Wednesday, September 21, 2011

UMass hospital has second death involving alarm fatigue

The second patient death in four years involving “alarm fatigue’’ at UMass Memorial Medical Center has pushed the hospital to intensify efforts to prevent nurses from tuning out monitor warning alarms.
Nurses exposed to a cacophony of beeps may no longer hear them or begin to ignore them, and that’s what appears to have happened in the latest case: A 60-year-old man died in an intensive care unit after alarms signaling a fast heart rate and potential breathing problems went unanswered for nearly an hour, according to state investigators who reviewed records at the hospital.

UMass hospital has second death involving alarm fatigue - The Boston Globe

Mass. ranks in bottom half of country for elder care, report finds

Massachusetts ranks 30th of all states when it comes to overall affordability, quality, and availability of services for residents who need long-term care in a nursing facility or in their own home, according to a new national study.
The analysis ranked Massachusetts as one of the most expensive states in the country for the one in seven seniors who are paying for nursing home care out of their own pockets. Only Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Alaska were rated more expensive, according to the report from the AARP Public Policy Institute and two other foundations. The study also found that programs and services for families who care for loved ones at home are significantly lacking. The report found that Massachusetts spends about 39 percent of its long-term care money on services that would allow elders and disabled residents to be cared for in their homes, while the highest-ranked states allocate about 60 percent of their funds on home- and community-based care.Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services, said that the network of state and community agencies and organizations designed to help elders avoid nursing homes is fragmented and needs better coordination. He said that nursing home administrators are worried about patients falling and being fined by state monitors for injuries from falls, prompting nursing homes to restrain patients too often.

Mass. ranks in bottom half of country for elder care, report finds - The Boston Globe

Monday, September 19, 2011

Former nursing home worker pleads no contest in abuse case

A former nursing assistant accused of abusing a 93-year-old woman at a nursing home last year entered into a two-year deferred prosecution agreement Friday in Buffalo County Court.

Shawna Hardesty, 38, of Buffalo City was charged with intentionally abusing an elder patient -causing bodily harm. That was amended Friday to abuse of a vulnerable adult. Hardesty was accused of repeatedly punching the elderly resident of a Fountain City health care center, leaving a baseball-size bruise on her forehead.
The elderly woman who claimed she was abused by Hardesty has died.
Hardesty entered an Alford plea, in which she pleaded no contest to the charge but maintained innocence.
The agreement calls for Hardesty to complete anger management treatment and counseling, perform 40 hours of community service during the first year of the agreement, and not do volunteer or paid work as a caregiver, except for immediate relatives. She is allowed to provide child care services.

Hardesty was also ordered not to have any contact with St. Michael's Lutheran Home.

According to the criminal complaint:
The elderly woman said Hardesty hit her on numerous occasions, including punching her three times in the forehead Aug. 2, 2010, leaving a large bruise and giving her a headache.
"Every time she (Hardesty) comes in this room, I get a biff," the woman said, displaying a closed fist. Hardesty was the only person who attended to the woman that morning.

Hardesty's employment was terminated by the end of that week, according to nursing home officials. She worked at the center about a year.
Former nursing home worker pleads no contest in abuse case - Leader-Telegram: Front Page

Woman's death raises questions about nursing home medical records

Falsified patient records are untold story of California nursing home care
Don Esco sought skilled nursing care at a Placerville facility for Johnnie, his wife of nearly 61 years, when she was recuperating from a bout with pneumonia. She died 13 days later. Esco sued, alleging that the medical charts lied about Johnnie's treatment.
After nearly 61 years of marriage, she died after a 13-day stay at the El Dorado Care Center in Placerville. Recuperating from a bout with pneumonia, Johnnie Esco, 77, was expected to return home with her husband after some rest and skilled-nursing care.
The nursing home and its former owner, Horizon West Healthcare Inc. would soon be at the center of another legal storm.
Johnnie Esco's death on March 7, 2008, led to a contentious civil lawsuit, investigations by California's Department of Justice and Department of Public Health – and the exhumation of her body from Arlington National Cemetery.
Last week, amid inquiries from The Bee, the state Department of Justice reopened its criminal investigation into Johnnie Esco's treatment at the facility.
The case also raised questions about an aspect of nursing home care that many patients and families take for granted: the integrity of medical records.
"They were just penciling in what they wanted to," said Esco, who obtained his wife's medical records after her death.
He summed up his findings during the lawsuit in one word: "Fabrications."

Esco's suspicions about his wife's care at El Dorado Care Center mushroomed into a broad lawsuit filed in 2009 against the facility and its owner, alleging elder abuse, wrongful death and fraud. An integral aspect of the suit, filed by Esco and his three grown children, accused the facility of falsifying, altering and improperly handling the woman's medical charts as far back as her day of admission.

"It's one of the worst types of elder abuse cases because it's not so obvious on its face," she said. "You really had to dig down."
For Clement, digging down meant digging through records, which she says revealed "a high degree of deception" at the Placerville facility. Clement and other attorneys who sue nursing homes say that falsifying patient records is remarkably common, yet rarely punished by licensing authorities or state and local prosecutors.
Industry representatives say these allegations of fraud are unwarranted and unfair, given the reams of paperwork facilities churn out to meet Medicare and other regulatory demands.
Read more:
Woman's death raises questions about nursing home medical records - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News Sacramento Bee