Header graphic for print

Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

By Jonathan Rosenfeld

Patients Who Wander Require Special Care From Facilities

Posted in Elopement & Wandering

Wanderers Need Specialized CareElderly patients who have conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other mental disorders that cause confusion and memory loss have the tendency to wander aimlessly. The act of wandering has been known to contribute to some cases of elderly persons walking aimlessly outside of the facility and disappearing without a trace. Generally, wandering results in patients putting themselves unknowingly in harm’s way or injuring themselves due to fatigue. Nursing home staff are responsible for knowing when a patient shows the tendency to wander and giving special care and attention to that patient in order to keep him or her safe.

Potential Hazards Related To Patients Who Wander

Elderly patients who wander may encounter any number of hazards if not under proper supervision. They may wander into areas that are dangerous— such as stair wells, construction zones, restricted areas that contain dangerous chemicals or outside of the facility and into traffic. Many patients who wander have no recollection of where they were when they began to wander and easily get lost and forget their way back to where they are supposed to be. Other hazards may present themselves in the form of people— either other residents with mental illnesses that become hostile or visitors with ill intent.

What Causes a Person to Wander?

Diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affect patients’ memories and may cause them to forget where they are. Having forgotten where they are, anxiety ensues shortly after and causes the person to want to find a familiar place in order to try and figure out where he or she is at. This motivates the patient to wander until he or she can remember where he or she is and how to return home. However, most of the time, the patient’s memory never returns and he or she will wander until a fall occurs or the person wanders into a dangerous area and gets hurt.

How Can Nursing Homes Prevent Wandering?

It is often thought that restraining patients who have the tendency to wander will prevent their aimless wandering, but it can actually contribute to the need to wander instead, causing the patient to wander the moment that he or she is able to. The best course of action is not to prevent the actual wandering, but instead to monitor the patient closely and make sure that he or she is unable to find him or herself in areas such as stairwells, restricted areas or outside where he or she can disappear and never return. Supervision is the best treatment for wanderers and when it is known that a person has the tendency to do so, nursing home staff should create a plan that addresses the patient’s needs and condition.

Who is Responsible when a Wandering Person is hurt?

The care facility trusted with the care of the patient is obligated to ensure that the person is unable to wander aimlessly without supervision. Failure to keep patients from wandering off the premise or into dangerous area is a punishable offense that carries fines and other penalties with it. In the event that the patient is harmed due to wandering into an unsafe area, the nursing home is obligated to pay damages to the patient or patient’s family.

Holding Facilities Responsible For a Wandering Incident

It is always unfortunate when a loved one loses his or her cognitive functions and begins to wander both mentally and physically. In order to help our loved ones retain their dignity in their last years, it is important to make sure that nursing homes provide patients with mental illnesses with the care and attention that is required to keep them safe and healthy without exacerbating the situation and giving them more reason to wander.

In the event that a loved one wanders and is hurt or manages to leave the facility and disappear, the nursing home in charge of his or her care is responsible and should be held accountable. By holding care facilities accountable for wandering incidents, we can encourage nursing homes to continue to find better ways to address the needs of elderly patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions.


Nursing Home Patients Remain Real Victims Of Budget Cuts

Posted in Neglect

Patients are the Victims of Nursing Home careSomeone once told me that a society should be judged on how well it takes care of its poor, its veterans and its elderly. We are currently failing when it comes to the overall regard that we have for the elderly in our society. After making severe cuts to the Medicare/Medicaid system and other cuts that have specifically targeted nursing homes and the elderly, Republican lawmakers wish to enact even more cuts— while so many nursing homes remain understaffed. We’ve taken so much already from our elderly and need to ask how much more they should be forced to pay while others receive breaks or avoid responsibility because of loopholes that allow them to.

Cuts Already Enacted

Since 2009, nursing home care has been the target of cuts on both a state and national level. Here are the cuts we have seen in the last three years so far and their impact on nursing care.

  • Forty states have cut or frozen all payments related to skilled nursing facility care.
  • The nursing care sector is currently looking at $48 billion in cuts between 2012 and 2021 with more coming if current legislators have their way.
  • The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 cut $3 billion in Medicare/Medicaid funding over the period of 2012 through 2021.
  • Nursing homes face another $782.3 million in cuts for the fiscal year 2014 due to sequestration threat.

How the Cuts are felt at Nursing Homes throughout the Nation 

It is not surprising to learn that medical care is expensive but the nursing home facility sector has the lowest margins in the entire healthcare industry. Many people are still unable to afford care without assistance and 57% of daily care is paid with funds from Medicare or Medicaid— a fact that advocates of more reliable nursing home care wish that lawmakers would consider before making cuts to funding. While patients struggle to pay for their care, the nursing facilities themselves often struggle with under-staffing issues that cannot be remedied because they are simply unable to hire additional staff if their facilities are not-for-profit nursing homes that rely on government funding.

The Ryan Budget and Other Suggested Cuts to Medicare Spending

After three years of enduring one cut after another, the nursing home sector is faced with the Ryan Budget which, if passed, will take another $3.3 billion from Medicare, Pell grants and other publicly funded programs in order to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. In addition to these cuts, Republican lawmakers are suggesting making cuts to programs that pay into the skilled nursing facility sector in order to pay the bill to allowing college students to keep their low interest rates on student loans.

When nursing home facilities fail to take care of the elderly, they become liable when the well-being of their patients suffers. After enduring massive cuts, they must also pay damages if the care that they provide is inadequate or if their lack of staff contributes to negligence and abuse. Our nursing homes are in need of much improvement that can only come in the form of more qualified staff in the facilities that we trust our loved ones’ care to.

We need to decide whether our elderly are worth more to us than the wealthy in this country and take a stand against the constant barrage of cuts to programs that are already lacking. Rather than forcing nursing home facilities to cut back even more, we need to provide relief so that workers in nursing homes can be trained properly and the facilities can hire enough staff members to tend to the needs of their patients. I am still of the belief that a society will be judged by how it treats its elderly. When we look back on how our actions today affected nursing care for decades to come, will we look back with pride because we fought for our loved ones or try to hide our shame for allowing politicians to wage war on the people who matter most to us?


5 Steps To Reduce The Risk of Pressure Sores

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

Steps for Caregivers to follow for Nursing Home CarePressure sores can occur when a person has been laying in one position for too long. They are common for the elderly who are bedridden or sit in a wheelchair most of the day. They usually form where the bone sits close to the skin, such as ankles, back, heels, and hips. Pressure sores can become infected, which can be life threatening for the elderly. Use these 5 steps to make sure your loved one does not develop a pressure sore.

Keep Skin Clean And Dry

One way to keep pressure sores from developing is to make sure your loved one is regularly bathed and put back into a clean and dry bed.

Change Position Every 2 Hours

Moving a person into a different position every two hours can help prevent pressure sores. There are lifting devices that nursing homes and hospitals use to help prevent friction of the skin against sheets and blankets which can also help reduce pressure sores.

Use Support Surfaces

There are special pillows, mattresses, and cushions that can be used to help a person lie in different positions to avoid pressure sores and protect skin from damage. By using a pillow to prop an immobile person on their side, it can help relieve pressure on their back. These devices are often foam, air-filled, or water-filled and are especially useful for those people in wheelchairs.

Eat A Healthy Diet

If you think your loved one is at risk for pressure sores, make sure they are eating the right amount of calories and protein and getting the right amount of vitamins in their diet. Additionally, making sure they are properly hydrated is key for maintaining healthy skin. If your family member has trouble feeding him or herself, make sure there is someone there who can assist them.

Keep Wounds Clean and Dressed

If a pressure wound does occur, it’s important to keep the wound clean to prevent infection. Wash the wound with warm water and a mild soap. If the wound is open, use a saline solution as well. Always keep the wound dressed in order to promote healing and to keep infection out.

Proper Care Can Prevent Decubitus Ulcers

Pressure sores are preventable, and if they do happen, they can be treatable. Make sure to use the steps above to keep your family safe.

Nursing Home Employee’s Whistleblower Lawsuit Moves Forward

Posted in Articles, Nursing Home Falls
Whistleblower Lawsuit Going AheadThere were over 16,000 nursing homes in the U.S. by the year 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 1.7 million beds, of which 86 percent had been occupied. An elderly lives in a nursing home for an average of 2.5 years before eventually dying or leaving the home due to lack of funds given by the family.

The employees abuse thousands of these nursing home residents or patients every year. Most of these incidents are rarely ever reported. Since 66 percent of all nursing homes in America are for profit, the owners avoid reporting any incident that might give them a bad reputation. However, there is a rising number of whistleblower lawsuits being reported around America. Many employees of abusive nursing homes are coming forward with reports of the incidents, to the State Health Department.

Tennessee Nursing Home Employee Files Lawsuit

In 2013, a nursing home employee who worked as a licensed practical nurse was fired from his job after he found an elderly woman lying in a pile of urine and took photos of another elderly woman who had a severe bedsore. While reporting to the nursing home administration of the negligence in the nursing home, the employee was first suspended from his duties at the nursing home and then eventually fired. Later, the employee reported to the State Health Department with his witness reviews of the nursing home.

This report to the State Health Department opened up an investigation into the nursing home, instigating a whistleblower lawsuit. The nursing home was temporarily shut down to continue the investigation. The State Health Department released a long report with multiple violations of the federal guidelines provided in nursing homes and health care facilities. The nursing home owners filed a motion against the whistleblower lawsuit filed by the nursing home employee, which was overruled by the court.

Fraudulent Use of Government Funds by For-Profit Nursing Homes

A federal government reported that for-profit nursing homes make an average of $1.5 billion each year through over billing their patients. These patients are over billed for facilities that are never provided, by charging extra over the standard billing amount approved by the Federal government or by providing services that might not be necessary for the patient. Whistleblower lawsuits help the government find such fraudulent cases around America, reported by the people, residents or former employees of the nursing home on behalf of the government. By 2012, there were 120 cases pursued by the government prosecutors against nursing homes on fraudulent billing, starting from 2008.

With the rising amount of cases, such as the 2013 nursing home employee who was fired for taking a picture of an elderly woman’s bedsore, the government gives 15-30 percent of its recovery to such whistleblowers to protect them from retaliation by the nursing homes. These for-profit nursing homes are funded by the state government through taxpayers’ funds, but nursing home owners often abuse these funds by accepting bribes in exchange for referrals as well as buying drugs and medical devices from other companies.

Alzheimer’s Patients Frequently Victims of Nursing Home Abuse

Posted in Dementia / Alzheimer's Patients
Alzheimer's patients victims of nursing home abuseSending your loved ones to a nursing home might be a growing concern for you, especially if you are aware of the number of Alzheimer’s patients who have been victims of nursing home abuse each year.  Nursing homes cater for almost 75 percent of Alzheimer’s patients every year. These Alzheimer’s patients are 80 years of age or more. Dementia, whose leading cause is Alzheimer’s, eventually takes away the life of the affected patient.

In 2012, almost two-thirds of the people affected by Alzheimer’s have died in nursing homes, according to a report published by the Alzheimer’s Association. The lack of effective care and treatment of the disease is highlighted in the growing number of deaths from Alzheimer’s each year. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, once your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer, they have an estimated four to eight years after being diagnosed.

Statistics for Alzheimer’s Patient Abuse in Nursing Homes

With 75% of Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes, most abuse incidents go unreported. However, in a study published on elder abuse by the National Center on Elder Abuse, 3.2 million citizens of the U.S. lived in nursing homes during the year 2008. They quote a study that reports an alarming number of 44% nursing home residents who say they have abused physically, sexually or financially.

A higher number of 95% say they have been neglected in these nursing homes or they have seen their fellow residents being neglected. They also report that the U.S. General Accountability Office considers most such surveys insufficient to report actual harm posed to the nursing home residents. Another elder abuse report says that at least 5000 death certificates of nursing home residents state the cause of death as “malnutrition, dehydration or starvation.”

Atlanta Nursing Home Lawsuit

At a nursing home in Atlanta, 11 current and former employees were arrested who face around 70 criminal charges for alleged abuse of nursing home patients along with 10 other employees. Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported that the abuse included the physical striking of the elderly by the nursing home employees. There were a few reports of water being thrown at the patients, neglect of physical care with “double diapering” incidents and restraining of the elderly with bed sheets. The same home has been criminally charged for financial abuse as well.

Why Alzheimer’s Patients Are Frequently Subjected to Abuse

Experts have reported that the physical, sexual and financial abuse is far greater at homes or other communal places, where the elderly are abused mostly by family members. However, at such places, the number of reports is higher because either another family member or a neighbor usually reports an incident, which opens up investigations. In nursing homes, however, the owners hide their incidents with the fear of their nursing homes being closed down. Moreover, due to deteriorating memory, fear of being abused again and lack of physical ability to report, elders in nursing homes rarely ever report an incident of abuse or neglected to care. In fact, due to the above reasons, Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes are 5 times more likely to be abused that those elderly who are not affected by Alzheimer’s.

As Nursing Home Profits Increase, So Does The Risk of Injury

Posted in National Nursing Home Issue & For-Profit Chains

 Large-For-Profit-Nursing-Home-Chains-Declining-Levels-of-Care-Increases-In-Patient -InjuryThe entire purpose of any for-profit corporation is to make money and to continuously implement new strategies that will increase profit and reduce expenses. How far is too far though when a company puts its own needs above those of the people it serves? The ten largest for-profit nursing care companies were put to the test last year in a study that compared their care to that of government agencies and not-for-profit homes. Researchers were alarmed at just how stark the contrast was between nursing facilities that existed to make a profit and those that didn’t— and the results did not favor the for-profit homes.

Ten Nursing Home Companies that Only Care About Profit 

After evaluating multiple government sponsored nursing homes and not-for-profit care facilities and comparing the results to the following companies, it was determined that the level of care shown by these companies failed to equal the care that patients received in homes that were not out for financial gain. Each of these companies failed to live up to their not-for-profit counterparts’ levels of care.

Deficiency and Citations Abound at These Facilities

All of the companies listed were found to have higher rates of deficiency than not-for-profit and government facilities. In fact, the for-profit companies’ were 36% higher than their counterparts and the deficiencies were over 40% more severe. After the homes were purchases by private companies, the study shows that staffing levels often remained the same and the number of citations that the facilities were receiving rose significantly. The end result has been sicker patients and higher profits for the companies that care for them.

Understaffing: the Easiest Way to Cut Costs & Boost Bottom Line

One of the key ways to increase margins is to limit costs and most companies today will try to keep their staffs as trim as possible. This is no different for the ten largest nursing care facilities, which have refused to hire the amount of staff necessary to care for their patients in an effort to reduce the bottom line. 30% less nursing hours were reported in these facilities when compared to government and not-for-profit facilities. Understaffing is one of the greatest contributing factors to a lower standard of care and these companies have cut corners and sacrificed the health of their patients in order to avoid paying for a proper staff.

Can the Traditional Business Model be applied to Nursing Home Care? 

Most businesses either produce a product or provide a service to their customers. The majority of the time, that product is consumable, replaceable or renewable through maintenance. Services that are rendered are normally not the kind that would impact the health and well-being of the consumer. However, nursing care has an impact on the quality of life and dignity of the patients being served.

Anyone who has been in business will attest to the fact that the purpose of a business is to minimize its costs and maximize its profit for the best return on investment. This model has applied to every business that has been founded in America. Applying these principles to nursing home care is only harming millions of elderly patients in our country, however, and we need to approach the business of health care for the elderly differently.

We trust our loved ones to these facilities and should expect that they will be treated with respect and shown courtesy. They have worked their entire lives to provide for us and it is our duty to allow them to live their last years in comfort and dignity. Nursing facilities must not be allowed to treat our loved ones’ care as if it were a part of a traditional business model and the best way to be heard by these companies is to speak in their language and take our money elsewhere while holding them accountable for any unjust treatment they have given to those we love.

Attorneys Ready to Take On Big Nursing Home Chains

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has experience litigating and settling nursing home negligence cases against some of the nation’s largest chains.  If you think your loved one was improperly treated at these facilities, we are interested in speaking with you about your situation.  We offer free consultations and never charge a fee without a recovery for you.



Feeding Tubes In Elderly – A Complex & Debatable Procedure

Posted in Feeding Tube Complications

Elderly Feeding Tubes is Hard to RegulateOne of the most controversial medical practices impacting patients of all ages is the use of feeding tubes. These medical devices are often used as a means to provide nutrition and hydration to residents who are unable to consume food on their own. Increasingly, however, nursing homes are resorting to the use of feeding tubes as a way to provide nutrition to residents. The issue is that families of nursing home residents are often not well-informed about the risks associated with the use of feeding tubes.

The Harmful Effects of Feeding Tubes

When a stomach tube is implanted in an individual, it can cause serious, harmful effects. Only in recent years have medical studies started to address the emotional impact that feeding tubes have on patients. Residents may suffer from depression and anxiety when they receive feeding tubes. They can experience sadness in realizing that they have lost a major functionality of the human body.

Family members may also not realize the emotional impact that feeding tubes can have on patients. Medical facilities need to ensure that family members are well-informed of these side effects. Before a medical facility determines that a patient may require a feeding tube, it may be necessary for family members or the patient to provide informed consent.

If your loved one received a feeding tube without your consent, then your loved one may have a cause of action against the nursing home. This may be a form of abuse or neglect depending on the laws in your state. You should make sure that you contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to review the legal remedies that may be available to you.

Diminishing the Quality of Life for Patients

Patients may suffer from depression when they are unable to consume food in a normal manner due to feeding tubes. Some patients also become extremely self-conscious about the appearance of a feeding tube. Before you decide to proceed in allowing a loved one to receive a feeding tube, it is important that you assess the ways in which a feeding tube may impact his or her quality of life. The loved one should also be informed of how his or her life will change as a result of receiving a feeding tube.

Going Against the Tenets of Medicine

Some doctors refuse to use feeding tubes at all costs possible. They may only resort to the use of feeding tubes when absolutely necessary. These medical professionals view the feeding tube as an intrusive and unnecessary measure.

Nursing home facilities often have different reasons for proceeding with the use of feeding tubes. They may choose to use a feeding tube as a way to expedite the discharge time of a patient. These facilities may try to get the patient out of the door of emergency care as soon as possible. Some medical professionals would consider this an unethical use of feeding tubes. Feeding tubes are also used as a means for reducing costs in nursing homes. Nursing home workers will no longer have to devote hours of their time to feeding an individual patient if he or she has a feeding tube.

Considering the Adverse Effects on the Patient

Even if a nursing home administrator is attempting to reduce costs, he or she should still consider the adverse effects of using feeding tubes in regards to patients. Patients may suffer from allergic reactions, internal bleeding or inflammation if they have feeding tubes. Instead of using feeding tubes, a nursing home facility should try to invest funds in hiring additional employees if possible.

Contact Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers for Additional Help

If you wish to learn more about the legal rights of patients in nursing homes, you should get in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. A nursing home abuse attorney can help you to assess the best manner of proceeding when your loved one has been harmed.

Elder Abuse: Scary Numbers Substantiate Major Problems

Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

Problems in Elder AbuseRecent statistics indicate that nursing home abuse is a societal issue of great magnitude in the U.S. As the baby boomer generation continues to climb into its retirement years, discussions of nursing home care are likely to continue to intensify and become more popular. Elder abuse continues to be a major problem in the U.S. and must be resolved. Hospitals and nursing home facilities must treat elderly citizens with the respect and care that they deserve. In addition, elderly individuals are also provided with certain legal rights under federal laws. It is vital that people in the U.S. are informed of the legal rights that nursing home residents are afforded under the law.

The Elderly Population in 2050

By 2050, those who are 65 and older will make up at least 20 percent of the total U.S. population. Because elderly individuals will make up a significant portion of the population, it is important that society prepare for these years. If elder mistreatment continues to be a major issue in 2050, then millions of people will be at risk of suffering from inadequate care.

The Inability to Care for Elderly Individuals’ Needs

Nursing homes often engage in elder mistreatment due to understaffing and the inability to provide adequate care for senior citizens. Nursing home may lack the resources that they need to care for elderly individuals, such as exercise facilities, beds, rooms, medicine or even food. Facilities that depend on government subsidies may not have enough funding to provide a sanitary and clean environment for residents. They may also fail to hire the appropriate number of staff workers for elderly citizens.

For those nursing facilities that depend on government subsidies, additional funding may be required to ensure that these facilities comply with federal and state laws. Private nursing facilities should also ensure that they use adequate funds to comply with these laws. Often, private-run facilities do not want to use funds derived from profits to improve the quality of care that they provide.

Increased Risks of Inadequate Care for Those with Disabilities

Disabled elderly individuals are also at risk of receiving mistreatment in nursing home facilities. These individuals are often most vulnerable due to the fact that they may not be able to communicate with family members. They may be unable to tell family members that they have been abused or neglected in any way. It is very important that family members make extra effort to understand the type of care that their loved ones are receiving from staff workers. If you notice that a loved one has any signs of bruising, then this is likely an indication that he or she has been the victim of abuse.

Abusers in nursing home facilities tend to target the most vulnerable members of the population. They may attempt to abuse those who are unable to communicate or have limited ability to move. For these residents, it is important that special protections are in place.

Assert the Legal Rights of Your Loved One

Those who have been abused may be entitled to compensation under the law. In addition, a nursing home may be required to take certain actions if it has violated federal laws aimed at protecting the legal rights of nursing home residents. Nursing homes may be required to hire additional workers or invest in additional medical equipment for residents. They may need to improve the sanitation of their facilities.

If your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, it is important that you stand up for his or her legal rights. It is vital that you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. A nursing home abuse lawyer can conduct an investigation of the circumstances that may have lead to your loved one’s neglect or abuse. An attorney will also be able to hold administrators accountable for the mistreatment of your loved one.

High Staff Turnover Rates Plague Many Nursing Homes

Posted in Nursing Home Staff, Uncategorized

Turnover Rates Can Lead to Problems in Nursing HomesIn Illinois and the greater U.S, a constant problem plaguing nursing homes is the high turn-over rate of staff members. When a nursing home facility is understaffed, the care of patients tends to suffer. Staff workers cannot devote themselves fully to patients. They may not have time to provide bed changes, bed transfers and one-on-one time with patients. Nursing home residents also may suffer neglect in regards to their nutrition or medicinal needs.

Nursing homes are at risk of losing staff members when they fail to provide the training or compensation that these workers require. All too often, nursing homes attempt to save money by allowing staff members to work without the proper training. Staff members may become frustrated due to their inability to adequately address the needs of patients. They may also quit their jobs due to frustrations caused by working over-time or physical exhaustion.

Iowa Nursing Homes Lose Numerous Staff Members

A recent research study indicates that Iowa nursing homes are at a particular risk of losing staff members. Every year, nursing homes tend to lose at least 40 percent of their staff members in Illinois. This data was collected by the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Those nursing home facilities that are able to retain staff members have special practices in place. They tend to be patient-focused, and employees feel like their jobs matter. Employees feel like a personal connection with patients and are dedicated tot heir care. These nursing home facilities tend to lack a “corporate feel” where profits are the sole concern.

The Advantages of Low Turnover Rates

When nursing homes have low turnover rates, this means patients can develop better relationships with their caregivers. Employees are able to provide better care for the patients that they watch over. They are also able to maintain institutional knowledge about the best practices involving in caring for nursing home patients. When a facility has a high turnover rate, there is a risk that this institutional knowledge will be lost.

Injuries of Patients Go Undetected

In nursing facilities that have high turnover rates, injured patients may be at risk of having injuries go undetected. A busy staff worker may not notice that a patient has fallen and received serious bruises, a broken bone or a concussion. If a patient’s injuries go undetected, he or she may suffer from a worsened condition or even death. It is vital that nursing home facilities attempt to maintain a low turnover rate of employees.

Creating Incentives for Nursing Home Employees

About 25 percent of all nursing home workers do not receive any health insurance. They also receive a median pay of about $11.50 an hour. Nursing facilities that aim to improve their work environments may want to consider increasing the pay rate for employees and also providing health insurance options. Nursing home employees will likely leave a position if they are able to secure better employment that also provides benefit options.

Preparing Employees for the Profession

Nursing home facilities need to adequately prepare employees for the realities of the profession. Many workers are not informed of the hard work that being a staff employee entails. They may not be aware that they must physically lift patients or assist them with movements. Nursing home facilities need to make sure that employees are well-informed and also well-trained. It is vital that facilities invest in the training of employees.

Improving the Care of Loved Ones

If you have recently placed a loved one in a nursing home facility, it is important to be aware of the quality of care that he or she receives at all times. You should make an effort to be attuned to the care that he or she receives from staff workers. If you notice that a facility has a high turnover rate, then this may result in increased instances of neglect and abuse. If you are already facing issues in regards to the abuse or neglect of a loved one, you can contact Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers for the assistance that you require.

Nursing Home Workers Must Be Prepared to Clear Blocked Feeding Tubes

Posted in Feeding Tube Complications

Serious complications can arise when nursing home workers do not effectively clear clogged feeding tubes inserted into the stomach or small intestine of their patients. For many elderly individuals, feeding tubes offer significant benefits as a way to provide sustenance when traditional ways (chewing and swallowing) are not possible.

However, carelessness, negligence and improper use could lead to serious feeding tube complications. It is essential that the nursing home staff follow proper hygiene procedures to control the potential of infection or injury when assisting residents who need assisted feeding.

The Benefit of Feeding Tubes

A feeding tube is a beneficial medical device positioned through the nose down to the inside of the patient’s stomach. It provides the opportunity to consume enough sustenance for survival. For some patients suffering a chronic disability, a feeding tube placement is a permanent solution, whereas treatment for acute conditions usually only require a temporary placement. Permanent assisted feeding solutions might involve NG-tubes (placed in the stomach) or NJ tubes (placed in the small intestine).

Feeding Tube Issues

Individuals that receive nutrition through an inserted feeding tube typically have a greater potential of developing infections and malnutrition. Serious complications can arise if the nursing staff is not closely monitoring every resident tube feeding occurring in the nursing home. Consistent issues including constipation, nausea and vomiting can lead to life-threatening complicated problems.

Studies have indicated that the nutrition obtained through assisted feeding tubes is often inadequate to sustain muscle mass and improve muscle function, causing further debilitation of the patient. In addition, a clogged feeding tube can easily become completely restricted, blocking the intake of liquid and foods, causing serious complications.

Like hospitals and other medical facilities, nursing homes must develop, implement and maintain strict protocols to manage MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). While the bacteria are often harmless when thriving on the skin’s surface, they have the potential of causing death if they enter the body. This can be a significant problem to elderly patients already experiencing compromised immune systems.

Research indicates that feeding tubes provide a convenient entry location for harmful bacteria and can cause a fatal infection. Because of that, it is essential that staff members take special care to follow sanitary procedures. Common problems associated with feeding tubes include:

  • Clogged feeding tubes
  • Infections
  • Inability to ingest food through the feeding tube
  • Excessive drainage around the feeding tube
  • Tubes unexpectedly coming out
  • Skin irritation
  • Increased potential of bedsores from lying on diarrhea in the bed
  • Associated pain at the location of the inserted feeding tube

Neglectful Care

In some incidences, nursing home workers provide negligent inadequate care when inserting and managing feeding tubes in their in-home patients. Illinois nursing homes have been cited for a variety of feeding tube related incidences including:

  • Failing to feed residents according to schedule
  • Failure to properly document the amount of fluid intake
  • Feeding residents with expired feeding tube formulas
  • Failure to properly clean all feeding tube components and equipment

Nursing home neglect is often the result of improperly trained caregivers who cannot recognize the obvious symptoms and signs of a misplaced or dislodged feeding tube. Often times, the caregiver will continue providing food through the tube even when it is not secured in the stomach or intestines. When this happens, the patient can suffer serious injury or death. Nursing standards mandate that the caretaker check the tube placement prior to each feeding, a protocol often overlooked by many professional caregivers.

Taking Legal Action For A Feeding Tube Complication Case

Often times, children and grandchildren recognize the obvious signs of malnutrition, neglect and abuse happening to a loved one residing in a nursing home or other medical facility. When this occurs, it is recommended to take appropriate legal action to stop the negligence immediately. Reputable attorneys can fight for your loved one’s rights.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the laws that govern feeding tube protocols and the rules regulating elder care facilities. Our professional legal staff and seasoned attorneys have litigated many Illinois cases involving unnecessary use of feeding tubes and inadequate feeding tube placement/follow-up care, which led to serious injuries, illnesses and death.

If you have a loved one suffering serious injury or has died by a complication with the feeding tube in a long-term care facility, nursing home or hospital, contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757. We offer our substantial experience in dealing with neglect and abuse cases in nursing facilities and have a comprehensive understanding of Illinois medical claims involving feeding tube cases. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your claim to stop the abuse and seek financial compensation for your injury, loss, suffering and pain.

Nursing Homes Abuse Blog