Iowa nursing home residents “need more protection, not less”, a sentiment expressed by the Iowa Attorney General and shared by a coalition of 17 attorneys general around the nation in response to the proposed lifting of federal regulations that protect elders from abuse, neglect and exploitation in nursing homes.
In 2016, CMS long term care reforms sought not only protect against abuse, neglect and exploitation, but also moved to prevent nursing home infections, improve training to nursing home staff and ban arbitration agreements that keep family members from suing nursing homes when residents are injured.
Unfortunately, many of the changes, set to roll out in 2017, are instead up for a second look as some fear the requirements would be too burdensome for facilities. In a letter to HHS, attorneys generals around to nation expressed grave concerns that the actions to dial down protections will only threaten the mental and physical security of seniors in nursing homes.
Nursing Home Residents Need More Protection – If You Suspect Elder Abuse or Neglect
Contact Iowa Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer John T. Hemminger For Help
If your family member is injured, exploited or abused in an Iowa nursing home, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced nursing home lawyer to hold the nursing home facility accountable for their actions. Contact Iowa Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyer John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance today at 515-283-2116.
Source: iowaattorneygeneral.gov, “Miller, 17 attorneys general oppose rolling back protections for nursing home residents”, accessed June 12, 2018.
In a nursing home setting, many residents may develop skin conditions, some of which can become deadly if not treated promptly and effectively. Cellulitis and infected ulcers are the most commonly encountered cutaneous infections in the elderly with strains of staphylococcus and streptococci representing the most common causative organisms. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is crucial in preventing morbidity and mortality when cutaneous infections develop, particularly among nursing home residents.
Cellulitis occurs when bacteria enters the deep layers of skin through a wound or sore. Bacteria, which often lay harmless on the surface of the skin, may enter the body through scratches, cuts, grazes or bites and develop into harmful infections that can spread if untreated. Risk factors of developing a life threatening infections increase with a reduced immune response, obesity, lack of mobility and inattention to the signs of a developing infection and a failure to treat.
Nursing Home Bed Sores – Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores) among the elderly are prevalent and can cause significant morbidity and mortality due to the development of infections. Pressure ulcers are areas of necrosis caused by compression between a bony prominence of the body such as heels, ankles, hips and tailbone and external surfaces. Persons admitted to nursing homes have a 13% risk factor of developing a pressure ulcer bed sore within the first year of being admitted, 21% will develop a pressure ulcer in the second year. Limited mobility and poor nutrition are strong predictors of the formation of pressure ulcers so nursing home staff must be particular attentive to prevent onset. Unfortunately, in cases of serious nursing home neglect, some patients suffering from pressure ulcers may go unattended until it is too late.
Nursing Home Neglect – Bed Sores & Pressure Ulcers Lawyers
When families decide to trust the care of a loved one to a nursing home, they expect that their family member will receive competent, professional care. In cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, families often do not know where to turn to hold a nursing home responsible. If your family member has bed sores, pressure ulcers or other injuries while being cared for in an Iowa nursing home, it is important to contact an experienced nursing home neglect and abuse attorney who can help you understand your nursing home resident rights. Call nursing home neglect and abuse attorney John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance today at 515-283-2116.
Recent census data reflects that the U.S. has the greatest number and proportion of people 65 and older in decennial history. This Boomer Generation effect will continue for decades, which will result in many seeking care in nursing home facilities. In fact, in 2014, there were approximately 1.4 million nursing home residents in the country. This raises the specter of widespread elder abuse as many elderly people seeking care can be quite vulnerable to abuse from staff or other residents in a nursing home setting.
The National Center for elder abuse identifies seven types of abuse that the elderly commonly suffer: physical, sexual, emotional or psychological, neglect, self-neglect, abandonment and financial abuse. Family members should be aware of the different kinds of abuse that can take place and be alert to the signs when their family member is in the care of a nursing home facility.
Physical abuse may include actions such as slapping, shoving and kicking or may also include using drugs inappropriately or using physical restraints. Signs include bruising or welts, fractures, cuts, or other injuries to the body. Other signs may include behavioral or personality changes or an elderly person reporting abuse.
Neglect of the elderly in a nursing home setting boils down to refusing or failing to provide the elderly with the care they need. It may include refusing or failing to provide water, food, medicine, hygiene and personal safety. Symptoms and signs may include unsanitary conditions, poor hygiene, dehydration, malnutrition and untreated health problems, such as bed sores.
Financial abuse is defined as illegally or improperly using an elderly person’s assets or other property. In a nursing home setting, away from the eyes of a family member, financial abuse takes on many forms. Symptoms or signs of financial exploitation to look for include:
Contact an Iowa Nursing Home Elder Abuse Lawyer Attorney for Help
Nowadays, many families have a family member cared for in a nursing home setting. It is good practice to be alert to signs of abuse or neglect to protect your loved one from harm. If your family member is injured or abused in an Iowa nursing home, contact the Iowa nursing home elder abuse lawyers at the law offices of John T. Hemminger at 515-283-2116 for immediate assistance.
Following recent news reports regarding various incidences of nursing home abuse and neglect across the country, recommendations have followed instructing families to be alert to signs of abuse or neglect such as weight loss, unexplained injuries or behavioral changes to name a few.
A family in Michigan took that advice to heart noticing that their 89-year-old father had in fact been losing weight and had cuts and bruises on his body since becoming a resident at an area nursing home. Concerned, the family decided to see for themselves whether anything was amiss and installed a camera in their father’s room where their worst fears were confirmed – their dad was indeed a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Unfortunately, stories of nursing home abuse and neglect are all too common. In this case, the family’s attention to their dad’s deteriorating condition likely saved him from further harm. It certainly underscores the importance of being observant to the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect to protect elderly family members.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Abuse can be physical, emotional, financial or sexual. More obvious signs include unusual bruising or bleeding, open wounds, bed sores or cuts, burns and abrasions, weight loss, and poor hygiene. Less obvious signs may include listlessness, strange behaviors, physical or emotional withdrawal, disappearance of personal items or sudden and unusual financial transactions.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Lawyer
Family members who feel as if something is off should follow up on their concerns to rule out abuse or neglect and seek legal help if a family member is injured as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. If your family member has been injured in an Iowa nursing home, contact the Des Moines, Iowa nursing home abuse lawyers of John T. Hemminger for help today at 515-283-2116.
Source: NBC26, “Family sues Michigan nursing home over elder abuse that was caught on camera”, March 5, 2018
The federal Nursing Home Compare website provides rankings for nursing homes along with inspection information so that consumers can have one more tool when trying to decide where their family member will be well taken care of.
Homes are rated based on information on staffing levels, the percentage of registered nurses on board, quality measures such as vaccination schedule compliance or whether a resident is keeping on weight, and state inspections. Homes are awarded one to five stars based on their performance in these areas and only the top ten percent receive 5 stars.
Although it is a useful tool, people looking for care on the behalf of a loved one should keep in mind that two thirds of the information regarding staffing and quality is self-reported and the remaining third is derived from state inspections, which may or may not be current.
It is still important to delve deeper into researching a potential nursing home by talking to administrators about any blips on inspection reports to ensure they have been addressed and to drop in at different times of day to see for yourself how many staff are on hand and how people are being cared for.
Contact Iowa Nursing Home Residents Rights Attorneys
Over 25 Years of Experience Protecting Nursing Home Residents
With all the news coverage regarding nursing home abuse and neglect, families are of course concerned about the quality of care their loved one will receive in a nursing home setting. The federal database along with some detective-like leg work may help you find the right place for you loved one when they need care in a nursing home setting. If you have concerns about an Iowa nursing home or suspect elder abuse, neglect or exploitation in a nursing home or by one of it’s employees, contact Iowa nursing home resident rights attorney John T. Hemminger at 515-283-2116.
The recent departure of Minnesota’s commissioner of health, amid reports of criminal abuse in Minnesota’s nursing homes, is yet another example of the persistent and widespread problem of nursing home abuse and neglect.
These revelations have spurred Minnesota’s Governor to empower the Department of Human Services (DHS) to more proactively investigate alleged cases of nursing home maltreatment. The DHS will now have the authority to “direct Health Department staff, make personnel decisions and implement changes to the agency’s work and investigative process.” Additionally, as part of this initiative, families will no longer be kept in the dark regarding DHS investigations into alleged nursing home maltreatment. Certainly these are steps in the right direction that we can all take a lesson from as more nursing home abuse and neglect allegations come to light.
Like so many states across the nation including Iowa, Minnesota faces a severe backlog of unresolved abuse and neglect cases. This backlog, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has risen from about 4,000 in 2010 to well over 25,000 in 2016. Unfortunately, these shocking statistics spell trouble for all families who have loved ones being cared for in nursing homes everywhere as it points to just how many abuse and neglect reports there are every year and also the fact that there is little being done to address the problems.
Experienced Iowa Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
If you or a family member has been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse resulting in serious injury, don’t wait to seek help. It is important to discuss your concerns with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney to stop harmful actions and to seek compensation for your loved one. Contact the Des Moines nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers of John T. Hemminger Law for immediate assistance today.
Fines against nursing homes for neglect and abuse are set to decrease as part of a broad relaxation of regulations on business under the current administration.
It is a welcome change for the nursing home industry who have complained that, up to now, federal inspectors have placed more emphasis on catching wrong doers instead of helping nursing homes improve. Some say that the time and effort that goes into complying with regulations would be better spent on providing quality care.
However, advocates for nursing home residents are concerned that the revised penalties spell trouble for patients. Since 2013, nearly 6500 nursing homes – a staggering 40 percent – have been cited at least once for a serious violation, which often includes neglect resulting in serious injury to elderly residents. Without the threat of a hefty fine, some believe that a valuable patient safety tool has been lost.
Contact an Iowa Nursing Home Neglect & Elder Abuse Attorney
Unfortunately, with regulations easing on the nursing home industry, there may be more incidences of nursing home neglect and abuse. If you or a family member is injured in a nursing home in Iowa, it is important to seek the help of an experienced nursing home neglect and elder abuse lawyer to hold the facility and their staff accountable. For a free consultation, contact the Des Moines nursing home neglect and elder abuse lawyers of John T. Hemminger Law Office for help today at 515-283-2116.
A central Illinois jury has awarded $5.2 million to a nurse who alleges she was fired from her job at a nursing home after reporting abuse. The nurse claims she was let go because she refused to follow the nursing home director’s orders to increase dosages of anti-anxiety medication to agitated residents and would not change or omit records of suspicious injuries. For her unwillingness to compromise, the nurse was not only awarded back wages, but $5 million in punitive damages.
The ruling holds out the hope that employees that witness abuse or neglect in a nursing home setting will also stand their ground by reporting inappropriate practices at their places of employment and refusing to be part of the problem of nursing home abuse and neglect. The allegations should also remind families that family members in nursing homes are vulnerable to abuse and neglect at the hands of staff or other residents, and sometimes even those in charge may be complicit.
If you suspect that an elderly loved one is being abused, do not hesitate to call law enforcement if you believe your family member is in danger. In other cases of suspected abuse, you should contact the nursing home to make them aware of the abusive behavior on the part of employees or other residents, because they may not be aware that it is occurring and may be able to put a stop to it. You should also make your family member’s doctor aware so that they can help you identify signs and substantiate your claims.
It is recommended that you also follow up with your complaint in writing to assure there is a record of your grievance. Be detailed in your account, providing names, evidence you believe may have be attributed to abuse such as a change in behavior, suspicious injuries or medical conditions, keeping a copy for your records.
Per your contract with the nursing home facility, as part of the established grievance policy, you may be contacted by a representative for more information regarding your concerns and, following an investigation, you will receive results of the facility’s findings and further actions you may take. If you are not satisfied with the results of the investigation, you may also register a complaint with your local Adult Protective Services agency who will initiate an investigation of their own.
Iowa Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect lawyers
Sometimes family members may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home facility for negligence and abuse. If a person’s medication or medical treatment is in question, you may also have a medical malpractice claim. An experienced elder abuse attorney can assist you in protecting your loved one. They have specific knowledge of state and federal laws that may be applicable to your situation. They will assist you with gathering the information and documents to support the allegations of abuse or neglect so the nursing home and their employees are held accountable and seek compensation on your loved ones behalf. Contact the Des Moines Iowa Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect lawyers at the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help today at 515-283-2116.
With incidences of nursing home neglect and abuse coming to light, several states, including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and, more recently, Illinois, have passed laws allowing families to record resident care, and several other states have started their own surveillance pilots. However, in the absence of a state law in Iowa, residents and families can only use them if a nursing home administrator allows it.
Because most nursing homes in the state are privately owned businesses, there are legal barriers when it comes to hidden camera surveillance. However, many argue that the state has the right to investigate anything that could constitute patient abuse, neglect or Medicare fraud. A “covert search” via video recording devices should be included in that right if permission has been obtained from all residents and/or guardians where cameras record resident care activities.
Just last year, Illinois joined the ranks of states that allow families to install cameras in nursing home rooms. The legislation includes specifications for video, audio and still cameras in resident’s rooms and requires facilities to obtain consent from roommates if the installation of a camera is desired. Nursing homes must post signs notifying residents and visitors that rooms may be monitored so no one is caught off guard, eliminating privacy issues that many raise in opposition to camera surveillance in the first place.
Those who have family members receiving nursing home care are hoping to see Iowa come around too. Allowing nursing home residents to possess cameras offers a measure of protection for residents and provides families with peace of mind. After all, a resident’s room is essentially their home and whether they have cameras or not should not be decided by the facility. Many believe that state law should guarantee the right for residents and their families to make this important decision or better yet, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, who pay the bills for roughly 50 to 60 percent of the 1.4 million nursing home residents across the country, should clarify a nursing home residents right to have a camera in their room.
If you or a family member has been neglected or abused in an Iowa nursing home, contact Des Moines nursing home abuse attorney John T. Hemminger. At Hemminger Law Firm, we provide personalized, focused, dedicated legal service. To schedule a confidential, free initial consultation, call us today at 515-283-2116 or contact our offices online.
Most Iowans have elderly loved ones who, unfortunately, are sometimes vulnerable to nursing home abuse or neglect. In fact, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine states that 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have been the victim of some form of abuse, which may include physical, emotional, financial or even sexual abuse. When a family member or friend is isolated in a nursing home setting, the potential for abuse only increases, so it is very important to stay in regular contact to make sure your family member is being well cared for.
Sometimes it is not obvious that abuse or neglect is occurring, so it is important to look for warning signs of nursing home neglect or abuse, which may include:
Research indicates that nursing home patients who are visited often by family, friends, and other loved ones are less likely to experience nursing home neglect or abuse. Being alert to signs of nursing home neglect, emotional distress, or changes in health and looking for problems such as understaffing or safety issues in the nursing home can play a critical role in elder patient care. Effective communication between family members and nursing home staff can help to prevent neglect and abuse from occurring.
Contact Experienced Iowa Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
If you suspect your loved one has been injured due to negligence in nursing home care or is being abused by a nursing home employee, contact an experienced Iowa nursing home attorney at Hemminger Law Firm in Des Moines, IA.
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