Andrus on Hudson nursing home fined in patient’s 2011 death

 

As stated in a previous blog of mine dated March 5, 1013, there is no legal requirement for licensed nursing staff to perform CPR; however, it is the Standard of Care in New York State among licensed nursing staff.

A nursing home in Hastings, New York was recently fined $12,000.00 to settle charges that staff members failed to intervene when a resident suffered a heart attack in 2011. While the resident did not have a do-not-resuscitate order, the staff believed the patient did have one, leading to inaction on the part of the staff at Andrus.

See the link to the full article below:

http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201305132316/NEWS/305130091&nclick_check=1

The article further states that the Long Term Care Community Coalition released data regarding sanctions against 18 New York nursing homes in the first quarter of 2013; eleven (11) of which were fines and seven (7) corrective actions. One of these nursing homes included Northern Riverview Health Care Center in Haverstraw, NY. Northern Riverview agreed to pay $16,000 in fines to resolve a series of charges including allegations of resident abuse by staff.

Dementia Standards of Care

I recently discovered the Alzheimer’s Association which has published “Dementia Care Practice Recommendations : Phase 1 and 2 that are applicable to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Below is a link to their website which includes the details of Phase 1 and Phase 2.  There is an effort to have nursing homes and assisted living facilities subscribe to these care practices.  I would suggest that in a deposition, we ask whether the facility and/or agency follows these care practices and regardless of their answer, I would develop a line of questioning from these “care practices”  since they appear to be the best care practices for dementia residents.

http://www.alz.org/professionals_and_researchers_dementia_care_practice_recommendations.asp

 

NY Post Reports Abuse and Neglect of a Nursing Home Resident

The New York Post has reported that Dr Enrico D’Angelo and Nurse Diana Aduna who were employees of the Goldcrest Care Center, a Bronx nursing home, were arrested in connection with the “grisly” death of an elderly woman in 2010.  As per the article, D’Angelo and Aduna were charged with failing to render care to the nursing home resident.    The daughter of the resident was quoted as stating, “I don’t want this to happen to anyone.  You bring your parents to be taken care of by professionals.  I never thought there was such evil in the world, so close to home.”  See the full article in the link below.

While Federal and New York State Laws and Regulations set out specific, detailed standards for nursing home staff to follow in providing care to residents, unfortunately all too often, we see articles like this in the media.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/bronx/doc_nurse_from_troubled_bx_nursing_HFXxAuEz6GD2sfYWzad9wO

Sexual Predators Employed in Elder Care Facilities

I have litigated several cases against long term facilities where their employees and/or residents have sexually abused my clients. So how does this happen? First, not all facilities perform the background checks they are required to do. Under New York State Law Section 845b of the Executive Code and 2899 of the New York Public Health Law requires that background checks be performed for prospective employees for any residential health care facilities licensed under New York State Public Health Law, any certified home health care agencies, any licensed care service agencies, or long term home health care programs. Temporary employment is permitted while this background check is taking place as long as the employee works with consumers under direct and “appropriate” supervision. Only certain convictions are disqualifying offenses, such as: any felony sex offense, any class A felony, or conviction of a violent felony or any other class B, C , D, or E felony within ten (10) years. In other words someone can have a felony conviction that is more than ten (10) years old and still be eligible to work with the most vulnerable in our society.

Recently, it has been reported that a convicted rapist was charged with sexually abusing a 91 year old woman who was a resident of the the Loudonville Home for Adults located on Albany Shaker Road in Loudonville, New York, where he was working as a maintenance employee. Richard Ragone, 64, was a level three (3) sex offender, who previously spent sixteen (16) years in prison for the 1983 rape and sodomy of a woman in Saratoga County. Overall, he had four (4) prior felony convictions and five (5) misdemeanor convictions. I could not find any reports indicating whether the home had done a background check on this individual. See http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Cops-Elderly-woman-abused-4162419.php; http://capitalregion.ynn.com/content/top_stories/626904/level-three-sex-offender-accused-of-sexually-abusing-91-year-old-woman-at-nursing-home/

I did find that as a result of this case, legislation has been proposed that requires elder care facilities to check sexual offender registries. New York State Assemblyman James Tedisco and New York State Senator Kathy Marchione proposed legislation that would require elder care facilities including nursing homes to check the sex offender registry when hiring someone. As a former prosecutor, I can attest to the fact that sometimes very old convictions such as the one Ragone conviction from 1983, will not appear on a basic criminal background check; hence, the need to check the registry. Let’s hope this legislation passes.

Profit vs Not for profit Nursing homes

Bloomberg News has released a study that reveals that for profit nursing homes are delivering substandard care with horrific outcomes for nursing home residents.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-31/for-profit-nursing-homes-lead-in-overcharging-while-care-suffers.html

The Bloomberg study found that the profit motive is having an adverse affect on the quality of care.  The study which was based on U.S. government data based on freedom of information requests indicates that there is a rise in waste, fraud and abuse charges brought by federal authorities as a result of the rise in for profit nursing homes.  These findings are consistent with other studies by government agencies, and academic studies.  According to Bloomberg news federal prosecutors brought  twice the number of criminal cases against nursing homes compared to five years ago.  The article cites a report from federal health care inspectors that indicates that the nursing home industry overbills medcare 1.5 billion dollars a year for treatments that patients don’t need or never received.

In March 2010 the New York Attorney General Charged fourteen employees with neglect, abuse, and falsifiying business records at the Northwoods Rehabiliation Center in Troy New York.  According to the attorney general a hidden camera  was used over a six week period which revealed that the staff “routinely failed to turn and position an immobile patient, failed to administer medications and failed to treat bedsores”  Quoting from The Record dated March 31 2010.  Nine of the employees were immediately suspended and ten pleaded guilty to charges and four were acquitted at trial. http://www.troyrecord.com/articles/2012/03/03/news/doc4f513edb22737514386191.txt

A loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Now what?

A loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Now what?
It is estimated that about five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and about 360,000 people are newly diagnosed every year (Alzheimer’s Foundation of America). Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia can be devastating news to the individual and their family. As Alzheimer’s progresses, the physical and mental demands on the caregiver can gradually become overwhelming. Usually, as time progresses more supervision and assistance is needed, often to the point where the care needed exceeds the caregiver’s capacity. It is at this point that many families will be faced with the difficult decision whether to place their loved one in a long term care setting. It is a difficult and emotional task that even in the best of circumstances can be a wrenching decision for the entire family. The goal of this article is provides some suggestions on what you should do if you are faced with that decision. Continue reading

How to Submit a Complaint to the Department of Health

You should submit your complaint to the New York State Department of Health as soon as possible. Click on this link to download the required complaint form, in PDF format. Be as detailed as possible. Make sure to include the name of the nursing home, the name and date of birth of the resident, names of any witnesses or caregivers that witnessed the incident you are complaining about, your contact information, the date of the incident, your attorney’s contact information, and all injuries you claim occurred. In the event you do not know the exact date, include an approximate date span, i.e. during the month of August. Continue reading

Decisions

One of the most difficult decisions a family may have to make is to decide whether to put a loved one in the care of a nursing home. Today approximately 1.6 million elderly and disabled Americans are cared for in nearly 17,000 U.S. nursing homes. According to the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which administers Medicare and oversees the state Medicaid programs, nursing homes care for about one in 20 Americans over the age of 65. As the percentage of our population over age 65 increases, the percentage of elderly people entering nursing homes will likewise increase. Continue reading