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.


What to Ask Your Doctor After a Motor Vehicle Wreck

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are likely to have many emotions and questions swirling in your mind as you begin to receive treatment for your injuries. Whatever the nature of your injuries, however, there are certain questions that you need to ask your doctor following a motor vehicle accident.

Your first questions should concern the nature and extent of your injuries, as well as how those injuries will impact your life, both on a temporary and permanent basis. You need to know exactly what type of injuries you have and the severity of those injuries. Your doctor also should discuss your recommended treatment plan and any other medical professionals that you will need to see in the near future, such as specialists, surgeons, or physical therapist.

Next, you should ask your doctor how your injuries will impact your ability to work. You’ll want to know when and if you can return to work, any restrictions that you would have when you return to work, and the duration of your injuries in terms of returning to work. In some cases, unfortunately, permanent injuries render individuals unable to return to their previous jobs. Based on your injuries, you need to know if and how your injuries will impact some or all of your job duties. If your doctor states that you are unable to work, try to get that in a written format for your employer.

Finally, you should ask your doctor for an average timeframe for your recovery. While no one can know exactly how long it will take you to heal, you do need to have some idea about whether you will be back to work in six weeks or rehabilitating over the next six months. By getting some sense of your recovery time, you can begin to set goals and make plans for the future.

Regardless of the nature of your injuries from a motor vehicle accident, you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you through the personal injury claims process as appropriate. Personal injury claims have strict requirements and deadlines that you must meet in order to maintain a successful claim. Boller & Vaughan are Wisconsin motor vehicle accident lawyers who dedicate their practice to protecting the interests of the injured and their families. Call our office today to set up your free consultation and learn what options are available to you.


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.


Spotting Dangerous Truck Drivers on Wisconsin Roadways

When you are driving on Wisconsin roadways, or any roadways nationwide, you always should be vigilant for dangerous drivers. This is especially the case when it comes to trucks, which typically dwarf the other vehicles on the road. These oversized vehicles can be particularly dangerous, simply due to their size and weight. If you spot a vehicle like this, you immediately should report it to police. If you report a dangerous truck driver, you may be preventing an accident and even saving lives. Here are some common signs of dangerous truck drivers.

First, you may witness a truck swerving between lanes, driving in both lanes at the same time , or failing to use turn signals when changing lanes. All of these signs can point to a dangerous truck driver. Swerving and quickly changing lanes can cause a truck to jackknife, which can result in the trailer toppling over and hitting other vehicles.

Next, speeding is a common sign of a dangerous truck driver, whether you are on a country road, interstate highway, or construction zone. Speeding can result in accidents, such as when a speeding truck comes up behind another vehicle on the highway and rear-ends it. The truck itself can crash, but other vehicles trying to swerve out of the way of the truck may become involved in accidents, as well.

Failing to obey traffic signals and road signs also can be indicative of a dangerous truck driver. A truck driver who disregards a red light or stop sign runs the risk of crashing directly into other vehicles. Some vehicles also may try and swerve in order to avoid hitting the truck; in this case, however, the sudden swerve causes an accident.

When an accident causes serious injuries to you or a loved one, the impact can be devastating. Although some accidents are just that – accidents – others are caused by the negligence of another, such as an inattentive or sleep-deprived truck driver. If you are in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses due to a truck driving accident. Call Boller & Vaughan today and learn how our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys can advocate on your behalf.


Availability of Health Care for American Seniors Lags Behind that of 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 call our office today and learn how we can help.


Car Wreck Injuries that May Not Appear Immediately

After being involved in a car accident, you may think that you escaped serious injury and are perfectly fine. In fact, you are so sure that you weren’t injured in the minor car wreck that you refuse medical attention and don’t follow up with your physician over the next few days. After several days go by, however, you may experience pain from car accident-related injuries that are just beginning to surface. There are several different symptoms that you may not experience at all until several days after being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

For example, if you begin to experience serious headaches within a week or so of the accident, it could be a sign of a potentially serious injury that you didn’t realize that you had sustained. You might have a blood clot on your brain, a neck injury, a concussion, or a traumatic brain injury. Therefore, it is essential that you immediately go to the doctor in order to rule out or treat these serious injuries as needed.

Another injury that commonly does not surface until days following an accident is whiplash, or what amounts to neck and/or shoulder pain and stiffness. Even an accident in which you were rear-ended at a very low speed, for instance, can result in a whiplash injury. In fact, most whiplash injuries stem from a rear-end collision during which the vehicles were traveling at 14 miles per hour or less. Whiplash injuries can be minor annoyances, or serious problems, depending on your situation. You may need x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs in order to check for serious injuries symptomatic of whiplash.

Internal bleeding from a car accident often will occur for hours or even days prior to you noticing the injury. Your abdomen may begin to swell or develop deep purple bruising. You may experience unexplained faintness or dizziness. These symptoms could be indicative of internal bleeding, which can be an extremely severe, and even life-threatening, medical condition. If you suspect internal bleeding, then you should contact emergency medical personnel immediately.

At Boller & Vaughan, we know that suffering serious injuries in an automobile accident or any other type of traffic accident can be a stressful, emotional, physically painful, and financially draining event. Allow us to take some of the burden of this situation from you and your family by handling your personal injury claim, which will allow us to work toward getting you the compensation that you need and deserve. As skilled Madison personal injury lawyers, we are here to help you through this ordeal from a legal perspective, while you concentrate on healing from your injuries and recovering from the financial impact of the accident.


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.


What Questions Should I Ask When Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney?

When you meet with an attorney for any reason, you should ask questions that will help you determine if the attorney is right for you and able to meet your needs. Wrongful death claims can be particularly difficult to discuss, simply because you are likely in the midst of grieving the loss of your loved one. If you are in this situation, you will need an experienced Wisconsin wrongful death attorney who is both sympathetic to your needs and able to present the strongest wrongful death claim possible on your behalf.

First, ask about an attorney’s experience. Has he or she handled many wrongful death claims? Has he or she filed wrongful death claims in situations similar to yours? After all, you may not want to hire a medical malpractice attorney if your loved one was killed in a car accident. How many years has he or she been practicing law? Does he focus his practice on wrongful death claims and related matters, or are wrongful death claims just one of the many different types of cases that he handles. You have the right to ask for references or client testimonials from the attorney, so that you can get another person’s opinion of the attorney’s ability to represent your interests.

Next, you will want to ensure that your attorney has adequate time to spend on your case. You can ask about the types and number of cases that an attorney handles, whether the attorney is available on nights or weekends if those times are best for you, and whether you can communicate with the attorney via email or by phone. Will the attorney return your calls, or will you only be able to talk to the attorney’s assistant? How long will it take for the attorney to return your call or respond to your email?

Boller & Vaughan are experienced Madison wrongful death lawyers who know Wisconsin law and know how to effectively represent your interests in any wrongful death or personal injury claim stemming from an accident, whether it is a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, or animal bite. Contact our office today and learn how our attorneys can help ensure that you receive the compensation in your case to which you are entitled.


Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking, and Advance Directives

A recent Kaiser Health News article tells the story of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease whom her husband claims was being spoon-fed against her written wishes. According to the article, the woman had drafted advance directives when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, in which she requested that no measures be taken to prolong her life, including artificial nutrition and hydration. The woman’s husband interpreted the advance directive to include the spoon-feeding, and even went to court to enforce the document’s provisions. A local judge, however, rejected his request, finding that state rules and regulations required nursing homes to offer residents three meals each day, and to provide assistance with eating, if necessary.

This case has highlighted a controversial subject; many terminally ill patients are attempting to engage in voluntary stopping eating and drinking, or VSED , by executing advance directives. VSED normally is used to hasten the death of a terminally ill patient through dehydration, and usually will result in death within a two-week timeframe. One of the difficulties with VSED is the patient’s competence to make the decision when the time comes. For example, the woman mentioned above continued to open her mouth to be fed food and intake water, long after she could legally consent to VSED. Advocates of VSED claim that it can allow a terminally ill patient to control the circumstances of his or her death. Critics, however, see VSED as cruel torture that leads to the starvation of elderly, disabled, and mentally ill individuals.

In the state of Wisconsin, you can execute a living will, as well as a health care power of attorney, both of which can express your wishes about end-of-life care. A living will allows you to specify the type of life-sustaining nutrition (if any) that you want to receive if you are in a terminal condition or a persistent vegetative state with no chance of recovery. On the other hand, a health care power of attorney allows you to appoint a person to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make those decisions. A health care power of attorney covers not only decisions related to end-of-life care, but all other health care decisions.

At Boller & Vaughan, we are here to stand up for the rights of senior citizens and their families who have suffered injuries from abuse or neglect, whether physical, emotional, or financial, while under the care of those are supposed to prevent such injuries from occurring. Contact us today at (608) 268-0268, set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys, and discover how we can help.


Steps to Avoiding Dog Bites

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that there are 4.5 million dog bites each year, and one out of every five bites becomes infected. Many Americans have family dogs, which makes totally avoiding dogs next to impossible. In fact, more than half of all dog bites occur at home with dogs that are familiar to the victim. However, there are some simple steps that you can take in order to avoid the serious injuries that can result from a dog bite.

If you encounter an unfamiliar dog, you should remain motionless, rather than running from the dog. You should try not to panic or make any loud noises. Do not make direct eye contact with the dog, and tell it “No!” or “Go Home” in a firm and deep voice. Stand with the side of your body toward the dog, as facing the dog from the front can appear aggressive. If the dog knocks you over, you should curl into a ball on the ground with your head tucked and your hands over your head and neck.

Similarly, you should not approach or allow a child to approach a dog that is unfamiliar to you. Don’t ever disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or taking care of puppies. Allow the dog to see and sniff you first, before attempting to pet even a familiar dog. Encouraging dogs to play aggressively also can result in an unexpected dog bite, even if it is with your own dog. Even if you are familiar with the dog, still use caution. A dog may bite if he or she is startled, so avoid coming up behind or waking a sleeping dog.

We are the Wisconsin dog bite lawyers to whom you always can turn if you or your loved one suffers serious injuries from the bite of a dog or another animal, or another type of accident. No matter how complex or difficult your situation may be, the Madison injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to advocate on behalf of you and your family and hold negligent individuals responsible for any injuries that have occurred.


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