Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements - Use a Power of Attorney to defeat?

Nursing Homes are routinely denying wrongfully injured consumers access to the Courts by inserting mandatory arbitration agreements into their lengthy admission packets. Usually, consumers or their representatives are unaware that they have signed a document that forfeits or severly limits important civil rights.

In my website I have addressed a possible solution to defeat this practice by Nursing Homes  by using a properly worded Power of Attorney document as part of their estate plan prior to going into a long term care facility.

The Nursing Home Power of Attorney would include a clause prohibiting your health care agent from unwittingly signing away your right to suit for injuries before you've even gone into the nursing facility. It would preserve your right to a jury trial of your peers rather than having to use an arbitrator who is dependant on large nursing Home chains for a continued stream of lucrative nursing home business.

Massachusetts Nursing home residents risk losing bed with Medicaid cut

Massachusetts nursing home residents who are briefly hospitalized or leave to visit their family risk losing their bed under a state funding cut finalized yesterday that illustrates the tough choices confronting state government in an era of tight budgets.

“I certainly appreciate the concerns raised by residents, advocates, caregivers, and members of the Legislature, but given our budget constraints, we had to move forward with this decision,’’ Dr. Julian Harris said in an interview.
The new rule goes into effect Nov. 1, Harris said
Federal law requires nursing homes to readmit a resident after a temporary leave to the first available bed in a shared room, but it does not guarantee the same room or bed as before.
Because so many nursing home residents have dementia, the prospect of facing a new bed and room each time they return can be especially confusing, advocates said.

“Imagine the stress this will put on families, heading into the winter holiday season, and they’re thinking, ‘I will have to tell my loved one that I won’t be able to bring them home for Thanksgiving because they’ll risk losing their bed,’ ’’ said Debbie Banda, director of the Massachusetts office of AARP, a major interest group representing older Americans.

Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a statewide consumer group, collected petitions bearing nearly 1,600 signatures in hopes of persuading lawmakers and the Patrick administration to save the program and seek cuts elsewhere in the state’s $10.3 billion Medicaid budget.

“There will be devastating consequences to residents if they lose their beds in the place they call home,’’ said Arlene Germain, the group’s president.

Nursing home residents risk losing bed with state Medicaid cut - The Boston Globe

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ManorCare's neglect was fatal, West argues in Court

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Workers in an understaffed nursing home failed to properly care for an 87-year-old woman who had stayed there for about three weeks before dying of dehydration, lawyers for the woman's son said during the first day of a civil trial Tuesday in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
Too few nurses were on staff in Heartland of Charleston to make sure Dorothy Douglas, who suffered from dementia and Alzheimer's, was eating food and drinking water, lawyers for her son Tom told a jury. ..... after three weeks at Heartland, she was covered in bruises, sores and scars in various stages of healing, Quezan said. "You will find that the reason," Quezan said, "is that she was literally dying of thirst."
Before she was admitted to Heartland, the elderly woman could walk, talk and recognize family members, Quezan said.  Quezan claimed that Heartland intentionally keeps the home understaffed to increase the revenue generated by its residents. Heartland is owned by ManorCare Inc.,"
see full article:
Care home's neglect was fatal, lawyers argue - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -

Why are Hospital Errors so Rampant in the U.S.?

Excellent ARticle in the Washuington Monthly about the cause of so many medical errors in the U.S. The Article ponders this issue:

"Last year there wasn’t a single fatal airline accident in the developed world.

So why is the U.S. health care system still accidently killing hundreds of thousands?"

Their answer is a lack of transparency.

First Do No Harm - Marshall Allen

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Winnipeg nursing home resident dies from neglect

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's Health Department says that negligent nursing home staff so thoroughly failed to treat an elderly woman who later died in hospital that their actions amounted to "physical abuse by neglect."

Officials are reviewing care at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre, where Lillian Peck, 93, suffered as her skin became infected by her own feces and later ruptured.
"Documentation on basic nursing care, assessment and treatment, and examination of the wound itself was absent," Bernadette Preun, assistant deputy minister of health, wrote in a letter dated July 20 that was made public Monday. "The evidence further showed staff were uncertain and lacked confidence in their knowledge of the wound and how to treat it." Negligent wound care may have caused the nursing home  wrongful death.

Peck was at the home last October and was generally alert and in good spirits, according to her daughter Marsha Palansky. Palansky said she visited frequently and ensured her mother had a companion that would walk her around several hours each week.

Neither realized Peck was suffering an infection in her pelvic area until her health deteriorated and she was transferred to a hospital. That's when Palansky was shown how the infection had affected her mother.

"The skin was black. At one point, one of the doctors thought she might have flesh-eating disease, that's how dark it was," Marsha Palansky said Monday. "I literally broke down. I could not believe anybody could be in that condition.
Peck had not been washed after bowel movements, Palansky said. She died from heart and renal failure two days after being moved to the hospital. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has apologized to Peck's family and said it is reviewing standards at all nursing homes in its jurisdiction.
Seven nurses have been disciplined, including one who no longer works at the home, and the facility has implemented an improvement plan. "It should not have happened," said Real Cloutier, the authority's chief operating officer. "A big part of this was ... just not following the protocols in place."
Manitoba Health is also conducting a thorough review of the 200-bed nursing home, which bills itself on its website as "one of the most respected personal care homes in Winnipeg."
Palansky said she hopes no one else will go through what she has. "I'm hoping that this home becomes a quality long-term care home," she said. "But I don't think a lot of education (of staff) has happened."

Winnipeg nursing home resident dies after being neglected: government review - Winnipeg Free Press