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.

Rural Roads and Motor Vehicle Accidents

While you might think of motor vehicle accidents being more likely to occur on traffic-packed, narrow urban streets, the opposite is actually true. Despite the prevalence of rush hour traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists that may be more difficult to see in urban areas, the majority of highway fatalities from car crashes occur on rural, not urban roads. In fact, the fatality rate for car wrecks in rural areas is 2.4 times higher than the fatality rate in urban areas. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reported that although only 19% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, 54% of all car crash fatalities occurred on rural roads.

 There are a variety of reasons for the differences in the rates of fatal car crashes in rural and urban areas. Residents of rural areas may drive more miles on average than residents of urban areas, and may be less likely to use safety precautions such as seatbelts and child restraint systems. Rural roads and vehicles driven in rural areas may be less safe than urban roads and vehicles, in that they tend to have fewer guardrails and shoulders. Rural roads also may be unpaved, have sharp and unexpected curves, and contain unexpected obstacles, such as slow-moving farm vehicles and livestock. Furthermore, crash victims may wait longer for medical attention following crashes, which may be of a lower quality than in urban areas.

In order to help avoid serious car crashes on rural roadways, drivers should plan their routes ahead of time, rather than attempting to follow a GPS while driving, as GPS devices may not be as accurate in rural areas. Drivers also should take care when driving unfamiliar roads, as they may contain unexpected twists and turns. Obeying posted speed limits, and slowing down to speeds below the speed limit when weather conditions are less than optimal, also can go a long way toward preventing accidents.

Whether you are driving on rural roads or urban streets, accidents with catastrophic results can occur. No matter the type of motor vehicle accident in which you are involved, you will need assistance with any personal injury claim that you might have. For more information about how to properly handle your personal injury claim, contact the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.

What Should I Do if I Am Pregnant and Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Being involved in any type of motor vehicle accident is frightening, but being pregnant and involved in a car crash can be even more distressing. Car accidents pose unique threats to pregnant women that may not be present for other drivers and passengers. As a result, if you are pregnant and involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should immediately seek medical care from your OB/GYN or regular physician, no matter how minor the accident may have been or whether you feel that you have been injured or not. You also may need to get specialized treatment to accommodate the fact that you are pregnant.

Some of the potential pregnancy complications that result from a motor vehicle accident can include pre-term labor, miscarriage, bleeding, and birth defects. An accident also may cause an otherwise normal pregnancy to transition to a high-risk pregnancy. This could cause problems for both mother and child both before, during, and after birth. Aside from the physical complications that can result from a motor vehicle crash, an expectant mother can suffer from emotional duress and stress that can have a negative effect on her pregnancy and unborn child.

If you are pregnant and involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are some warning signs that make it necessary for you to seek emergency medical attention. These signs include the following:

·         Loss of consciousness

·         Vaginal bleeding

·         Pelvic or stomach pain

·         Leakage of fluid

·         Severe headaches

·         Swelling in face or fingers

·         Persistent vomiting

·         Chills or fever

·         Noticeable changes in the baby’s movement

·         Dizziness

When you or a family member suffers serious injuries from a motor vehicle crash or any other type of accident, and another’s negligence caused the accident, you may have a personal injury claim under Wisconsin law. Meeting with a personal injury lawyer is the first step toward getting the compensation that you deserve for the injuries that you have suffered. Call Boller & Vaughan today at (608) 268-0268, or contact us online in order to set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys, and see what we can do for you.

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.

FMCSA Withdraws Proposed Rule to Prevent Sleepy Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has spent over two years working on a proposed rule that would address the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea among truck drivers, which is a significant cause of preventable truck accidents each year. This proposed rule is in line with FMCSA’s mission, which is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities, involving large trucks and buses.

However, the Trump administration recently ordered the FMCSA to withdraw consideration of the proposed rule. The FMCSA, in withdrawing the proposed rule, stated that it believed the current safety programs and rules were sufficient to adequately address the issue. The agency simply recommended that drivers and their employees use the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP), which is a voluntary, interactive web-based educational and training program that teaches drivers to be aware of fatigue-related issues.

Safety advocates are perplexed at the move, as the FMCSA already has extensive documentation of the dangers that trucks with obstructive sleep apnea pose to other drivers. Since nearly one in three truck drivers suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and this medical condition affects their daytime alertness and performance, it is worrisome that the FMCSA has abandoned this proposed rule. More specifically, truckers with untreated sleep apnea have a much higher risk of involvement in fatigue-related motor vehicle crashes. When these truckers receive treatment, however, these risks decrease substantially.

Whether an accident occurs as a violation of the “move over” law or another type of traffic violation, you may have a personal injury claim if you are injured as a result. Personal injury claims are 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.

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.

Social Isolation Increases Risk of Medical Problems

A new study by the AARP Public Policy Institute, Stanford University, and Harvard University reveals that socially isolated adults are more likely to get sicker and die sooner, and have higher health care expenses. Overall, the researchers estimate that Medicare spends $6.7 billion per year on seniors who are socially isolated. This amounts to Medicare spending $1,600 more each year on socially isolated individuals, as opposed to those individuals with support from family and friends.

Through this study, which focused solely on adults aged 65 and older living in the community, researchers found that about 14% of the study participants were socially isolated; social isolation is defined as having little contact with adult children, relatives, or friends. Socially isolated individuals tend to be male and white. They tend to live in urban communities, have lower incomes, and fewer assets. Socially isolated older adults were more likely to be depressed, have difficulty with completing daily tasks and activities, and have at least five chronic medical conditions. These individuals were one-third more likely to require skilled nursing care in a facility, since they couldn’t always be discharged to home safely. Hospitalized individuals also had longer and costlier stays, since they often could not be safely discharged to home as quickly.

As this post illustrates, social isolation can lead to a heightened risk of medical conditions that may necessitate some type of long-term care. No matter how an older individual ends up in long-term care, he or she has the right to safe and proper care. 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.

Waiting on Hospice Care Worsens Outcomes

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently published the results of a study about the end of life and hospice care. The results of the study indicated that people toward the end of their lives tend to put off hospice care too long, which can add to their pain and suffering. Instead of getting the hospice care that they really need, individuals are spending days and even months in and out of the hospital, with their families struggling to care for them and meet their needs.

A team of researchers from Yale University followed a group of 754 individuals over the course of 16 years. All of the individuals were 70 or older at the time that the study began. While about 40% of the 562 individuals who died during the study received hospice care during the last year of their lives, the median time spent in hospice care for this group was less than two weeks. When these patients entered hospice, they were experiencing a range of painful and uncomfortable symptoms, including pain, nausea, depression, and shortness of breath. None of these patients experienced any significant relief from these symptoms until they entered hospice care. Nonetheless, these patients may have endured months of emergency room visits and various health crises before entering hospice care, which can not only relieve symptoms, but can allow patients to remain comfortably in their homes, surrounded by family members and loved ones.

Medicare has covered the costs of hospice since 1982, and a physician need only certify that a patient is terminally ill, or has less than six months to live, in order to qualify for hospice care coverage. Although sometimes difficult to predict, patients can leave hospice care if their conditions stabilize, and hospice coverage can go beyond six months if necessary. Some evidence even indicates that hospice patients live for comparable periods of time as those patients who do not receive hospice care.

Hospice is only of the issues related to end-of-life care that you should discuss well in advance of any incapacity or decline in the ability to care for one’s self. Someone who has not planned for hospice care or not made his or her wishes clear about end-of-life care ultimately may endure more pain and suffering than he or she wants or deserves. The increased need for long-term care and medical treatment also can result in the increased risk for abuse and neglect at the hands of caregivers. The experienced Wisconsin elder abuse attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to help you through the aftermath of any claims related to the abuse or neglect that you have suffered at the hands of senior care facilities, including CBRFs. We can look into the circumstances surrounding your situation, assess the circumstances, and evaluate any claims that you may have for damages. We know how to build a strong personal injury claim based on the unique facts of your case. Contact our office today in order to schedule a free initial consultation about any potential claim that you may have.

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