We see it all the time. Someone is admitted to a long term care facility in Virginia (nursing home or assisted living) and their medications are immediately changed. Within days, the nursing staff finds some behavioral issue (falls, wandering, lack of appetite, depression, aggression, refusal to comply with staff requests) with the resident and asks…[Read More]
Have you noticed that when mama gets a UTI, she gets confused? She feels weak, sleepy and has no energy? Have you also noticed that when she gets the right antibiotic, drinks more water, she feels better in a few days? According to the National Institute of Health, “most urinary tract infections are caused by…[Read More]
I get it. I get it because I’ve been there. You have a loved one who is disabled or older and you are states away. You can’t be there to visit daily, check on home health, interview aides, complain to the nursing home administrator or tell your loved one in person they are loved. When…[Read More]
So one plus of having billions of our tax dollars going to pay for Granny’s nursing home stay (Medicare pays first 100 days typically and then if Granny qualifies, Medicaid pays the remainder) is that the feds keep a close eye on their money. And last year, the feds released a four year study that…[Read More]
In November of last year a Southside Virginia group home operator was convicted and sentenced for criminal abuse and neglect for failing to obtain sufficient medical care for an injured group home resident. The Court of Appeals in Virginia, has just upheld the court’s conviction. Often we will receive calls from family members whose loved…[Read More]
Nursing homes are interesting places. They (by law and definition) have health care available 24 hours a day, and yet, sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes, nursing home residents get sicker and need immediate emergency help from a hospital. I have had more than one (probably 20) families tell me that when they expressed concern…[Read More]
We are living longer. But that doesn’t mean our later years are always golden. Imagine spending the last 3 weeks of your life strapped into a geri-chair next to a nurses station in a sterile, bright and cold nursing home. Imagine spending the last hours of your life alone, unable to speak, or eat, with…[Read More]
The over-medication of nursing home patients is a major problem.
By overmedication, I don’t mean too many pills for various acute or chronic conditions – but rather, whether patients are given too much of a medication such that their behavior was altered, or their behavior subdued.
Think overdose. Think somnolent, sleepy, not easy to awake, “out of it,” drugged, etc.
The U.S. Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services has been encouraging nursing home physicians to find alternatives for the overuse of anti-psychotics in elderly patients. Doctors were prescribing drugs like Haldol, Seroquel, or Abilify to dementia patients despite warnings that such medications are not approved for use in elderly populations.
What happens when nursing home residents get too many antipsychotic drugs?
Today, I was reviewing a survey by the Virginia Department of Health of a local nursing home.
What’s a survey? It’s basically a long report where the investigator, a surveyor, comes into the nursing home to see whether the facility and its staff are actually following the law and properly treating residents.
These investigations typically happen once per year, sometimes more, depending on the seriousness of the allegations and whether any consumer complaints have been made during the past 12 months.
And yes, you can contact the state to file a complaint if you suspect a nursing home has mistreated a loved one. The surveyor will follow-up on your complaint for you (and we often can help you file a complaint).
Anyways, the survey of this particular Virginia nursing home found some very upsetting things were going on:
- Nurses were documenting in the patients chart that they had performed certain care, when they hadn’t;
- Nurses were cleaning pressure ulcers (think bed sore) then putting the old dirty bandage back on OR documenting they cleaned the wound and didn’t;
- Nurses were failing to notify the doctors when they were out of medications;
- Nurses were failing to notify the doctor when patients had lost significant weight;
- Nurses were failing to notify doctors when patients got sick.
Now, I don’t think for one minute that staff intended to harm their patients. But why does elder abuse and neglect occur in Virginia nursing homes?
This month, a Kentucky jury awarded the plaintiff’s family $8 million for the wrongful death of a nursing home resident whose legs were broken following a horrific fall.
Even worse, evidence showed that staff altered his records to cover their mistake. Moments after the verdict, the defense attorney denied wrongdoing: “We categorically deny that there was any cover-up whatsoever.” “No abuse or neglect was ever substantiated.” The jury thought differently.
When Virginia nursing homes alter patient records, we can often tell – the cover-up is all too obvious.