Nursing home quality scores drop in new federal ratings

WASHINGTON – Nearly a third of the nation’s nursing homes are getting lower scores on the government’s five-star quality scale, a reflection of tougher standards for ratings used by nearly 1.5 million consumers to assess care at more than 15,000 facilities.

The ratings, which will be posted Friday afternoon on the government’s Nursing Home Compare website and by USA TODAY, reflect sweeping changes in the way facilities are evaluated. The revamped assessments include measures of facilities’ use of anti-psychotic drugs, which can pose serious risks for older adults, especially those with dementia. They also use more refined metrics to check for adequate staffing, a critical component of good care.

About 61% of all nursing homes got lower quality-of-care scores as a result of the changes, but the declines weren’t dramatic enough in most cases to affect a facility’s overall rating, a USA TODAY analysis shows. About 28% of nursing homes … Read More »

Recent News about Xarelto Recall

XareltoMillions of US patients are prescribed blood thinners every day. The drug Xarelto is fairly new to the market, and was only approved by the FDA in 2011. The most dangerous side effect for people taking Xarelto is uncontrollable bleeding. In October 2014, microbial contamination in samples of Xarelto caused John & Johnson’s Janssen unit to recall 13,500 bottles of the drug.

Janssen claims the contaminated bottles came from its Puerto Rico plant. Xarelto was marketed as superior to decades-old blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin). Unlike Coumadin, the new drug does not require blood tests for dosing and has no dietary restrictions, but does not have an antidote. The promise of effective and convenient medication led doctors to give millions of prescriptions to patients; a number of these patients suffered uncontrollable bleeds. Injuries can include:

  • Death caused by uncontrolled bleeding
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Brain hemorrhaging
  • Blood clots
  • Embolism

If you or … Read More »

The GM Recall: Lessons for the Rest of Us

You already know of the trouble at General Motors.  In fact, you would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t seen the related headlines.  Throughout the first months of 2014 we have become all too familiar with the ever-expanding disaster of the GM Recall and its subsequent legal fallout.  The growing list of corporate cover ups, legal slight of hand, not to mention automotive technical issues have been illustrated tirelessly across all sorts of media.  In this near constant flood of information and its surrounding mess however, those of us not directly involved can find a more personal lesson to apply to our own professional dealings.  Well worth heeding, especially for those of us in the legal field, is the lesson of the necessity and value of clear and honest communication.

The Overarching Problem

The issue underlying all of the trouble now faced by GM and those dealing with … Read More »

Identifying Nursing Home Abuse and Legal Remedies

Nursing Home Abuse

When making the difficult decision to entrust a loved one to the care of a nursing home, you are trusting that he or she will be diligently cared for. Unfortunately, some facilities betray this trust and the residents face abuse or neglect at the hands of staff members. With nursing home abuse occurring frequently across the country, it is important to know how to recognize signs of mistreatment and understand what legal actions may be taken, should you uncover abuse.

The abuse or neglect of a nursing home resident can take many forms which may lead to both short and long-term damage. Physical abuse includes intentional use of force which results in pain, injury, or impairment, which can be caused by both assault and improper use of restraints. Emotional abuse consists of psychological damage through hurtful words, isolation, or menacing behavior. A resident may also face sexual abuse or financial … Read More »

Risperdal Uses and Side Effects in Men

Risperdal Gynecomastia

Risperdal (also risperidone) is a prescription antipsychotic medication distributed by Johnson and Johnson, and used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia in people 13 years and older.  The drug was approved for use by the FDA in 1993.  Risperdal has more recently been approved for use in children in smaller doses to treat autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.  Doses can vary from 0.5 mg to 8 mg per day. The drug can be prescribed in two forms, oral and injection. The injection form of the drug is known as Risperdal Consta.

While the drug may successfully relieve some symptoms of the aforementioned disorders, it has recently been linked to serious side effects.  Some known side effects of Risperdal include, but are not limited to: gynecomastia, tardive dyskinesia, metabolic changes (such as weight gain,), and seizures.  These side effects have been … Read More »