States’ Role in Limiting Inappropriate Use of Antipsychotic Meds in Nursing Homes

As nursing homes have moved away from using physical restraints, there is evidence that some institutions are substituting antipsychotic medications to sedate residents with behavior problems. Why is this a dangerous and inappropriate practice? Inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs by nursing homes exposes elderly vulnerable people to increased risk of falls, delirium, stroke and death. In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general testified before the Senate Aging Committee that antipsychotic drugs were being prescribed in “violation of …

Painkiller Death Rate Highest Among Older Adults

The rate of overdose deaths from powerful painkillers has nearly quadrupled since 1999, but new government figures show that since 2006, the rate of increase has finally slowed — except among older adults. According to a newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the rate of fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers is still highest among those ages 45 to 54, with the fastest increase in deaths over the past decade among those 55 to 64. In 2011, …

Nursing Home Hit With $3.3 Million Negligence Verdict

Every now and then, a jury reaches deep into a defendant’s pockets to punish it for its reprehensible conduct and to deter others from engaging in similar acts. Such was the case in May, when a Colorado jury awarded 83-year-old James Sharon and his family $3.3 million after finding the nursing home entrusted with his care guilty of negligence. Sharon’s injuries included bedsores, skin tears and abrasions, dehydration, malnutrition, and E. coli and urinary tract infections – all because he …

Should Elder Abusers Be Able to Inherit From Their Victims?

Say there’s an older adult - let’s call her Judy - who has difficulty caring for herself. Judy’s son, Charles, is her primary caretaker, but he abuses her, pinching her and refusing to give her dinner if she doesn’t stay quiet during his favorite TV show.  Judy’s doctor notices that she has bruises on her arms and is rapidly losing weight; she reports Charles to family services, and Charles is eventually convicted of felony abuse. After several months, Judy dies of unrelated …

Bill Aims to Root Out Waste In Medicare and Medicaid

New legislation proposed with bipartisan support on Capitol Hill aims to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid. Mistakes, inefficiencies and fraud in the two health care programs come at a steep price to both consumers and taxpayers, points out Joyce A. Rogers, senior vice president of government affairs for AARP, which has endorsed the bill. “The PRIME Act is a strong first step toward reducing waste, fraud, and abuse in our public health programs,” she says. (PRIME …

Know the Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

  Sadly, child sexual abuse is in the news once again. In Pennsylvania, trial of former Penn State football coach, JerrySandusky, is underway. In New York, allegations of decades-old abuse at an elite private school have recently surfaced. The headlines are reminding us how vulnerable kids can be. We teach them to trust and revere the adult leaders in their lives – family members, coaches, teachers, babysitters, clergy and other leaders in our community. But sometimes these trusted adults are …