Saturday, January 7, 2012

Senator Klobuchar Pushes 'Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act' (S.F. 1744)

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar believes America needs to do more to protect its senior citizens and disabled from abuse and neglect by their guardians.

Toward that end the Minnesota Democrat — who held a roundtable meeting on the issue Friday at Duluth’s Keystone Bluffs Assisted Living Residence — has introduced legislation aimed at protecting seniors and vulnerable people.

She bases the need for such protection on her experiences as Hennepin County attorney, on governmental reports and on the tribulations of people like Deanna Van de North.

Van de North of St. Paul told the audience at Friday’s roundtable how her mother’s guardians moved her from an assisted-care facility in the Twin Cities to her farm in rural Minnesota. The guardians hired unlicensed caregivers to care for the 82-year-old woman, who was suffering from dementia and diabetes. Over five years the guardians wrote checks to themselves or to “cash” on the woman’s account totaling more than $60,000.

They restricted family visits — not even telling most family members of the woman’s death until after her body was cremated.

Klobuchar’s bill, the Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act (S.F. 1744), would provide money to help state courts improve procedures dealing with adult guardianship and conservatorship. It would also authorize a pilot program for conducting background checks on people wanting to be appointed as guardians or conservators.

Only 13 states, including Minnesota, require such checks.

Finally, the bill would promote using technology to better monitor, report and audit conservatorships of protected people.

“We have all these amazing tools; let’s use them,” Klobuchar said.

“We had a horrible experience,” said Van de North, who hailed Klobuchar’s legislation.

“It’s great she has brought the issue to the forefront,” she said. “There are crooks out there, and they are going to take advantage of people.”

Full Article and Source:
Klobuchar Pushes Bill to Protect Seniors at Duluth Roundtable

Restraining Order Granted Against Britney Spears' Ex Manager and Ex Boyfriend

Pop star Britney Spears has been granted a restraining order against her former-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib and her manager of the past, Sam Lutfi, it has been reported.

Judge Aviva K Bobb in Los Angeles issued 27-year-old Spears with the order.

Mr Ghalib, a photographer, and Mr Lutfi were alleged to have attempted to “disrupt” the conservatorship order by which Britney’s father Jamie has been managing his daughter’s affairs.

Full Article and Source:
Britney Spears Gets Court Ban Against Manager and Ex-boyfriend

Seniors Fight to Keep CT Facility Open

Along with family members, residents of a local rest home pleaded Tuesday for the state to keep open Clintonville Manor, while the home’s administrator said there’s been a loss of $1 million over three years.

At a hearing before the state Department of Social Services Tuesday morning, Clintonville Manor Administrator Melissa Simonetti said she and her family are asking the state for permission to close because of “significant financial losses over the past several years and because additional losses are expected in the future due to low census, flat Medicaid reimbursement and increases in operating costs.” Efforts to sell the home did not work out, she said.

About 150 people attended the hearing in the dining hall of the Clintonville Road facility, opened in 1983. The hearing lasted just over a half hour. The Social Services Department requires a hearing when a request for closure is made. The state has up to 90 days to either grant, modify or deny the request.

In 2011, an average of 86 people lived in the facility, which equates to a 77 percent occupancy level. The facility is licensed for 112 people. “To be financially viable, nursing facilities generally need to be at least 90 percent occupied,” she said.

Full Article and Source:
North Haven Seniors Push Back Against Rest Home's Plans to Close

Friday, January 6, 2012

Florida Continues to Fund Dangerous Assisted Living Facilities

When Florida regulators found that a 71-year-old man with mental illness died from burns after he was left in a tub of scalding water at a Hialeah assisted living facility, they could have cut off thousands in state dollars sent to the home each year.

Instead, they imposed a fine.

The next year, when inspectors discovered a caretaker at the facility punched a severely mentally ill man in the mouth, they could have stopped the public dollars to the home. But instead, they issued a warning.

At least four more times in the past four years, regulators turned up neglect cases at All-America ACLF - including failing to provide crucial medication to sick elders - but continued giving $1 million to the home even as caregivers were breaking the law.

Though Florida law gives regulators the power to stop giving Medicaid money to homes caught abusing and neglecting residents, McClatchy Newspapers found that regulators routinely funnel millions every year to some of the state's most dangerous facilities.

Since 2007, the Agency for Healthcare Administration has doled out more than $23 million to nearly 90 homes that could have been cut off from public dollars - including facilities where caretakers were caught beating and sexually abusing frail elders.

The failure of the agency to turn to one of its toughest enforcement tools more often comes after years of neglect and abuse cases rising in ALFs across the state - with nearly one resident dying a month at the hands of caretakers.

Full Article and Story:
Florida Continues to Fund Dangerous Assisted Living Facilities

'The Terri Schiavo Story'

"By order of the government, a healthy young woman was denied food and water until she died."

"Do we believe in the sanctity of all human life, or do we believe in the sanctity of some human life?"

Watch the Trailer

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bessie Blue's 'Abduction' on Tape

YouTube: Bessie Blue Abduction Away From Natural Law, Common Law, Maritime Law

Nursing Home Workers Prone to More Accidents

According to new U.S Labor Department statistics, nursing home workers are accidentally injured on the job at a higher rate than workers in other types of professions. The statistics measured the injury rates by the number of injuries per every 100 full-time employees in 2010.

The average number of skilled nursing facility workers injured on the job was 8.6 per 100 workers, compared to 5.6 in coalmines and 4.6 in tire manufacturing and 3.5 for building construction. There are many circumstances in a nursing home that can result in injury. Often times it is related to lifting patients, or from having to deal with violent behavior from certain residents. There is also the risk of exposure to bodily fluids or interactions with infectious agents. The Labor Department encourages employers to document each incident in order to help employers with prevention tactics. It is important for the employers to know what injuries and illnesses are evident in their workplace and what risk factors are more prevalent so they can take measure to prevent them.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing Home Workers are Prone to More Accidents, Study Finds

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New York's High Rate of Disabled Deaths Prompts Outcry

Reports that one in six disabled persons in New York over the last decade have died from preventable causes has drawn sharp criticism from local media and disability advocates.

“We are devaluing these people,” Bobby Schindler of the Life and Hope Network told CNA, and “we are seeing” this kind of treatment “rationalized and justified everyday.”

The New York Times outlined death reports on Nov. 5 of developmentally disabled persons throughout the last 10 years. The newspaper found that those receiving care in New York died from unnatural causes at what appears to be an unusually high rate.

One in six deaths, around 1,200 total, within state and privately run homes were blamed on unnatural or unknown causes. These numbers compare with one in 25 in Massachusetts and Connecticut which are two of the few states that track similar data.

The New York case files suggest that the deaths were caused by neglect and could have been easily prevented, as they involved scenarios of disabled persons drowning, choking on food or falling down stairs.

The paper profiled a story of 41-year-old James Michael Taylor, whose evening bath in 2005 “became a death sentence” when a caretaker placed him in a tub, turned on the water and left the room.

Taylor, a quadriplegic who had the ability of a newborn to lift his head, slowly drowned in the next 15 minutes as the water rose over his body.

Editors from Albany's Times Union newspaper called the situation a “disgrace,” especially given that the state spends $10 billion a year in attempt to take care of the developmentally disabled.

“New York should be doing more than just starting to catch up to other states,” the editors said in a Nov. 9 blog post. “Its system should be a national model.”

Full Article and Source:
New York's High Rate of Disablied Deaths Prompts Outcry

Note: Bobby Schindler is a strong advocate for NASGA member Sara Harvey and her husband, Gary Harvey. See Federal Suit Filed in Fight Over Gary Harvey's Care

Rosa Parks Estate Battle Ruled

The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered a judge to return the estate of civil rights icon Rosa Parks to her longtime friend Elaine Steele and the institute the two women founded in 1987 to carry on Parks' legacy.

In a tersely worded order Thursday, the high court said Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. and the Michigan Court of Appeals wrongly stripped Steele and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development of their financial stake in Parks' estate.

The Supreme Court said Steven Cohen, the lawyer for Steele and the institute, did not divulge details of a 2007 confidentiality agreement that resolved an estate dispute involving the institute, Steele and Parks' 13 nieces and nephews.

Cohen said Thursday's decision is a significant victory for his clients.

"They are thrilled and gratified that Rosa Parks' wishes are finally being honored," he said.

He said the order requires Burton to return all of his clients' property and, within 30 days, to remove attorneys John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr., whom Burton put in charge of the estate after Parks died in 2005. They are to be replaced with Steele and retired 36th District Judge Adam Shakoor, whom Parks had designated to handle her estate. Steele is Parks' longtime friend, assistant and caregiver.

Full Article and Source:
Michigan Supreme Court Orders Rosa Parks' Estate Returned to Longtime Friend, Institute

See Also:
Lawyer: Rosa Parks' Estate Drained

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New York Makes 'Judicial Hellholes' Report

New York’s famously plaintiff-friendly civil justice system is finally receiving the recognition it deserves. The American Tort Reform Foundation released their annual Judicial Hellholes Report, ranking New York City and Albany as the sixth worst “judicial hellhole” in the country. Previously on the watch list in 2011, the warnings signs weren’t enough to keep Albany and New York City from earning the dubious, if well deserved, distinction of “Judicial Hellhole.”

This report identifies various causes for our state’s continued downward tumble to a “Judicial Hellhole” ranking, including our legislators’ cozy relationship with the plaintiff’s bar and certain elected officials who are blinded by personal gains from the desperate state New York is in. It also highlights the speech given by Corporate Counsel Michael Cardozo earlier this year calling for tort reform to help reduce the $561 million paid out by NYC for tort related claims in 2011. Various examples are given of the ridiculous lawsuits which clog our courts, drag down our economy and which ultimately put us as the sixth worst “Judicial Hellhole” in the nation.

Full Article and Source:
Judicial Hellholes 2011/2012 Report- New York City and Albany Rank Sixth Worst in U.S.

Homeless By Choice No More

One of Biddeford’s most visible citizens, Laurette Doyon, no longer wanders the city’s downtown. Doyon, 79, had been homeless by choice for more than 25 years and efforts to move her into facilities where she could be cared for had failed until recently. In November, York County Probate Court granted the state temporary legal guardianship, and a trial is scheduled for January to decide whether the state will obtain permanent guardianship.

Full Article and Source:
A Year in Review

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Ultimate Exit Strategy

The first time I checked the organ donor check box on my driver's license, it was with the creepy suspicion that someone far luckier than me needed my liver.

I checked the box and, to my surprise, was not immediately run over by a bread truck. I've renewed my license many times since and lived to see the E-check line again.

Take it from me: Planning for death will not cause you to die.

Think of this as the ultimate honey-do list:

• Don't leave your affairs in chaos.
• Play to your heirs' strengths. It's one thing to split your possessions equally among your kids, but it's another to give the black sheep joint access to your bank accounts or appoint the child who argues about everything co-executor with his siblings. Choose an executor you trust to honor your wishes, preferably one who has the temperament for document-wrangling.
• Plan your own sendoff. The more instructions you can leave about your funeral, the less your family has to guess what you would have wanted.
• Don't leave it to your family to sort out what's trash and treasure. Keep an inventory of valuable art, furniture, collectibles and jewelry. If a piece has sentimental value, share the story that goes with it so that others can enjoy its place in family history.
• Earmark prize possessions.
• Plan for your pets.
• Keep track of your financial accounts. Regularly update a list of your bank and investment accounts, life insurance policies and other holdings.
• Create an illness/death folder. Anything your family should know in the event you fall seriously ill or die should be noted in the file. That includes contact info for your attorney; your will or trust documents; your living will and power of attorney; health, long-term-care and life insurance policies; instructions for your funeral; and instructions for locating computer and account passwords and safe deposit box keys.
• Talk about your plans. If you're clear with your family, you can reduce the chance of confusion, disagreement or hurt feelings later. Harmony is not a bad legacy.

Full Article and Source:
The Ultimate Exit Strategy: A When-I-Die Checklist

See Also:

Q13 Fox News: Geraldine Strege Case

YouTube: Estate of Denial.2

Sunday, January 1, 2012

'I am not old'

I not old.. she said
I am rare

... I am the standing ovation
at the end of the play

I am the retrospective
of my life
as art

I am the hours
connected like dots
into good sense

I am the fullness
of existing

you think I am waiting to die
but I am waiting to be found

I am a treasure
I am a map
these wrinkles are imprints
of my journey

ask me

~ Samantha Reynolds

Facebook: The Forgotten Ones - Compassion for the Elderly