Articles Tagged with elderly

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Is-That-Nursing-Home-Providing-Good-Care-300x300Last week I wrote a post titled Who’s Watching Your Elderly Relative In The Nursing Home? At the time, I had been taking depositions in a couple different Alabama nursing home abuse cases. While taking the deposition of one facility’s Director of Nursing, the witness basically admitted her facility only purchased a rulebook to get licensed. This Director of Nursing testified her facility obtained a canned rulebook years ago to get licensed. Since then, the rulebook sat on the shelf gathering dust. She could not testify to any of her own facility’s specific procedures.

Think about that — A facility full of caregivers with no common procedures. All caregivers are left to act as they deem appropriate. We also took the depositions of several different CNAs who provided care at the facility. Most of them had never worked with any other providers. So, they had no prior experience. This facility hired them and turned them loose on its elderly residents with no explicit policies.

When we reviewed the medical chart at the nursing home, we found almost nothing. By nothing, I mean almost nothing was charted despite doctor’s orders to monitor the elderly resident carefully due to his health condition. In my post last week I discussed the nursing home’s response to questions on its lack of charting. In response, the witnesses testified they only “chart by exception.”

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Alabama Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect AttorneysA recent news article tells the story of a tragic nursing home death. An elderly resident was found dead in a wooded area near the facility. How did it happen? How could a nursing home lose a resident?

The elderly assisted living resident had been absent from the facility for several days. You would think one of the nurses would have noticed? The facility now claims it thought the resident was on an outing with family. Instead, the elderly resident had wandered from the home. Nobody saw her leave. Nobody signed her out. You would think the nursing home followed a sign-out procedure for residents leaving with family???

The nursing home failed to monitor its elderly residents. A simple check-in / check-out procedure (if followed) would have prevented this death. How can a nursing home fail to follow such a basic procedure? While that nursing home was not in Alabama, we have plenty of facilities in our state that also fail to monitor their elderly residents.

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Huntsville LawyersToday, I want to talk about nursing home staffing. Across Alabama, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are UNDER-staffed. This lack of staffing lowers the quality of life for many residents. And, it puts our elderly relatives and neighbors at risk of neglect and injury.

This lack of staffing also causes problems for those workers dedicated to helping elderly residents. Imagine being the only worker left to monitor and care for far too many residents. Burnout is an issue. And, worker injury is an issue. Over the years, we’ve seen many serious work-related injuries and disabilities suffered by nursing home workers forced to work too many hours and care for too many patients.

Staffing issues impact our vulnerable, elderly neighbors. They also impact the people trying to care for them. Earlier this year, the President proposed new rules to create minimum staffing standards. Let’s take a look at the problem and potential solution.

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Stop-Elderly-Abuse-300x300The New York Times recently published an article titled, How Deceptive Campaign Fund-Raising Ensnares Older People. The article has a Huntsville backdrop. The story involves a retired atmospheric scientist at NASA in Huntsville who passed away at age 90. Afterwards, his son Steve began sorting through his papers. That’s when Steve found 400 charges for various political fundraising campaigns. What? The charges were far beyond his father’s financial capabilities. What happened? The truth is that digital operatives use a variety of manipulative tactics to deceive potential donors, often focusing on elderly people.

It’s usually a scheme to exploit the diminished capacity of the elderly. Here is how it works. Some (usually fake) charitable organization targets an elderly person. The organization then bombards the person with calls or letters. The communications seek to scare the person into giving money. It extends far beyond politics.

We previously handled a Will Contest case in Decatur involving just this situation. A couple fake charities targeted the elderly person. These groups were very savvy. They knew his interests. And, they knew how to scare him into giving money.

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Several months ago, I wrote a post discussing fire ant attacks in Alabama nursing facilities. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be safe places for our elderly. Yet, over the last decade, fire ants have injured and killed elderly residents in numerous facilities across the southeastern United States.

Recently, three nursing home employees in Alabama were criminally convicted for elder abuse following a vicious fire ant attack on an elderly patient. That attack made the news but so many others go unreported.

A few years ago, we worked on a case involving a vicious fire ant attack at an assisted living facility in Huntsville, Alabama. The injuries were devastating to a sweet elderly patient and her family.

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Copy-of-Add-a-little-bit-o-text-3-300x300Assisted living facility? Decisions concerning elderly relatives can be some of the most difficult for families. When the time comes to consider driving, safety or living independently, it is traumatic. We want to honor our relatives and make the best decisions. Our elders are a true treasure. I’m reminded of the verse that says “Gray hair is a crown of glory.” (Proverbs 16:31).

How should we treat our elders? In a recent talk, Pope Francis said, “where there is no honor to the elderly, there is no future for the young.” That is very true.

Earlier this week I read of a recent incident where fire ants attacked an elderly Air Force veteran in a VA assisted living facility. A single fire ant attack in an assisted living facility, is unacceptable. Yet, here, we are not talking about a single attack but rather repeated attacks over the course of two days. Is this an isolated event in a single facility? No. Fire ants present a horrible danger that too many facilities ignore.

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Blackwell Law Firm - Helping Accident Victims
Elderly driving is a sensitive topic. It is a very sensitive topic for many families dealing with elderly relatives. We all value our independence and freedom. Driving is a key part of living independently. Yet, the topic has been on my mind lately. I have been preparing two car accident cases for trial involving serious crashes caused by elderly drivers. In one, the elderly driver crashed into five separate cars on a highway in Huntsville. She should have stopped driving long before the car crash.

I understand the difficulty in talking to our elderly loved ones about their driving. How do you tell your parents or grandparents it may be time to consider driving alternatives (or giving up their keys completely)? I’ve had those conversations with several elderly relatives. Many of my elderly relatives live in and around Decatur, Alabama. One by one, we have had the conversations necessary to prevent them from hurting themselves or someone else on our roads.

How does aging affect safe driving? The aging process can affect safe driving in many ways. Here are a few:

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