Articles Tagged with elder care

christian-langballe-78684-copy-300x200There may come a time when you have to put mom or dad, or grandma or grandpa, into a care facility. It is never your first choice, yet it is often the best one. Your elderly loved ones may need more physical support, supervision, and medical care than you are capable of giving them. By letting your loved one continue to live at home or with you, you are actually doing him or her a disservice and increasing the risk of negative health effects or early death. However, there are a number of practical questions that arise after you have decided a facility is best for your loved one, including:

  • What are his or her needs?
  • What care facilities are available and how do they differ?

mark-rabe-240392-copy-300x200Cheryl and Eric Mills were arrested for kidnapping and elder abuse after suddenly removing an elderly relative from a care facility without permission. Police found the Mills and the elderly individual 90 miles away from the care home in Stockton. The 88-year-old victim was not harmed during the incident, but the individual has continuous health concerns and is unable to give consent, according to a detective on the case. Neither of the Mills had permission to remove the individual from the facility and did not have the capability to care for the elderly person as was necessary.

Civil Liability for Elder Abuse

When an elderly individual is abused by a relative, caretaker, or other person and suffers physical, psychological, or financial injuries, he or she has the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. Any person who harms an elderly person can be held civilly liable in court for the economic and non-economic damages associated with the abuse. For instance, if the Mills had harmed their elderly relative during this incident, the individual would have had a cause of action against them.

freestocks-org-126848-copy-300x200Coumadin and other blood thinners are commonly used by elderly individuals. These individuals are often prescribed this type of medication to reduce the chance of heart attack, stroke, and other major medical events. However, blood thinners are serious medications and patients taking them need to be closely monitored by a physician or nursing home staff. Being on this type of medication when it is unnecessary or taking too much can lead to injuries and fatalities. In fact, ProPublica and The Washington Post found that 165 nursing home residents were hospitalized or died after suffering from Coumadin, or the generic Warfarin, errors between 2011 and 2014. These incidents are preventable when elderly patients are given proper care.

The Dangers of Failing to Monitor Blood Thinners

Coumadin has well-documented benefits. However, when patients are given too much or too little of a blood thinner, they are put at risk for serious health issues and early death. For instance, when patients who are at risk for negative health events are given too low of a dosage or not given their prescribed medication, they remain highly at risk for blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. When elderly individuals are prescribed or unnecessarily given too much of a blood thinner, they can suffer internal bleeding. Warfarin can also dangerously interact with other medications like commonly prescribed antibiotics. If physicians and other nursing home staff are not on the lookout for common medication interactions, then elderly patients are seriously at risk for injuries.

daniel-frank-201417-300x200Under House Bill 1215, introduced in February 2017 by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, there would be a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages for civil malpractice cases involving elderly and dependent adults. While California has a similar cap, it does not apply to lawsuits involving negligence and abuse toward the elderly and dependent adults. Lawmakers stress that the bill is intended to reduce healthcare costs and increase access to healthcare – it is even named “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.” Since the federal government is adversely affected by malpractice lawsuits for individuals insured through Medicare, legislators estimate it could save the government $62 billion in the next 10 years. However, many healthcare providers and attorneys feel this law would take away a crucial protection against elder abuse and interfere with state’s rights.

Elder Protection Issues in HR 1215

As David R. Cohen of Stark and Stark pointed out, civil lawsuits are one of the only ways elderly individuals and their families have to recover after an elderly person or dependent adult is significantly injured or killed due to negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful medical care. Civil cases enable victims and their families to be reimbursed for their expenses and compensated for their pain and suffering, which can be severe in elder abuse situations. These civil cases also serve to make fraud in nursing homes and other care organizations known to the public, increase accountability, and improve the quality of care adults receive.

gbvrye4prlk-kate-300x200According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 million individuals in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 8.1 million go undiagnosed. A small percentage of these individuals have Type 1 diabetes, while the more significant portion of Americans have Type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity and other lifestyle factors. Considering the proportion of Americans with diabetes, it is no surprise that many elderly individuals in nursing homes need their diabetes properly maintained to avoid injury. Undiagnosed or improperly treated diabetes can lead to devastating consequences, including death. If you believe nursing home staff over- or under-treated your parent’s diabetes causing an injury, contact a San Francisco nursing home neglect attorney at Brod Law Firm today. Your parent’s situation may be protected by California’s elder abuse and personal injury laws.

Avoiding Hypoglycemia

For elderly individuals, particularly those with diabetes, it is crucial to avoid hypoglycemia, which is when a person has detrimentally low blood sugar. A normal blood sugar level ranges from 70 to 110 milligrams per deciliter. A diabetic patient’s goal depends on a number of factors and should be set and monitored by a physician. Hypoglycemia can occur when patients are administered too much insulin or another drug that lowers blood glucose levels.

500px-ViejitaA Canadian nursing home nurse was recently arrested and charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. The nurse is accused of poisoning eight residents between the years of 2007 and 2014. As terrible as these allegations are, this is only one example (albeit, a potentially tragic and incomprehensible example) of the abuse and neglect that thousands of nursing home residents face each day. Sadly, many instances of nursing home abuse or neglect go unreported and/or uninvestigated because:

  • The abuse victim feels ashamed or embarrassed about the abuse or neglect;
  • Family members or friends to whom the abuse is reported do not believe the victim;