Wisconsin Nursing Home Faces New Abuse Allegations

Sun Prairie police and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services are investigating new allegations of nursing home abuse at Faith Gardens Memory Care in Sun Prairie, according to a Madison News 3 report.

The allegations were reported to police on Monday, the report says. No details about the nature of the complaint were yet available. Sun Prairie is less than 20 miles northeast of Madison.

Last December, an 84-year-old Faith Gardens resident was found dead outside the facility. An investigation determined hypothermia was likely in her death. The News 3 report notes that the resident’s family intends to file a lawsuit against Faith Gardens for wrongful death. The family is being represented by Madison nursing home abuse attorney Matthew Boller of Boller & Vaughan.

In February, Faith Gardens was fined more than $4,000 by the DHS and ordered to not admit new residents. The DHS stated the organization failed to provide necessary supervision and ensure that residents received proper care.

Later in February, the DHS found that issues were corrected and again allowed Faith Gardens to admit new residents. An affiliate of Faith Gardens, Faith Living Center, had also been cited for violations.

If you suspect a loved one is a victim of neglect or abuse in a Wisconsin nursing home, please call Boller & Vaughan today at 608-268-0268 or contact us online for your free, confidential consultation. Our attorneys have extensive experience in nursing home abuse cases, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of our vulnerable elderly citizens.

Elder Care Impacts Women’s Ability to Work

A recent New York Time article discussed the reasons behind lower rates of women participating in the workforce around the turn of the century, after 50 years of steadily increasing numbers. The consensus seemed to be the fact that women primarily care for children, and many of them have left the workforce in order to do so, often due to the lack of guaranteed parental leave and the high costs of childcare. The author of this article, however, argues that our country is headed toward an elder care crisis, and that the decline of women in the workforce may very well be attributable to the need to care for aging loved ones.

According to the United Nations, 15% of the American population is of retirement age. This translates into one retired person for every four working persons. Furthermore, 14 million of these older individuals are unable to live independently and/or care for themselves. The burden of this care tends to fall disproportionately on the shoulders of elder Americans’ wives and children. About 25% of women between the ages of 45 and 64 care for an older relative in some respect, as well as one out of every seven of women between the ages of 35 and 44.

Elder care is not an easy subject to broach with your loved ones, but you should take steps to plan for needed long-term care before it becomes necessary. This is the case both with respect to paying for long-term care and determining the different options available to provide the care that is needed. Aside from choosing and paying for long-term care, there are countless situations that can lead to the abuse or neglect of elderly loved ones by caregivers. If you or a loved one is injured in any way as a result of elder abuse, or your family has suffered the loss of a loved one due to negligence by a nursing home or assisted living facility staff, you may be entitled to compensation. This inquiry involves determining which party or entity was at fault for the accident, acted negligently, or otherwise caused the incident that led to your injuries or your loved one’s death. At Boller & Vaughan, our Madison assisted living facility and nursing home elder abuse lawyers can help you with these determinations, and support you through any personal injury or wrongful death claims that you may have.

Most SNF Residents Eligible for Palliative Care Don’t Receive It

Palliative care is specialized medical care for individuals who have been diagnosed with a serious illness, with the goal of providing them with a better quality of life. According to a study conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco (UCSF), almost 70% of nursing home residents are eligible for palliative care, but do not receive the support necessary to meet their needs and improve their quality of life. UCSF studied 228 residents of three northern California nursing homes for five months in 2015. The study results indicated that 157 residents (68.8%) were eligible for palliative care, but none were receiving it, and only two of those individuals were receiving hospice care. Of those 157 residents, 47% were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and almost half of these individuals had a hospital readmission during the past year. Advocates in the industry cite this study as the first prospective evaluation of the palliative care needs of nursing home residents.

The concern for the lack of palliative care available in nursing homes continues to grow, as experts estimate that 40% of all U.S deaths will occur in nursing homes by 2030. A sub-study also revealed that of 17 nursing home residents who were eligible for palliative care, almost 53% rated their quality of life as fair to very poor. This substantiates the common views of nursing home care as having poor symptom control, low family satisfaction, and burdensome, unnecessary transitions during residents’ final months of life.

The lawyers of Boller & Vaughan know the devastation that can occur when residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities do not receive the care to which they are entitled, including palliative care. Fortunately, we have the knowledge and the experience to help you through any type of elder abuse or neglect claim, particularly when injury results from a wholly preventable issue. No matter what type of nursing home facility abuse or neglect is at issue in your case, we can help. All too often, residents and their families are reluctant to demand justice for situations that occurred in the resident’s care. In this situation, you can count on your Madison elderly abuse attorneys to guide you through every step of the personal injury claims process.

Elder Abuse in Native American Communities

Elder abuse in Native American communities, at least in some respects, does not differ from elder abuse in other communities. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect or abandonment, and spiritual abuse all can occur in Native American communities. While readers may be familiar with most of these types of abuse, spiritual abuse may be more prevalent in Native American communities than in other communities. Spiritual abuse can occur when caregivers do not take elder individuals to spiritual ceremonies or take away elders’ ceremonial items.

Native American communities often have elder abuse codes, or protection acts, that address elder abuse in their tribes. In the state of Wisconsin, for instance, the Ho-Chunk Nation Code contains the Elder Protection Act of 2001, which addresses elder abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation. Among other things, the Act addresses the duty of various individuals to report elder abuse and neglect. The Ho-Chunk Nation has its own elder protection workers, who perform investigations and files them with the CFS Elder Protection Program. If a report is substantiated, then it may be forwarded to the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Justice (DOJ) for legal action. Essentially, the Elder Protection Act of 2001 sets forth an institutional framework for assisting elders who are suffering from abuse or neglect.

There are different types of abuse or neglect that can occur to residents in nursing homes, residential care facilities, and private homes, whether individuals are Native American or not. The Wisconsin elder abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan have handled countless claims on behalf of nursing home residents who have suffered serious injuries and even death due to the negligent behavior of nursing home staff and facilities, regardless of the type of abuse or neglect involved. When a serious injury or death of a loved one occurs, we know just how devastating it can be, and how powerless you are likely to feel as a result. Allow your family to begin the healing process from this traumatic event by holding the wrongdoers responsible for your loved one’s injuries. Contact our office today and set up a free consultation with one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys.

HHS Announces New Efforts to Fight Antibiotic Resistance

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a fourth phase of its National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections: Road Map to Elimination. The goal of this plan is to prevent the emergency of antibiotic resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of health care-associated resistant infections (HAIs) through antibiotic stewardship programs. The plan first addressed high-priority infections within acute care hospital settings. The next phase addressed ambulatory surgical centers and end-stage renal disease facilities, as well as increases in influenza vaccination coverage among health care personnel. The third phase included long-term care facilities. Now, the focus is on developing and implementing antibiotic stewardship initiatives.

HAIs are a significant cause of illness and death in all types of healthcare facilities. They can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other less common pathogens. There are certain factors that raise the risk of HAIs, including catheters, surgery, injections, health care settings that are not properly cleaned and disinfected, communicable diseases passing back and forth patients and healthcare workers, and overuse or improper use of antibiotics. Common types of HAIs include central line-associated bloodstream infections, pneumonia, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, surgical site infections, and urinary tract infections.

As the nursing home industry continues to battle with steadily growing antibiotic resistance, the quality of care and staff members continues to become of greater concern. Antibiotic resistance can only add to other conditions in long-term care facilities that cause health problems for seniors. All too often, nursing home staff members do not properly care for their residents, which can lead directly to their injuries resulting from abuse or neglect. At Boller & Vaughan, we focus on protecting the rights of those who have suffered neglectful or abusive actions at the hands of caregivers at nursing home facilities. We have the skills and knowledge to delve into the facts your case, consider all available options, and advocate on your behalf by bringing any legal claims that you may have against the nursing home in question, or its staff members. Call your Wisconsin nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys at (608) 268-0268 and schedule your free consultation today.

Elderly Often Reluctant to Discuss Falls

Senior citizens often become increasingly prone to falls as medical conditions worsen over time. Some estimate that as many as one in three individuals over the age of 65 fall at least once per year. When falls occur, seniors may not tell their family members, caregivers, or medical providers, often out of fear that they will have to move to a nursing home or other residential facility. Seniors may be embarrassed or afraid of losing their independence if they admit to a fall. As a result, injuries to seniors caused by falls may be overlooked or simply go unnoticed. In fact, about 37.5% of senior falls result in injuries that necessitate medical attention or are severe enough to restrict mobility.

Various factors contribute to an increased risk of falls for senior citizens. For example, as individuals age, they often experience balance deficits due to inner ear changes, as well as slowed reaction times. Other conditions that come with aging include muscle atrophy, neuropathy, arthritis, and vision changes, all of which can increase the risk of falling. A few other factors that can lead to falls are side effects of medication and variability of blood pressure.

Just as senior citizens tend to fear, falls are one of the most common reasons for admission to a nursing home. Certain types of falls, such as those that result in hip fractures, can cause about 25% of those individuals to die within one year. Countless other individuals who experience falls never are able to regain their previous level of independence.

The good news is that most falls are wholly preventable. By taking simple precautions, you can help your senior loved one avoid the falls that commonly result in serious and in some cases, life-altering, injuries. While you cannot predict or prevent falls that stem from permanent medical conditions, such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease, other causes of falls can be avoided in many situations. For instance, simply monitoring medication’s side effects carefully and changing medications or dosages as needed can help prevent a situation that easily can lead to falls.

Boller & Vaughan knows how physically and emotionally devastating it can be when a senior citizen falls, particularly when nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are supposed to prevent such incidents. Fortunately, we have the knowledge and the experience to help you through any type of elder abuse or neglect claim, particularly when injury results from a wholly preventable incident, such as a fall. No matter what type of nursing home facility abuse or neglect is at issue in your case, we can help. All too often, residents and their families are reluctant to demand justice for situations that occurred in the resident’s care. In this situation, you can count on your Madison elderly abuse attorneys to guide you through every step of the personal injury claims process.

Senior Malnutrition

In today’s American society, it is hard to imagine how seniors can become malnourished. Nursing homes provide seniors with three meals per day, and there’s always Meals on Wheels. Surely family members help out seniors with preparing meals – right? All too often, seniors have barriers that prevent them from getting the nourishment that they need, and there is no one there to help them.

One such barrier is dementia or other cognitive disorders, which can make the activities of daily living (ADLs), including preparing meals, extremely difficult. Some seniors can no longer drive, which makes it difficult to get groceries from the store. Dental problems can make nutritional foods hard to ingest. Plus, some seniors may have difficulty stretching their budget to always have enough food.

Another reason for senior malnutrition is social isolation. Seniors who have no regular visitors or family nearby may go days without human contact. This can lead to severe depression and exacerbate medical conditions, both of which can lead to malnutrition.

The number of malnourished seniors in America was at an astonishing 3.7 million in 2012, according to a study by the American Academy of Family Physicians. A nutritionist for the federal Administration on Aging, believes the numbers are higher, or as many as half of American senior citizens. Likewise, according to the Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition, one out of every three seniors admitted to the hospital are malnourished. Due to malnourishment, these seniors are more likely to have longer hospital stays, to be readmitted, and to have higher rates of mortality. The resulting health care costs are more than $157 million annually.

There are many different types of abuse or neglect that can occur to residents in nursing home or residential care facilities, including malnutrition. The Wisconsin elder abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan have handled countless claims on behalf of nursing home residents who have suffered serious injuries and even death due to the negligent behavior of nursing home staff and facilities, regardless of the type of abuse or neglect involved. When a serious injury or death of a loved one occurs, we know just how devastating it can be, and how powerless you are likely to feel as a result. Allow your family to begin the healing process from this traumatic event by holding the wrongdoers responsible for your loved one’s injuries. Contact our office today and set up a free consultation with one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys.

Employee Injury Rates Increase in State-Run Skilled Nursing Homes

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, state-run nursing facilities were the most injury and illness-prone state workplace in 2016. In fact, the average rate of workplace injuries and illnesses in 2016 was 8.8 per 100 nursing facility workers. This is three times as much as the overall rate for private employers across all types of industries, and an increase over 2015 statistics.

State-run nursing and residential care facilities had a 13.7 average rate of workplace injuries and illnesses, while state hospitals and correctional institutions had the second and third-highest employee injury rates in 2016. On the other hand, private skilled nursing facilities and facilities run by local governments had much lower rates of employee injury and illness; their rates were 6.5 and 6.1, respectively.

There were 259,800 non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in state-run facilities in 2016. For 111,700 workers, these injuries and illnesses resulted in time off from work, restrictions upon returning to work, or job transfers. While private industry non-fatal injuries and illnesses continue to decrease, those of state-run nursing facilities continue to rise.

As the nursing home industry continues to grow with America’s steadily aging population, the safety of staff members is becoming of greater concern. Without a safe environment for high-quality staff members, care for residents also will suffer. All too often, nursing home staff members do not properly care for their residents, which can lead directly to their injuries resulting from abuse or neglect. At Boller & Vaughan, we focus on protecting the rights of those who have suffered neglectful or abusive actions at the hands of caregivers at nursing home facilities. We have the skills and knowledge to delve into the facts your case, consider all available options, and advocate on your behalf by bringing any legal claims that you may have against the nursing home in question, or its staff members. Call your Wisconsin nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys at (608) 268-0268 and schedule your free consultation today.

Health Care for American Seniors Lags Behind Other Countries

According to a recent Commonwealth Fund study, health care for American seniors still lags behind the senior health care that is available in other industrialized countries. Participants in this study included seniors from the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Although all Americans who are 65 and older are covered by Medicare, American seniors still tend to be sicker and go without essential care more frequently than seniors in other countries. In fact, almost one-quarter of American seniors did not go to a doctor when they were sick, fill a prescription, or get a recommended test, simply because they can’t afford it. In the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, and Norway, only five percent of seniors failed to get essential healthcare due to costs.

The study results indicated that there are several reasons why this might be the case. First, Medicare does not cover as much as insurance options in other countries. For example, Medicare without any sort of supplement does not pay for prescription drugs. In other countries, however, government-sponsored insurance is available for not just seniors, but for everyone. As compared to other countries, the amount that the United States invests in social services programs is much lower than in other countries. On the other hand, America tends to overinvest in health care, despite the limited nature of Medicare benefits.

The fact is that American seniors spend more on out-of-pocket medical expenses than seniors in other countries, due to the fact that Medicare coverage is not as generous as government health care in other countries. In America, 22% of seniors paid more than $2,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs, as compared with less than 10% of seniors in the other countries surveyed, with the exception of Switzerland, where 31% of seniors had more than $2,000 in medical bills to pay.

The failure of America to sufficiently invest in social services programs also resulted in worse financial conditions for seniors, as compared to those in other countries. While 25% of American seniors said that they worried about having enough money to pay for essential needs, such as food, rent, electricity, heat, and medical care, only 10% of seniors in New Zealand, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom had similar concerns.

Even when seniors receive adequate health care, they still may encounter other problems while in long term care facilities. The nursing home abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan pride themselves on advocating on behalf of clients who suffer injuries at the hands of their caregivers, no matter whether those injuries from result from abuse or neglect in a nursing home or in any type of long-term care facility. We can seek compensation for you through the legal system, while you and your family can concentrate on healing, recovering from any trauma that you might have experienced, and moving on with your life. Don’t hesitate to contact our office today and learn how we can help.

Seniors with Mental Health Issues Don’t Always Seek Out Long-Term Care

Mental Health America has developed an online mental health screening tool that almost 10,000 individuals over the age of 65 have utilized since 2014. When asked about end-of-life care, none of the individuals stated that they were looking for skilled nursing care. Rather, they were more concerned with their effect on others toward the end of their lives. Essentially, the surveyed individuals uniformly rejected expensive end-of-life care in favor of having a safe place to live, the ability to interact with family members and friends, and hopes for the future of their children. The bottom line is that when it comes to end-of-life care for those individuals with mental illness, options for long-term care or skilled nursing care are not their priorities. Therefore, allowing seniors, especially those with mental illnesses, to actively participate in their end-of-life care planning can be crucial to their happiness in their final days.

The results of these screenings indicate that existing affordable living options and places to congregate with friends and participate in activities, such as senior centers, may not sufficiently meet the needs of seniors with serious mental illnesses. While these individuals often have physical conditions in addition to mental illness, they tend to seek out remedies for their emotional wellbeing, rather than any remedies for their physical ailments. In order to meet these needs, it is possible that mental health professionals may need to refocus their efforts on providing the level of support that these individuals truly need, rather than focusing on purely medical or nursing care solutions.

The community based residential facility (CBRF) lawyers of Boller & Vaughan are experienced in ensuring that nursing homes and other elderly care facilities live up to reasonable standards in caring for their residents, including meeting their mental health needs. When a nursing home or other type of facility fails to do so, and injury to a resident occurs, the facility may be liable for those injuries. We know how to investigate your case, assess your situation and determine whether you or your loved one has any potential claims against nursing home staff or the nursing home itself. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how we can help you through this difficult situation.

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