Saturday, August 15, 2009

Medford CNA charged in Epoch Abuse of Elder

Ahead of yesterday’s (8-14-09) shocking charges of elder abuse in Quincy, a Medford nursing assistant was charged Thursday with punching and kicking an 83-year-old Alzheimer’s patient entrusted to her care at a senior center in September 2008, according to the attorney general’s office.

Marie Michael, 54, a certified nursing assistant of Medford pleaded not guilty to charges of elder abuse during her employment at EPOCH Senior Healthcare of Melrose.

The assault was witnessed by the 83-year-old patient’s roommate, prosecutors said.

Hours after Michael’s arraignment, Kara A. Murphy, 23, was arrested in Quincy in the alleged assault of several women in her care at the Atrium at Faxon Woods.

The charges highlight the prevalent problem of elder abuse, which experts say is little more than “bullying” and “power control” over the patients.

Elise Beaulieu, an expert on elder abuse at Boston University’s Institute for Geriatric Social Work called the alleged abuse “tragic.”

She said institutional abuse “betrays the trust families (place in nursing homes) to care for their loved ones. These are horrible breaches of trust,” she said.


see article

Quincy Nurse Aid arrested for 'Abuse" Rampage

8-15-09 Quincy MA.
The Boston Herald under headlines "Nurse Wretched" describes elder abuse alleged against a CNA in a Quincy assisted living facility, the Atrium at Faxon Woods in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The article states: "A young nursing assistant is accused of turning an upscale Quincy assisted-living home into a house of horror after she allegedly slapped and bounced on elderly Alzheimer’s patients in a sadistic barrage police say left the defenseless victims quaking in terror.

Kara A. Murphy, 23, of Quincy is under house arrest after pleading not guilty yesterday to seven counts of assault and battery on a person over 60.

The vicious beatings were allegedly unleased on four elderly women last Saturday during Murphy’s 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift at the Atrium at Faxon Woods in Quincy, according to a police report. The Atrium is a toney assisted-living facility with 60 residents.

In one alleged attack, Murphy - a certified nursing assistant since June 2004 - reportedly grabbed an 89-year-old woman by the jaw during a bowel movement and forced her onto a toilet. “I should make her eat it,” Murphy allegedly told a co-worker.

In another incident, Murphy allegedly bounced up and down on the lap of a wheelchair-bound, 96-year-old woman. “Get off me, get off,” the victim cried, according to the report.

In yet another incident, Murphy allegedly threw a 92-year-old woman onto a wheelchair, slapped her and backhanded her forehead, police said. “Don’t hit me,” the woman pleaded, according to police.

Later on the same day, police said Murphy was assisting a 79-year-old woman in a public bathroom and called to a co-worker for help. When the co-worker went inside, she saw the woman “upset, redfaced and crying,” the police report states. The woman hit Murphy in the shoulder and “then in retaliation, Murphy hit (her) in the shoulder,” the report said.

Murphy was arrested at her home Thursday night after a co-worker alerted police.

The co-worker described Murphy to police as “angry” and said she often hurls expletives at Faxon Woods residents.

Murphy faces 21 years in prison and $7,000 in fines if found guilty.

At Murphy’s home, her aunt, Loretta Palmacci, said, “She’s been a very kind and caring person. I don’t know what happened. Sometimes she would come home very tense. You can imagine all the different things that go on with Alzheimer’s. She could have been abused . . . ”

In a cruel twist, the Atrium staff told police that the victims are unlikely to remember the alleged abuse, given their conditions. “The victims in these types of cases are among the most vulnerable,” said Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating, who’s prosecuting the case."

Teri Marinko, a spokeswoman for Faxon Woods owner Benchmark Assisted Living in Wellesley, said Murphy has been fired. Marinko said the facility conducted a state-mandated background check on her prior to hiring her and found no complaints..."

Attorney Bernard Hamill also of Quincy recently successfully litigated several cases against Kindred Nursing Facility for elder abuse involving a CNA hitting and verbally abusing helpless Alzheimer patients. Hamill said " Just because the victim has an impaired memory does NOT mean there is no damage to the victims. Often they become fearful, angry or withdrawn after this type of physical abuse. And it is clearly illegal in our country to hit any resident in these settings of extreme vulnerability". See those accounts here.

In a separate but similar story, a Medford CNA was also accused of abuse at Epoch Healthcare. Attorney Hamill is also currently litigating a claim in Superior Court against Epoch for Nursing Home Neglect of a patient.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

University of Michigan School of Health Study: Nursing Homes Chains hurt patient care

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Standard marketing and strategic planning practices can hurt patient care throughout a nursing home chain, but only if too much emphasis is placed on such administrative standards to the detriment of clinical and facility standards, a new study indicates.

Research from the University of Michigan School of Public Health suggests that one of the strengths of a nursing home chain—the ability to standardize and perfect administrative practices throughout the chain—also can hurt patient care.

"Consumers need ways to identify what is a good or bad nursing home when making choices about where to place a loved one," said Jane Banaszak-Holl, corresponding author on the study. "Right now, we have an easier time distinguishing the quality in McDonalds versus Boston Market than we have distinguishing how, for example, a Sun-owned nursing home differs from a Beverly Enterprises nursing home."

Chain-owned nursing homes are the predominant type of institutional care provided in the United States, yet studies have shown that the patient care received in chain-owned nursing homes is generally not on par with the patient care received in nonprofit and singly-owned nursing homes. However, little is known about their management structure other than the fact that chain ownership has a significant impact on patient care. This study examines one aspect of management structure.

"If they (chain-owned nursing homes) are really not as good, we need to think about how to improve them," said Akiko Kamimura, a U-M doctoral student in Health Management and Policy at the School of Public Health, and first author of the study.

The study suggests that corporate standardization of clinical and facility processes improved resident care, but that corporate standardization of administrative processes hurt patient care.
..... "What is problematic is a shift away from community values and local needs, and an overly strong emphasis on administrative rather than clinical outcomes."

See full story

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NY nurse aide convicted of elder abuse

In a horrible report detailing an incident of nursing home abuse, a North Salem, New York nursing home aide tied an 83-year-old woman to her wheelchair with a bed sheet, deposited her in a common room, shut the lights out, and napped. The certified nurse’s aide napped for about one hour while the woman was tied to the chair.
According to LoHud, the incident took place at the Waterview Hills Rehabilitation and Nursing Home. Pierre Obas, 72, pleaded guilty to violating public health law involving the abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of a person, said LoHud, a misdemeanor offense. Obas was required to surrender his certification and is not allowed to work in a nurse’s aide capacity for a year from his April 27 sentencing said LoHud, citing court records.
see full article

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to Find a Safe Nursing Home for Loved Ones

1. The more time you have to choose the better
Try to anticipate when your loved one may need nursing care rather than limiting your choices by last minute emergencies.

2. Let your loved one participate in choosing the home.
If your loved one is able emotionally and mentally to review his/her choices it always is better.

3. Visit the home several times
See how many residents are up and dressed after breakfast. Does the facility smell? Are most of the people dressed, engaged in activities? Or do they collectively sit in a holding area for a large part of the day in nightgowns and pajama's? How many over 100 year patients are there - that could be a sign of good care. What is the average length of stay for a resident....

4. Investigate The Nursing Home
The left hand links column in this site has multiple links where you can look up your nursing homes. Pro Publica and Nursing Home Compare has a website to compare nursing homes.
State Departments of Public Health have public information on the quality of care provided.

5. Try the suit on before you buy it
Have a meal in their dining hall. Talk to CNA's, Nurses and residents about how they like the Home. Ask about staffing levels and turnover. Watch the communication and treatment between aides and residents: are they friendly and relaxed or rushed and put out.

6. Proximity to family
Frequent visits from family are crucial and trump many other factors. If the home is near family you will have more visits.

Bernard Hamill

Chicago Nursing Home : no additional staff needed

Alden Management Services did not pledge to hire additional staff in a meeting this month with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Substantial differences in the quality of care residents received at the black homes compared with white facilities has been alleged.

The company did not commit to hiring additional staff for the majority-black facilities, noting that the staffing levels are adequate for the type of care that is needed at those homes.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

New Hampshire is investigating nursing home on allegations of neglect

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the Elms nursing home on allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Manchester, NH– An elderly mans death brings suspicions of nursing home abuse and neglect at The Elms nursing home. An investigation has been launched after concerns were raised by the staff at an area hospital when they noticed poorly treated wounds on the man’s legs, as reported by

The 87-year-old unidentified man died Friday, July 17, 2009 at The Elm’s nursing home. The elderly man was admitted to the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center for unknown medical reasons when the hospital staff became suspicious. The man had serious sores on his legs, which had been wrapped in ace bandages with the skin growing over the bandages. When hospital staff removed the bandages and found the nursing home personnel did not properly treat the sores. Upon further inspection, medical professionals found the man’s catheter was blocked with blood and his genitals were severely swollen. In addition, the elderly man also suffered from dementia and diabetes, and had cuts and an abrasion all over his body, and was unresponsive to nurses and doctors. Doctors and area police alerted the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services Elder Services Division (HHS) of the alleged nursing home abuse on June 28. A full investigation of the case will determine if any legal action will be taken.

See article