cases that are deemed “priority 1” – the most serious which usually involve allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse – New York took an average of 228 days to investigate. State law re

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quires these investigations to conclude within 10 days of the complaint. In one horrific case, New York failed to sanction, or otherwise discipline a nurse in any way, after she administered an overdose of insulin that nearly killed a patient. In another case, it took New York almost a year-and-a-half to revoke the nursing license from a Bronx nurse who sexually assaulted a patient.

New York performs even worse when factoring in lower-priority complaints against medical care professionals. With over 8,000 complaints lodged between April 2014 and April 2017, more than 2,000 were not performed within the required 180-day time period.

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The Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report stating that at least one in four instances of elder abuse or neglect are not reported. While horrific in scope, the results are not entirely surprising – other, smaller samples have found that 15 to 20 percent of elder abuse cases were not reported to the proper authorities or government agencies. The most recent study, released by the HHS Inspector General, based its findings on a large sampling of cases spanning 33 states. The study, which pegged the underreporting rate at exactly 28 percent, was released with a demand that Medicare take “corrective action right away.”

Despite mandatory reporting laws by both the federal government virtually all states, the rathelpe of under-reporting remains stubbornly high. On the federal level, nursing homes are required to report any incidents involving a suspected crime immediately and any other case of suspected elder abuse within 24 hours. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can fine nursing homes up to $300,000 for failing to comply with the law. While such a strict timeline and the possibility of hefty fines would typically discourage non-compliance, the HHS report shows that the law requiring reporting of any elder abuse – whether physical, financial, sexual or otherwise – is mostly unenforced by CMS.
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As part of President Trump’s promise to roll-back federal regulations, the Trump administration has announced its intention to scrap a federal rule prohibiting nursing homes from requiring their residents to pursue legal claims through arbitration.

In the simplest terms, arbitration is a catch-all term for a dispute-resolution that, while legally binding, does not utilize the court system. The practice has exploded in popularity in recent decades – especially among larger corporations and nursing homes. These entities prefer arbitration because the costs are generally lower, the dispute resolution process moves much faster than the courts, and parties generally do not have a right to appeal thus providing both parties some finality to their dispwalking-out-300x225ute. Opponents of arbitration say the extra-judicial process favors corporate interests and curtails the rights of victims – from limiting discovery to removing the opportunity to appeal. Further, arbitration also removes the right for a person to have their case heard before a jury, and instead substitutes a so-called “neutral arbitrator.”
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