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Attica Nursing Home Fire Under Investigation

Investigators are searching for clues to the cause of an Indiana nursing home fire that injured 18 people.

The blaze started in the morning hours of June 9 at Woodland Manor Nursing Home in Attica. Officials in the Attica Fire Department say that the fire started in a reclining chair, and that the chair had electrical components, but it was not plugged in at the time of the fire.

Both the fire department and the nursing home are hoping an insurance investigation turns up more answers. Most of the residents were able to return to the nursing home on Tuesday, according to a story by WLFI-18. One resident remains hospitalized.

NYC Nursing Home Residents Face High Bedsore Rates

New York City nursing home residents contract bedsores at a rate 50% higher than the rest of the country, according to a new report.

About 11% of nursing home residents nationwide have one or more bedsores at any given time. But in New York City, that rate is 16%. That comes after a declaration six years ago of a “War on Sores” by the city’s health department. A story in The New York World highlights the city’s struggle to get the problem under control.

While some factors, such as a willingness to take in patients with poorer health, may drive up the city’s numbers, bedsores are considered preventable, and ultimately it is the responsibility of each individual nursing home facility to prevent them.

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, are caused by a lack of blood flow to an area of the body, due to prolonged pressure on that area. If left untreated, they can develop into gaping wounds and can lead to severe infections that can be fatal or require that the victim’s limbs be amputated to prevent death. Nursing home residents and the elderly are more vulnerable to pressure sores due to decreased mobility caused by age or illness.

California Nursing Home Doctor Takes Chemical Restraint Plea Deal

A California doctor has plead no contest to charges of deadly nursing home abuse through the use of chemical restraints.

Dr. Hoshang Pormir took a plea deal by pleading no contest earlier this month to a charge of conspiracy to commit an act injurious to public health. Pormir allegedly used powerful antipsychotic drugs on at least eight patients at a Kern Valley Healthcare District facility in Lake Isabella. Three of the patients given the powerful drugs died. Eight other charges against Pormir were dropped and he was placed on probation for two years by the California Medical Board last September. The alleged incidents occurred between August 2006 and August 2007, according to a story in the Bakersfield Californian.

Pormir faces sentencing on July 11.

Two other employees who were at the facility at the time, Pamela Ott and Gwen Hughes will see their cases go to trial later this month. According to the state Attorney General’s office, Hughes, the former nursing director, ordered certain patients placed on high doses of antipsychotics to control them. Ott is the facility’s former administrator.

New CMS Program Aims to Reduce ‘Chemical Restraint’ Use

Federal nursing home officials are pushing to reduce the use of antipsychotics on dementia patients, which many see as a form of nursing home abuse.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new initiative called Partnership to Improve Dementia Care. It’s goal is to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs among nursing home residents by 15 by 2013.

Antipsychotics are overused in nursing homes and are often prescribed to quell patients deemed to be hard to manage. Many refer to this use as a chemical restraint. The drugs can leave patients listless, more likely to suffer a nursing home fall and fracture and some studies have shown that they increase the risk of death among dementia patients without providing any real benefits.

CMS hopes to achieve the reductions through employee training, educating nursing home workers on the dangers of antipsychotic use and by suggesting alternatives to antipsychotics that can include pain management, exercise and other activities.

Alabama Nursing Home Shuts After Numerous Violations

An Alabama assisted living center has been ordered to shut down following years of nursing home neglect.

The Whitten’s Country Haven has been on probation since 2003 for numerous violations and lost its license in March. Alabama Department of Health officials gave the facility 30 days to shut down, but that order appeared to have been ignored. The owner, Mertiss Whitten, said she had to undergo numerous surgeries and that the facility will be shut down.

The last string of inspections resulted in citations for not giving patients proper assessments, fire safety violations and improper employee training, according to a story on Local 15 News. There were only six residents and six employees left at the facility.


West Virginia Nursing Home Robber Confesses, Police Say

A woman believed to have robbed a West Virginia nursing home has been apprehended.

Marie Mullins, 27, of West Hamlin, has reportedly confessed to police that she robbed Teays Valley Nursing Rehab facility near Hurricane at gunpoint on May 2, stealing prescription drugs. She also reportedly confessed to an armed bank robbery in her home town earlier this week. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has charged her with armed robbery.

Mullins said she went into Teays Valley Nursing Rehab wearing a clown mask and medical scrubs at 1 a.m. on May 2, forcing employees to the floor at gunpoint. Police had mistakenly believed the suspect to be male with a Hispanic accent, according to a story in the Charleston Gazette.

Mysterious Flu-Like Outbreak Hits California Retirement Home

An outbreak of flu-like symptoms has struck 32 people in a California nursing home and assisted living facility.

Visitations have been restricted to the Vi at Bentley Village nursing home after 24 residents and eight employees fell ill, state officials report. The cause and nature of the illness have not been identified, but state investigators say that the symptoms are fairly similar to the flu.

The outbreak is being investigated by the Collier County Department of Health and nursing home officials, according to a story in the News-Press.

Iowa Nursing Home Fined for Leaving Woman on Floor

An Iowa long-term care facility has been ordered to pay $15,000 as the result of an investigation into a nursing home fall.

State investigators say that employees at All American Restorative Care in Washington, Iowa, repeatedly walked by a resident who had fallen and injured her head while they enjoyed a Christmas party in December. The woman lay on the floor for 48 minutes unassisted as the entire incident was recorded on videotape.

The unidentified woman is seen falling on the tape, but the fall was not observed by nursing home staff, inspectors reported. However, seconds later, employees asked the woman if she was okay and she said “yes” so they left her on the floor. The inspectors said the woman was barely moving and lay there for another half hour before another staff member walked by and did not offer to help. Eventually three workers carried the woman to bed. According to a story in the Des Moines Register, one of the workers said the woman was having cognitive problems, so she was taken to a local hospital which treated a wound in the back of her head that required four surgical staples.

The nursing home is appealing the fine.

California Nursing Home Faces Chemical Restraint Lawsuit

A California elderly care facility faces a class-action nursing home abuse lawsuit for allegedly giving residents powerful antipsychotics to pacify them.

The lawsuit has been filed against Ventura Convalescent Hospital by plaintiffs who say that the facility ignored a state law requiring a doctor or family’s consent to use antipsychotics, like Risperdal and Seroquel, on residents.

Many nursing homes frequently use antipsychotics to place residents in a drug-induced stupor to allow them to be more controllable, using them as a form of chemical restraint. The FDA has lambasted the practice, saying that it increases the risk of nursing home falls and death, particularly when given to patients suffering from dementia.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has joined in the lawsuit, which is the first of its kind, according to a story in the Ventura County Star.

Family Says San Antonio Nursing Home Neglected Resident

A Texas nursing home is accused of providing poor, potentially lethal, care to a 94-year-old resident who died of a blood infection.

The family of Consepcion De La Garza says that Buena Vida nursing home failed to provide good care for her, playing a role in her death only a few months after being admitted to the facility. De La Garza died of sepsis, which the family believes was caused by an untreated bedsore on her back that actually went so deep it exposed bone. The family has accused the facility of nursing home neglect.

According to a story on Fox 29, the San Antonio nursing home failed to regularly was De La Garza, and health care workers who examined her said she had mold under her breasts. The family reported hearing people screaming in the home, claimed they witnessed an employee treat their mother like a “ragdoll” and fed her after employees just left the tray full of food and did not help De La Garza eat.

Buena Vida is a for-profit, 222-bed nursing home in San Antonio. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rates the facility overall as two stars (below average), with a four-star (above average) rating for quality measures, and a three-star (average) rating for health inspections, but only a one-star rating (much below average) for nursing home staffing.