The Case That Prompted this Blog
January 31, 2008
By Leslie Griffy
A Los Gatos urologist who performed a painful cancer treatment on a patient who didn't have the disease has pleaded guilty to felony charges of elder abuse and insurance fraud, authorities said today..
Ali Moayed, 41, of Monte Sereno, is facing up to one year in jail under a plea agreement with Santa Clara County prosecutors. He has already surrendered his medical license.
Moayed created fake lab reports indicating that three of his patients suffered from prostate cancer, which they didn't have, according to court documents.
Another doctor reviewing Moayed's files in 2005 noticed that a pathology report - the document that would contain the cancer diagnosis - was missing from the file for a patient about to undergo treatment. When radiation oncologist Abhinand Peddada finally got the report, he saw that the report from the lab said something different than the document from Moayed's office.
The lab said the patient never had prostate cancer.
Peddada canceled a painful procedure, called brachytherapy, for the patient and a second man. But the conflicting reports weren't discovered until 87-year-old Dung Le had already undergone the procedure, which involves sedating the patient and inserting radioactive seeds the size of a rice grains into the prostate.
Peddada told Good Samaritan Hospital, where both were on staff, about the incident. The hospital forwarded the results of its investigation to the state medical board and law enforcement officials.
Moayed resigned from the hospital in August 2005.
Initially he pleaded not guilty and faced seven years in prison. He changed his plea on Friday, when prosecutors dismissed three other felony charges. Moayed will be sentenced in March and expected to serve up to one year in jail and 100 hours of community service, while paying $65,000 in restitution costs. He can no longer practice medicine in California.
About 218,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.
SOURCE: Mercury News
Posted on January 30th, 2008
by Emme Levine
We’ve all read stories about elder abuse and neglect. Even if you pay good money, incidents still happen. Recently, an episode on Oprah spotlighted this growing and very alarming social problem. The segment featured Jaki, a dutiful daughter who thought she had her bed-ridden father’s best interests at heart when she hired a caretaker named Anastasia to care for him while Jaki was at work. Her father was frail and suffering from dementia and a series of strokes, so Anastasia cared for Jaki’s dad in-home and full-time.
Jaki installed a surveillance camera because she “didn’t trust anybody” but after a while, failed to check on the tapes due to her busy lifestyle. After several weeks and acting on the sole basis of her intuition, she checked the tapes. What she saw shocked and devastated her. Jaki relates, “she just starts taking her fist and just beating him in his chest and in his stomach. I think every place on his body that she could actually strike him, she did.”
Devastated, Jaki called the police. Anastasia was “charged on multiple counts of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and vulnerable adult abuse. After posting her $5,000 bail, Anastasia fled the country…just eight days before her trial.”
Read more from: carestation.agis
A great site to visit. The site has a lot of information on aging, carers and many other issues.
It is great to notice that more news media and celebrity programs are publicizing the issue of Elder Abuse. More should follow. The only way to succeed in the push for social changes, in this case Elder Rights and Elder Abuse Prevention, is to keep the issue "on the boil" in headlines, talk-back radios, TV current affairs etc. Hopefully then, the policy-makers, legislators and others cannot avoid this important issue, and have to work harder at making changes that will make a difference in Elder Care.
by John Bisnar
Lawsuit Alleges Nursing Home Understaffed To Boost Profits
A man, who filed a lawsuit against a San Luis Obispo nursing home, is alleging that owners understaffed their facility to save money thereby causing the death of his mother who took a fall and died of pneumonia when she was a resident there. According to a news report in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Jay Cameron reportedly filed the suit against Compass Health, a company that owns six local facilities. The lawsuit alleges that the home committed elder abuse, fraud, wrongful death, negligence and violated patient’s rights, the Tribune reports.
But an attorney for the nursing home denies any abuse or negligence. He says the woman was 97 years old after all and maybe she broke her hip just because she was weak and old. This is exactly how he was quoted in the newspaper: “When you’re 97 years old there is no way to guarantee that people don’t fall, if that’s what did happen.” Isn’t that why families entrust their loved ones to people they believe are professionals? Isn’t that exactly the reason why this facility should be held accountable more than anyone else?
Let’s look at some other interesting facts on this nursing home. Despite the attorney’s denial, the Tribune reports from state records that the home got three citations for violations just in a one-year period. In April 2007 state investigators also found deficiencies in the home, but details were not available, the article states. The lawsuit states that the nursing home cut corners in patient care and created unsanitary and dangerous living conditions for residents increasing the number of accidents and injuries suffered by residents.
As a personal injury law firm that has represented numerous victims of nursing home abuse, we know that understaffing is one of the main reasons residents are neglected in nursing homes. How can one person possibly take care of 10 people at the same time? It’s humanly impossible. But nursing home owners, a lot of times, don’t care. Fewer employees to them mean fewer paychecks and that in turn adds up to more profits.
Maybe if more victims of nursing home abuse and negligence sued these greedy entrepreneurs, we would see less of these tragic stories. Maybe hitting them in the pocket book is the best wake-up call for unscrupulous businesses that put profits ahead of people, whose families pay thousands of dollars a month hoping to get quality care for their loved ones. These lawsuits are not about money. They’re about getting justice, to right a wrong and holding people accountable for their actions.
SOURCE: California Injury Blog
This is posted as an interesting article to watch. It is only an allegation in the lawsuit but, we are very interested in the outcome.
It is devastating enough to experience a wrongful death of a family member. It will take a lot more money, emotional and psychological toll to take the step of suing. Many just do not have the money, energy, time and good health to persue this step.
It is better that policy-makers, legislators and other interested parties, to see the prevention of such practices in the first place.
January 30, 2008
Two Geneva women accused of criminal neglect in the death of their elderly mother pleaded not guilty Tuesday.In the sisters' first court appearance, Kane County Judge Allen Anderson ordered Jill Barry, 53, and Julie Barry, 46, to surrender to the sheriff's department for booking. He also informed them of the potential penalties if they are found guilty of criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly person.If the sisters are convicted on the most serious charge, they could face 3 to 7 years in prison.
They declined to comment as they left the courtroom.
The sisters were indicted this month in the April death of their mother, Mary Virginia Barry, 84. Paramedics responding to an aid call at the Geneva home that the three shared found the elderly woman in squalid conditions, officials said.
Barry died a week later, and authorities said her daughters' neglect was a contributing factor. At the time of her death, she weighed only 70 pounds and her body was covered with large bedsores, officials said.
Kane County State's Atty. John Barsanti, who plans to prosecute the case himself, appeared at Tuesday's arraignment.
"I view this as an important case, and I have an interest in the issue," Barsanti said afterward. He added that he wants his office to "ratchet up" its involvement in elder abuse cases.
The judge set the Barrys' bail at $10,000, though he released them on their own recognizance, based on their longtime ties to the community. Barsanti said he does not view them as a flight risk.
They are due back in court Feb. 26, when it will be determined whether they will be tried separately.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune
AN urgent inquiry was launched yesterday into councils across the region who deny help to elderly people unable to wash, cook or shop for themselves.
Social Care Minister Ivan Lewis accused councils that ration care of a "no help here" attitude, leaving frail and infirm people to fend for themselves.
They include seven across the North-East and North Yorkshire, who will only help elderly people whose needs are judged to be substantial.
It excludes people with "moderate" needs, who cannot carry out everyday tasks such as getting up in the morning, bathing, making meals, housework and shopping.
It leaves more and more elderly people dependent on friends and relatives for help, if they cannot afford private care. Critics said many become trapped in their homes.
Durham County Council, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, Redcar and Cleveland and South Tyneside authorities all impose the "substantial" needs test.
Northumberland County Council excludes anyone whose need is not critical, one of only five to do so.
In contrast, Sunderland is among a shrinking number of councils that offer care to people with "low" needs.
The situation was exposed in a report yesterday, by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), which said that 73 per cent of councils refuse to fund moderate needs.
Announcing the inquiry, Mr Lewis said: "There is no logic to explain why some people are given support and others are not.
"Today's state of social care report highlights major inconsistencies in the way that eligibility criteria is being applied within, and between, local authorities.
"I want to see an end to the 'no help here' culture, which is now creeping into parts of the care system."
Durham County Council said the "acid test" was the number receiving help, which was rising in the county.
Tomorrow, the council will consider plans to spend an extra £850,000 on care for older people to enable them to remain in their homes.
Councillor Morris Nicholls said: "We spend our money supporting those people whose needs most seriously affect their independence. Eligibility criteria are the rules we apply to make sure this happens."
Jan Douglas, the executive director of social care for Middlesbrough Council, said it had operated the same eligibility test for 14 years -the one used by most authorities.
Derek Law, the director of North Yorkshire's community services, said that a year ago, the county relaxed its eligibility criteria from funding only cases of critical need.
The inquiry will be carried out by the CSCI, which will report back on its findings in the autumn.
Yesterday's report found that councils spent £14.2bn on social care last year, but elderly people paid £5.9bn for private care.
Across the country, 150,000 older people are paying for private care, having been denied it by their council.
SOURCE: The Northern Echo UK
August 15, 2007
By David Rose
Elderly people are suffering from abuse, neglect and malnutrition in hospitals and care homes, according to a report by peers and MPs.
The report, published today by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, calls for changes in the law to safeguard the care of older people, and for a “complete change of culture” in health and care services.
More than a fifth of care homes have been found to be failing basic standards for privacy and dignity, with the most vulnerable residents struggling to eat without proper help, being subjected to verbal and physical abuse or being left to lie in their urine or excrement.
Two thirds of NHS hospital beds are occupied by the over 65s, while the number of older people in the population is growing such that, by 2050, there will be twice as many Britons aged over 80 as there are today. Although the committee was told that some patients received excellent care, it said “there are serious concerns about poor treatment, neglect, abuse, discrimination and ill-considered discharge.
The report includes the example of an 80-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted by a fellow resident in a care home in 2004: “It was recorded in a log book but no action taken . . . It was only reported to the resident’s daughter in July 2005. She reported the matter to the police.”
The committee’s report adds: “In our view, elder abuse is a serious and severe human rights abuse which is perpetrated on vulnerable older people who often depend on their abusers to provide them with care. Not only is it a betrayal of trust, it would also, in certain circumstances, amount to a criminal offence.”
It also cites problems with malnutrition, dehydration and the abuse of medication as a means of controlling older patients. The Alzheimer’s Society said that up to 40 per cent of patients with dementia were being prescribed powerful sedative drugs, despite the risks to their health.
Kate Jopling, head of public affairs at Help the Aged, said: “The shocking examples highlighted by this report provide all the evidence this Government needs to justify urgent action.”
Comments on this article:
I own and run a Residential Home for elderly people with varying levels of dementia.
The only news we hear about Residential Care homes is bad news but may I reassure those people reading your paper who are looking for a Residential Home for their elderly loved ones, not all homes are bad. There are hundreds of very good homely homes full of very caring staff whose only motive for working in the caring industry is to provide a safe and secure place for elderly people to live.
Although 21 per cent of care homes failed to reach minimum standard, the government through Social Services still fund these homes yet the good homes that have reached and excelled the standards set down struggle to pay staff a decent wage. It seems the Government has fantastic ideas on how elderly people should be cared for but will only give a proportion of funding expecting relatives to Top Up fees from residents’ savings. This creates a two-tier system“ those who have money and those who haven’t, and the people who have been frugal all their lives are being penalised and subsidising the people who haven’t. The government is well aware of the situation but are relying on relatives to foot the bill.
Ms Bridget Luckham, Tavistock, Devon
"Local authorities are increasingly referring elderly patients to homes run by the private and voluntary sector, which are exempt from the Human Rights Act. "
Is this a joke? Really, are they joking?
This says that Local authorities are handing over the care of the elderly to profiteers and companies who are EXEMPT from the legal responsibility to care for the elderly...." This is tantamount to criminal negligence.
The elderly and vulnerable should have the best possible care available, and not tomorrow but now! What exactly are we paying the Government and Minister for Care Services for? To hand over responsibility to companies who cannot be monitored or held to account? It better be put right and soon! Don't forget, you create the system in which YOU and yours will one day grow old and may be dependent!!! Better put it right now.
T. Bishop, London, UK
SOURCE: TimesOnLine UK
This report was made last year, little has changed. It seems that policy-makers will always call for more reports and studies. Even when those reports are published with recommendations; it will often take years before they are implemented.
Provision Bars Retired Pilots From Returning With Seniority
got around to addressing the plight of healthy, qualified pilots being forced to retire at age 65, the so-called Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act made it past both Houses and President Bush in just three days. Now, 3,000 older pilots who are still without jobs say the word "fair" has no place in the name of the law.
In a concession to the Air Line Pilots Association, the law was drafted to discourage pilots already forced to retire, but not yet 65, from returning to the airline workforce. While it did not prohibit airlines from hiring them back, it stipulated that they would have to return stripped of their seniority.
Given the drastic cut in wages that would result, and the drop to the bottom of schedule, route and vacation bidding, that made the proposition a non-starter for pilots who in some cases had spent decades working their way to the top of their profession.
Jim Hathcoat of Olathe was forced out of his job at Frontier Airlines.
He commented on the inconsistency between US and international rules as his forced retirement grew near.
"International pilots up to age 65 could fly through US space, but we couldn’t," Hathcoat said. "That didn’t make sense."
Hathcoat notes the result of the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act has been to force hardship on many of the people it was supposed to help. He tells the Star, "We can’t get our old jobs back, can’t draw reduced Social Security benefits for another three years or full benefits until 66. Now, how crazy is that?"
By Meghán-Louise Meban
SOCIETY'S forgotten have been quietly suffering in the dark during what should be their golden years.
But no more, say founders of pilot scheme SOS, recently launched tackle the "taboo subject" of elderly abuse.
"This can be described as much more serious than the likes of bogus callers," said Inspector Colin Audley. "It's about mental and physical abuse that elderly people face from the hands of those who they should be able to trust the most."
Safe Older Secure (SOS) was launched last week during a one-day conference at the Comfort Hotel as a multi-agency pilot project to help those at risk in the community.
"While Antrim has no greater reported problem of the abuse of older, vulnerable persons than the rest of Northern Ireland, we have established the SOS initiative to encourage those affected to report the abuse. It can only stop when you report it," explained Inspector Audley at the launch.
"This is this first scheme of it's kind to be launched in Northern Ireland and it will hopefully help keep our elderly residents safe. I hope it proves to be a great success," he said.
Abuse can occur anywhere. In someone's own home; a carer's home; day care; residential care; a nursing home or hospital.
She added: "Hopefully the rest of Northern Ireland will follow suit to tackle elderly abuse because it is happening throughout Ireland and the UK.
"It seems to be one of the last taboos because, until now, people seem to have swept it under the carpet."
SOURCE: AntrimTimes UK
Elder Abuse is still a "taboo" subject in many places. More so, if the abuse occurred in residential homes. "Civilly Matters" we don't want to know. It is easier to report elder abuse if there are physical or glaringly obvious signs.
Elder abuse cases involving emotional and psychological abuse are much, much harder to detect and STOP. Such abuses leave vicitims, just as devastated. Often victims prefer to stay in a "bad situation" then be moved to a nursing home. Why? Perhaps, we should look into why nursing homes are so unattractive, even to such victims.
January 30, 2008
By Thomas Walkom,
The Ontario government is helping to break its own laws when it lets nursing homes leave elderly residents lying for hours in urine-soaked diapers, according to a legal opinion prepared for the Ontario Federation of Labour.
"People shouldn't have to end up in these situations. If these were kids in a child-care centre, there would be outrage."Written by Toronto lawyers Mary Cornish and Jo-Anne Pickel, the 29-page brief concludes that most nursing homes in the province violate laws, regulations and binding contractual obligations that require long-term care institutions to keep patients "clean and dry" and "promote their dignity and independence."
They say the so-called 75 per cent rule, whereby a diaper is changed only after it is three-quarters full of urine, contravenes the province's human rights code against discrimination on the basis of age, disability and sex (elderly women suffer from incontinence more than men). And, they say, it may also violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Nursing home administrators who insist that staff leave immobile residents festering in their own urine could also be charged with professional misconduct, they say.
"The government has set standards that the nursing homes aren't following," said Cornish yesterday after a copy of the report was released to the Star. "But the nursing homes can't follow these standards because the government doesn't give them enough money for supplies and staff."
Nursing home staff have long complained that they are liable to discipline if they change diapers too often. In a report two years ago, and distributed to every MPP, the OFL cited one instance where supervisors pulled used, sodden diapers out of the garbage and weighed them to ensure that staff were adhering to the 75 per cent rule.
In another case, nursing home workers received free pizzas if they kept diaper use down.
In their brief, the two lawyers say they were told that families who complain on behalf of incontinent residents usually receive more diapers but that those who try to be agreeable get nothing.
SOURCE: The Star.com
How many care homes are in this sort of situation?
Is the problem, that of greedy nursing homes owners, or that of staff shortages?
Then again, is the government providing enough funding, incentives and other resources to assist owners of care homes.
The report was published last year. Have things changed?
Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008
By Jamie Rogers
Two Darlington men were arrested after police say they neglected two older live-in relatives — one to the brink of death, Darlington Police Capt. Danny Watson said.
Timothy Sims, 47, and Les Williams, 53, both of 402 Second St., each face two counts of abuse of a vulnerable adult, Watson said.
EMS personnel who were contacted by one of the suspects, responded to the home and found an 84-year-old woman and a 62-year-old woman in serious condition, Watson said.
Both were taken to a local hospital where the 62-year-old woman’s condition is so critical that hospital staff are not expecting her to live, Watson said.
It appeared that the 62-year-old had not eaten in more than 30 days, according to WBTW News13 reports.
“They did not provide for her basic needs, which placed her in the condition that she’s in now,” Watson said. “To let someone sink to the state of starvation and medical crisis is just unacceptable.”
The 84-year-old is in better condition but still has “serious health issues due to lack of care,” Watson said.
The two women are mother and daughter while Williams is a son and grandson of the victims, respectively. Sims is a nephew and grandnephew to the women, Watson said.
After seeing women’s condition, EMS personnel immediately contacted police who placed them into emergency protective custody, Watson said.
“They will be charged under a higher statute of abuse of a vulnerable adult,” he said.
The current charges are punishable by up to 15 years in jail for each count.
I do not take pleasure in posting such article. However, we must inform others about what can happen in their own home. It is very disturbing that a son and nephew can do such a thing. Hard to believe, but it is true.
January 29, 2008
By Jan Warner and Jan Collins
Q: My 87-year old mother has been a nursing-home resident since she fractured her hip last year. Because she was unable to benefit from rehabilitation, Medicare stopped paying for her care, and she was moved into another room, where she receives skilled care, but she now has a 77-year-old female roommate with an obvious memory disorder. Their beds are no more than 4 feet apart, and only a curtain allows any type of privacy.
Mom has complained that her roommate is on the phone day and night talking to her husband, which keeps Mom awake. We finally met her husband last Sunday during visiting hours. He appeared to be quite younger than his wife and appeared to be drinking. He seemed jovial, but not 10 minutes after he arrived, he pulled the curtain around his wife's bed, and they began engaging in sexual relations while my wife and I were sitting there.
There was no question what was going on. My mother, who is very sharp for her age, was quite
embarrassed, as were my wife and I.
I went first to the nurse and then to the administrator of the facility and related what had been going on and the effect on my mother and, quite frankly, anyone within earshot. I was also concerned that this man could come to the facility, get confused and go into the wrong room and possibly rape a patient if he is intoxicated.
The administrator told me that, by federal law, husbands and wives have rights to conjugal visits, and the nursing home could not stop it. I was shocked when I was told that unless and until the husband did something inappropriate, there was nothing that could be done. Are there any actions we can take? I would like to move my mother, but we are told that all beds are full.
A: Lists of residents' rights in nursing facilities are included in state and federal laws with an eye toward protecting the residents' liberties; however, at the same time, while in a nursing-home setting, residents can't have the complete freedoms they enjoyed outside it.
The right to privacy is most important, meaning that when care is being given, the door should be closed, the privacy curtain should be drawn, and the blinds or curtains should be closed.
To avoid violating the law, the facility must avoid endangering a resident's health, safety or welfare. That is why humiliation, harassment and threats constitute mental abuse. On the one hand, the facility can't ignore a resident's request that would improve the quality of that person's life. Yet, on the other, such requests must be considered in light of practicality or potential harm to residents' health and safety.
Taking the NextStep: In that your mother's roommate appears to be ambulatory, it might be that a separate private room could be made available. Or, in some instances, a resident may be able to leave the facility for a conjugal visit. Your mother's health and welfare must be balanced against her roommate's rights. We suggest that you try again to resolve the matter and, if you can't, we suggest that you contact the long-term care ombudsman and file a grievance or, as a last resort, move your mother to another facility that "keeps a lid" on patients' rights of this nature.
SOURCE: PostGazette Pittsburgh
January 29, 2008
by Chris McLaughlin
MPs are being urged to close a legal loophole which has left elderly and disabled private care home residents unprotected against human rights abuses.The law currently leaves those most vulnerable to abuse open to maltreatment from malnutrition, neglect and lack of privacy or worse.
Examples of abuse of the elderly recorded in care homes by the British Institute of Human Rights include:
- Residents with mobility difficulties being left in their own waste for hours;
- Emergency night calls being ignored because residents are “just looking for attention”;
- Continent older people forced to wear incontinence pads because staff “do not have time” to help them to the toilet;
- Bathing residents in the same bath water;
Over-medication to induce docility;
- A lesbian resident banned from placing a photograph of her partner on her bedside table because staff claimed to be offended.
In spite of successive Government promises, statutory protection against such abuse is not covered by the nine-year-old Human Rights Act.
A series of judicial rulings means that those receiving care in private or charity care homes have no recourse to the legislation and are therefore not guarded by any protective deterrent against abuse.
All state services, including the NHS and publicly-run residential care homes, are already within the scope of the Act.
A campaign led by Age Concern and backed by Liberty, Help the Aged and Justice among others is calling for the Government to accept an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, currently in committee stage in the House of Commons, which would close the loophole.
Ministers have offered to close the loophole with stronger regulation but campaigners argue that the estimated two to three years delay is unacceptably long for older people to be denied basic human rights protection.
Without the proposed change, residents or their relatives are able to complain to the care home but cannot take a complaint any further.
Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North, who has tabled an amendment to close the loophole said: “Thousands of older and disabled people do not have access to the protection they were promised.
“This amendment would ensure that those who receive contracted services are guaranteed the same levels of protection and rights to redress as those in the state sector.”
Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: “We want this scandalous exclusion of independent care home residents from human rights protection to end.“The Government should also ensure that older people are protected through effective regulation and inspection, background checks on staff and an independent element in the complaints procedure.”
It is no wonder that many seniors would rather stay in a "bad situation" with family members, than to consider been put in a care home. The human rights violations (as stated above) MUST NOT BE TOLERATED.
Studies and various reports from researches have been done, yet often it will take a wait of many years before we see the implementation of those recommendations. Such delays are NOT acceptable. Policymakers must consider this seriously. They themselves, or their loved ones,may need the protection of the new laws.
January 28, 2008
By Noel Baker
ALMOST 1,000 cases of alleged abuse of elderly people were referred to the HSE’s elder abuse services last year, figures have revealed.
The statistics, the first to be compiled since the HSE appointed elder abuse officers to check on cases throughout the country, also reveal that in 92% of cases there was a family relationship between the alleged abuser and the older person. Alarmingly, one in five cases alleged physical abuse.
The HSE figures show that in 2007, 927 cases were referred to the elder abuse services, which comprise 26 dedicated staff. The initial research indicates that:
* 88% of clients are living at home, with another 2% living in the homes of relatives.
* 4% are in public continuing care facilities.
* 3% are in private nursing homes.
* 2% are in other places.
The figures also reveal that the main sources of referral are community healthcare staff in 38% of cases, while 16% of cases are referred by family and 14% by other HSE staff. The Garda Síochána was consulted in about 100 cases last year.
As for the nature of the alleged abuse, the initial HSE research indicates that in 29% of cases it took the form of psychological abuse, including forms of emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, intimidation, verbal abuse or isolation.
In another 20% of cases the alleged abuse relates to financial matters, such as theft, fraud, exploitation and pressure in connection with wills, while another 20% of cases involves allegations of physical abuse.
Other forms of alleged abuse in cases investigated by the HSE include discriminatory abuse, neglect and acts of omission, and sexual abuse.
Age Action’s head of advocacy and communications Eamon Timmins said there was “a huge lack of awareness” of elder abuse, but the scale of the problem “would not come as a surprise” to those working in the elderly support sector.
“The state’s policy going back to the late ’60s is to let people live independently in their own homes but, if you look at what they [the Government] are doing in policy terms, it does not stand up,” Mr said Timmins.
A further six officers will join the 26 existing elder abuse officers in the coming weeks, as part of the implementation of recommendations made in 2002 in a working group report on elder abuse.
A national steering group on elder abuse, in addition to the elder abuse steering committees at HSE Area level, has been established to oversee the provision of elder abuse services by the HSE in relation to the detection, reporting and response to cases of alleged abuse.
SOURCE: Irish Examiner
By Marie-Therese Connolly
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Bette Davis once said old age ain't for sissies. She was right.
As though declining health, impending mortality and other challenges weren't hard enough, too often old age is also plagued by abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Science has extended our lives dramatically: In 1900, Americans' average life expectancy was 47. By 2000, it was 77, and it's still rising. But our energy and resources have been disproportionately focused on living longer rather than living better -- a phenomenon called " the longevity paradox."
Estimates of the prevalence of elder abuse vary wildly, but by some reports there could be up to 5 million cases a year, with 84 percent going unreported. All other factors being equal, victims of even relatively minor mistreatment are three times more likely to die prematurely than those who are not victimized.
Although elder abuse typically conjures visions of nightmarish nursing homes, the term actually encompasses a far broader spectrum of trouble, including physical and psychological abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Practitioners report that most elder abuse occurs at home at the hands of family and that the most frequent perpetrators are adult male relatives with mental health or substance abuse problems,
We are perhaps in greatest denial about elder sexual abuse. When the perpetrator is a son or grandson, these cases are met with disbelief, given the taboo-busting, worse-than-Oedipal nature of the offense.
Take the case of 96-year-old "Miss Mary." To get out of a nursing home, Miss Mary moved into the Jacksonville trailer home of her grandson and his wife. She cooked and cleaned for them and contributed part of her Social Security check to the household; they sold off her belongings and stole her burial payments. One night in 2004, when his wife was gone, Miss Mary's grandson raped and assaulted her for six hours, then threatened to kill her. Instead he fell asleep, and Miss Mary called 911.
Despite serious injuries and abundant evidence of the attack, her entire family took the grandson's side.
.............convicting the grandson of sexual battery, for which he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Until her death last year, Miss Mary lived in the place she had most wanted to avoid -- a nursing home.
Neglect may sound more benign than abuse, but it usually lasts longer, is harder to prove and prosecute, and can be just as lethal.
Thirty percent of seriously ill elders surveyed have told researchers that they would rather die than go to a nursing home.
This fear, founded or not, drives many elders such as Miss Mary and Deering to stay in bad situations at home. But while neglect of one person is tragic, systemic neglect by a facility or chain housing numerous residents can be catastrophic.
Between 1998 and 2001, nursing homes run by American Healthcare Management in St. Louis didn't have enough caregivers to help residents who couldn't feed themselves.
Some facilities provide great care. But the news about staffing, the most critical factor in the quality of long-term care, is bleak: A government study in 2002 concluded that more than half of the nation's nursing homes are understaffed at levels that harm residents. Nursing homes receive $80 billion from Medicare and Medicaid annually to care for 1.5 million residents. Another million Americans live in other long-term care facilities, and 10 million receive care at home, where oversight is sparse to nonexistent and the potential for abuse is great.
Yet not a single federal employee works on elder abuse issues full-time. Ironically, the family violence field has largely ignored elder abuse, and most entities devoted to aging issues assign it low priority. This inattention is all the more baffling given the approaching tsunami of 77 million aging baby boomers, and given that the fastest-growing segment of the population, those 85 and older, are at greatest risk for mistreatment.
……… the relatively uncontroversial Elder Justice Act, modeled on those laws, has languished since 2002.
Perhaps the twin culprits of ageism and denial are to blame.
How do we as individuals and as a nation measure the value of life in old age? And why have we not done more to protect and defend our most vulnerable elders?
But we have overestimated our civility. Because in the end, we subject many of our old people to a plight as bad as, if not worse than, the ice floe.
(Marie-Therese Connolly, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, is former coordinator of the Department of Justice's Elder Justice and Nursing Home Initiative. )
Abridged Article. ( ** Please read full article from: Washington Post)
Thank you Marie-Therese, for this excellent article. Perhaps, this will "prick" the collective conscience of our society. We need to be OUTRAGED by the increasing number of reported Elder Abuse cases. This is an issue that should concern us ALL.
January 26, 2008
Despite many Federal and State regulations, which have been established to protect our loved ones in these settings, a gross number of violations continue to occur every single day, tragically compromising the health, dignity and safety of our elders and the disabled. As a society, we must not forget that individuals entering nursing homes are the most vulnerable members of our society.
Nursing home negligence and elder abuse can manifest itself in a variety of ways. While physical and sexual abuse is the one of the most common, some other examples are:
- Use of restraints without proper medical orders
- Deprivation of food or water • Medication Errors: Over or under-dosing of medication • Unexplained injuries or failing to report and injury
- Forcing a patient to stay in a room or placing in a secluded area
- Failure to assist with Activities of Daily Living (e.g. dressing, personal hygiene, and eating)• Unsanitary and unclean conditions
- Stealing a patient's money and/or possessions
- Fraud, forgery, and extortion
- Wrongful use of Power of Attorney, Trusteeship, or Guardianship
Department of Human Services fields thousands of nursing home negligence and elder abuse complaints every year. However, investigations into these complaints can be difficult because dementia or other conditions can make residents poor witnesses.
If you must place a loved one into a nursing home, do your homework. Research the facility. Take a tour of the home, meet the staff, find out about their licensing and staff certification. You should also ask about staff training programs, particularly any on elder abuse, patient safety, and dealing effectively with difficult residents.
Request copies of the latest inspection report, which is required of a facility certified to take Medicare and Medicaid.
Once you place someone into a nursing home, watch for warning signs of abuse. Common signs that they are suffering from nursing home negligence or elder abuse might be: sudden agitation or emotional withdrawl, unexplained bruises or other injuries and/or rapid weight loss.
SOURCE: D'Amore & Associates
Grim pattern to reports of abuse
By TOM JACKSON Thursday January 24 2008
Register photo/ABIGAIL BOBROW Detectives Jared Oliver from the Erie County Sheriff's Office and Al Jenkins from the Perkins Township Police Department leave the W. Cedarwood Drive home of accused rapist John Riems Wednesday.
The details about John R. Riems' alleged assaults against nursing home residents seem grimly familiar to social workers. They say assaults against mute and helpless victims fit a pattern.
The victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes tend to be people who "are just not able to defend themselves because of physical disabilities or cognitive impairments or just general frailty," said Sharon Merriman-Nai, co-manager of the National Center on Elder Abuse.
"We do typically see if we have those kinds of complaints, the victim is someone who is not generally a good reporter," echoed Beverley Laubert, Ohio's Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Laubert's office investigates complaints about nursing home care in Ohio.
Riems, recently fired from his position as a nurse at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center, is accused of raping a 55-year-old man unable to talk or see because of a stroke.
A fact sheet on elder sexual abuse from the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault says perpetrators are most likely to be male, and victims most often are women older than 70 who are "totally dependent or functioning at a poor level."
It's difficult to know how often sexual abuse of the elderly occurs, Merriman-Nai said. Sexual abuse in general is underreported, she said, and institutional abuse is even more difficult to find out about.
Experts who have tried to study the incidence of elderly sexual abuse have offered a wide range of estimates of how often such cases are actually reported. These range from 1 in 5-6 instances of sexual abuse to 1 in 14, Merriman-Nai said.
Common sense suggests that if criminals tend to select victims who cannot communicate, "that would certainly go into the mix as to why they go undetected," she said.
The Ohio Department of Health does not keep separate statistics on sexual abuse of nursing home residents, but lumps it in with verbal, physical and mental abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion, said department spokeswoman Sara Morman.
She said 31 cases of all types of abuse were recorded last year in Ohio.
Laubert said loved ones of nursing home residents should be alert for changes in behavior that signal possible sexual abuse.
"People just need to be alert to anything that's different, trust their instincts, just like the loved one you reported about (in the Riems case)," she said.
A resident becoming withdrawn, less expressive or tearful could be a sign of trouble, Laubert said.
"We've seen people who, if someone reaches out to hug them, might jerk back," she said.
Sexual abuse cases in Ohio verified by the Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman office:
2007: 15; 2006: 9 2005: 7
SOURCE: SandUSky Register Online
January 25, 2008
NEW YORK (AP) — A physician was accused Wednesday of stealing his 94-year-old mother's life savings of more than $800,000 after taking control of her finances through a power of attorney, leaving her virtually impoverished.
"He took pretty much all that she had," Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said Wednesday when he announced the indictment of Dr. Robin Motz. Motz's mother, Minnie, now lives on a small pension and Social Security, Morgenthau said.
Motz, 68, was accused of stealing $832,453 from his mother after taking over her finances in 2003. Morgenthau said Motz spent the money on flat-screen TVs and other luxuries; travel to the Bahamas, Mexico and Hong Kong; and on his vacation house in Hillsdale, N.Y.
This is a mini-Astor case," Morgenthau said, referring to charges pending against Anthony Marshall, who is accused of theft from his mother, society grande dame and philanthropist Brooke Astor.
Motz was arraigned in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, where he pleaded not guilty to second-degree grand larceny and second-degree money laundering. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on either count.
Motz's lawyer, Sean Dwyer, said his client "is devastated by this, but we're looking forward to the chance to defend him."
Justice John Cataldo released Motz on $200,000 cash bail and scheduled his next court date for Jan. 30.
Motz, who lives on the Upper East Side with his third wife, is an internist who practices in Englewood, N.J., and has admitting privileges at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
Minnie Motz, a retired librarian, was mentally alert but had some physical ailments, Morgenthau said. He said Motz told his mother he was using her power of attorney — the legal right to make decisions for her — to consolidate her bank accounts to aid him in paying her bills.
In early 2004, Morgenthau said, Motz moved his mother's investment accounts from Oppenheimer & Co. to Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., where he had an account. He depleted the accounts by paying his own $400,000 credit card bills, paying a contractor $200,000 for working on his vacation house, paying his racket club dues, and giving large cash gifts to his children.
Motz's mother learned of her financial predicament when her Upper West Side co-op levied a special assessment to cover the cost of rebuilding a retaining wall that had collapsed and she was unable to pay it.
With Minnie Motz facing eviction, the building's management called a social worker, who contacted the district attorney's elder abuse unit. That unit started an immediate investigation, Morgenthau said.
SOURCE: USA DAILY
The legal document "Power of Attorney" is an important tool to ensure that someone else can take over decision making for you, should you become incapacitated. However, it is also opened to abuse from the one given that power/control.
The elderly are constantly advised to organize such a document by attorneys, legislator etc.
I hope to post articles and legal information relating to Power of Attorney, shortly.
This is an important issue that all seniors should learn more about.
It is still an issue that some governments are looking into; or are awaiting reports from studies or researches before implementing recommendations to eliminate or prevent abuse of Power of Attorney.
Empower yourself with the information, that might save you from something like the article above.
'Bullying matron played CIA prank to scare care home patient'
23rd January 2008
Accused: Maureen Sheikh allegedly posed as a CIA agent to terrify a paranoid patient.
A care home matron and her staff posed as CIA agents to scare a paranoid resident in a campaign of vicious practical jokes, a hearing was told today.
Maureen Sheikh, 58, also formed a mock "jazz band" with staff and banged pots and pans to upset a mentally-ill man who was distressed by noise, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.
Sheikh, who was the matron in charge of St Mary's Nursing Home in Church Chase, Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham for 11 years, was sacked in September 2007 for gross misconduct.
Hannah Capgras, for the NMC, told the hearing how Sheikh had encouraged staff to participate in a bullying campaign for fun.
"These are serious allegations of psychological harm over a long period of time," she said.
One of the residents, referred to as Resident A, suffered from paranoia and became a target for Sheikh, Ms Capgras said.
"He believed he was being followed by the CIA.
"The registrant organized staff to dress up as members of the CIA, and thought it was funny when he reacted in a distressed state," she said.
One of the members of staff, who sent written evidence to the panel, said Sheikh had run around outside the resident's window at night, "making noises."
Another resident, referred to as Resident D, became agitated and abusive when noise disturbed him, Ms Capgras said.
During the broadcast of the "Britain's Got Talent" in the summer of 2007, Sheikh and her staff decided to form what they referred to as a "jazz band" to torment him, the panel heard.
"She and fellow members of staff made makeshift instruments of pots and pans.
"Noise triggered both verbal and physical agitation from Resident D, and the registrant and the staff were aware of this," said Ms Capgras.
There was an announcement on the home's tanoy that the "jazz band" would be playing, and the staff went through the home and up to Resident D's room, said Ms Capgras.
"They noisily played their 'jazz band' through the dining room where he was causing him to be agitated, abusive and aggressive.
"They sent the jazz band to the office and proceeded to make a terrible noise.
"They went up to the first floor and played outside his bedroom and inside his bedroom," she said.
Sheikh also bullied two more residents, Ms Capgras said.
Resident B, an elderly woman with mental and physical disabilities, was a target because she believed she had an imaginary boyfriend, the panel heard.
"The registrant would tell her a fellow service user was having an affair with him, to antagonize both of them," Mrs Capgras said.
The last victim, Resident C, also had mental health problems and would throw water on staff when she became agitated.
Sheikh would often wind her up until this happened for her own amusement, it is claimed.
In addition to abusing residents, Sheikh is also said to have bullied staff members and discouraged "whistle-blowing" or the procedure where staff could report abuse in the home.
"Staff felt intimidated by her and felt they couldn't report incidents of malpractice," said Mrs Capgras.
"On the occasions when they did, the registrant would make badges saying 'grass' on them, and staff would wear them."
But after the "jazz band" incident a staff member wrote an anonymous letter to the home's owners complaining about Sheikh.
The managers interviewed all the staff and suspended Sheikh on August 13.
A disciplinary hearing was scheduled for September 5 but Sheikh claimed she was too ill to attend.
It was postponed until September 20, but Sheikh again failed to turn up claiming she was stressed.
She was dismissed in her absence for gross misconduct.
Sheikh, a mother-of-two whose husband is a doctor, told the panel that all the allegations were fabricated.
"She continued in her quiet way despite the bullying because she loved the home and the work,' said Ms Ewins.
"She enjoyed it and did not wish to give way to this bullying."
Sheikh admitted there had been a "jazz band", but said she is the victim of a misunderstanding - saying it was only an impromptu "bit of fun" which most of the residents enjoyed.
She said they had not played in Resident D's room, and they had stopped when he came out and shouted at them.
"It was after the TV programme. I didn't stop to think the gentleman concerned was present.
"When we realized we stopped. The other residents enjoyed it and were clapping," she said.
Sheikh, who denies the allegations, will now be free to work as a nurse while the NMC investigate her case.
Chair of the panel Eileen Pollock said: "The panel decided that a suspension order is not necessary for the protection of the public."
The nurse will now face a full hearing on a date to be fixed.
SOURCE: Daily Mail UK
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
A 43-year-old woman in western Tokyo has been arrested after refusing to let municipal officials enter her home to probe suspected abuse of her 85-year-old father, police said Monday. Due to that refusal, Sumie Kishida, an unemployed resident of Nishitokyo, becomes the first person ever arrested for allegedly violating a law aimed at preventing abuse of the elderly, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
After Kishida's arrest, her father was placed in protective custody and hospitalized, where he was listed in weak but not life-threatening condition, police said. Kishida told investigators the police action violates her right to privacy, according to MPD officials.
For years, Nishitokyo officials have tried at the request of Kishida's brother to visit the house and check up on the man's condition. Kishida never allowed the officials into the house.
She also thwarted the city's attempts since last summer to inspect the house on suspicion that Kishida was neglecting her father, according to police.
Kishida's arrest is based on her rejection, without a justifiable reason, of the city's inspection of the house in line with the law against abuse of the elderly, according to the MPD.
According to the city, Kishida piled up garbage at the front door and the bathroom is unusable. Her neighbors repeatedly complained to the city that cats kept at the house were spreading foul odors, officials said.
SOURCE: Japan Today
TOKYO -- A 95-year-old woman died in Tokyo earlier this month after 11 hospitals refused to admit her for emergency treatment, Tokyo Fire Department officials said Wednesday.
After she suffered chest pains at her home in Kiyose, Tokyo, on the evening of Jan. 8, her son, 50, called an ambulance. Paramedics arrived in three minutes, but took 38 minutes to find a hospital that would accept her. She died there following treatment, they said. Among the reasons the 11 hospitals turned her down were overcrowding, they said.
Perhaps, they really took notice of her AGE! Wonder if it would be different if she was a young sport star. Has society come up with a "USE BY DATE" for branding the elderly.
January 24, 2008
Here are just a few examples of matters recently handled by our firm throughout the state of California:
The Crooked Lawyer
After agreeing to provide legal assistance to his elderly relatives free of charge, a lawyer steals hundreds of thousands of dollars from the elders’ settlement proceeds as his “50% contingency fee” – and then forges their signatures on an attorney-client agreement to cover up the crime. The elders retain Schwartz & Schwartz to pursue all available claims against the lawyer. Following a protracted, vicious battle, on the eve of trial the Schwartz Firm's efforts compel the lawyer to pay his elderly relatives nearly twice the amount of money he stole from them. Criminal proceedings against the lawyer are ongoing.
The Nasty Niece
A young woman subjects her elderly aunt and uncle to a subtle but relentless pattern of undue influence, first causing them to move miles from their long-time home and circle of friends into a house literally across the street from the young woman and her husband (so they could maintain ‘control’), and eventually coercing them to dramatically alter their long-standing estate plan in the young woman’s favor. The elderly aunt retains Schwartz & Schwartz to undo the fraudulent estate plan and recover property already wrongfully transferred to her niece as a result of the undue influence. Schwartz & Schwartz’ overwhelming attack during the first day of trial in Northern California convinces the niece to relinquish her entire 'inheritance.'
The Greedy TrusteeThe trustee of a well-known television producer’s trust pays himself nearly $400,000.00 of professional fees for the “services” he renders as trustee and as the trust’s accountant following the producer’s death – even though he is entitled to less than half of that amount. The beneficiaries retain Schwartz & Schwartz to remove the trustee and recover the money he stole from the trust (and ultimately, the trust’s beneficiaries) through his deceptive and wrongful conduct. After a successful trial on the merits, Schwartz & Schwartz obtains a judgment permanently removing the trustee from his position and ordering the trustee to repay all of the money to the trust’s beneficiaries.
The Remorseless Residential Care Facility Operators
Operators of a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE) neglect an elderly woman’s most basic care needs for several weeks, resulting in profound malnutrition, dehydration, five severe bedsores, infection and, ultimately, death. The Schwartz Firm is brought in by co-counsel to assist with the case's prosecution, and the court eventually awards approx. $2.25 million in compensatory and punitive damages (including attorneys’ fees and costs). Schwartz & Schwartz proceeds to sift through the countless layers of judgment-proof entities and other corporations to expose – and hold liable – the real parties responsible for the despicably-run RCFE. After spending more than a year successfully dissembling the corporate shell game employed by foreign nationals ‘behind the scenes’ of the RCFE, Schwartz & Schwartz leverages a settlement by which the defendants agree to pay $3,000,000.00 to the victim's daughter – even more than the $2.25 million elder abuse judgment originally obtained.
The Slimy Stockbroker
A 27 year old stockbroker befriends a recent widow, childless and 60 years his elder. He convinces her to make him trustee of her trust and, over a period of years, persuades her to transfer virtually all of her assets to him. Suspecting foul play, her out-of-state nieces contact Schwartz & Schwartz, who engage a highly respected local professional fiduciary to manage the widow’s affairs and pursue her claims against the stockbroker. After learning the stockbroker has lost the widow’s life savings in a series of failed real estate investments, Schwartz & Schwartz sues the lawyer and accountants who facilitated the stockbroker’s thievery, recovering millions.
The Shameless Insurance Salesman
An automobile and homeowners’ insurance agent convinces his 84 year old client (widowed and childless) to liquidate her entire multi-million dollar stock and bond portfolio, using the money instead to purchase from him a set of annuities that are absolutely inappropriate for someone of her age and circumstances. Her CPA discovers the sad story when preparing the elderly woman’s tax returns, and refers the problem to the Schwartz Firm. Schwartz & Schwartz files suit against the insurance agent and the annuity issuers, recovering the widow’s entire multi-million dollar annuity investment – and more.
The Predatory 'Nurse'
A childless 88 year old widower (seriously sight and hearing impaired) is isolated by his so-called, but unlicensed, live-in “nurse.” The nurse obtains access to her charge’s bank and brokerage accounts, both in California and in Australia. She repeatedly takes him to the bank to make a series of cash withdrawals and writes out checks for him to sign, all totaling nearly $1 million. She also arranges for him to change his estate plan, leaving her (and her daughter) real estate in Santa Barbara and Australia worth $5-10 million. After retention by the widower’s out-of-state nieces and nephews, the Schwartz Firm immediately obtains a restraining order preventing the ‘nurse’ from taking the vulnerable gentleman out of the country as threatened, and obtains additional court orders freezing his remaining assets to avoid further harm. Within months, the court authorizes a new will and trust, leaving everything to family and charities, not the ‘nurse.’ Proceedings to recover the hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen by the ‘nurse’ continue in the United States and Australia.
Senior Territorians will receive a greater level and choice of quality care and support with the development of a new federally-funded 65-single room with ensuites residential aged care home in Darwin. The Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, today visited Darwin – for the first time since her appointment – to discuss the Southern Cross Care project with the Territory Government and the Federal MP for Solomon, Mr Damian Hale. Mrs Elliot said one of her first tasks as a minister had been to approve national funding for the Aged Care Approvals Round, with the Territory receiving $6.33 million for the provision of additional aged care places. The announcement also included Capital Grants comprising:
A $6 million commitment to Southern Cross Care will help to build a new 65-bed residential aged care facility in Darwin; and
A $334,000 commitment to The Juninga Centre in Nightcliff to upgrade its fire system.
“Having the new Southern Cross Care service will significantly improve access to residential aged care in Darwin, and increase the choice available to future residents and their families,” Mrs Elliot said. Federal MP for Solomon Mr Damian Hale said, “Southern Cross’s investment in this Darwin Aged Care facility will be a welcomed addition to critical infrastructure for Solomon Seniors. I appreciate the minister’s availability and support for this announcement today.”
Southern Cross Care is a national not-for-profit organisation that operates 14 residential aged care facilities as well as providing a number of community care, hospice and rehabilitation services.The minister said the Australian Government shared Southern Cross Care’s key commitment to an ageing-in-place philosophy that eliminated the need for older Australians to move onto an alternative facility, as their care needs increased. CEO of Southern Cross Care Mr Michael Bendyk welcomed the opportunity provided by the federal funding, saying, “we are enthusiastic at the prospect of expanding the services we provide”. “It would be a privilege for Southern Cross Care to provide Territorians with an opportunity to plan their future in the Territory by making high quality accommodation and services readily available,” Mr Bendyk said.While the site for the new home has yet to be finalised, the new development will have a distinct NT theme and feel, featuring single ensuite rooms, outdoor shaded areas and tropical landscaping.
The Southern Cross Care application said it would have 33 high care places and 32 low care places upon completion in 2009. “The Government is acutely aware of its responsibility to provide the best possible care for older Australians – particularly, Territorians,” Mrs Elliot said.“It is a very high priority for us,” she said.
The Northern Territory has always had a very different population profile compared with other parts of Australia. The over 65s comprise one in 20 in the Northern Territory population, whereas the Australian average is about one in eight. While it has an overall younger population than any other state or territory, it has a significant gender imbalance in middle age and older years where men outnumber women by 122 to 100 – elsewhere in Australia, women outnumber men. (Source: Building the Territory for all Generations – A framework for Active Ageing in the Northern Territory. November 2007)
The new places at Southern Cross Care and The Juninga Centre fire system improvements are part of the 2007 Aged Care Approvals Round – an annual competitive assessment process that allocates new aged care places to providers who best demonstrate they can meet the needs of the ageing population within a specified region. This process was begun under the former Howard Government. Decisions on aged care places are made independently by the Department of Health and Ageing.
For more information, contact Mrs Elliot's office on (02) 6277 7280
Friday, 21 December 2007
A nurse who worked for seven years without registration, then stole two cheques from a pensioner she was caring for, has been struck off the nurses register.
Karen Fogarty, of Oamaru, was also ordered to pay $2500 in costs, after pleading guilty to two charges brought by the Professional Conduct Committee.
The committee found Fogarty had been employed as a nurse at Oamaru Hospital between 1999 and 2006, when she did not hold an annual practising certificate.
Her last certificate had expired in 1991. She deferred requests to produce her certificate and was only caught out when the hospital implemented a new process for checking nurses' registrations in 2006.
Fogarty resigned from the hospital after being exposed and later that year began work as a caregiver at a rest home in Oamaru.
In October 2006, she took two cheques from a resident's cheque book and made one out for $1700, and one for $755.50. The first one was declined as it exceeded the balance in the account but the second one was paid into Fogarty's bank account.
In March 2007, Fogarty was convicted in Oamaru District Court of two counts of forging a document and fined $500.
A decision released today by the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal found there was "no doubt" the conviction reflected adversely on Fogarty's fitness to work as a nurse.
There was "obviously" an abuse of trust; the patient was elderly and vulnerable; and other staff could have been implicated by her actions.
The tribunal said Fogarty's actions in working without registration were "particularly serious", and she could have easily avoided the situation by contacting the Nursing Council when she began work.
Her defence submitted Ms Fogarty had forged the cheques at a time when her family was under "extreme financial pressure".
She was frank and co-operative when spoken to by police.
The tribunal found it had no choice but to deregister Fogarty. It also ordered she pay $1250 in costs to the tribunal and the same amount to the Professional Conduct Committee.
January 23, 2008
YOU make up your mind.
---------- Andrew Chadwick
By: Naomi Karp, J.D., AARP Public Policy Institute
Erica F. Wood, American Bar Association
Full Report (PDF)
In Brief (PDF)
This In Brief summarizes the findings of the AARP Public Policy Institute report, Guarding the Guardians: Promising Practices for Court Monitoring by Naomi Karp of the Public Policy Institute and Erica Wood of the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Law and Aging.*
This research report identifies methods for helping courts effectively monitor adult guardianships that protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Court-appointed guardians step into the shoes of at-risk adults with cognitive impairments, making judgments about medical care, property, living arrangements, lifestyle and potentially all personal and financial decisions. But, guardianship also removes fundamental rights, which may increase opportunities for abuse of those we strive to protect.
Court monitoring of guardians is essential to ensure the welfare of incapacitated persons, identify abuses, and sanction guardians who demonstrate malfeasance. Despite a dramatic strengthening of guardianship statutory standards in recent years, judicial monitoring practices vary substantially by jurisdiction. Bolstering oversight will become increasingly important with demographic trends sharply boosting the number of guardianships in the coming years.
Through site visits and intensive interviews, AARP and the ABA have identified approaches for effective monitoring that can be adapted and replicated by courts around the country. These include:
- Reports, Accounts and Plans. Noteworthy practices include: requiring early first reports to ensure the guardian is on track; providing clear and web-accessible forms; and requiring prospective plans for personal decisions and estate management.
- Court Actions to Facilitate Reporting. Courts should provide ample support for guardians while rigorously enforcing reporting responsibilities. E-filing, personal instruction by judges and staff, automated reminder notices, and scheduling compliance conferences all can help.
- Practices to Protect Assets. To ensure that guardians properly manage finances and to prevent financial abuse, courts can require a financial management plan, require supporting documentation with accountings, and use bonding and restricted accounts.
- Court Review of Reports and Accounts. Reports and accounts are of little use if courts don't review them and respond to irregularities. Courts can use staff auditors and state administrative agencies to conduct a baseline review, and could perform more in-depth review in a random sample of cases.
- Investigation, Verification and Sanctions. Someone needs to visit the incapacitated person, and it can be a trained staff investigator, trained volunteer monitor or a court-appointed attorney or investigator. Sanctions such as fines, removal and calling in bonds address malfeasance.
- Database and Other Technology. Use of technology, such as an e-filing system with automatic capacity to flag problems, may be the most important trend for monitoring in an age when funds for staff are scarce.
- Court Links with Community Groups and Government Agencies. Working with community resources and agencies like adult protective services and long-term care ombudsmen can leverage training resources, enhance volunteer monitoring, and extend the court's reach.
- Guardian Training and Assistance. Court handbooks, videos and other resources for guardians, as well asrequired training for professional fiduciaries are promising tools.
Funding for Monitoring.
- Ideas for bolstering resources include: dedicating filing and investigation fees to monitoring, using volunteers well, raising the awareness of county councils, and doing “things that don't cost a dime".
As you can see, there are evidence that policymakers must be aware of problems with the system. (I am assuming here that they have read the reports!)
In view of the increasing number of cases publicized; one would expect that something is done to allay fears, and to regain public confidence in the system.
Legislators, judges, attorneys, other professionals; and their professional associations MUST take pride in what they are doing. Surely, they should look into the misconduct or "alleged misconduct of some of their own.
The public is crying out for changes and reforms.
Naomi Karp, ABA Commission on Law and Aging
Erica F. Wood, American Bar Association
Full Report (PDF)
In Brief (HTML)
In Brief (PDF)
Guardianship is a powerful legal tool that can bring good or ill for an increasing number of vulnerable adults with cognitive impairments. Incapacitated elders are at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation by guardians with the authority to make surrogate personal and financial decisions. To better understand how courts are monitoring the performance of guardians, AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI) took the first detailed look at guardianship monitoring in over fifteen years.
This report by Naomi Karp of AARP PPI and Erica Wood of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging presents the results of a 2005 national survey of frontline professionals. Key findings include:
Salient themes in the survey findings include the following:
- Guardianship monitoring practices show wide variation, as they did in a similar 1991 study.
- Reporting practices have advanced over the past 15 years in key aspects, including more frequent requirement of personal status reports, greater compliance with statutory reporting requirements, and greater use of guardianship plans.
- Verification of guardian reports and accounts, as well as visits to vulnerable individuals under guardianship, is frequently lacking.
- Use of technology in monitoring is minimal despite vast opportunities for web-based and email monitoring techniques as well as computerized data collection.
- Guardian training has increased but remains a compelling need.
- Courts and community groups rarely collaborate on guardianship monitoring.
- Funding for guardianship monitoring remains minimal.
After five days of deliberation, a Santa Maria jury left court Friday afternoon without reaching a verdict in the trial of an attorney accused of defrauding senior citizen clients.
Alan Courtney's trial began last month in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, and closing arguments were held Jan. 11.
The jury started deliberating the charges July 14.
Courtney, 53, has been charged by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office with four felony counts of filing false tax returns, four felony perjury counts, two felony embezzlement counts, two felony elder abuse counts and one felony forgery count.In addition, he is charged with special allegations in connection with the embezzlement counts that more than $100,000 was taken.
Prosecutors have alleged that Courtney stole about $113,000 from Rex Phillips of Solvang.Courtney represented Phillips, in his late 70s, and his wife during a home sale, according to court records. The crimes are alleged to have taken place between March 24 and Sept. 28, 2004.Courtney's law practice was based in Santa Ynez at the time the crimes allegedly happened, but he has since moved his practice to Creston in northeastern San Luis Obispo County. The attorney for Courtney, Michael Scott, has argued that his client handled the Phillips' money the way the Phillipses asked him to.The defendant is also accused of embezzling about $205,000 from Frank Cox, in his late 70s, and Betty Moran, in her late 90s, on July 23, 2003.
Moran is Courtney's great-aunt and Cox is his cousin. Both live in the Simi Valley area.Scott has alleged that Cox's daughter, Ineta Kohler, looted her father's and Moran's bank accounts. He could not be reached for comment Friday.
Court is closed today in recognition of Martin Luther King Day, so the jury is expected to continue deliberating Tuesday. The prosecutor in the case, Senior Deputy District Attorney Jerry Lulejian, said Friday that he was not aware of any issues or questions that had been brought forth by the jury in open court during their deliberations.He did not express any opinion regarding the length of the jury's deliberation process.
Deliberations extend a week in Courtney case,
SOURCE: Lompoc Record.com
January 22, 2008
An appeal made by Emma France to free her daughter Delores Forste has been posted on a Google website. Delores Forste is in a San Bernardino, CA jail awaiting extradition to Missouri where she faces charges in Jasper County of kidnapping her mother, interference with custody and financial exploitation.
In the video posted here France claims that her daughter did no such thing as kidnap her. Instead she claims that the public administrator, Rita Hunter, "railroaded her" in getting her declared disabled and incompetent and implied that getting control of her money was the motive.
France wants everyone to know that she was quite competent contrary to a court ruling made by Circuit Court Judge David B. Mouton of the Probate Division at Carthage, MO on May 15, 2007.
"How come you took Rita Hunter's word?" France in the video asks the judge. "I wanted to talk to you."
The 95-year old woman, now living on her own in California because of her daughter's intervention, claims that nobody made an attempt to transport her to the courthouse--this would include Hunter and Shannon McKinney, a guardian ad litem that was awarded $100 for legal services allegedly to look after France's best interests. According to Missouri statue 475.075 the appointed attorney is obligated to visit the client prior to the hearing and "act with care to safeguard and advance the interests of the client."
The right to be present at one's trial is guaranteed by Missouri law as is the right to a jury trial, presenting evidence on one's own behalf, cross-examining witnesses and the right to an open hearing. According to France, nothing like this was explained to her.
A medical certificate filed with the court signed by Stephen Bazzano, DO, with the address 111 E. 7th St., Galena, KS, lists a diagnosis for France as having dementia, depression and anxiety, together with a prognosis described as progressive, permanent. The hand-printed document also suggests France spends money on lottery scams rather than "adequate medications, food or clothing" and that she is "limited" by "only what she chooses to hear."
The document that is written in clear and concise handwriting could not have been written by Bazzano, according to a reliable source who told us that his hand-writing is very difficult to read. France had previously claimed that Hunter brought her and the document to Bazzano's office in Galena and that the doctor just signed it, only asking her if she were Emma France.
The video was posted by Don Hensley, who claims to be a long-time friend of the Forstes. He told us in a telephone interview that he wanted to do anything to help and called France a "sweetheart of a woman."He used the term "vile," although he said that no word was sufficient, to describe the situation and the amount of money he says Hunter charged France's estate--including $187.50 to take France to Bazzano's office the day before the hearing, and over $400 for transportation and visitations after having France committed to McCune Brooks Hospital in Carthage, the day after the hearing. The public administrator expense report with expenses filed through September 27, 2007 shows a total of $3,457.50. And echoing the sentiments made by France in the video, Hensley wanted to know why Hunter was able to take France to Bazzano's office yet not be able to take her to court.
Regarding the charge made against France that she couldn't take care of herself because of an involvement in "lottery scams," Hensley said that he didn't think it was an excuse to declare someone incompetent because that person spent her money on gambling. "If Emma put all of her money on the red seven on a roulette wheel, that only affected her daughter Delores' inheritance," Hensley explained. "It wasn't the money she used to live on."
Delores Forste's husband of 48-years, Steve Forste, who so far has not been picked up, has been told that an arrest warrant for him also has been issued. Last Friday Steve Forste drove his mother-in-law and himself about 225 miles to the jail where he wife is incarcerated. He said they were allotted 15 minutes to visit, enough time to pass his wife money for the commissary.
For an updated article by Susan Redden, reporter for the Joplin Globe, "Woman, charged with kidnapping mother, released on bond," go here.
SOURCE: Joplin Independent.com
Officials (in Emma France Case) Defends Fees Read Article
Emma France Daughter Appears in Court (Jan 3, 2008)
This case is still unfolding. It is interesting to all, who are looking into cases of guardian abuse.
I hope that this case will NOT be drawn out as others.
Emma France video is impressive. For a 90 year old lady, she appeared "sharp" and articulate.
It makes us wonder why the doctor who presented evidence in court, stated that she was suffering from dementia, depression and anxiety. See for yourself, click on the link given above.
A string of lawsuits have been filed in Santa Barbara Superior Court against Cliff View Terrace, Inc., parent company to local nursing home Mission Terrace and assisted living facility Cliff View Terrace, for suspected record tampering and neglectful care.
Two elder abuse lawsuits filed on January 16, claim 82-year-old Sylvia Saucedo (Case No. 1265784) and 66-year-old Judith Fortmeier (Case No. 1265782) were each found with serious and unexplained injuries. One suit alleges Ms. Saucedo was found by Mission Terrace staff with terrible bruises covering the left side of her face. Mission Terrace kept Ms. Saucedo for 2 days following the fall despite a deterioration of her condition, and only transferred her to the hospital for evaluation at the family's insistence, the lawsuit says.
Ms. Fortmeier, a resident of the assisted living facility, Cliff View Terrace, suffered 6 fractured ribs, a traumatic injury which her medical records describe as "akin to a motor vehicle accident." According to the lawsuit, her medical records also reveal that she told the doctors and nurses treating her that she was pushed. Three days after the incident, paramedics were summoned and they found her weak, struggling to breathe, and dehydrated. Ms. Fortmeier later died as a result of complications from this injury, the lawsuit says.
What these lawsuits also have in common is the allegation that multiple versions of the resident charts exist. According to the lawsuits, the families were given one set of records and their lawyer, Jody Moore, an elder abuse attorney, was given another. "It is highly suspicious to have 2 versions of the record," Moore said. "Medical records are supposed to be timely written and accurately record a person's symptoms and condition, as well as the treatment being given. When entries are made in a record days or weeks after the fact, and made to look like they were written contemporaneously, you have to wonder what's really going on." The Saucedo and Fortmeier cases fall on the heels of litigation filed in Santa Barbara Superior court in February 2006, also by attorney Jody Moore, on behalf of Dr. Cyril Padfield (Case No. 1243577). In that case, Dr. Padfield was admitted to Mission Terrace for a short stay for treatment for an infected toe ulcer. Within 5 days, he was found dead. The Padfield lawsuit was the first case to allege that Mission Terrace Director of Nursing Cynthia Barker, and others, added entries to his chart after his death. According to the Padfield suit, these entries were added to hide the care deficiencies. The Padfield suit is scheduled for trial in September 2008.
"State law encourages attorneys to take up the cause of elderly victims of abuse and neglect and strongly discourages confidentiality clauses which hide the facts underlying elder abuse claims," according to Moore. "These families should be commended for being brave enough to come forward and ask questions about what happened to their loved ones."
January 21, 2008
China (December 7, 2007)
The Chinese government encourages private capital to invest in services for the elderly as the country feels pressure from its increasing aging population, a senior official said at a national symposium on senior care on Wednesday. "It's a shortcut to promote wholesome and rapid development of senior care service with China's underdeveloped economy and limited financial input in the public sector," said Zhang Ming Liang, director of the Social Welfare and Social Affairs Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The government has constituted favorable policies for institutions in terms of capital investment, land provision and taxation, further mobilizing social resources to take part in initiating senior care undertaking, Zhang said.
Zhang pointed out that private sectors could set up their own senior care institutions or in joint venture. The government will introduce a series of policies and regulations to guarantee their lawful operation, and allocate more funds to purchase senior care services. The value of China's social security fund had reached 400 billion yuan (US$53.3 billion) by the end of June this year, according to the National Council for Social Security Fund (NSSF).
China's social security fund was established in August 2000 to prepare for the country's coming peak of an aging population. The government also encourages more volunteers to provide senior care services in communities, Zhang said. It is predicted that the country's total population will peak at 1.46 billion in 2030 and the number of senior citizens will hit 437 million by 2051. "Suppose that five percent of China's 145 million elderly population need to live in old folks' homes," Zhang said, "more than seven million beds will be needed, but the present number of 1.7 million beds is far from enough."
China now has more than 40,000 senior care institutions with about 1.7 million beds for its population of 145 million over 60, of which about 67 percent live in rural areas and about 13 million aged people over 80 are now in dire need of care, according to figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.