Articles Posted in nursing home news

Published on:

As Philadelphia nursing home neglect lawyers, we were very interested in a new study published in the Jan. 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts at Worcester found that in 2007, a disproportionately large proportion of nursing home patients received a drug from a class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics. These drugs are indicated for mental illnesses like schizophrenia, but have several side effects serious enough that their use is now heavily restricted by the FDA. In particular, a 2005 safety labeling change warned that atypical antipsychotics may raise the risk of death in older people with dementia.

No drug is currently approved for controlling difficult behavior in patients with dementia, but atypical antipsychotics are widely used off-label for this purpose. This is despite the 2005 safety warning and the increased risk of stroke, diabetes, hyperglycemia and other side effects. Nonetheless, the study found that about a third of all nursing home patients in 2007 received the drugs. And one third of those patients had no diagnosis of mental illness or dementia. The scientists also found that patients were more likely to receive atypical antipsychotics after entering a nursing home that already had high prescribing rates. This may indicate a problem with “organizational culture,” the authors wrote, and more studies should examine whether the practice has negative health consequences.

This is disturbing news, because it suggests that some nursing homes may be using dangerous, powerful drugs unnecessarily. The risks of atypical antipsychotics are so serious that another recent study found a 19% drop in prescriptions after the 2005 safety warning. Nursing homes who put their patients at risk of death or disability for no good medical reason are committing a form of nursing home abuse.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Our Philadelphia nursing home negligence attorneys were interested to see a news story about an outbreak of a rare disease at a nursing home. United Press International reported Jan. 14 that one resident has died and another fell ill at the Golden Hill Nursing Home in Kingston, N.Y. The two residents had Legionnaires’ disease, a bacterial infection affecting the victim’s respiratory tract. (Unfortunately, it gets its name from an outbreak at an American Legion convention here in Philadelphia.) The disease often leads to pneumonia and is considered a particularly serious threat to older people, people with weakened immune systems and smokers — all common characteristics for residents of nursing homes in Pennsylvania.

The woman who died from Legionnaires’ disease was 88 and had a compromised immune system, the article said. Another woman, 91, was hospitalized but has now been released. Legionnaires’ disease takes up to two weeks to incubate, the article said, so staff members are watching other residents for signs of illness. The bacteria that cause the disease are not passed from person to person like the flu, but enter the body when the victim inhales infected water vapor. Health inspectors are examining the water system at the county-run home and will disinfect it when they find the source.

This incident raises serious concerns for Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyers like us. Legionnaires’ disease is generally prevented by modern water treatment methods. An outbreak suggests that someone responsible for the water supply at this home — the home itself, a government agency or an individual — failed to follow established practices intended to prevent contamination and disease. If this is the case, residents who fall victim to Legionnaire’s disease, and their families, would have a strong nursing home negligence claim.
Continue reading →

Contact Information