Study Shows Quality of Life Improves After Move to Assisted Living

An article published in HomeCare late last year profiles A Place for Mom, which is the largest referral service for senior living in the United States. This service provider recently released data showing that 73% of families indicate that the quality of life of their senior loved one improved after he or she moved to an assisted living facility. This data shows that despite how difficult it may be to move a loved one out of his or her home, it actually turns out to be beneficial in most cases.

Before moving from their homes, 62% of seniors said that they would rather remain in their homes. Nonetheless, after a move to assisted living, the families of these seniors reported that not only did their loved ones’ social and emotional wellbeing improve, but there were improvements in their loved ones’ nutrition and physical health. The move to assisted living also benefits caregivers; 60% of caregivers experienced improvements in their quality of life and 70% of them experienced an insignificant financial impact following the move of their loved one to an assisted living facility. These statistics show that contrary to popular belief, staying at home as a senior citizen is not always what is best for everyone involved.

Furthermore, about 85% of families caring for a loved one in later life put off their search for alternative senior housing because their loved one doesn’t want to move or fears that he or she will receive substandard care. Half of these families have a negative perception of assisted living facilities, particularly when they are in the initial stages of searching for an appropriate facility for their loved one. Despite the misgivings of the family and their loved one, the outcome following a move to assisted living is generally a positive one.

There are many different types of abuse or neglect that can occur to residents in nursing home or residential care facilities. 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.


Watch Out for Farm Vehicles and Machinery on Wisconsin Roads

Summer is upon us, which means that more and more tractors and farm implements will be crowding Wisconsin roadways. Farmers have an important job that requires the use of heavy machinery. Drivers need to respect machinery on the roadways, such as farmers need to respect other drivers.

Over the past five years in Wisconsin, crashes involving agricultural vehicles have resulted in death for 16 people and injuries for another 517 people. Drivers must stay alert for farm machinery and vehicles, particularly on rural roadways. When a driver sees a fluorescent orange triangle or other sign of a slow-moving vehicle, he or she should immediately slow down. A driver also should take extreme care when attempting to pass a farm vehicle, as it tends to take up more of the roadway than a normal vehicle. Also, keep in mind that Wisconsin law prohibits passing an agricultural vehicle in a no-passing zone; a driver only may pass in a legally valid passing zone.

As agricultural vehicles and machinery tend to be wide, heavy, and slow-moving, Wisconsin drivers should take special care when approaching these vehicles, either from behind or head-on. When driving behind a farm vehicle, you follow at a distance that allows you to stop suddenly if need be. Farm vehicles and machinery also move far more slowly than other vehicles, which may cause other drivers to approach the vehicles more quickly than anticipated, also creating the need for a sudden stop.

Drivers of agricultural vehicles and machinery also should be aware of the rules and regulations that govern their vehicles, such as lighting and marking requirements that indicate their shape, size, and speed. There are specific requirements for different types of vehicles, so farmers need to be aware of the requirements.

The intersection between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims is very complex, and you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you through the claims process as appropriate. Each type of claim has strict requirements and deadlines that a claimant 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. Contact our office today to set up your free consultation and learn what options are available to you.


Evaluating Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Many people find themselves in the unenviable position of having to evaluate nursing homes and assisted living facilities on behalf of a loved one who no longer can reside at home. While you want the appropriate persons to care for your loved one, you also want him or her to be able to make decisions and perform tasks as he or she is able. When you have no personal or professional experience in evaluating these facilities, it can be quite a daunting task. However, there are a few things that you always should look for when considering the suitability of a nursing facility or assisted living facility for your loved one, as well as whether the facility offers a person-centered approach.

First, you will want to make sure that the facility is willing to get to know your loved one personally and respect his or her normal routines, likes, and dislikes. If your loved one is unable to express these wishes due to a medical condition, such as dementia, there should be a questionnaire or interview with family members in order to gather this information.

Next, you may ask whether the same people will be consistently caring for your loved one, or if there may be many different people filling that role. Consistency is always helpful to senior citizens, and a sudden change can be quite distressing. Having a team that almost always cares for the same patients can be critical to an elderly patient’s needs.

You also should ask questions about your loved one’s ability to make decisions, such as when to get up and when to go to sleep, when and what to eat, and when to not be disturbed. Maintaining a consistent routine can be key to your loved one’s well-being.

Finally, you should ask questions about the daily routines of facility residents. How often are they bathed? Do they have to get dressed each day? Do they have to eat in the common dining room or can they eat privately in their rooms? Is there time for activities, and what kind of activities are offered at the facility? These questions should help you get a clear picture of daily living in the nursing or assisted living facility.

Choosing between long-term care facilities and in-home care can be a difficult decision. It is hard to determine not only what level of care is appropriate and ensure quality of care, but also to how fund long-term care. As the nursing home industry continues to grow with America’s steadily aging population, the quality of care and staff members continues to become of greater concern. 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.


Ignition Interlocks and Wisconsin Law

Wisconsin law requires that individuals equip their vehicles with ignition interlock devices in certain situations. These devices prevent an individual from driving while intoxicated; before the vehicle will start, the driver must blow into the device, which measures the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). If the device detects any amount of alcohol, the vehicle will not start so that the individual cannot drive. The ignition interlock devices essentially operates as a personal breathalyzer machine. Furthermore, in order to prevent the driver from drinking after he or she begins operating the vehicle, the device may require additional breath samples from the driver while he or she is driving.

In 2010, Wisconsin incorporated requirements for installing mandatory ignition interlock devices in certain situations where an individual has been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Anyone who is convicted of a second or subsequent operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) is required to install an ignition interlock device. Additionally, an individual whose BAC measures 0.15 or more must install an ignition interlock device, even if it is his or her first offense. The device must be installed in every vehicle that the individual has registered or owns.

Wisconsin law requires that if a driver had a mandatory ignition interlock device, it must remain installed for at least one year. The time that the device must remain installed is usually consistent with the time that the driver’s license is suspended. Therefore, different cases may have different mandatory periods of ignition interlock device installation. Plus, if you take any action to disable, fail to install, disconnect, or circumvent the device, you will face an additional six months of mandatory ignition interlock installation.

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 distracted driver. If you are in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys can advocate on your behalf.


Screening Patients for Frailty

HealthDay recently published the results of a research study completed by a team from the Medical College of Wisconsin last fall. Although the study found that screening older adults for frailty resulted in better outcomes and chances for survival, this screening often does not occur, thus causing the frailty to go completely unnoticed, to the detriment of the patient.

The study involved 125 patients with a median age of 70 and who were facing major thoracic surgery, such as full or partial removal of the lung or esophagus. Researchers screened each patient for frailty, based on five different factors: weight loss, weakness or grip strength, exhaustion, low activity level, and slow gait. The most common frailty characteristic found in the research subjects was exhaustion, and the lease common frailty characteristic found was slow gait. Among the patients studied, almost 69% of them were either frail or exhibited signs of pre-frailty.  Given these statistics, it is likely that frailty rates among older Americans are vastly underreported.

Frail health in older patients results in a decreased ability to overcome stressors, including illness, falls, adverse risks from medication, and surgery. The less frail the patient, the more positive the outcome tends to be, especially when it comes to the body recovering from one of the stressors listed above.

Frailty in general also increases the odds for surgery complications and therefore, higher health care costs. The condition also leads to longer hospital stays and discharges to rehabilitation facilities rather than to home. Frailty also causes a higher likelihood of being readmitted to the hospital, as well as an overall decrease in an individual’s quality of life.

A failure to diagnose frailty can result in hospital and nursing home staff failing to take the measures necessary to adequately protect their patients. 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.


Are Rural Roads Safer Than City Streets?

It is no surprise to any driver that living in the city results in a bigger insurance bill than living in a more rural area. As a result of this fact, one might assume that rural roads must be safer than city streets. Some studies, however, suggest that exactly the opposite is true; drivers may be better off driving the city streets and highways than driving along rural roads.

As there are more drivers in urban areas, there are also more accidents. When viewed on a per capita basis, though, there are still fewer accidents than in rural areas. City drivers are more likely to be involved in multiple car accidents and pile-ups on the highway. There is also a greater chance of being hit from the side when pulling out from an intersection.

On the other hand, accidents that take place on country roads are 40% more likely to be fatal than those that occur on city streets and highways. Single-car accidents are more likely to occur in rural areas, such as roll-over accidents and collisions with trees and telephone poles, which also are more likely to be deadly accident. Collisions with animals occur more frequently on country roads and drunk driving is a greater risk. Drivers also tend to speed more on rural roads due to less traffic and a reduced police presence. People who live in the country drive farther to get to their destination, which means that they drive more than their urban counterparts. This is also a problem in the winter, where country roads are not likely to be maintained and cleared as well as city streets. Finally, emergency services take longer to get to accident scenes, which can result in more fatalities. As you can see, the greater risks are actually driving on rural roads, not urban streets.

At Boller & Vaughan, we know that suffering serious injuries in an auto accident, whether it occurs on a city street or a rural country road, 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. Contact us for a free consultation if you or a loved one was hurt in a traffic accident.


Potential Changes in How You Pay for Long-Term Care Insurance

A recent Forbes article examined potential changes in the manner in which individuals pay for long-term care insurance. Currently, most long-term care insurance companies charge flat fees for coverage over a period of several years, followed by big rate hikes. This is referred to as the Annual Rate Sufficiency Model, which has been highly criticized in recent years as driving most long-term care insurance providers out of the business of long-term care coverage.

However, Genworth, the largest single seller of individual long-term care insurance, is proposing an annual rate review that would result in more modest hikes each year. In turn, if Genworth expects to pay out fewer claims in a year, then it could even reduce rates in its annual rate review process. Essentially, long-term care insurance coverage policies would become much more like other insurance policies, such as medical insurance and auto insurance. According to Genworth, pricing long-term care insurance policies in this manner would result in an overall savings for the consumer. In proposing this model, Genworth hopes to attract younger buyers.

Genworth rolled out its new pricing proposal to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) at its annual meeting. While approval by NAIC is likely to take a few years, states have the option of acting more quickly on the proposal if they choose. In fact, Genworth is hoping to have at least a few states on board with its proposal by 2018.

Genworth’s proposal arises largely from a long-term care industry that has suffered greatly in recent years. Roughly 90% of the firms who previously carried long-term care policies no longer do so. Annual sales have decreased from more than 700,000 per year to about 100,000 in 2016. Premiums continue to be steep, which turn off many buyers; instead, buyers tend to seek short-term, lower-cost policies over the significantly more expensive long-term policies.

No matter how you choose to fund your loved one’s long term care, and what type of facility you choose, risks for neglect and abuse still exist. 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. 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.


Pedestrians Face Dangers of Distracted Driving

Walking has increasingly become a popular form of exercise, as well as a way to get from here to there while saving a little bit of gas money. Many school children still walk to and from school on a daily basis. However, cars are still necessary for many individuals who commute to workplaces or schools located at distances that are too far to walk from home. Although it is not the worst state statistically, Wisconsin has more pedestrian deaths and injuries that one might think. Each year, motor vehicle accidents cause about 60 pedestrian fatalities and 1,500 pedestrian injuries. As a result, there is clearly some risk of simply being a pedestrian on Wisconsin streets.

Many of these fatalities and injuries suffered by pedestrians are directly attributable to distracted drivers. If a driver is paying more attention to his or her cell phone than pedestrians crossing the street, there is a significant risk that he or she will be injured.

Disregarding traffic signs and signals also can result in injury to a pedestrian. Running a red light or stop sign is dangerous not only for other drivers, but for pedestrians, as well. Speeding, failing to maintain one’s lane, and otherwise disregarding road signs also can cause injuries to pedestrians and drivers alike.

Furthermore, pedestrian injuries are one of the most common types of injuries to children in the United States. Children may be more susceptible to pedestrian injuries because they are often small, fast, impulsive, and do not appreciate the hazards of traffic. Streets without crosswalks or crosswalk signals, streets with higher speed limits, and streets with parked cars all tend to be more hazardous to children pedestrians than other streets.

Boller & Vaughan are experienced Madison personal injury lawyers who know Wisconsin law and know how to effectively represent your interests in any personal injury claim stemming from a traffic accident, whether it involves a motorcycle, semi-truck, or a passenger vehicle. 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.


The Best Ways for Seniors to Prevent Falls

Aging Options, an organization devoted to helping seniors protect their assets and improve their quality of life, recently published an article taken from Healthday about the best ways for seniors to prevent falls. With more than 800 Americans breaking a hip every day, most of which are caused by a fall. For a senior citizen, a hip fracture can be extremely serious, if not life-threatening. It also can result in a downward spiral in a senior citizen’s quality of life, and may lead to permanent incapacitation.

Seniors are more prone to falls due to fewer and weaker muscles. In turn, falls tend to have more severe consequences for seniors due to a lack of bone density. It is the opinion of at least one doctor that rather than simply treating falls in seniors, they should be preventing falls through the use of exercise. Walking and other forms of aerobic exercise increase heart health and strength training builds muscle mass and improve balance. All of these benefits of exercise can help prevent falls in senior citizens. The exercise ideally should be progressive in nature; the duration of exercise and the weight used in strength training exercises should increase over time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency rooms treat 2.8 million people each year for injuries related to falls. Twenty percent of those falls seen in emergency rooms result in serious injuries, such as head injuries and bone fractures. Falls lead to more than 95 percent of hip fractures; as indicated above, some senior citizens never recover from an injury of this magnitude.  The bottom line is that 300,000 seniors are hospitalized each year for hip fractures, and given the consequences, any measures that can reduce falls in seniors are valuable.

The benefits of exercise cannot be understated. In just one year, a senior citizen can build up an additional three pounds in muscle tissue; when muscle building continues over a period of years, it definitely adds up. It’s also never too late to start exercising. Even an 80-year-old woman can increase her muscle strength by as much as 100% after one year, using increasing resistance over time.

Although senior citizens have the responsibility to take some measures to prevent falls, it is not uncommon for the negligence of hospital or nursing home staff to cause a fall. At Boller & Vaughan, we are here to stand up for the rights of senior citizens and their families who have suffered substantial injuries, 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 care abuse attorneys, and discover how we can help.


Common Causes of Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Crashes

There are a variety of different causes of motor vehicle accidents, some of which are far more common than others. All motor vehicle crashes, no matter what the cause may be, have the potential to result in serious injuries to all parties involved. When one party is negligent in causing a motor vehicle accident, regardless of the nature of the negligence, he or she may be liable for any injuries that result from that accident.

One cause of car accidents that has increased rapidly in recent years is distraction, whether it involves texting, using GPS, making a phone call, or surfing the Internet on a cell phone. Electronic devices have become a part of everyday life, making all of us potentially reachable at any place and time, including while driving. Aside from electronic devices, however, other activities can serve as distractions sufficient to cause an accident if performed by driving. These activities include things like eating, applying make-up, hair styling, and changing the radio station.

Another common cause of serious motor vehicle accidents is drunk driving. Despite increased patrol and enforcement efforts by law enforcement agencies and state legislatures alike, drunk or impaired driving is a very real problem that continues to exist in today’s society. In the state of Wisconsin, if an adult’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, it is illegal for him or her to operate a motor vehicle. However, even a driver who has a lower BAC or who is under the influence of certain drugs, prescription or otherwise, may be too impaired to drive, and has the potential for causing accidents.

Drowsy driving is another common occurrence that can result in motor vehicle accidents. Particularly in the case of drivers who are traveling a long distance, or long-haul truck drivers, drowsiness can impair a driver to the point that he or she should not be driving. Although there are federal regulations that govern how many hours a truck driver can drive before taking a break for a certain number of hours, truckers and trucking companies often fail to abide by these regulations, thus putting other drivers on the roadway at risk.

We are the Wisconsin traffic accident lawyers to whom you always can turn if you or your loved one suffers serious injuries in a motor vehicle crash, whether it involves drunk driving, distracted driving, or another issue. 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 drivers responsible for any injuries that have occurred.


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