Are your loved ones safe in Ohio nursing homes?

The Plain Dealer launches investigation into conditions at Ohio nursing homes

On March 19, John Caniglia and Jo Ellen Corrigan of The Plain Dealer published the initial findings of a multi-part investigation into Ohio’s nursing homes. Their report reveals a number of concerning statistics about the quality of care in facilities around the state and highlights tragic incidents of negligence and abuse.  Continue reading “Are your loved ones safe in Ohio nursing homes?”

5 tips from an Ohio nursing home neglect lawyer for choosing a good nursing home for a family member

By Craig McLaughlin

In 2010, the United States Census Bureau recorded the greatest number of people age 65 and older in census history.  The number was 40.3 million people, or 13% of the population, and that number is only going to go up into the future.  As people live longer, many Ohioans are going to need medical care and assistance that can only be found at a nursing home.  There are almost 1,000 nursing homes in Ohio. So how can you find out what is a good nursing home vs. a bad one? Here are 5 quick tips to help you select a nursing home for your family member.

1. Check out the nursing home on the Ohio Department of Health and Medicare websites

choosing the right nursing home
Photo: Ulrich Joho/CC BY 2.0

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is responsible for monitoring and regulating nursing homes in Ohio.  These facilities are subject to regular inspections by investigators from the ODH.  The ODH puts out the Long-Term Care Consumer Guide which contains inspection reports, facility details, family satisfaction survey scores, and resident satisfaction survey scores.

Many Ohio nursing home residents pay for their care by using Medicare and Medicaid.  In order for a nursing home to receive payment from the government, it must comply with minimum standards that are established.  The Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services monitors and compares these facilities to see which ones are doing a good job. Their website, Nursing Home Compare, contains quality of care information on more than 15,000 nursing homes.

2. Visit the nursing home to see how the staff interacts with each other

I recommend that you actually go and visit the nursing home and spend an hour or two in the waiting area or other common areas of the facility and just observe what happens in a typical day.  Pay attention to how the nurses, therapists, and aides interact with each other.  Chances are if they are being rude to each other, then they are going to be rude to your family member, especially when you’re not there.  Also, watch to see if they are taking the time to talk to the residents or are too busy gossiping with each other and are ignoring the residents.

3. Ask questions of the nurses and nurse’s aides

In the past, many of the owners of Ohio nursing homes lived in the same community and knew many of the residents before they even started living at the nursing home.  They treated the residents like family.  This has changed as more and more nursing homes are bought up by large national corporations who are more concerned with cutting costs in order to improve their stock price.  With Medicare reimbursement and Medicaid reimbursement rates remaining flat and expenses going up, this often results in staffing of the nursing homes being kept to the bare legal minimum. This means nurses and aides are often overworked and underpaid.

I encourage you to ask actual nurses and nurse’s aides at the nursing home how long they have been at that particular facility.  If the nurses and aides have been there a long time, then that is a good sign the employees are being compensated fairly, are not being stretched too thin, and will likely provide better care to your family member.  Also, ask them if they work a lot of overtime or double shifts. If the answer is yes, then that can be a bad sign that patient care is going to be negatively affected by short staffing.  Please remember you need to get past the marketing person who is giving you a fancy brochure and a tour of the facility and ask questions of the actual care providers.

4. Give the nursing home the smell test

It’s a sad fact aging can lead to the loss of bowel and bladder control.  A person’s medication can also cause gas.  These things can lead to some unpleasant, but not unexpected smells, at a nursing home.  However, if the facility smells like stale urine, then that can be a sign the nursing home is not being cleaned routinely or correctly.

5. Give the nursing home the taste test

Ask the nursing home if you can eat a meal in the dining area. Where the residents eat, how the food looks, and how it tastes is also a good indicator of the quality of care your family member will receive at the nursing home. If a lot of the residents eat their meals in their rooms instead of the dining area, then that can be a sign that they are not receiving a lot of attention from the staff.  Is the food visually appealing? Is it edible? Food is often very important not only for good physical health, but also can improve the spirits of your family member.

With the baby boomer generation getting older and people living longer, it should be no surprise that new nursing homes are being built in Ohio.  But how do you know if these new facilities or existing nursing homes are any good? If you are faced with the difficult decision of putting your loved one into a nursing home or some type of assisted living facility, then I encourage you to follow these five tips in order to select a safe place for your family member.

 

Craig McLaughlin represents people who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of nursing home neglect, motor vehicle crashes, defective products, workplace accidents, and medical negligence. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, AVVO, and is a life member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

 

Basic Facts Everyone Should Know About Elder Abuse

nursing_homeAs people age, they may become less able to physically defend themselves or stand up to an abusive caregiver. There are more than half a million reports of this each year, and professionals estimate that at least a few more million cases occur annually but are simply not reported. Abuse may come in many forms, including emotional, abusive, and financial, among others. Learn what signs to look for in elderly family members, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. An elder abuse attorney specializes in helping victims who are in situations of mistreatment. If a loved one dies at the hands of an abusive caregiver, the family should seek the guidance of a wrongful death attorney to discuss this difficult situation and learn about the legal rights they may have.

Physical abuse includes all types of assault, such as pushing or shoving but also the inappropriate use of confinement, drugs, or restraints. Emotional abuse occurs when a caregiver causes undue emotional pain or distress to the elderly person through yelling, insulting, or blaming him or her. Isolating the person from friends and family is also considered emotional abuse. These are all signs that may indicate abuse of some type:

  • Unexplained signs of injury, such as bruises or cuts
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
  • Torn or dirty undergarments
  • Caregiver denies contact or visitation with others, especially without him or her being present
  • Caregiver threatens or belittles the elderly person
  • Elderly person rocks or mumbles to himself, much like someone with dementia

If someone you love has been injured due to nursing home neglect or elder abuse, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

The Growing Problem of Elder Abuse

elder abuse a growing problemFor many of us, moving aging parents and other relatives into a nursing home or similar facility is a sad, yet necessary decision. Unfortunately, countless elderly people are abused, neglected, and exploited by the caregivers at such facilities. This is commonly known as elder abuse.

Elder abuse is any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or other person that creates an unreasonable risk of harm to a vulnerable elderly person. The abuse can be physical, emotional, or even sexual, and it can have serious consequences, including death.

You should consult with an elder abuse attorney immediately if your parent or other loved one has been injured or killed due to suspected elder abuse. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people fall victim to mistreatment by trusted caregivers and other adults every year, and the problem may be bigger than we thought due to underreporting.

Legislatures in all fifty states have passed elder abuse prevention laws. These statutes define the abuse and set forth punishments. Criminal statutes often allow for enhanced penalties if the victim is older than a specified age, meaning that elder abuse can have severe consequences.

If your elderly parent or relative has been seriously injured or died due to such mistreatment, an elder abuse attorney can help you obtain payment for their injuries, pain and suffering, as well as compensation for any losses you sustained due to their injury or death.

 

Source:

“What is Elder Abuse?” – Administration on Aging, Department of Health & Human Services

Loved One Hurt in Nursing Home

Ohio attorney Bill Campbell discusses the most common forms of injury to residents of a nursing home or long-term care facility.

It can be a very difficult time when we have to put a parent or a loved one in a nursing home. It’s stressful, emotional and can be very challenging.

So, when we hear stories in the news about lawsuits and nursing home abuse, it can add even more pressure and troubles to the entire ordeal. But the reality is that nursing home abuse is real.

One of the most common injuries a resident can suffer is a bed sore (also known as a pressure wound). A bed sore occurs when the patient spends too much time on a part of their body and the skin basically begins to break down.

To combat this situation and any other medical issues, nursing home facilities are tasked with putting together a comprehensive care plan for each resident. The staff meets with doctors, nurses, nutritionists and even the families of the resident to discuss the exact needs of your parent or loved one. This plan is tailored to meet the needs of their well being by understanding their medical needs, nutritional needs and even hygiene.

Unfortunately, sometimes this plan is not followed. When the care plan that was put in place at the facility becomes compromised, the resident may not be turned enough and develop bed sores, become trapped in a bed-rail or be seriously injured in a fall. This can be due to poor communication, an undertrained staff or even overworked staff. Whatever the reason, your parent or loved one was put in danger and suffered pain.

If we can demonstrate that the facility or its employees acted in a negligent manner, we can bring a claim against them and hold them liable for any damages your loved one has incurred. These damages can include medical bills, disability, disfigurement as well as pain and suffering. If you suspect your loved is suffering from abuse or neglect, you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can help your family recover from nursing home abuse.

To learn more about nursing home abuse law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Bill Campbell