Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

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The nursing home abuse trial for former Corpus Christi nursing home owner began last week. According to NBC News, this 69 year old woman, Najmeh Griffin, has been charged with abusing the elderly patients at her assisted living facility. She has been accused of putting urine and feces-filled bags around the necks of two of her patients. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that Griffin put these bags on her patients to punish them for soiling themselves, and left these individuals in a restroom where they were eventually found by an employee.

Further investigations into Najmeh Griffin and her husband’s facility revealed that the assisted living home violated many state standards. Investigators reported that patients were regularly subjected to abuse: physical, verbal, and neglect. The Griffins had two elderly facilities; one was an assisted living home and the other an adult day care. Both facilities are the subject of a criminal investigation citing their noncompliance with state safety standards. Both of the Griffin’s facilities have been shut down.

While this case represents and extreme example of nursing home abuse, where actual physical violence threatened the health and safety of nearly 55 patients, sometimes negligence on the part of a nursing home can be just as harmful. LawyersandSettlements.com states that nursing home neglect can often go unreported, because it isn’t as obvious as physical abuse. However, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse and exploitation are extremely frequent occurrences.

It is crucial to learn to recognize signs of nursing home abuse and to learn one’s rights under elder care laws. If a loved one of yours is in an assisted living situation, be sure to keep an eye out for certain warning signs such as: behavior or personality change, depression, anxiety, unexplained accidents or injuries, bed sores resulting from infrequent movement on a nursing home bed, muscle atrophy, burns, fearfulness, rapid weight loss, unwarranted use of physical restraints, unexplained venereal disease or bruising in areas surrounding genitalia. You can also visit Texas’ Office of the Attorney General’s website at https://www.oag.state.tx.us/elder/select.shtml for more information on your rights when looking for a satisfactory nursing home.

Nursing home abuse and neglect cases can be complicated, so it is best to use a lawyer who is familiar with nursing home laws and regulations. Borchardt Law Firm has over 20 years of experience representing victims of nursing home abuse. Don’t wait until it’s too late to contact a lawyer and learn about your rights.

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According to the Associated Press, government investigators with the Office of the Inspector General recently found that billions of taxpayer dollars to Medicare have ended up in the hands of sub-standard nursing home facilities. Although it is legally required for a nursing home to submit to the government detailed treatment plans for every patient, many were found to be either falsifying such documents, consciously creating insufficient plans, or acting in a way contradictory to their treatment plans. Medicare then reimbursed those nursing homes for their treatments, even though the actual care received was poor in quality. It has been reported that in one out of every five nursing home stays, the patient’s health had not been properly addressed in their treatment plan. This finding is shocking for a patient who might believe that government oversight would only allow Medicare to reimburse reputable and quality nursing home practices.

This discovery has raised considerable questions about Medicare’s oversight practices that have allowed payment to go to nursing homes that could potentially be harming their patients. Though Medicare has promised to ramp up supervision and incentive measures for nursing homes to utilize good treatment practices, the effects of such measures could take months or years to appear. Borchardt Law Firm is committed to working for the rights of nursing home abuse victims. One cannot rely on a false security that a “top-notch” nursing home provides quality care, or that the government is doing enough to ensure that nursing homes comply with federal standards.

Nursing home abuse is still a major problem in the state of Texas; there is lax oversight and enforcement of state and federal standards, and nursing homes often avoid facing major consequences for their actions (or inaction). Our firm has long been a supporter of those who have encountered nursing home abuse or neglect. In fact, Borchardt Law Firm has recently seen major success in the representation of a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect. Although the state cap for damages on such cases is $250,000, our firm was able to obtain $550,000 on our client’s behalf. This wonderful success demonstrates our dedication to seeking justice for victims of nursing home abuse. No one wants to entrust a loved one into someone else’s care, only to find that they have been systematically abused or neglected. Borchardt Law Firm is the firm to right these wrongs for victims and their families.

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Borchardt Law Firm is pleased to announce the successful representation of a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect. Although the state cap for damages on such cases is $250,000, our firm was able to obtain $550,000 on our client’s behalf. Our firm has long been a supporter of those who have encountered nursing home abuse or neglect (Click here to see all of our blog entries on the subject). Nursing home abuse is still a major problem in the state of Texas; there is lax oversight and enforcement of state and federal standards, and nursing homes often avoid facing major consequences for their actions (or inaction).

According to The Dallas Morning News, due to legislative changes in 2003, supervision of nursing home practices has been severely hampered. The cap for damages was set at $250,000, the state’s ability to fine nursing homes was curbed, and penalties such as revoking a nursing home’s license, government contacts, or demanding a court-appointed overseer continue to be invoked less and less. This has set up an industry-friendly environment in which nursing homes may operate, and victims of abuse and neglect may easily be ignored by the legal system.

However, Borchardt Law Firm is unwilling to let the voices of these victims go unheard. Our ability to secure compensation over the $250,000 cap for our client demonstrates our dedication to seeking justice for victims of nursing home abuse. No one wants to entrust a loved one into someone else’s care, only to find that they have been systematically abused or neglected. Borchardt Law Firm is the firm to right these wrongs for victims and their families.

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When it comes to nursing homes, several difficult decisions must be made. Deciding when to move a loved one into a nursing home is a strenuous process, we all want the best for our family and need to consider several things when it comes to finding the right home. Unfortunately, one important area that needs to be considered when finding the right home is nursing home abuse and neglect. Sadly, it is much more common than we think. Several homes across the U.S. are deciding if they want cameras placed in all rooms of nursing homes, hoping to prevent any abuse or neglect.

In 2009, the public was informed about one of the largest nursing home abuse cases the U.S. has seen. In Arlington, Virginia, close to a dozen employees at the Potomac Center nursing home were indicted on multiple charges of abuse and neglect. Complaints ranged from un-changed diapers to never being fed. When one woman became aware of how her husband was being treated in the home, her attorney asked her if she would allow the FBI to put a surveillance camera in her husband’s room at the center. After agreeing to add surveillance, solid evidence was caught on tape. With the addition of the surveillance camera, 11 employees were indicted on charges including neglect, forgery to assault, and battery, the most serious charge being a nurse holding a pillow over the patients face. (read full story)

After reviewing the case, attorneys and the public have stated this kind of behavior can be found at several nursing homes across the U.S., supporting the idea that all homes need to have surveillance cameras in order to keep their patients safe. Many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect go un-reported, leaving patients at risk for further abuse. Signs of abuse and neglect can vary among each patient differently; if you have a loved one in a nursing home, make sure to be aware of any signs or symptoms they may have that reflect abuse or neglect. To read about the obvious and less obvious signs of abuse or neglect click here.

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An anticoagulant drug proves to be fatal with out proper monitoring of the medication. Coumadin, also known as Warfarin, is a blood thinning prescription used in patients to prevent blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Coumadin is mostly prescribed to patients with an artificial heart valve, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart beat), deep venous thrombosis (blood clots in the deep veins), and pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the veins). However, when the drug is not properly monitored it can lead to devastating results.

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Coumadin, similar to other drugs, must be carefully monitored almost everyday during a patients first month on the drug. Since the drug is a blood thinner, doctors must be extremely cautious in watching how thin the blood gets. When blood becomes too thin, it could eventually cause a patient to bleed to death, whether or not they have open wounds. If the blood does not thin, a patient could suffer from blood clots, possibly leading to a heart attack, stroke or even death. Once blood clots have formed, there is very little doctors can do in order to stop them, which is why patients taking Coumadin need to be carefully monitored.

During a patients first month on the drug, every day they should undergo either a prothrombin time (PT) test or an international normalized ratio (INR) test. Both tests are blood tests that measure how long it takes for the patient’s blood to clot. The tests also check for bleeding problems and determine how well the blood thinning medicine is working. The only difference between the tests is the INR test is a way of standardizing the results of the PT tests, allowing doctors to understand results even if they come from different testing methods or different labs. The PT and INR tests are crucial for doctors, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes and care providers to maintain in order to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the medicine.

As all medicines do, Coumadin affects each patient differently. Age and health backgrounds may alter the performance and side effects of the drug for each person. Those responsible for the testing, whether it is the primary care doctor, hospital or nursing home, should know the risks and warnings that come with the drug.

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Deciding when to move a loved one into a nursing home is a difficult decision. We all want the best for our family, and need to consider several things when it comes to picking the right home. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect is more common than we think.

Every year numerous nursing home abuse or neglect cases go unreported. In February of 2009, a report done by CBS News came out that showed in just two years, 1999 – 2001, “5,283 — over 30 percent — of the nursing homes in the U.S. were cited for an abuse violation. Over 2,500 of the violations were serious enough to cause actual harm or to place residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.” (read full story) At Borchardt Law Firm we wish that no family has to ever experience nursing home abuse or neglect, help prevent abuse or neglect by knowing the warning signs that you can look for when you’re loved one is in a home.

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According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center signs of abuse to look for include:

Obvious signs:
• unusual bruising or bleeding
• open wounds, sores or cuts
• burns and abrasions
• sudden and unexplained change in weight
• soiling, poor hygiene, smell of urine or feces
• infections
• loss of hair
• torn, stained, or bloody clothing or bedding
Less obvious signs:
• listlessness or unresponsiveness
• infantile or other strange behaviors
• physical or emotional withdrawal
• disappearance of personal items
• sudden and unusual financial transactions

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Searching for the right nursing home for your loved one? Don’t let nursing home abuse or negligence occur. Take a look at the top 10 most recommended nursing homes across Texas. Based on research from the U.S. News, each home is rated by health inspections, nursing staff and quality measures.

Top 10 Nursing Homes Across Texas

1. Afv I Health Care Center – San Antonio, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Medicare
• Number of beds: 82
• Continuing-care retirement community: Yes
• Ownership: Nonprofit (corporate)

2. Kerens Care Center – Kerens, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Both
• Number of beds: 66
• Continuing-care retirement community: No
• Ownership: For-profit
3. Wesley Court Methodist Retirement Community – Abilene, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Medicare
• Number of beds: 29
• Continuing-care retirement community: Yes
• Ownership: Nonprofit (corporate)

4. Anderson Nursing Center – Grand Saline, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Both
• Number of Beds: 76
• Continuing-care retirement community: No
• Ownership: For-profit
5. Brownwood Regional Medical Center – Brownwood, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Medicare
• Number of beds: 20
• Continuing-care retirement community: No
• Ownership: For-profit
6. CC Young Memorial Home – Dallas, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Both
• Number of beds: 88
• Continuing-care retirement community: Yes
• Ownership: Nonprofit (corporate)

7. Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi – Corpus Christi, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Both
• Number of beds: 88
• Continuing-care retirement community: Yes
• Ownership: Nonprofit (corporate)

8. Country Village Care – Angleton, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Both
• Number of beds: 136
• Continuing-care retirement community: No
• Ownership: For-profit
9. Emeritus At Spicewood Springs – Austin, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Medicare
• Number of beds: 46
• Continuing-care retirement community: No
• Ownership: For-profit
10. Goodall Witcher Nursing Facility – Clifton, Texas.
• Medicare/Medicaid: Medicaid
• Number of beds: 43
• Continuing-care retirement community: No
• Ownership: Nonprofit (corporate)

To read each individual review and ratings please visit the U.S. News Homepage.

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Choosing a nursing home for your loved one can be a very difficult process. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and negligence cases are much more common than the public is aware of. According to CBS News, in 2009 a congressional report stated that nearly one-third of all U.S. nursing homes have been cited for abuse. If you think your loved one has been or is being abused in a nursing home, don’t hesitate to contact a nursing home negligence lawyer. At Borchardt Law Firm, we strive to help families who have been victims of nursing home abuse or neglect.

When abuse is suspected our firm recommends families to immediately become in contact with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). “The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services was created to administer long-term services and support for people who are aging and who have cognitive and physical disabilities. The department also licenses and regulates providers of these services, and administers the state’s guardianship program. They began formal operations on Sept. 1, 2004.”(DADS website) The department endeavors to keep elders safe.

First Steps to Report Abuse

1. By contacting the Texas Department of Aging and Disablity Services victims are able to file a complaint by calling their hotline at 1-800-458-9858. The complaints are anonymous and all of the names (including the name of your loved one) will be redacted from the report. DADS, the state agency, track these reports by a control number. Be sure to explain to the state all of your issues, and to get the control number. This will allow you to get a copy of the report once it is finished. Retaliation by a nursing home for making a complaint is illegal so you shouldn’t hesitate to file a complaint.
2. Move your loved one to another facility that is feasible. Don’t wait to make the move, you don’t want matters to worsen.
3. After you have filed your complaint and moved your loved one to a new home, contact an experienced lawyer who handles nursing home negligence cases.

How to Pick the Right Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer

1. Meet with potential lawyers to handle your nursing home negligence case. At Borchardt Law Firm, all of our initial consultations are free of charge.
a. Ask the lawyer and/or law firm about their experience in handling nursing home negligence cases. Texas law has changed dramatically in this area, it is important to hire a lawyer with some experience. Visit our firm’s website to read about prior experience. Borchardt Law Firm
b. Ask the lawyer and/or law firm about their trial experience in handling nursing home negligence cases. You want to hire a lawyer who takes and has taken these types of cases to trial.
c. Ask the lawyer and/or law firm about their staff’s experience. At Borchardt Law Firm, we have a full time nurse on staff who can quickly read and review medical records to determine if a case has a merit.
2. Don’t be afraid to meet with more than one lawyer. Going through a nursing home negligence case is difficult, and you want to know that you have selected a lawyer who you feel comfortable with and can trust.
3. Remember, any lawyer who makes representations about the value of your case is probably not the lawyer you want to hire.
4. If you are a lawyer reading this blog and have a Texas nursing home case, please contact Borchardt Law Firm. Within the parameters of Texas law, we are happy to assist other lawyers with nursing home cases.

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Picking a nursing home for your loved ones can be a very challenging process. Sometimes you may think, “I need a nursing home lawyer.” Our firm, Borchardt Law Firm, offers these suggestions in the hopes of avoiding nursing home abuse or neglect. Sadly, we have seen and dealt with many cases involving nursing home neglect and abuse. We want to help out in any way we can to avoid these outlaws. Of course, these steps will not guarantee a good outcome. Our first recommendation is to visit the state website to compare facilities that you are considering. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability (DADS) is responsible for licensing and overseeing long term care nursing facilities. The department inspects the facilities and issue reports commonly known as “state reports” or “inspection reports.” DADS maintains a comparison of all facilities licensed in Texas. The DADS website is a great place to start your search for an acceptable nursing home.

After visiting the DADS website and completing your research we recommend you always visit the facility before making a decision. Finding the right nursing home may take time, be certain that both you and your loved one feel comfortable about the decision. Here are a few recommendations we suggest while visiting the facility.

1. Take your time to see if the facility is clean and acceptable.
2. Ask the facility to review their last inspection report or state report.
3. Take a look at their food menu and taste the food.
4. Look around to determine whether there are enough people, nurses and nurse aides to care for the residents.
5. If you can, visit with some residents
After visiting the facility, get to know the staff and which physician will be responsible for your loved one. Many times, your family physician(s) will not be responsible for the care of your loved one at a nursing home, so be sure to meet and get to know your new physician and nurses. You can then do a preliminary background check on that physician by going to the Texas Board of Medical Examiners website.

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