Saturday, June 9, 2012

Police: Caregivers Abuse Disabled Brother to Death in Phoenix

Phoenix police say they arrested a woman and her husband for abusing her brother to death while under their care.

According to Phoenix police Officer James Holmes, the suspects were identified as 27-year-old Carlena Molina Pinkerton and 31-year-old Joshua Edward Pinkerton.

The victim, 22-year-old James Roy Moore, was mentally disabled and the suspects were his legal caregivers, Holmes said.

Moore was Carlena Pinkerton’s brother.

On Friday, the suspects reportedly drove Moore to the hospital and left him there.

That’s when medical staff saw that Moore had two black eyes, closed head injuries, bruising all over his body, and open pattern wounds all over, Holmes said.

Medical staff then reportedly diagnosed Moore with several fractures and dislocations to his nose, right hip, right femur, and right arm.

Holmes said Moore also had a collapsed lung, acute renal failure due to dehydration, malnutrition, and sepsis because the wounds were infected and had “flesh-eating bacteria.”

He also had an inch-long object in his throat, Holmes said.

The hospital called Phoenix police because the injuries were suspicious, he said.

After attempts to save Moore’s life at the hospital, he was pronounced dead around 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Full Article, Video, and Source:
PD: Caregivers Abuse Brother to Death in Phoenix

State Won't Prosecute CT Attorney/Conservator Involved in Altercation

The state's attorney's office on Tuesday declined to prosecute breach of peace charges against Newington Town Attorney Peter Boorman and the grandson of a woman for whom he serves as conservator in a long-running and bitter probate case.

By choosing to nolle the misdemeanor charges, the state reserves the right to raise them again if a defendant is arrested during the 13 months, otherwise they will be erased.

Wallingford police arrested Boorman, 58, of Newington and Joseph Geremia, 39 of Rocky Hill on May 22 after a physical altercation between the two that happened when Boorman was at the house where Geremia's grandmother lives to collect almost $9,000 pursuant to a probate court order issued earlier that day.

Boorman 's lawyer John D. Ritson said his client would resign in the next few days as conservator for 96-year-old Margaret Geremia. Boorman will remain conservator until Newington Judge Of Probate Robert Randich accepts his resignation, Ritson said.

"He has no intention of staying in the case given what's going on," Ritson said. "It was a crazy situation. This was a very contentious thing that's been going on a long time. He was trying to do what the judge wanted him to do. Joseph Geremia had no business being there."

The Newington Probate Court had received no resignation letter from Boorman as of Tuesday afternoon. If a request is received, Randich would rule on it at the next hearing in the case scheduled for June 11, his office said.

Randich appointed Boorman conservator, putting him in control of Margaret Geremia's finances, last September. Boorman is vice chairman of the Newington Democratic Town Committee, and Randich is a member.

The altercation occurred about an hour after a lengthy and contentious probate court hearing during which Boorman asked for authority to seek a criminal investigation. Boorman claimed that Joseph Geremia's parents, Douglas and Linda Geremia, had failed to explain to him $15,000 in expenditures and gifts made while they managed his mother's affairs.

Full Article and Source:
State Won't Prosecute Newington Town Attorney

National Emergency Leadership Summit for Healthcare Administrators in Aging Services This Week

The third annual National Emerging Leadership Summit for Healthcare Administrators in Aging Services (NELS) will take place Tuesday through Thursday at George Washington University in Washington. A highlight will be a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which will feature leaders of major nursing home associations and other key stakeholders stating their cases for building the leadership workforce.

The summit targets administrators who have been in the field for fewer than 10 years and/or are younger than 40 years old. Generation X and Y leaders will be able to learn from and help educate more veteran practitioners in the field. Strategies for attracting and retaining peers will be a major focus of the summit, as well as discussions of best practices and learning about the legislative process.

Full Article and Source:
Senate Aging Comittee to Host Major Long Term Care Leaders, Highlight Young Leadership Summit

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mel Gibson's Dad - Allegations of Elder Abuse

Mel Gibson's father -- who filed for divorce Monday -- believes his wife has been abusing him, and Mel has jumped to his dad's aid ... TMZ has learned.

We're told Mel and his family have been tending to 93-year-old Hutton Gibson, who is seriously ill with a panoply of ailments. Hutton is taking a slew of medications for his conditions, but we're told his wife, Teddy Joye (who is in her 70's) believes her husband's family is prolonging his suffering and wants to discontinue all medicines to accelerate his death. She also believes that's what Hutton wants.

We're told Mel has taken the lead to ensure his dad is getting his meds, and believes Joye is guilty of elder abuse by her conduct. Sources say Mel wants Joye out of his dad's house -- stat.

Full Article and Source:
Mel Gibson's Dad - Allegations of Elder Abuse

Paralyzed Woman Moves Robotic Arm With Her Mind

A 58-year-old woman paralyzed by a stroke was all smiles after sipping her cinnamon latte with the help of a mind-controlled robotic arm.

Cathy Hutchinson is one of two tetraplegic patients able to reach and grasp with a robotic limb linked to tiny sensor in her brain, according to a study published today in the journal Nature. The device, called BrainGate, bypasses the nerve circuits broken by the brainstem stroke and replaces them with wires that run outside Hutchinson's body. The implanted sensor is about the size of a baby aspirin.

"You can go from the brain, which seems to be working quite well, directly to a device like a computer or a robotic arm," said BrianGate developer John Donoghue, director of the Institute for Brain Science at Brown University in Providence, R.I. "This can help restore independence to a person who was completely reliant on other people for every activity, whether it's brushing their teeth, eating their dinner or taking a drink."

Hutchinson, who has been unable to move or speak for 15 years, had the 96-channel sensor implanted in her brain's motor cortex in 2005. Since then, the BrainGate team has been fine-tuning the system to give her back some of the control she lost.

"Having control over your life restores dignity," said Donoghue. "If you just watch her reaction after she picks up the cup and takes and drink, that smile captures everything."

Full Article, Video and Source:
Paralyzed Woman Moves Robotic Arm With Her Mind

Thursday, June 7, 2012

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day - June 15

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)—a component of the United States Administration on Aging—recently announced more information about the seventh annual “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.” This year the event is marked for June 15th. That means that there is still time to learn more about the awareness occasion and to make plans to participate in some way. All of us have elder loved ones, and, hopefully, we will all reach our golden year ourselves. In that way, everyone has some stake in these issues and should work in whatever way they can to ensure that the quality of life of local seniors is considered.

The NCEA explains that the purpose of the event is to get “individuals, families, community groups, organizations, and businesses to ‘Take A Stand’ by participating in elder abuse awareness and prevention efforts.”

The White House is even getting in on the effort this year. On June 14th the White House will host a symposium as part of the education effort to share information on elder abuse and exploitation. The event is open to all those who wish to participate. The first half of the event will focus on prevention efforts. The second half will target the ways to respond to elder abuse to ensure the problem is stopped and the victims are given support. Those not in Washington D.C. can watch the event live and even pose questions to panelists via Facebook and Twitter.

Full Article and Source:
Preparations Underway for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Senator Lois Wolk Honored for Her Work to Protect CA Seniors

The Elder Financial Protection Network, the primary provider of elder financial abuse prevention programs in California, honored Senator Lois Wolk Thursday for her work to protect the state's seniors throughout her tenure in the Legislature.

The group's board of directors presented Wolk with the Donald N. Phelps Visionary Award at the 9th Annual "Call to Action 2012" in San Francisco, an event where law enforcement, consumer advocates, banking institutions, legal experts, and consumers come together to share best practices to prevent elder financial exploitation and fraud, including advances in community education and consumer protection.

"It is a great honor to be recognized by the Elder Financial Protection Network, which provides such vital services to help protect our state's seniors," said Wolk, D-Davis. "As our senior population continues to grow at a rapid pace, so too does the need to provide them with the information and tools they need to protect themselves. Perhaps the most important thing I've learned working on senior issues is that the best thing anyone can do to protect themselves is to stay informed and aware."

Full Article and Source:
Wolk Honored for Work to Protect CA's Seniors

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WA: Volunteers Keep Watch Over Court-Appointed Guardians

Robert Bibb retired from the Snohomish Superior Court bench two decades ago, but he keeps coming back to the courthouse.

Since 2000, Bibb, 89, has volunteered to monitor guardians appointed to oversee legal and financial matters for people who are too sick, frail or confused to handle their affairs alone.

Bibb and about 12 other volunteers review reports, including determining whether guardians are providing an accounting of how money is being spent to support their wards.

The volunteers also field a lot of questions by guardians, often family members, who have taken on the responsibility of caring for a loved one's financial and legal matters.

"We basically police guardianships," Bibb said. "We make sure reports required by law are filed when they're supposed to and the proper forms are filled out. We also look over the reports for any suspicious things that might be detected by reviewing them."

The county's Guardianship Monitoring Program grew out of a long-standing national effort by the AARP to provide oversight to guardianships, often involving the elderly.

The organization provided a $5,000 grant in 2000 to kick start the program in Snohomish County.

Full Article and Source:
Volunteers Keep Watch Over Court-Appointed Guardians

Caregiver's Theft Case Offers Lessons in Protection

For a few hours a day over a period of three months, Paula Watkins left one of the most treasured people in her life -- her ailing husband -- in Tammi Rounds' care.

After battling brain cancer for years, Keith Watkins, a local lawyer, eventually needed round-the-clock care. In July, 2011, Mrs. Watkins used a local home health-care agency to hire Rounds to provide care during the part-time hours she was away at work.

Mrs. Watkins said it wasn't when she received a phone call from the fraud unit at her credit-card company that she first began to suspect anything was wrong but instead when she took her husband's gold chain -- one he wore daily with a cross -- to a jeweler for repairs and learned it was a cheap replica.

The last time Mrs. Watkins saw the woman whom she at one time trusted was when Rounds was handcuffed and led away to prison. It's a vision she hopes others won't have to experience.

The last time Mrs. Watkins saw the woman whom she at one time trusted was when Rounds was handcuffed and led away to prison. It's a vision she hopes others won't have to experience.

"If that chain hadn't broken, I'd never have made the connection," Mrs. Watkins said recently while recounting how she learned most of her jewelry had been stolen and sold in the months before her husband died in November.

"My heart goes out to my husband, to sit there and see this," she said. He was not able to communicate but could comprehend. "When I told him she wasn't coming back, he smiled and nodded."

Rounds was sentenced May 15 to 30 months in prison.

Full Article and Source:
Caregiver's Theft Case Offers Lessons in Protection

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CMS Wants to Cut Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

After numerous disclosures that antipsychotics have been aggressively promoted to nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is trumpeting a plan to reduce usage in nursing home residents by 15 percent by the end of this year. Why? CMS data show that, in 2010, more than 17 percent of nursing home patients had daily doses exceeding recommended levels.

“A CMS nursing home resident report found that almost 40 percent of nursing home patients with signs of dementia were receiving antipsychotic drugs at some point in 2010, even though there was no diagnosis of psychosis,” CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director of Clinical Standards and Quality Patrick Conway says in a statement that announced a partnership with nursing homes, advocacy groups, caregivers and government agencies to find a way to reduce usage.

To cope with the problem, CMS plans to offer a training series for nursing homes that emphasizes “person-centered care,” prevention of abuse and high-quality care for residents. CMS is also providing training focused on behavioral health to state and federal surveyors. The agency is also making data on each nursing home’s antipsychotic drug use available on the Nursing Home Compare web site starting in July, and will emphasize “non-pharmacological alternatives” for nursing home residents, including consistent staff assignments, increased exercise or time outdoors, monitoring and managing acute and chronic pain, and planning individualized activities.

Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, tells The Boston Globe that strong rules are in place to combat overmedication in nursing homes, but regulators too often fail to enforce them. She combed through databases nationwide to track how often nursing homes were penalized specifically for overusing antipsychotics during the past six years and could find just a handful of cases. “Even when instances are cited, nothing happens," she says.

Full Article and Source:
CMS Wants to Cut Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

Nursing Home Antipsychotic Legislation Set Aside

The U.S. Senate did not approve legislation that would strengthen regulations for antipsychotic use in nursing homes, despite overwhelmingly passing a bill it was attached to on Thursday.

Last week, Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI), Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) proposed a regulation that would have standardized protocols for obtaining informed consent before administering antipsychotics for off-label use. The legislation was proposed as an amendment to an existing Food and Drug Administration reauthorization bill (S. 3187), which was passed by the Senate in a 96-1 vote Thursday.

However, a spokesman for the Special Senate Committee on Aging told McKnight's that the nursing home regulation was not voted on and wasn't included in the manager's amendment.

He added that “the amendment was filed to help bring some needed attention to the widespread problem of the misuse of the antipsychotics among frail elders.” Going forward, he said Kohl and Grassley will “look at other legislative vehicles or stand-alone legislation.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had urged quick passage of the bill, without many amendments. Senators agreed to consider just 17 of them.

Nursing Home Antipsychotic Legislation Set Aside

Nurse's License Revoked for Financial Exploitation of Nursing Home Resident

The license of a nurse from Staunton has been revoked by state officials for financial exploitation of a nursing-home resident in Maryville.

Documents from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said licensed practical nurse Lisa DeVries “exhibited multiple instances of unethical and professional activities.”

While working at Maryville Manor, now known as Liberty Village, DeVries accepted a $500 check from a resident and deposited the check into her personal account in December 2009, according to state documents.

DeVries was fired by Maryville Manor two months later, but never reported the termination to the state, the documents stated.

Full Article and Source:
Area Medical Professionals Disciplined by the State

Monday, June 4, 2012

NJ: Assembly Wants AG to Investigate Abuse and Neglect of the Disabled

The Assembly approved a resolution today urging the Christie Administration to give the Attorney General the responsibility of investigating abuse and neglect of disabled people at state-licensed facilities.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) sponsored the non-binding resolution (ACR147) at the request of families who testified at a hearing Monday that they have lost confidence in the Department of Human Services’ ability and impartiality to investigate the people who run group homes and facilities the department also pays and licenses.

Huttle said she is asking the Christie administration to make the change, rather than forcing the issue by passing a bill "to start a positive dialogue on abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the system. . . There are a lot of concerns about how allegations of abuse are addressed."

The resolution passed by a 50 to 23 vote with three abstentions, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

During a hearing Monday of the Assembly Human Services Committee, a half-dozen parents testified about how the department's "special response unit" has failed to keep them informed when investigating whether their children have been abused. They also said they suspected private agencies and Human Services employees have a cozy relationship.

Full Article and Source:
Assembly Wants Attorney General to Investigate Abuse and Neglect of the Disabled

El Paso State Center Ex-Worker Alleges Abuse of Residents

A state-supported living center employee who complained about alleged abuses at the facility claims she was fired for speaking out.

Sylvia Burgos said she was fired after she filed a complaint with the state over conditions that she says could endanger residents of the El Paso State Supported Living Center at 6700 Delta.

"They fired me and I'm gone, but I'm worried about the residents who are still there and what might happen to them," said Burgos, a former direct-service provider who had assisted a special-needs resident who was taken to an emergency room with a perforated colon.

"I offered to take a polygraph and requested one to prove that I was telling the truth, but they terminated me instead," she said.

The center, which helps people with special needs and has 145 beds, referred questions about Burgos and her allegations about the center's employees to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, or DADS, in Austin. The department oversees the El Paso center, which has 126 residents and provides 24-hour residential services, including comprehensive behavioral-treatment services and health-care services, including physician, nursing and dental services.

According to a May 22 report by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission/Office of Inspector General in El Paso, the office received a complaint on April 25 alleging that Burgos made a false report to a peace officer at the El Paso center. That finding was issued after Burgos filed her report against the state center.

Burgos' says her allegedly false statement became the focus of the investigation by Office of Inspector General Officer Efrain Sianez -- instead of her abuse allegations.

Other center staff members, who asked not to be named because they fear reprisals, said Burgos' firing will have a chilling effect on future reports of abuse by the staff.

Full Article and Source:
El Paso State Center Ex-Worker Alleges Abuse of Residents

WI Group Home Caretaker Charged With Stealing $24K From Patients

A Burlington woman is facing nine counts of felony theft after an investigation by the Burlington Police Department found that she stole more than $24,000 from three mentally disabled men who lived in her group home.

According to the criminal complaint, police first became aware that the defendant, Becky Ann Borucki, 56, operator of Burucki Group Home, was stealing from the residents, when they were contacted by the legal guardian of one of the residents of the home.

The guardian told police her brother’s bank had contacted her about his checking account. She said she then found numerous discrepancies on the account that all related back to Borucki.

Through bank records, the guardian and police discovered that approximately $8,629 had been removed from her brother’s banking account between Aug. 10, 2011, and Jan. 4 via unauthorized transactions, according to the complaint. The amount also included overdraft fees charged to her 50-year-old brother by the bank.

Officers then had the legal guardians of two other residents of the home check to see if any monies had been stolen from their family members.

Borucki has been charged with five counts of felony theft-movable property and three counts of felony personal ID theft. If convicted on all counts, she could face up to 58 years in prison and fines totalling $105,000.

Full Article and Source:
Group Home Caretaker Charged With Stealing $24,000 From Patients

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Andrew Thomas Joins Forces with AZ Conservatorship Victims: "Citizens for Clean Courts"

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, who can no longer practice law, announced his support Thursday for a ballot measure to change Arizona's judicial selection process.

Thomas, disbarred in April, said his backing of Proposition 115 is just the beginning of his fight to reform government.

At a news conference on the state Senate lawn, Thomas announced the formation of a campaign committee, Citizens for Clean Courts, to support the proposed constitutional amendment. Among other things, the measure would give the governor a larger role in selecting state and county judges.

Joining him were family members of elderly Arizonans whose estates have been depleted by probate and fiduciary fees under Maricopa County Probate Court.

Scottsdale resident Patti Gomes said court-appointed lawyers and fiduciaries drained her 90-year-old mother's $1.4 million estate. Gomes and others said their families have been victimized by judges, attorneys and administrators in the probate system.

Thomas said he's not a victim, though he has repeatedly claimed the Arizona judiciary conspired to end his career.

"That is because we got too close to the truth and the judiciary took us out," Thomas said of himself and two former prosecutors.

The Legislature last year placed the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. It was a compromise between judges, the Arizona State Bar, the Governor's Office and those who supported eliminating merit selection in favor of direct election of judges. The measure passed the Senate on a party-line vote, but won a handful of Democratic votes in the House.

Full Article and Source:
Andrew Thomas Backs Judicial Selection Ballot Measure

Justice Center for the Protection of People With Special Needs

For too long our state has been inconsistent in how it addressed incidents of abuse against people with special needs, lacking any real consistent standards for tracking and investigating complaints or punishing those who commit abuse and neglect.

Knowing that it is imperative that state government meet its obligation to protect and serve all New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo has proposed legislation to create the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs which will give New York State the strongest standards and practices in the nation for protecting people with special needs and disabilities.

The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs will transform how our state protects over one million New Yorkers under the care or jurisdiction of six state agencies.

Justice Center for the Protection of People With Special Needs