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Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

By Jonathan Rosenfeld

Decubitus Ulcer Complications: Septic Shock

Posted in Articles

Septic Shock from a Bed SoreIn the United States, there are over 934,000 occurrences of septic shock each year. Sepsis is an advanced form of infection that is caused by bacteria or fungus and, if not treated quickly, has an extremely high rate of mortality. Elderly people are already at a much higher risk than any other age group and many patients develop sepsis from decubitus ulcers. If a patient is discovered to have a bedsore that has progressed into an advanced stage, sepsis treatment needs to begin promptly in order to give the patient the best chance of recovery.

What is a Decubitus Ulcer?

Commonly referred to as bedsores, decubitus ulcers develop due to lack of circulation. When left in the same position for long periods of time, the weight placed on a person’s joints can cut off the blood flow to the surrounding area. Over time, tissue begins to degrade at the cellular level due to a lack of oxygen and when the tissue dies, it creates an open wound that is extremely painful and highly inviting of bacterial infections that only serve to make the situation worse. Most bedsores are easily preventable and due to the manner in which they progress, it is unacceptable for bedsores to go unnoticed until their late stages.

What is Sepsis?

Septic shock, otherwise known as sepsis, is a special type of infection that has the ability to spread rapidly to different areas of the body due to a presence in the blood stream. There is usually a period of 72 hours when sepsis treatment is most effective, making it extremely important to notice and identify sepsis quickly and to respond promptly to it. Sepsis from decubitus ulcers poses additional challenges due to the tissue degeneration that has already occurred and an elevated rate of hypoxia throughout the body and major organs. Hypoxia occurs when a body part is deprived of oxygen and when bedsores already exist in a sepsis infection; the sepsis robs the body of even more oxygen, making recovery more difficult and increasing mortality.

Treating Septic Shock

As soon as a caregiver suspects the possibility of sepsis in an elderly patient, the clock begins to tick and treatment must be administered quickly. Antibiotics are given intravenously and the amount of oxygen in the blood and major organs is monitored. In all cases of septic shock, studies have shown that the mortality rates rose steadily with later detection and treatment and that conversely, early treatment significantly improved patients’ chances of recovering. Unfortunately, many cases of sepsis in nursing home are not detected early enough because the bedsores that invited the infection are neglected and ignored.

Preventing Bed Sores In Nursing Home Patients

The most effective way to help ensure that elderly patients will never find themselves in a position to require sepsis treatment is to prevent bedsores, which are notorious as an avenue of infection. This can be accomplished through better beds and medical equipment and also through proper care, such as moving a patient into another position if he or she has remained still for over two hours. If possible, patients should be allowed and encouraged to take walks in order to help circulation and reduce the amount of time they are confined to a bed in one position.

Sepsis is a serious medical condition that has a high rate of complication and death. Because the elderly suffer mortality rates that are much higher than any other age group as a result of sepsis, we need to be mindful and take any precaution needed to prevent the condition in the first place. Decubitus ulcers are a major cause of septic shock and are easily preventable. By being more mindful and finding bedsores in their earlier stages, we can prolong the lives of many of our loved ones.


If your loved one developed a decubitus ulcer at a nursing home , there is a good chance that the negligence of the nursing home may have contributed to the problem.  When a facility was negligent, the individual or family may be entitled to bring a lawsuit against the facility for the ulcers.

Are Nursing Home Owners Putting Their Own Interests First?

Posted in Articles

Nursing Home Owners Interests are Where?The FBI apprehended a man and his wife in Atlanta this month for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The man, George Houser, owned three nursing homes which were all in disrepair and providing a substandard of living to the patients they served. While we would like to believe that this is an isolated incident, recent studies and data have all pointed to the fact that when nursing home facilities are owned by for-profit companies or held by a private owner who is seeking a profit, the needs of the patient will always be less important than the bottom line.

A New Precedent Set for Negligent Nursing Home Owners

George Houser was the first person ever to be federally convicted on the basis of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services that were defined as “worthless”. Throughout all three of his homes, the ceilings were falling apart, rainwater needed to be collected in garbage cans spread throughout the facilities, dirty laundry was piled up and the floors were filthy. Houser wrote bad paychecks to his employees, failed to pay for their insurance benefits after withholding premiums from their pay, defaulted on payment to food vendors and clinical laboratories and failed to pay for waste disposal or nursing supplies. His employers paid for food and supplies out of their own pockets because patients were starving to death and becoming gravely ill.

As conditions continued to deteriorate at his three nursing homes, Houser and his wife bought expensive homes and cars, took trips and invested in real estate with the money they collected from Medicare and Medicaid in return for their “services” rendered to their neglected patients. The three nursing homes were shut down and residents were moved to homes that would provide them proper care after Houser and his wife plead guilty to charges of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. Houser’s case rests on the extreme end of the spectrum, but it begs the question of how many other facilities are being run to serve the needs of their owners and not the patients that they are supposed to care for.

Not-for-profit Homes Offer Better Care

Studies comparing nursing homes run by government funding or non-profit organizations to those that were run for a profit showed that the care provided was considerably better when the home was not seeking a profit. In order for any business to make money, it must control its costs and increase its margins. Unfortunately, the traditional business model harms nursing home patients by encouraging the owners of nursing homes to hire fewer workers and deny patients better care if it will cost the facility more money to do so.

When Will Patient Needs Become a Priority?

If the owner of a nursing home is unable to put the needs of his or her patients first, he or she has no business owning the nursing home. We can only hope that the case of George Houser and his wife will bring more attention to the matter and encourage lawmakers to hold nursing facilities more accountable by requiring that they have minimum staff requirements that meet the needs of the patients. While many businesses follow a code of ethics and strive to put their customers first, the only way to prevent abuse is to mandate a standard of service that will allow nursing home patients to live with dignity.

Hopefully cases like this one will remind all of us of the duty that we have to look out for our elderly and to hold those who take advantage of them accountable. Most of the victims of nursing home neglect are powerless to defend themselves so we need to step up and carry their banner, hoping that one day someone else would do the same for us.


Alzheimer’s Patient’s Family Sues Caregivers

Posted in Chicago Nursing Homes & Other Communities Within Illinois

Caregivers Sued of PatientDecember 11, 2012—The family of a woman who was living in an assisted-care facility has filed a lawsuit against the home claiming that, among other things, the woman had maggots growing in her ear from lack of hygiene and personal care.

The Lutheran Home, located in Arlington Heights outside of Chicago, is charged with failing to provide a reasonable standard of care after the family filed a complaint with the Department of Public Health, but no violations were found at that time.  A month later, the patient’s daughter watched as the insects were removed from her mother’s ear during an emergency room visit.  The family claimed that lack of care on the part of the nursing home staff had led to the problem.  The victim has since been moved to another facility.

The Chicago nursing home lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 in damages.  The facility has responded that it did nothing wrong and the incident was a “freak occurrence” unrelated to the level of care the patient was given. The Lutheran Home currently has 372 patients, including 80 in a special Alzheimer’s care facility.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect a Growing Problem

Unfortunately, the experience of the family in this story is not unusual.  Nursing home abuse and neglect is a large and growing problem in our country, fueled by slashed budgets and understaffed facilities that are still required to meet state and federal standards and must take as many patients as possible to meet their financial obligations.

According to a report by CNN, 90 percent of nursing home facilities are understaffed, and one out of three facilities have been cited for abuse or other infractions.  Over 5,000 residents per year die in these facilities from bed sores, starvation, dehydration, or malnutrition.  At least half of all nursing home residents suffer from untreated pain.

Even more frightening are the statistics on nursing home staff members.  Twenty-five percent of all nursing home aides that are prosecuted for abuse have previous criminal histories, and at least five percent overall have a criminal background.   About three percent of all reported abuse incidents involve sexual abuse.

Something Must Be Done

At least ten percent of the population will spend part of their lives in a nursing home, so demanding quality care for the elderly is not an option.  In order to guarantee that nursing homes are safe and healthy environments for loved ones, family and friends must be willing to take steps when abuse is discovered.  Not only does this protect the individual loved one concerned but others who may also be victims and have no one to stand up for their rights.

A personal injury attorney can help the families of victims in nursing homes to find answers to their questions and hold those people accountable who are responsible for the abuse or neglect suffered by these residents.  By filing a personal injury lawsuit, the families and victims take back control over their lives and the treatment of their loved ones.

Bed Sores: The Reason For Nursing Home Lawsuit

Posted in Bed Sores, Pressure Sores, Decubitus Ulcers & Pressure Ulcers

Nursing Home Lawsuit and Bed SoresThe family of an 88 year old man in La Junta, Colorado won a $3.2 million settlement after suing Pioneer Healthcare Center, a Rocky Ford nursing home and the nursing home the man was being cared for in when he died due to complications from a bed sore the size of a baseball. After the man developed the bedsore, it was claimed that both the bedsore and resulting complications were hidden from the man’s family. Bedsores are caused by pressure on the joints when a patient does not move for long periods of time and the result is an open sore caused by tissue death that is extremely painful and can become infected and contribute to a number of complications that includes death.

Patient’s Long-Term Relationship With Facility

Fraizer began his stay at the nursing home in 2009 and was also employed for the facility as a janitor. He had Parkinson’s disease, and eventually found himself confined to a bed and not eating or getting proper hydration. By October of 2010, Fraizer had sores on his buttock and scrotum which were easily noticeable by the smell that accompanied them. Regardless of this fact, the nursing home did not inform Fraizer’s family of his condition and it was not until a nurse’s aide came out and informed the family that the family was finally aware.

Bedsores, also known as decubitus ulcers, are extremely painful sores that can be prevented simply by changing the position that a bed ridden patient is sitting or lying in every two hours. In their early stages, bedsores are easily treated and detectible. However, once a bedsore reaches stage two, it becomes an open wound that is subject to numerous complications that include infections and sepsis. What causes the wound is tissue death from lack of circulation and when the tissue dies, the skin and muscle begin to deteriorate.

Progression of Wounds to Stage Four Bed Sores

Stage four pressure sores are open wounds that involve severe tissue damage that extends all the way to the bone. It is impossible not to let a patient develop a stage four pressure sore without knowledge of the sore unless there is severe neglect. In the case of Fraizer, his sores were highly noticeable through the smell that accompanied them and the size and magnitude of the sores. The nursing home staff was not only aware of the problem, but the staff failed to treat the sore or inform the family of the man’s condition.

The employee that spoke out was fearful of losing his own job, but finally did so out of fear that Frazier would die of the sores. To further exacerbate the level of negligence, the nursing home administration protested when Frazier’s son demanded that he be taken to a hospital immediately for treatment of the wounds. Doctors at the hospital found that Frazier had been dehydrated and malnourished to the point of severe neglect and he died due to complications related to the bedsores.

Multiple Violations Discovered at Facility

Upon further review, the Colorado Health Department found that the facility had 27 code violations and the residents were grossly mistreated and uncared for. There were numerous widespread infections in the facility and numerous other problems that suggested the facility had been mistreating numerous patients under its care. Grace Healthcare, the company which owns the facility also owns three more facilities in Colorado as well as numerous other nursing homes across a total of eight states.

Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit Brings Justice to Family

A jury awarded Fraizer’s family with damages in the amount of $3.2 million, but no amount of money can account for the pain and suffering that Fraizer experienced and the lack of dignity he had in his final days.


The Residual Pain Following Trauma In The Elderly May Be Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

Posted in Nursing Home Falls

For years, chronic pain following a traumatic event was misattributed to the individuals imagination. Over the last decade, scidentists have made strides in researching the source of this phenomonon and now categorize chronic pain following a traumatic event to be related to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or similarly termed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Chronic Pain Following A Traumatic EventIt is now believed that RSD and CRPS are nerve disorders that are triggered by high or low impact trauma.  The trauma results in physiological changes to the skin, tissue and bone in the area where the trauma occurred.

Particularly among senior, the following events have been associated with the development of RSD:

  • Staff dropping patients
  • Broken bones
  • Falls
  • Infection following the development of bed sores
  • Surguries
  • Bruising
  • Improperly fitting casts

While many people may suffer pain after the above conditions, what differentiates a patient with RSD is that the pain does not go away– even after the apparent injury seems to be healing.

Perhaps the most mysterious aspect of RSD is how differently it affects different people.  For example, RSD may develop in some people who sustained low impact trauma days following the event.  Yet in other people, the onset of RSD may be delayed several weeks or months before a diagnosis can be confirmed.

RSD is most commonly seen in extremities (hands and arms).  Over time, the condition may spread to other areas or the other side of the body.

Some of the frequently encountered symptoms associated with RSD include:

  • Changes in skin coloring where the trauma occurred
  • Extreme burning pain
  • Increased skin sensitivity
  • Loss of motor function of the area involved
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Abnormal hair growth
  • Osteoporosis
  • Changes in the texture of the skin
  • Increased swaeting in the area

There is no cure for RSD.  Studies have shown that RSD patients with the highest quality of life typically begin a course of physical therapy within the the first few months after the physical conditions manifest.  Other treatment options include: relaxation techniques, tens units and occasionally surgeries such as the implatation of a spinal cord stimulator or pain pump.

If your loved one has beed diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy following a traumatic event at a; hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility, we would like to speak with you to discuss your legal rights and treatment options.  Speak to an experienced lawyer today. (888) 424-5757

Fall Prevention Program Demonstrates Basic Safeguards Work

Posted in Nursing Home Falls

Preventing Falls is Safer for ResidentsA single fall that a younger, healthier person might brush off could turn into a long-term hospital stay for elderly nursing home patients. If we consider that every 100+ bed nursing home reports between 100 to 200 falls (with many additional falls going unreported) and that between 50 and 75 percent of nursing home residents experience one fall every year, it is obvious that nursing homes need to do everything possible to avoid/reduce these dangerous, possibly even deadly accidents.

One example of unusual falls

When people talk about elderly patients falling, they often assume that these falls are because of environmental hazards or obstructions. However, these types of falls only account for 16 to 27 percent of nursing home falls.

Gene White of Des Moines, Washington is one of the many elderly Americans who took a bad fall. He entered into Seattle’s largest hospital – Swedish Medical Center – because he suffered from back pain. The original plan was for an overnight stay, but it turned into something much longer.

Because he was unable to sleep, White says at that around 4 AM in the morning, he received Ambien – a sleeping pill – from one of the nurses. Unfortunately, this is one of the sleeping pills associated with sleepwalking. In fact, hospital patients who take Ambien are four times more likely to suffer a fall as reported by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota

When White came out of his dreamlike state, he found himself on the floor after hitting the washbasin. He broke three ribs on his left side. What turned into an overnight visit turned into two more weeks of hospital care and months of recovery in a nursing home facility.

What the hospital did to reduce the risks

The Swedish Medical Center is taking steps to prevent instances from happening again, they have made some drastic changes. Many beds in the hospital now use a bed alarm that goes off whenever a patient who is taking sleeping pills gets up during the night. All of the recently ordered beds come with this alarm. Despite the fact that this may prove annoying for residents, it does allow staff members to respond quickly – provided of course that a staff member is available.

Understaffing remains a serious issue

Despite the fact that basic safeguards do work, it is important to understand that understaffing remains a serious issue in many different nursing homes. An alarm can never replace good care. It is becoming far more common to see large investment companies buy a number of nursing homes and then try to slash the budget as much as possible in order to increase their profits.

One of the side effects of this practice is understaffing. Nursing home staff members report that they work 12-hour shifts without taking so much as a single break. One of the reasons that breaks are mandatory is because when people forgo their breaks, it can drastically increase the odds of an accident happening. It is simply too difficult to remain focused for 12 hours straight, eventually a mistake is going to happen.

Fortunately, there are positive exceptions as well, such as the Auburn Medical Center – a hospital that had the unfortunate distinction of being the Washington State hospital with the most falls in recent years. After hiring more than 100 staff members and overhauling its safety procedures, the management says that falls are down 66 percent in less than a year. This just proves that with a combination of safeguards and qualified personnel, it IS possible to reduce falls.

Nursing Home Attorneys Witness The Fight Against Understaffed Nursing Homes in Illinois

Posted in Chicago Nursing Homes & Other Communities Within Illinois

Low Staff Numbers in Nursing HomesA fierce battle has been waged in the Illinois legislature over the last two years over whether nursing homes should be required to maintain minimum staff levels. Senate bill 2840 addresses whether or not facilities should be required to maintain certain numbers of nurses on their staff— the current bill requires ten percent of the care patients receive to come from fully trained registered nurses as opposed to a mixture of registered nurses and practical nurses.

Critics of the bill argue that the bill does not serve its purpose and that the required number of registered nurses should be higher. Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk, a move that has many people up in arms and accusing him of allowing for-profit nursing home companies to influence regulation.

The Need for Accountability

Senate Bill 2840 was introduced due to studies that show a correlation between nursing home neglect and inadequate staffing. Other studies showed that for-profit nursing facilities did little to address this issue and intentionally kept their staffs smaller in order to reduce their overhead. By requiring all nursing homes in the state of Illinois to provide a minimum standard of care to patients by registered nurses, the quality of care would be greater and the number of cases of neglect, patient injury and premature death would likely decline.

In 2010, the nursing home reform law was signed into law, officially mandating that nursing facilities gradually increase the number of certain types of staff members each year until 2014. Lawmakers felt that the law did not go far enough and introduced Senate Bill 2840 in an attempt to require even higher numbers of qualified workers at each nursing home. The Illinois department of health made the suggestion that at least twenty percent of care should come from registered nurses.

Outside Influence

The Health Care Council of Illinois represents for-profit nursing home companies throughout the state and made a significant push to lobby against many of the provisions in Senate Bill 2840 or to reduce the requirements to lower levels. HCCI held private meetings with Governor Quinn on the issue and suggested that research did not support the need for twenty percent of care to be administered by nurses and suggested ten percent as well, which is not significantly higher than what has already been required by the 2010 nursing home reform law.

Governor Quinn agreed to HCCI’s suggestions and infuriated lawmakers who saw the deal as the betrayal of our elderly in favor of the interests of the nursing homes that provide their care. While HCCI argues that their nursing homes will still be required to higher more nurses under this new law, advocates of the original policy argue that the change will barely affect anything and many senior citizens will continue to be neglected. Others are appalled that the nursing homes that created the need for this legislation to begin with by failing to properly staff their facilities and give patients adequate care were allowed to influence the end result.

Studies support the need for larger staffs and more nurses in nursing facilities and also show that for-profit facilities will not meet those needs unless required to by law. Falls, bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition and other injuries and illnesses that result from negligence occur more frequently in facilities that lack proper numbers of registered nurses to care for all of the patients in the facility. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 2840 will do little to solve the issue, but some lawmakers have made the claim that something is better than nothing and the new law will do more than what is already required by the law passed in 2010.


Are Fines Enough To Incentivise Nursing Homes To Improve Care?

Posted in National Nursing Home Issue & For-Profit Chains

Will More Money Improve Nursing Home Care

Why are Financial Penalties Imposed?

Penalties are usually imposed on a nursing home when a serious deficiency is uncovered or if a known deficiency is not addressed for extended periods of time. If found to withhold correctional measures, the nursing home in question may be fined or may be denied payments due from government health programs such as Medicaid or Medicare.

Fines are imposed either once per error, or they may be enforced on a daily surcharge method until the necessary correction takes place. The home may also be denied government payments for Medicare or Medicaid until the home makes the appropriate correction. Eventually, if no corrections take place the agreement between the nursing home and Medicare/Medicaid is terminated, and the nursing home’s certification, that allows them to provide care for a profit, is rebuked. The residents of the home with Medicare or Medicaid are then shifted to certified care facilities.

Multiple Incidents in the Bay Area

In Castro Valley, St. John Kronstadt Convalescent Center was fined $60,000, Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation in Alameda was fined $75,000, and O’Connor Hospitals nursing facility was fined $65,000, based on class AA citations by the California Department of Public Health. (look here for additional information on California nursing homes)

In 2010, in Alameda, Kindred facility’s staff stumbled upon an elderly resident who had a blood soaked bandage around his arm where he had an open sore.  The same resident was died from the loss of blood, according to the state. The facility is no longer operated by Kindred, who were fined seventy five thousand dollars for allowing the incident to happen.

The reason stated by the facility was that patient medical history was never taken along by staff on field trips and that the staff members had been unaware of the patient’s condition. Officials of the facility said they were taking measures to ensure that such an incident did not take place again. The facility was fined sixty thousand dollars.

Ever since the OBRA act of 1987, changes have been made regularly to the policies regarding the quality of nursing home care. Even though fines are generally effective at keeping nursing homes at par with minimum quality standards, there are incentives provided other than financial penalty that facilitate the improvement in nursing care quality.

One such incentive is the recent introduction of report cards. It is a consumer empowerment movement, designed in a way that uses market competition to aid the improvement in the quality of care. The idea is that consumers can examine report cards, which state the quality of care at a particular institution and accordingly choose which home they would like to be admitted into. This leads to nursing homes competing to provide the best quality care and ultimately gaining a larger share of the market.

Another such incentive is that of P4P, or pay-for-performance. Certain indicators are used to determine high quality care in nursing homes and facilities are paid extra in funding for their fulfillment of these indicators. An example of such an indicator is a reduction in the number of residents with pressure ulcers or restrains.

The Cost Of Medication Errors In Nursing Homes

Posted in Medication Errors

The-Cost-of-Medication_errors-in_Nursing-HomesIt is startling to think of the number of medication errors in nursing homes that occur repeatedly and go unnoticed. These errors can result in complications such as suppressed appetite, incontinence, dementia, confusion, fractures and falls. Errors in the delivery of medications have become too common and the incidence of repeated errors is most concerning. Patients who are subject to repeated medication errors are much more likely to suffer serious complications than those who are only given the wrong medicine once or twice.

The Cause of Improper Medication In The Nursing Home Setting

There are numerous factors that contribute to the issue of patients receiving the wrong medications or receiving the wrong dosage. Around 63% of errors are the result of the wrong dosage being administered and 83% of repeated errors are the result of nursing homes failing to monitor the patient on the medication in order to detect the side effects of an overdose or drug interaction. 22% of the doctors who prescribe medications fail to consider the possible drug interactions with the medications that patients are currently taking. This task is extremely daunting, however, due to the fact that 68% of nursing home patients are on nine or more medications and 32% take more than twenty medications.

With patients on so many medications, the likelihood of medication error is higher, requiring more supervision of patients in order to catch the error at the first symptom of an interaction or the administration of an incorrect dosage. In 41% of incidents involving errors in the administering of medication, there was either a delayed response to the symptoms of drug interaction or overdose, or the staff failed to take any action at all. In a study conducted in North Carolina, it was discovered that out of over 15,000 errors reported from almost 300 different nursing homes, 37% of the errors were repeated consistently.

The Cost of Medication Errors

When a patient is admitted to a hospital due to a drug interaction or administering of an incorrect dosage, it is referred to as an adverse drug event, or ADE. The average cost of an ADE when the patient is admitted is between $1,900 and $2,600. The additional cost that hospitals endure over the course of a year can be as high as $4 billion. Nursing facilities across the country endure annual costs of $7.6 billion due to ADE’ s and ambulatory costs average $76.6 billion.

For patients and facilities alike, the cost of an ADE is great and the event is highly preventable if staff takes greater care to prescribe the right medication, administer the correct dosage and monitor patients more closely for adverse effects of the medication that they are taking. In most cases, early detection of an ADE will alert caregivers of possible errors and allow those errors to be corrected before the patient suffers serious complications that require emergency care.

Determining if a medication error was preventable

Due to the numerous medications that many elderly patients find themselves on, medication errors in nursing homes cannot be prevented in their entirety. However, at least one out of four of the errors that do occur are preventable. Physicians must be more diligent about checking for possible drug interactions, nurses must pay more attention to dosing information, staff must be trained to recognize the effects of adverse drug events and patients need to be monitored much more closely. The number of errors that have occurred as a result of the lack of monitoring is much too high and by simply making an effort to observe patients more closely, many of the ADEs that occur can be prevented or addressed before the complications associated with them require emergency care.


Illinois Nursing Home Administrator Faces Criminal Charges Stemming From Theft of Patient Funds

Posted in Economics

Criminal Charges in Nursing HomesEmployees at nursing homes widely abuse the elderly. However, the financial abuse is rarely ever talked about. There are not many statistical reports that give insight into the amount of financial abuse Americans aged 65 or older face at nursing homes. These elderly are the people admitted to nursing homes by family members because the elderly cannot take of themselves and the family cannot help them. They are in the care of the nursing home employees, who are mostly licensed nurses and medical assistants. Due to the disabilities and diseases that ails the elderly, they are unable to report any incidences of financial abuse or otherwise.

How Do Nursing Home Employees Abuse Residents Financially?

The employees at nursing homes financially abuse residents all over America through many ways. One of the most popular methods is to overcharge residents for services that they did not require, services that were never offered or by stealing medication that the residents may not have needed. The last method explicitly falls under drug abuse and it is administered under the local state departments. Many of the state departments have warned for-profit and licensed nursing homes to administer the drug use in their premises. However, in many cases, the administrators of such for-profit nursing homes are involved in drug abuse. The State Health Department also asks anyone aware of such financial or drug abuse to consider it their mandatory duty to report such incidents on behalf of the state.

Theft of Patient Funds Leads to Arrest of Nursing Home Administrator

In the city of Urbana of the Champaign County, Illinois, a former nursing home chief administrator stole over a $100,000 dollars, during her four years at the nursing home. She stole the money from 18 patients in total through forgery, deception and direct theft. The 55-year old was arrested in 2013 over 12 crimes at the Heartland Health Care facility in Champaign. The for-profit nursing homes generally keep a book to track the money coming in and going from the joint account at the facility. The accused administrator allegedly made false entries in the book, wrote checks to herself or overcharged the residents for the facilities provided to them. She did all of the above by forging signatures of other employees and administrators at the facility. Such incidents in nursing homes are reported by witnesses on behalf of the State Government by filing a whistleblower lawsuit.

What Do The Statistics Say?

According to the National Center for Elderly Abuse, the elderly of age 60 and older are abused by family, friends, spouses and nursing home employees all over America. Those under whose care they are financially abuse around 12.3% of the elderly. Secondly, 91% of nursing homes around America lack the qualified staff or the correct number of staff needed to give proper care to the elderly. Of all the staff at nursing homes, 36% of them violate elderly abuse laws.

Nursing Homes Abuse Blog