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Boston, Massachusetts

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Steven Schafer

Agreement to waive jury trial against nursing home may not be a good deal for you

Admitting a member of your family to a nursing home can be stressful. Your grandparent, parent or spouse often needs immediate health care and attention and they can no longer live on their own,…

Steven Schafer

Bedrails can kill patients

Despite federal safety regulations and an increased awareness of the dangers of using bedrails at long-term care facilities and hospitals, patients continue to die from suffocation, strangulation or…

Ken Margolin

Reported Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes Declines

There was some good news in a 2005 study from the National [Nursing Home] Ombudsman Reporting System (“NORS”). Complaints involving physical abuse in nursing homes decreased from 5,426 in 1998 to 4,137 in 2005. According to the report, complaints of nursing home physical abuse ranked 19th out of 128 categories of complaints relating to nursing home conditions.While any decline in numbers of…

Ken Margolin

$160 Million Nursing Home Abuse Verdict

Corporate nursing home officials who bank on jurors discounting residents’ injuries from nursing home abuse, because of their age or pre-existing illness, may think again after a $160 million dollar verdict in Texas. The victim of the abuse was an 81 year old resident of the Comanche Trail Nursing Home in Big Spring, Texas. Nursing home personnel assigned him a new roommate who was mentally ill…

Ken Margolin

Sexual Abuse of Disabled Persons a Continuing Shame

Once again, a case of sexual abuse of disabled persons by a caretaker, is in the news. Wayne Albert Bleyle, pleaded guilty in San Diego, of molesting brain damaged children at Rady’s Children’s Hospital, where he had worked as a respiratory therapist. Bleyle had been charged in early 2006, and has been in jail since, on $5 million bail. The prosecutor, Laura Gunn, described the case as ‘one of…

Ken Margolin

Nursing Home Neglect Settlement

A significant settlement in a disturbing case of nursing home neglect, was reported in this week’s Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. A generally healthy, active, older women (exact age unspecified in the report), entered the nursing home for rehabilitation after a compression fracture. Darvocet, which the woman was taking for pain, has a known side effect for many people, of constipation. Despite…

Ken Margolin

Incidence of Nursing Home Abuse

Identifying just how much abuse occurs in nursing homes, is difficult. Victims are often unwilling or unable to speak up. Perpetrators may be nursing home staff, who have ongoing contact with the victim, and whose presence alone, may be intimidating. Nursing home assaults can be committed by a resident, when staff supervision is inadequate, lackadaisacal, or uncaring. It is almost certain,…

Ken Margolin

Epidemic of Nursing Home Abuse Continues

Newspapers are printing an advance overview of a GAO (Government Accountability Office) report, due out next week. The GAO investigated nursing homes receiving Medicaid/Medicare payments, to see if incidences of nursing home abuse had lessened since a 1998 GAO report, targeting such disgraces. The new report is not encouraging. Even homes in which instances of shocking abuse occur, receive…

Ken Margolin

Staff Abuse of Clients with Developmental Disabilities

It’s not often discussed outside of professional settings, but the issue of sexuality and developmental disability, poses ethical dilemmas. In fact, a book on the subject, bears that exact title: Ethical Dilemmas: Sexuality and Developmental Disability, Dorothy M. Griffiths, Ph.D., et al., ed., NAAD Press, Kingston, NY 2002. Professionals who work with individuals with developmental…

Ken Margolin

Choosing a Nursing Home

Cases of nursing home abuse are profoundly depressing. The saving thought for families forced to move a loved one from their home is that they will receive the care and the protection that they need in the home. Nursing home neglect or abuse is a betrayal of trust. Those facing the necessity of placing a family member in a nursing home can take some comfort from the realization that competent…