Resident to Resident Assault

Norman Spence Daniels has been charged with first degree sexual abuse. The incident involves Daniels and another resident at the Elba Nursing and Rehabilitation Center where he lives. The nursing home and the incident are being investigated by the Elba Police Dept., 12th Judicial Court District Attorney’s Office, and the Alabama Dept. of Forensic Sciences. Further charges could be pending.  See article at the Elba Clipper.

Resident to Resident Rape

Cincinnati.com reported that a nursing home resident with an extensive criminal history is accused of raping another resident inside her room this week. Edward C. White, 57, was arrested on one count of rape.  Springfield Township police charged White with forcing himself on the woman at the Heartland of Mount Airy.  The victim told him “no,” and “stop,” the arrest report states.

White has an extensive criminal record dating back at least 30 years in Hamilton County.
He has been charged with four violent felonies including attempted murder, four other felonies and 13 misdemeanors.   He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 1981 and served three years in a prison. He returned to prison four other times between 1988 and 2002 following convictions for aggravated assault, forgery and illegally having a gun, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

The for-profit nursing home is owned by Toledo-based HCR Manor Care. The company operates more than 500 nursing homes and rehabilitation centers nationwide and has 60,000 employees, according to the company’s web site. It was purchased by private equity company Carlyle Group in 2007.
 

 

Assault and No Remorse Leads to Lawsuit

WISH TV reported the family of a nursing home resident has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home after the home failed to show any remorse for the neglect sufered by their loved one.  The lawsuit alleges that Health & Hospital Corporation (HHC) of Marion County and American Senior Communities, LLC (ASC) were negligent in causing the death of Betty Riley.

Riley died from an assault that caused subdural and subarachnoid hematomas.  During the assault, Riley fell causing blunt force trauma to her head.  Family members said they've tried to talk to the nursing home to find out from administrators what happened, but leaders there refused to talk with them.

"No sympathy whatsoever towards the family or anything," said Riley. "That's what really grabbed us as being pretty difficult to handle. They didn't want to act like they did anything, but yet, they didn't want to say sorry or anything."

"If they would have offered to pay the bills, like [my lawyer] said, she had about $30,000 in hospital bills," Mark Riley, Betty's son, said Tuesday. "If they would have shown some kind of consideration towards what happened to my mother that would have made everything a lot better."

 

 

Transfer and Discharge Rights

Attorney Victoria Dalton wrote a great article on NJ.com about nursing home residents' transfer and discharge rights.

"Our topic for today, Transfer and Discharge Rights, was created under the Nursing Home Bill of Rights which is under the umbrella of the Nursing Home Reform Act. The goal of the Nursing Home Reform Act is to ensure that nursing home residents are treated with dignity and respect and minimum standards are in place to assure quality of life and quality of care. Currently, all facilities that participate in the Medicare or Medicaid programs must adhere to this standard."

"A resident may not be transferred or discharged unless one of the following conditions is present. (1) A discharge or transfer may happen when a resident's needs are no longer able to be met in the existing place of residence. This is why a tiered facility is preferred where possible. A tiered facility provides a full spectrum of care from independence to nursing care.

(2) Still, when the behavior of the resident endangers the welfare of the others, removal may occur.

(3) Lastly, nonpayment after reasonable notice may alter a resident's current living arrangement.

 

"The Residents Bill of Rights was created under the Nursing Home Reform Act. This law provides specific rights for individuals residing in nursing homes. They include the freedom to choose your own doctor, not to be abused or restrained, a right to privacy, to have confidential medical records, to have a forum to voice grievances, the right to participate in resident groups, visitation, equal access to care, a uniform admissions policy, accurate orientation, to receive proper notice of a bed hold, transfer and discharge, priority readmission, relocation, payment obligations, the right to inspect survey results, interest bearing personal funds and lastly, to receive a written statement of these Bill of Rights at the time of admission."

 

Visitor Able to Steal Resident's Checks

An article in the Robinson-Moon Patch reported that an Ambridge, Pennsylvania woman admitted to law enforcement that she stole blank checks from a nursing home resident’s room and then attempted to defraud him out of over $1,500.

Caren Anne Austin forged the resident’s name and attempted to cash the stolen checks at two local banks.  Staff at Manorcare Health Services, where the victim is a resident, contacted authorities when the checks were discovered missing.  Austin admitted to police that she stole the checks when she was visiting her boyfriend, who was the victim’s roommate, at the nursing home. Austin is charged with forgery and two count of theft by deception.

Austin pleaded guilty in 2002 to multiple counts of forgery and theft by deception, and pleaded guilty again in 2010 to burglary and receiving stolen property in connection to a Moon Township incident.

Understaffing leads to Fine and Suspension

A $5,800 daily fine has been imposed against Bristol Nursing Home in Tennessee.  New admissions were suspended for a couple of days but for some reason was reinstated.  The state also imposed a one-time $3,000 fine.   The federal fine of $5,800 was to be imposed until violations discovered in March have been corrected.  The Tennessee Department of Health suspended admissions effective April 13 but it only lasted 4 days. 

A complaint investigation and annual survey conducted at the licensed 120-bed facility between March 26 and March 31 revealed serious  violations in the areas of, "administration, performance improvement, nursing services and resident rights."

At the center of the substantiated complaint is a mentally impaired and vulnerable male patient who fights with other men and has been accused of sexually assaulting female patients.  The staff complained that it was difficult to supervise him because of inadequate staffing.  He was admitted to the nursing home Aug. 9, 2011, and became violent and more focused on female patients after his ex-wife died sometime in November 2011. At times, he mistook several of the female patients as his ex-wife and complained that she was running around with some male patients.

The report cited:

Two violent men who have punched, pushed and kicked at patients;
Failure to draft a plan of intervention or increased supervision for the two violent patients;
A lack of incident reports, investigations or interventions related to incidents involving the most violent man;
Failure to notify a patient’s doctor of elevated blood sugar and need for psychiatric help
“The facility’s failure placed all the residents on the … unit in an environment which was detrimental to their health, safety, and welfare,” the report states.

 

Horrible Arbitration Decision

Several media outlets have discussed the recent decision of an arbitrator in Massachusetts to dismiss the wrongful death case against Brandon Woods Nursing Home.  Elizabeth W. Barrow was strangled to death in 2009 while a patient there.  Her family filed a wrongful death suit claiming the nursing home and staff didn’t do enough to protect Barrow.  In the hours leading up to his mother’s death, Barrow's unstable and violent roommate had several violent episodes. The staff here left her in the room with his mother and never disclosed there was a problem. 

For some unknown reason, the arbitrator decided there was no negligence on behalf of the nursing home.  The state's medical examiner's office declared the death to be a homicide by manual strangulation, following an autopsy. A nursing assistant found Barrow dead in her bed with a plastic bag over her head.

This case is a great example of why the nursing home industry pushes mandatory arbitration in their admission paperwork.  They do not want a jury of their peers deciding these issues when some biased arbitrator can throw the case out without any recourse or appeal.

Where is the justice?

Resident Input Added to Nursing Home Compare

Helping You Care is a great website with some great resources.  Recently they discussed the changes to CMS' Nursing Home Compare website. 

"The current nursing home quality measures of the Compare tool will be replaced with new quality measures based upon a new version of nursing home resident assessments, starting in 2012.  The new measure will include input from the residents.  As part of the transition to new quality measures, the 5 Star Quality Rating that the tool has provided will not include the new measurement until April 2012. Starting in April 2012, findings of the new assessment measures will be part of the 5 Star Quality Ratings."

Some of the other measures of nursing home quality that have been included in the Nursing Home Compare tool include staffing data and data from health inspections.   As explained in a recent article, “Navigating the Health Care System,” by Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), also part of HHS:

“Staffing and health inspection data add important information and will continue to be a factor in each nursing home’s overall rating. The staffing measure tells you the average staffing levels—such as the number of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants—for each resident each day. This is a good benchmark, but it has limits. It does not show the number of nursing staff present at any given time or describe the amount of care give to any one resident. The health inspection measure looks at many major aspects of care in a nursing home. This includes how medicines are managed, whether food is prepared safely, and whether residents are protected from inadequate care. Inspections take place about once a year, but they may be done more often if the nursing home has several problems to correct. ”
 

Sex Offender Resident Assaults Another Resident

Des Moines Register had an article on a resident to resident assault at Pomeroy Care Center after an 8-year old girl witnessed a female resident in her 90s being sexually assaulted, allegedly by a registered sex offender. The registered offender was ordered to live in Pomeroy Care Center.

The nursing home was well aware of the threat, and should have done something to prevent it and keep the residents safe.  The suspect, William Cubbage, and his roommate have both been convicted of several sex offenses over the years.  Further, State records say that Cubbage had a history of harassing other residents and attempting to go into their rooms uninvited.   After the incident on August 21 the administrator told workers to write the victim's injuries on notebook paper rather than her medical chart because she questioned whether the assault had taken place. She was quoted as saying "Cubbage likes little girls, not old ladies."

  "Both of the men have a history of pedophilia according to the sex offender registry and court records.  But according to state nursing home inspection reports, the men were allowed to interact with first-graders who visited the Pomeroy Care Center as part of a regular program."  The school district knew of the sex offenders and asked if the men could be confined to their rooms when the children were there but the facility informed them that confinement would violate their rights.  Are you kidding me?

Several employees reported incidents were the children did interact with the men and expressed frustration at not being allowed to say anything.  

The Register identified 27 sex offenders living in 15 of Iowa's 188 residential care facilities.  Unfortunately, this case is not an uncommon incident and nursing homes must be better trained and staffed to avoid this kind of incident. 

Resident to Resident Assaults

WREG.com out of Memphis, Tn reported  that police are investigating the death of Willie Mayfield, an 89-year-old nursing home resident after a fight with his new roommate death is under investigation.  Mayfield's daughter, Mary Charm, was called to the Spring Gate Nursing Home around 5 a.m.  Her father had been a patient there for three months, and had just gotten his new roommate over the weekend.   Nursing home workers refused to share details on how the assaut started or why they did not stop it.  Staff were ordered to checking on the two every ten minutes.

Altercations among roommates at nursing homes is a well known problem especially among residents confused with dementia.  Proper training and staffing prevents altercations from growing into assaults that lead to death.

See another article about the assault at The Commercial Appeal.