Category Archives: Nursing Home Abuse

Report: Nursing Home Patients Given Potentially Lethal Anti-Psychotics

Is Medicare paying for nursing homes to give patients with dementia powerful, non-approved, and potentially lethal “atypical” anti-psychotic drugs?

According to a recent highly critical report from the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the answer is yes…

The auditors found that 83 percent of antipsychotic prescriptions for elderly nursing home residents were for uses not approved by federal drug regulators, and 88 percent were to treat patients with dementia — for whom the drugs can be lethal.

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Critics say the non-approved use of drugs such as Clozaril, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Symbyax, Seroquel, Invega, Abilify, and Geodon is a form of “chemical restraint” to control difficult patients, regarded by many as nursing home abuse. Others claim that prescribing drugs that the FDA has warned may be deadly to dementia patients is due to illegal drug maker kickback schemes.

In his letter to the senators who requested the audit, Inspector General Daniel Levinson wrote “Government, taxpayers, nursing home residents as well as their families and caregivers should be outraged and seek solutions.”

Outrage is easy. But coming up with a solution is going to be a lot more difficult. Many doctors argue that the risk of prescribing these drugs to patients with severe dementia is mitigated by the relief they provide from agitation. It’s a question of balancing quality of life against the remaining length of life.

Still, the cost of these meds — which only skyrockets within a Medicare system rife with fraud — and the danger that their use can easily become abusive and deadly, means this controversy isn’t going away anytime soon.

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Nursing Home Administrator Arrested for Financial Elder Abuse

It’s not surprising that older adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s are prime targets for elder abuse and financial elder abuse. Predatory caregivers are betting that any claims of abuse by a person with dementia are likely to be ignored or dismissed.

That’s the reason no one believed a financial elder abuse victim in Georgia when he told family members someone at the nursing home was stealing his money…

In the end, the family learned that he was telling the truth – that the administrator of an Athens area nursing home was taking his money, and his brother’s…… ”My uncle with Alzheimer’s had said someone was stealing his money all along, but we just brushed it off because we thought it was just in his mind.”

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Turns out that the perpetrator wasn’t some lower-level nursing aid. It was the administrator of the Winterville Retirement Center, Sherrye Dianne Huff, who was arrested and charged with five felony counts.

Apparently, Huff’s alleged crimes are part of an epidemic of abuse at the Winterville, Ga., long-term care facility. Not only is Huff accused of stealing money from other residents. Another employee was recently charged with punching an Alzheimer’s patient in the face. Still another employee is accused of stealing a patient’s meds. All of these incidents occurred within a 3 month time period.

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Protect Your Aging Parents from Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Want to protect your aging parent or loved one from nursing home abuse and neglect? Don’t count on a facility’s promises that all their employees are screened, trained and supervised. In too many care facilities, incidents of self-reported elder abuse fall short of official “zero tolerance” policy.

Outsourcing the day-to-day care of an aging parent is one thing. But trusting each and every nursing home employee to treat your parent as you would is not realistic.

A survey of nursing home citations (not even counting adult home care facilities) showed that 96% of them had been cited for violations of the Medicare and Medicaid rules for operation.  You can be sure that lots of those violations concerned health and safety of the residents.

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There’s just no getting around it: Ultimately, it’s still up to YOU to make sure your parent or loved one is safe.

The easiest way to start is to have family members visit often — daily it at all possible. Take a small notebook with you. Write down the the names of every person who has anything to do with your aging parent.

Be observant. If your parent has any bruises or bandages, ask your parent if they know why. Then ask a caregiver. If you don’t like the answers, or even SUSPECT something is wrong, notify the shift supervisor AND the Director of Nursing. Don’t assume your concerns will be reported. Make sure they are.

Don’t apologize for being persistent. Your job is to make sure your loved one is well cared for — and to let the nursing home staff know you take your job seriously.

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Key Safety Tips to Avoid Nursing Nursing Home Neglect

Want to increase the odds that you or your aging parent is NOT neglected at a long-term care facility? One of the most important considerations is to make sure that the facility is near family and friends…

…residents who are visited regularly by involved and inquisitive family members generally receive better care. Residents who are isolated from family, and who do not have strong-voiced advocates, are more likely to be overlooked.

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Make it your business to know and record the name of any caregiver who has contact with you or your aging parent. Ask questions. Take notes.  And make it a point to review your elderly loved one’s medications for correct dosage and warnings about interactions with other meds. Your goal is to make it known that the elderly person in the bed comes with a lot of people who are actively concerned about their health and welfare.

For more advice on what to look for when considering a long-term care facility, check out these tips from “Neglected to Death,” — a gut-wrenching investigative report by The Miami Herald that exposes conditions in Florida’s assisted living facilities.

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Lawsuit Planned Over Nursing Home Abuse Caught on Hidden Camera

When the family of Lois McCallister caught 3 employees on a hidden camera abusing and humiliating their loved one at the Quadrangle Nursing Home in Haverford, Pa., it became national news.

Since the story broke last month, the 3 staffers have been arrested for elderly abuse and state officials have revoked the Sunrise Senior Living facility’s license. Now the family plans to file a lawsuit, and their attorney has come out swinging…

Their lawyer, Robert Mongeluzzi, says the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare wrote a scathing review when it yanked the license. “Can there be any more powerful rebuke from the government than to describe that care as ‘gross incompetence, negligence, and misconduct’?”…

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The nursing home attributed the family’s reports of suspected elderly abuse to the victim’s dementia. According to the Pennyslvania Department of Public Welfare, Sunrise Senior Living has been cited by the state for numerous regulatory violations.

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