Saturday, May 14, 2016

FOX 13 Investigates: Son felt powerless to stop elderly father's gifts to caregiver

TAMPA (FOX 13) - At 83, Charles Sarofian was sharp and stubborn, but vulnerable and dependent. The Korean War veteran had a host of health issues, including an amputated leg. His wife died years earlier. One son lived out of state; the other son, Stephen, lived 45 minutes away.

His home healthcare worker, Marnie Smith, was assigned to take care of him on weekdays. Stephen visited him every Saturday.

Stephen says when his father started to talk about wanting to help out with Smith’s mortgage payment, he was alarmed. 

"He was a little bit tight with his money, and that was a good thing, because he knew -- before this person came along -- that he needed to live off what he had for the rest of his life,” Stephen said.

When he reviewed his father’s bank statements, he saw more that concerned him: Multiple ATM withdrawals per week; there were checks written out to Charles’ name and cashed.

“I’m not sure where all this money was going," Stephen said. "I called him up and I said, ‘Dad, I know you're giving her money.’" Stephen recalls his father’s response: “It's none of your business -- you and that damn computer. I can't believe you found all this out.”

It would be one of the last conversations they had. After that, Stephen says Charles took his name off his bank account and stopped talking to him.

A few weeks later, records show, Stephen contacted the Veterans Administration, which had provided the caregiver through the Sun City office of Comfort Keepers. He expressed his concerns and asked them to assign someone new.

He also contacted Adult Protective Services at the Department of Children and Families with his concerns. Records show both agencies investigated by asking Charles if he was giving Smith anything of value. Charles told each agency he was not, and that he was happy with Smith.  (Continue Reading)

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FOX 13 Investigates: Son felt powerless to stop elderly father's gifts to caregiver

CDR Assisted Suicide Statement

Adam Prizio
Advocates from the Center for Disability Rights joined with advocates from other organizations in a press conference on Tuesday, expressing our opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide. Below are my remarks. –Adam Prizio, Manager of Government Affairs

On March 1, 2016, the Disability Community again observed its National Day of Mourning. We remembered the names and lives of over one hundred and eighty disabled people who have been killed by their parents or loved ones in the past five years. When the story of one of these deaths makes the news, it is often of a murderer driven by the victim’s disability to take the victim’s life. Often, the crime goes un-prosecuted. The murderer, you see, has suffered enough. It is the pinnacle of victim-blaming.

People with disabilities, and older adults, are significantly more likely than the general population to be abused or harmed by their families or caregivers. Disabled women are at least twice as likely as non-disabled women to experience domestic abuse or sexual assault. One in ten seniors will experience elder abuse, often at the hands of a family member, caregiver, or trusted friend.

What does this have to do with assisted suicide? This has everything to do with assisted suicide, because assisted suicide is proposed for people with a terminal illness. Not every person with a disability is terminally ill, but every person with a terminal illness has, or expects shortly to have, a disability. In the bills under consideration in New York, the definition of terminal illness is irrespective of treatment. Without treatment, diabetes is terminal. Kidney infection is terminal. This means that assisted suicide is being offered specifically to people with disabilities, under a definition that includes a great many people who, with treatment, will live long and dignified lives. That fact alone should trouble supporters of assisted suicide.

The prevalence of abuse against people with disabilities and seniors must give us further reason to pause. We have to consider more than just how assisted suicide will work for the ideal case which proponents talk about: a person in terrible pain with only a short time to live, who is supported by a loving family, and who is not under financial duress.

Assisted suicide will not only be available for that idealized case; it will also be available for the real and messy and human cases of people whose families are ashamed of their disability. The cases of people whose caregivers are already willing to forge their signatures; people who have had to fight and fight and fight for every support that our for-profit health care system does not want to pay for; who have had to beg their personal attendants to stay with them over a decade of stagnant wages. Assisted suicide will be available for the older adult whose heirs are pressuring them to change the will.

Under these bills, if a doctor can be convinced that a person has six months or less to live – irrespective of treatment, remember – then that person will have access to assisted suicide. Doctors are not infallible, and they are not immune from bias, including bias about the quality of the life that a patient may have. In fact, doctors consistently rate the quality of life of a patient with a disability significantly lower than the patient themselves does. It is dangerously naïve to think that doctors’ beliefs about living with a disability cannot and will not inform their decision to prescribe a lethal dose under the assisted suicide laws.

Proponents of assisted suicide often say that a person may want the lethal prescription in order to feel in control, even if they do not ultimately take the prescription. The problem with this is that once the prescription is in the house of the patient, there is nothing to prevent a person from administering it to the patient without their consent, intravenously or mixed into food. A person may ask for the lethal prescription under pressure from their heirs; they may intend merely to shut the heirs up; they may never intend to take the prescription at all; and they may be killed, without their consent, by “assisted suicide,” and no questions will be asked.

Assisted suicide advocacy comes from a place of great privilege, although proponents may not think it does. It comes from a place where the law only ever works as intended. From a place where families are always safe; where caregivers always have the best interest of the family member at heart; a place where people do not have to fight for their right to live a full and independent life in the community. It comes from a place that can afford to discount the financial reality that assisted suicide will be cheaper than treatment, even cheaper than palliative care.

It comes from a place that falsely believes it is undignified to need help using the toilet, or bathing, or transferring from the bed to the chair, and that the law should ratify this prejudice by allowing doctors to kill people who would rather die than spend any time living with a disability.

In Oregon, only one in four people who uses assisted suicide mentions either their present pain or the fear of future pain. One in four. By contrast, nine in ten mention a loss of autonomy; nearly nine in ten, a loss of ability; nearly eight in ten, a loss of dignity; one in two, a loss of bodily function; and four in ten, the feeling of being a burden. These are the indicia of being disabled in an ableist society. Assisted suicide is not about pain; included in the very idea of death with dignity is the belief that it is better to die than to be disabled.

People with disabilities and older adults do not have the privilege of believing that we are safe simply because we do not consent. We do not have the privilege of the law and the health care system reliably working for us. We do not have the privilege of being safe from the people we rely on to live our lives. We do not always have the privilege of families who have our best interests in mind. We do not have the privilege of ignoring how assisted suicide will affect the Disability Community. We do not have the privilege of living in a society that acknowledges the dignity of disability, rather than bombarding us with the message that it is better to die than to be disabled.

For all of these reasons and more, we oppose the legalization of assisted suicide.

Contact Adam Prizio
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CDR Assisted Suicide Statement

Survey: Living wills of Incapacitated seniors ignored in guardianship

The South Florida advocacy group that pushed lawmakers to pass current reforms in adult guardianship asked its membership about their legal experiences. The finding gives a snapshot of a very broken system that is very lucrative for a handful of professionals and their attorneys.

The foremost finding of survey is that in more than three-quarters of cases judges ignored advanced directives of seniors and instead appointed a professional guardian, thus rendering carefully planned living wills moot.

Retired Hollywood physician Sam Sugar, who co-founded Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship, said the survey went out to 285 members and that he received 67 responses from throughout the country.

His group says many professional guardians appointed to oversee the lives of incapacitated adults – a majority of them seniors with dementia – often take financial advantage of these vulnerable citizens and work with attorneys to drain assets and property. As plenary guardians they have complete control over their assets.

In the meantime, the family of these so-called wards find themselves powerless because judges are often complicit and allow the ransacking of the senior’s life savings. The problems in adult guardianship can be found nationwide as more baby boomers live longer their heirs and are more vulnerable to dementia and other degenerative diseases.

The Palm Beach Post in its series, Guardianships: A Broken Trust, revealed the incestuous nature of guardianship and how money from the savings of incapacitated seniors flowed into the household of Circuit Judge Martin Colin through his wife, professional guardian Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt.

Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath  — in a series of reforms announced in the wake of the series —  transferred Judge Colin out of the Probate & Guardianship Division. Colin announced his retirement.

His wife’s cases were all moved to the North County Courthouse to prevent an appearance of favoritism by Colin’s closest colleagues but she continues to operate.  (Continue Reading)

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Survey: Living wills of Incapacitated seniors ignored in guardianship

Friday, May 13, 2016

Shifting population in California nursing homes creates ‘dangerous mix’

David Thompson was living at the Midnight Mission on Los Angeles’ Skid Row when he secured a bed several years ago at a South Pasadena nursing home. For a man who had been homeless for 35 years, the arrangement seemed like a stable step forward.

Instead, he discovered that South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital was visited regularly by local police, summoned to the facility to break up fights or investigate alleged drug-dealing and thefts by residents. Thompson, injured decades earlier in a car wreck, recalled how the nursing home had lots of younger patients with no apparent disabilities.

One resident was known to pack a gun in his wheelchair, he said, a story that is corroborated in state documents. Another patient, he heard, smoked meth in the bathroom – a situation also detailed in state inspection records. Thompson said he kept to himself when fights broke out.

“They had so much stuff going on in there,” said Thompson, 79, who since has moved out of the South Pasadena facility and into another nursing home. “I guess the police chief got tired of it.”

The turmoil inside South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital became painfully public in November 2014, when one of Thompson’s smoking companions – 57-year-old Courtney Cargill, a mentally ill resident – left the facility unsupervised, doused her body with gasoline and lit herself on fire. After prodding from the local police chief, and a surge of community outrage, the California attorney general’s office opened an investigation into the facility and whether anyone should be held criminally accountable for her death.

The gruesome case also has shined a light on the divergent population groups that inhabit California’s 1,250 nursing homes – and the risks associated with serving such a wide mix of patients.

Where once skilled nursing facilities were universally thought of as “rest homes” for the frail and elderly, a growing proportion of California nursing home residents are younger, more able-bodied patients, many diagnosed with mental illness. Some residents, like Cargill, enter facilities with long-standing drug and alcohol problems. Others, like Thompson, have histories of homelessness. Still others are newly released from prison.

Facilities have been able to tap these clients’ Medicare and Medi-Cal benefits and, in many instances, provide long-term housing at government expense.

“The homes that we have known as havens for the frail elderly, as you can see, are no longer safe havens,” said Tippy Irwin, executive director of San Mateo County’s ombudsman services.

Instead, she said, many facilities now have what she described as a “dangerous mix” – old, young, mentally ill, convicted felons, street people in desperate need of care, and younger clients with chronic illnesses, brain injuries and drug abuse problems.

“I don’t think people have a clue,” Irwin said. “I don’t think people give nursing homes a thought unless they’re actually faced with having to use one.”

Between 1994 and 2014, the population of California nursing home residents under age 65 grew by nearly 40 percent, while the number over 65 shrank by 11 percent, according to a Sacramento Bee review of state data. Today, 1 in 5 nursing home residents in California is under 65.

In California, the number of nursing home residents with serious mental illness also is on the rise. In 2014, the Golden State ranked fourth in the nation for the percentage of nursing home residents diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, behind Illinois, Missouri and Louisiana, according to data collected by the Brown University School of Public Health. The rate of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in California nursing homes increased by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2014, to 1 in 7 residents, the data show.

Quality of care appears to be a casualty in the changing patient mix.  (Continue Reading)

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Shifting population in California nursing homes creates ‘dangerous mix’

See Also:
7 Case Studies Show Nursing Home Lapses

Lawyer: Woman accused of nursing home abuse filed suit against employer

Ashley Wilcox
NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WKBN) – Ashley Wilcox, the woman accused of abusing her dementia patients, was arraigned in court Friday by District Judge Melissa A. Amodie.

Wilcox was released on a $15,000 bond, and a preliminary hearing was set for 9:30 a.m. May 19 in Central Court.

Wilcox, 21, was charged with four counts of stalking with intent to cause emotional distress and six counts of simple assault and harassment. She worked with patients at Golden Hill Nursing and Rehab in New Castle, where employees reported that she was rough with the patients, alleging that she stuck a sock in one woman’s mouth and pushed another woman’s head back while she was sitting in a chair.

Her attorney is calling the charges against Wilcox defamation, saying that she filed a civil lawsuit against the nursing home in March. The case was also against the nursing home’s parent company, Quality Life Services, and Butler County Community College, where she was studying to become a registered nurse.

The attorney, Angelo Papa, said the lawsuit was filed on March 23 in Lawrence County as a notice of intent to sue, which was based on allegations made against Wilcox by three of her former coworkers, who have not been named in the case.

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Lawyer: Woman accused of nursing home abuse filed suit against employer

Colliton: Tips to avoid Power of Attorney financial abuse

Janet M. Colliton
One of the most common reasons seniors likely hesitate to sign a Power of Attorney appointing another person to act on their behalf is fear of loss of control and exploitation. In this respect, as an elder law attorney, I admit some conflict.

On the one hand I have seen instances where an individual becomes disabled without having signed a Power of Attorney, something that can be acquired at reasonable cost and with minimal aggravation, and there the only alternative is for an interested party to file for guardianship. Guardianship is time consuming, expensive even when not contested, can limit the individual’s freedom, and may result in appointing someone the person would not want. Guardianship can, however, be the right answer in the right case.

On the other hand those seniors who believe that Powers of Attorney are powerful documents and require thought are right.

Here is how to keep you, the senior, in the “driver’s seat” when designating an Agent under Power of Attorney.

Choose your Agent well. >> The number 1 way to prevent financial exploitation by an agent under Power of Attorney is to choose your agent well. In our office we use the “checkbook across the table” rule. This means you would feel confident taking your checkbook and handing it across the table to the person you are appointing and he or she would act responsibly, act in your best interest, follow through in paying bills appropriately, consult with experts where expert advice is needed, keep a record of transactions, and be scrupulously honest when it comes to handling your funds and your assets.

You should not choose your Agent based only on whether that person is your oldest child or whether there would be hurt feelings. If your agent is experiencing money problems herself or himself this might not be the time to appoint since the stress could be too great.

Have backups. >> There should almost always be at least one backup agent under Power of Attorney appointed. If your primary agent becomes disabled or unavailable, someone needs to step up and act.
Ask questions to tailor the document to your specifications. >> Every Power of Attorney is not the same. You could give unlimited power, limited power, or no power to gift and you should know why in each case. You could give control over handling of your business or corporation, or not. Gifting could be allowed so long as your needs have been satisfied and without dissipation of your estate.

Limited gifting means $14,000 per person per year. That might be too much or not enough. You could give power to cash in insurance policies for your needs without allowing the agent to change beneficiaries.

You could have more than one agent and then specify whether they need to act together or each might act separately. There are pluses and minuses to each. Consider reasonably whether your Agents could work together. If you do not know answers, you can ask the attorney. This is why she or he is there in the first place.

Financial Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney can be separated. >> One child might be great for health care and another a whiz on figures. The documents can be separated or the same person could act as both but under separate documents.  (Continue Reading)

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Colliton: Tips to avoid Power of Attorney financial abuse

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A better way to die? California’s end-of-life law launches June 9

Elizabeth Wallner vividly remembers the moment when she knew there had to be a better way to die.

Diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, Wallner was in the midst of brutal chemotherapy that made her violently sick to her stomach. As she was retching into the toilet, her son, then 16, sat on the bathroom floor, helpless to ease her pain.

“I just remember the look of absolute anguish on his face,” recalled Wallner, a single mom. “I knew then that I would never, ever put him through that again. That moment is seared into my mind.”

When her time comes, Wallner, a 52-year-old education consultant who also cares for her aging parents, wants to spare her family any more agonizing memories and instead take a lethal prescription, prescribed by her doctor.

Starting June 9, that option will be available for the first time in California.

The legislation, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last October after years of contentious battles over end-of-life options, marks a new era for California patients and physicians. Under a strict set of protocols, terminally ill patients can request a prescription drug to end their lives early, similar to existing practices in Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

For patients such as Wallner, California’s aid-in-dying prescription provides “a sense of peace that I will have a small measure of control in how my life ends.”

For physicians, it’s uncharted territory, applauded by some, unwanted by others. Ahead of next month’s implementation, health care providers are scrambling to train and advise physicians, pharmacists and others in how to handle patient requests.

There’s no telling how many Californians might opt for a lethal prescription. It could be in the hundreds.

“We can’t say with any kind of certainty what the number is going to be, but I don’t think it would be outrageous to say there could be 1,000 people in California who would be getting a prescription in the next year,” said Matt Whitaker, California director of Compassion & Choices, a Denver-based nonprofit that advocates for end-of-life planning, including hospice and palliative care.

Whitaker, who also works with Oregon’s 18-year-old program, said his office has been getting numerous calls from California patients and health care providers with questions about how to implement the new law.

“There are going to be tens of thousands of conversations going around California, as people are talking with their doctors about this new option,” he said.

In all cases, the end-of-life option is voluntary for doctors and individuals. (Continue Reading)
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A better way to die? California’s end-of-life law launches June 9

Arkansas judge resigns after investigators find sexually explicit photos of defendants on computer

An Arkansas judge accused of trading sex for reduced sentences with young male defendants for the past three decades has resigned after investigators said they found thousands of photographs depicting nude male defendants. 
Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann announced his resignation on Monday in a letter to the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. In it, he said he would never again seek a job as a local, county or state employee in the State of Arkansas.

Documents released by investigators found thousands of sexually explicit photographs depicting young men inside or outside his home, many of whom were identified as defendants.

Investigators also said the photos showed evidence that some of the men had been paddled, and the discipline commission told the former judge to turn over the paddle used in the photos.

Episodes of this behavior are alleged to go as far back as 1985 when Boeckmann served as a deputy prosecutor.

"He's a criminal predator who used his judicial power to feed his corrupt desires. Every minute he served as a judge was an insult to the Arkansas Judiciary," said David Sachar, executive director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, which had been investigating to determine if the judge should be sanctioned or kicked off the bench.

In November, the discipline commission reported Boeckmann had abused his power as a judge to engage in sexual relationships with "young Caucasian male litigants," and used community service sentences to bring them to his home.

Sachar said investigators found hundreds of checks written from the judge’s personal and professional accounts to pay for attorneys and court fines for defendants.

In one case, he maintained a sexual relationship with a former defendant for five years, even going as far as paying his bills, according to a complaint from November. The complaint says Boeckmann “engaged in spanking A.A. regularly,” both for sexual pleasure and as punishment for “criminal conduct.”

Boeckmann’s resignation ends the discipline commission’s cases against him. Though the former judge has not been charged with a crime, the investigation was handed over to a special prosecutor and could lead to a criminal case.

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Arkansas judge resigns after investigators find sexually explicit photos of defendants on computer

Video: She’s 91 and She’ll Know When It’s Time to Go

No, this very short PBS “Brief But Spectacular” video is not about Flossie Lewis’s secret for “staying young.” It’s about growing old, knowing when it’s time to go and dying with attitude.

Lewis is crippled. She’s in pain. But life is worth living. Take politics, for example: Watching the political scene unfold keeps Lewis going. So does writing occasional verse for publication. Life is, overall, good — for now.

Will this video go viral? We hope so! Please share it.

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Video: She’s 91 and She’ll Know When It’s Time to Go

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Demonstrators fight for elderly woman in Harris County Adult Protective Services

HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Demonstrators were back in action this afternoon at the Harris County Civil Courthouse to let the public know the health of Doris Davis is on the decline.

She's the 87-year-old who was placed in Adult Protective Services and the Guardianship program in Harris County in 2014. That's after a medical evaluation determined Davis suffered from dementia and was not capable of living alone.

Now, a new independent medical evaluation taken at the urging of supporters who want Davis released from a nursing home, indicates the widow with no children should be living in an assisted living facility.

The doctor also said Davis meets the legal definition of being incapacitated despite what some protestors say.

The report also shows Davis has partial capacity and the medical expert warned the courts she has short term and immediate recall memory issues.

The doctor further stated Davis could be easily influenced and exploited by others.

In the meantime, supporters say they're concerned about Davis' immediate health right now.

Kofi Taharka says the frail senior is now hospitalized.

The latest medical evaluation has been filed with the courts.

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Demonstrators fight for elderly woman in Harris County Adult Protective Services

California judiciary’s toothless watchdog

The Commission on Judicial Performance is a little-known agency that has one of the most important jobs in California — to protect the public by investigating complaints against judges and disciplining misconduct. The commission is effectively responsible for maintaining the integrity of California’s courts.

Such an important watchdog should be transparent about its operations and should have enough teeth to deter misconduct. But its practices and discipline statistics indicate that it does neither.

The panel recently released its 2015 Annual Report revealing that it publicly disciplined just four judges out of the 1,231 complaints it reviewed. An additional 37 of these complaints resulted in a private advisory letter or private admonishment, wherein the name of the judge was withheld from the public and only a brief description of the misconduct was provided in the annual report. The commission withheld all information about the 1,190 complaints it dismissed without discipline, 90 percent of which were dismissed without an inquiry or investigation.

Court Reform LLC, a San Francisco Bay Area advocacy firm, compared the discipline rates of the commissions of California, Texas, New York and Arizona over the past 10 years and the results are troubling.

Judicial oversight
    Court room 2M, 150 seats in the San Mateo County Superior Court is where Scott Peterson trail will be held just across the street from his one room jail cell at the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City. Officials expect about 200 reporters, photographers and producers will cover the high-profile trial, scheduled to rev up with pretrial hearings Feb. 2 City:Ê 1/26/04, in Redwood City, CA. Frederic Larson/The Chronicle;

    San Mateo judge reprimanded over treatment of women in courtroom

    Appeals court reins in judge in Sagebrush Rebellion case

Arizona’s overall discipline rate was four times higher than California’s and its public discipline rate was five times higher. Texas investigated three times as many complaints, publicly disciplined three times as many judges, and removed six times as many judges.

New York had more than 10 times as many complaints (358) as California (34) result in judges leaving the bench with complaints pending — a likely indication that New York’s judges know their watchdog has teeth, while California’s watchdog may be asleep.

The Commission on Judicial Performance is as secretive about its operations as the CIA. In response to a public records request from First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit that has greatly improved Californians’ access to government records, the panel refused to disclose complaints or even the number of complaints filed by judge or by county.

Its practices also prevent the public from being an informed electorate, its foremost duty. California has the lowest opposition rate in the country for judicial elections, at just 8 percent. In comparison, New York’s opposition rate is over 80 percent. The commission withholds information about misconduct from voters that may impact an election. In doing so, it takes the stance that it must separate true from false and important (public disciplines) from unimportant (private disciplines) because the public cannot be trusted to make such determinations for itself.

As Judge Damon Keith of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal opined, “When government begins closing its doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation. The framers of the First Amendment ‘did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us.’ … They protected the people against secret government.”

The Commission on Judicial Performance is precisely the kind of secret government that Keith condemned.

The commission’s mandate is to protect the public, but its policies are contrary to that mandate. The lifelong impact of legal rulings and the effect of case law on the public are too important to risk a sleeping watchdog over the largest court system in the country. The commission should serve its public by eliminating its practices of secrecy.

Joe Sweeney is the founder of Court Reform LLC, a Bay Area advocacy firm. Tamir Sukkary is an adjunct professor of political science at American River College, San Joaquin Delta College and Sierra College.

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California judiciary’s toothless watchdog

For the Elderly, Music is a Gateway to Memory, Not Just Entertainment

There was a time when, like many people, I didn't expect to find myself at a retirement facility until my future children put me there.

A few months ago, when I was approached to perform vocal concerts for homes around Montgomery County, I agreed apprehensively. I associated elder care with memories of my grandparents in Alzheimer's units — memories that felt far too fresh.

Still, I put together a 20-song repertoire: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Sinatra, the Andrews Sisters. I chose songs I hoped would spark a connection in the residents' minds, like how my Pop Pop's expression would remain empty, but his fingers would tap in perfect unison to The Beatles.

"I think that might be too melancholy," my mother said, as I packed sheet music for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

With my emotions carefully tucked away, I prepared myself to tackle my first concert as the business venture I wished to see it as. Instead, the room full of strangers effortlessly broke down my barriers when their choir of voices joined me in song.

Since then, I've never sung Judy Garland on my own.

I stay for a while after each concert to hear the residents' stories. Although they sometimes lack clarity, the stories are still brimming with life. The residents talk about their favorite operas, offer me comical stage name suggestions, and reminisce about a song that reminds them of a loved one who is now very far away. One day, a resident who studied in Salzburg, Austria, in her youth, reciprocated with the gift of a piano recital.

Every time I go to a new facility, music opens a door for the residents to gain awareness of the present even if the song stirs a musical memory of the past.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Nursing homes turn to eviction to drop difficult patients

NEW YORK (AP) — Nursing homes are increasingly evicting their most challenging residents, advocates for the aged and disabled say, testing protections for some of society's most vulnerable.

Those targeted for eviction are frequently poor and suffering from dementia, according to residents' allies. They often put up little fight, their families unsure what to do. Removing them makes room for less labor-intensive and more profitable patients, critics of the tactic say, noting it can be shattering.

"It's not just losing their home. It's losing their whole community, it's losing their familiar caregivers, it's losing their roommate, it's losing the people they sit with and have meals with," said Alison Hirschel, an attorney who directs the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative and has fought evictions. "It's completely devastating."

Complaints and lawsuits across the U.S. point to a spike in evictions even as observers note available records only give a glimpse of the problem.

An Associated Press analysis of federal data from the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program finds complaints about discharges and evictions are up about 57 percent since 2000. It was the top-reported grievance in 2014, with 11,331 such issues logged by ombudsmen, who work to resolve problems faced by residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other adult-care settings.

"When they get tired of caring for the resident, they kick the resident out," said Richard Mollot of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a New York advocacy group.

That is often because the resident came to be regarded as undesirable — requiring a greater level of care, exhibiting dementia-induced signs of aggression, or having a family that complained repeatedly about treatment, advocates say. Federal law spells out rules on acceptable transfers, but the advocates say offending facilities routinely stretch permitted justifications for discharge. Even when families fight a move and win an appeal, some homes have disregarded rulings.

"It's an epidemic," said Sam Brooks, who has litigated evictions for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. "It's a hard thing to catch and it's a hard thing to enforce."

He reviewed three years of nursing home violations in Philadelphia and found only one case in which an operator was actually cited for an involuntary discharge, as evictions are known in long-term care parlance. The citation carried no fine, he said.

"It's a risk they're willing to take," he said, "because no one penalizes them."

The American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, defends the discharge process as lawful and necessary to remove residents who can't be kept safe or who endanger the safety of others, and says processes are in place to ensure evictions aren't done improperly.

Dr. David Gifford, a senior vice president with the group, said a national policy discussion is necessary because there is a growing number of individuals with complex, difficult-to-manage cases who outpace the current model of what a nursing home offers.

"There are times these individuals can't be managed or they require so much staff attention to manage them that the other residents are endangered," he said.

The numbers of both nursing homes and residents in the U.S. have decreased in recent years; about 1.4 million people occupy about 15,600 homes now. The overall number of complaints across a spectrum of issues has fallen precipitously in the past decade, though complaints about evictions are down only slightly from their high-water mark in 2007, the federal figures show. The share of complaints that evictions and discharges represent has steadily grown, holding the top spot since 2010.

Whatever a facility's reasons are, involuntary discharges leave families reeling.

When John Wilson, 61, was refused readmission to St. John's Pleasant Valley, a nursing home in Camarillo, California, the facility cited his family's repeated complaints about his care, his son Jeremy Wilson said.

The family sued to get Wilson back into the nursing home, but even when they prevailed, the facility refused. The younger Wilson said his father, who has Lou Gehrig's disease and is unable to speak or walk, was needlessly kept hospitalized for more than seven months until management changed and the home finally relented.

"What they look for and what they want is basically the family to drop Grandpa off at the front door and not be involved," he said. "They don't want anybody monitoring them, they don't want anybody complaining. They just want to take care of that person until they die and collect that check."

Dignity Health, the facility's parent company, said it could not discuss the specifics of the case but that patient care and safety are the top priority.

Advocates say hospitalizations are a common time when facilities seek to purge residents, even though the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 guarantees Medicaid recipients' beds must be held in their nursing homes during hospital stays of up to a week.

"You've got facilities that sometimes would prefer that they be rid of certain residents," said Eric Carlson, an attorney who has contested evictions for the advocacy group Justice in Aging. But when they don't have legal cause to move someone out, he said, sometimes "they try and take the easy way out and refuse to let the person back in."

Sara Anderson had been through several transfers of her father, Bruce Anderson, before he ended up at Norwood Pines Alzheimer's Care Center in Sacramento, California. Eventually, she said the facility began insisting it wasn't an appropriate setting for him. After being hospitalized with pneumonia, he wasn't allowed back, she said.

"They just rolled up the welcome mat when he was better," she said.

She saw the action as retaliatory after her repeated complaints about the facility's use of restraints on her 66-year-old father, who suffered a brain injury more than a decade ago during a cardiac arrest.
When she appealed the facility's action and won, she said it still refused to let him back. Her father remains in a hospital.

"It doesn't matter if you win or lose it, there's not enforcement of these hearings. We didn't know that the hearing was pointless," she said.

Norwood Pines did not return calls seeking comment.

Federal law allows unrequested transfers of residents for a handful of reasons: the facility's closure; failure to pay; risk posed to the health and safety of others; improvement in the resident's condition to the point of no longer needing the home's services; or because the facility can no longer meet the person's needs.

Though that final category is often cited in evictions, advocates dispute how often it fits.

"The majority of the time, it's because the resident is considered difficult," said Tony Chicotel, an attorney for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which represented Wilson and Anderson. "Federal law is pretty clear: They're all required to be able to provide comprehensive, basic care. Every nursing home that takes Medicare or Medicaid funding should be very good or great at providing dementia care."

Chicotel said involuntary discharges are almost entirely focused on Medicaid beneficiaries and that economics sometimes play a role in the ousters. Rather than a long-term Medicaid patient, many facilities would prefer to fill a bed with a private-pay resident or a short-term rehabilitation patient, whose care typically brings a far higher reimbursement rate under Medicare.

Vicki Becker of Sammamish, Washington, said she began receiving pressure from administrators at her mother's assisted living facility about two years ago to have the then-94-year-old transferred elsewhere. For the first six years she had lived in the home, she had paid more than $5,000 monthly. It was only after Becker's mother exhausted her savings and went on Medicaid that the facility initiated discharge proceedings, making her wonder if money was a factor.

Becker hired a lawyer and enlisted the help of the local ombudsman to fight the eviction. Though the facility eventually dropped the discharge case, it left her feeling as if her mother's rights had been violated.

"It was her home," she said. "What an awful thing to do to somebody."

Glenn Hotchkiss of Temperance, Michigan, unsuccessfully fought the transfer of his mother, a dementia patient, from a nearby home to one about 35 minutes away. He's able to visit far less often because of the distance.

"It's pretty much an emotional roller coaster," he said. "If you have money, you don't get involuntary transfers."

Manpower levels are another factor, according to Charlene Harrington, a University of California-San Francisco professor whose research has focused on nursing homes.

"These worst homes are allowed to have staffing at just dangerously low levels," she said. "If they had staffing at the level that's recommended, they wouldn't be having problems with these patients."

But Gifford of the industry association said the most difficult patients present nursing homes with "a very tricky balancing act" between meeting their needs and denying care to other residents.

"The question becomes, how much do you expect every home to meet every single need in the country out there," he said.

Whatever the explanation, the eviction process can be harrowing.

Penny Monroe's 89-year-old mother came to love her nursing home in Okemos, Michigan, enjoying ceramics classes, trips to the mall and luncheons. News of an impending eviction gave her panic attacks. "She cried and she told them, 'If you send me home, I'm going to die,'" Monroe said. "She was afraid."

Even months after it was resolved, she remains uneasy that she could be thrown out.

Richard Danford of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, who directs the New York City Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, said even small changes can be hard on the most fragile residents, and so an eviction can be devastating.

"It can be traumatic to move a person from one room to another in the same facility, never mind a whole new place," he said. "The most common reaction is a sense of panic."

Agyemang Bediako knows the feeling well. After breaking both legs in a jump from a burning building, he found himself recovering at a New York City nursing home. He said he was still undergoing rehabilitation when the facility told him it would be discharging him to a homeless shelter.

"I was panicked," he said, describing his thoughts before an ombudsman successfully appealed his case: "What am I going to do? I couldn't even eat. I became depressed. I wanted to kill myself."

Full Article & Source:
Nursing homes turn to eviction to drop difficult patients

Tax Judge Finds Elder Abuse, Fraud

Using lies, deceit and abuse, a caretaker bilked an elderly Gilroy man out of nearly $1 million over two years and forced him to live in filth while she enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, then filed fraudulent income tax returns, a U.S. Ttax Ccourt judge ruled.

In an understated but scathing decision on April 21, Judge Mark Holmes opined that Angelina Alhadi, a nursing assistant at St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy and a private caregiver, used undue influence and elder abuse to inveigle $451,891 in 2007 and $474,983 in 2008 from Arthur Marsh, who died in February 2009 at the age of 93.

The retired optometrist and award-winning oil painter at the time suffered from dementia and a host of physical ailments and became so emotionally dependent on Alhadi that he paid her nearly twice the going rate for her services and wrote her numerous large checks, typically at her insistence, according to the 37-page decision.

Among other things, there was money paid for a $100,000 down payment on a Gilroy home, a $60,000 pool and a $25,000 cruise for her family. Marsh was forced to go on the foreign cruise but was often neglected while Alhadi and her family partied, according to the court filing.

The decision was rendered under Rule 155 of the tax code. That means Alhadi and the Internal Revenue Service, which brought the case to tax court, must now meet and reach a settlement of the unpaid tax debt.

They have until June 21 to submit computations and positions for Holmes’ consideration and final decision.

After Marsh’s death, the Santa Clara County District Attorney investigated Alhadi’s involvement in his life but no charges were filed.

County and state guardians and senior welfare agencies also investigated and gave testimony to the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS acted on the tax aspects of the case, alleging the woman failed to report income and filed false tax returns.

It’s unclear if Judge Holmes’ findings of elder abuse will trigger another probe into Alhadi’s conduct and the circumstances of Marsh’s death.

Alhadi claimed in her defense that the money represented nontaxable loans or gifts, but the IRS argued it was taxable income, and she should pay a penalty for committing fraud, because the funds were taken while Marsh was under “undue influence” and was being subjected to elder abuse, according to the court findings.

In deciding the case, Holmes noted Marsh came from humble beginnings and grew up during the Depression. After a successful optometry practice that served three generations, Marsh, who had never married and was known as Art to his friends at St. Mary Church and Gilroy Rotary, retired to his 800-square-foot, second-story apartment on Carmel St.

Holmes observed that the poverty of his life “…marked him for life and made him frugal. He rented his little apartment for $175 a month and got by largely on Social Security. But Dr. Marsh had been a good businessman, saving over $1 million before he retired in the ’80s and investing it prudently well into retirement until it reached nearly $3 million.”

And when he became ill and infirm and his mental faculties began to fail, he became a prime target for the kinds of people who pry on the elderly, said James Simoni, the Gilroy attorney specializing in senior law who handled Marsh’s affairs and tried unsuccessfully to stop Alhadi.

In 2000, Marsh had a fall that broke his hip and required hospitalization. It was while in the hospital that doctors noticed his decline, which then worsened.

Judge Holmes wrote, “In 2007, when he was 91, things grew still worse. He couldn’t drive a car, he couldn’t go to the doctor, and he could no longer even prepare his own food. He suffered from incontinence, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, hypertension, chronic back pain, arthritis, hearing loss in both ears, and deteriorating vision; then he suffered a stroke in the right frontal lobe of his brain.

“His physician, Dr. George Green, diagnosed him with dementia and cognitive decline. These neurological problems showed themselves in Dr. Marsh’s poor short-term memory, diminished long-term memory, inability to perform simple arithmetic, and persistent deficiencies in visuospatial analysis. These problems also made him vulnerable…”

By that time, Marsh had hired Alhadi and soon was paying her almost double the normal rates for her caregiver services even though, according to the court decision, she ignored his most basic care and pressured him to pay her more and give her large checks for personal things.

The court document describes his tiny apartment as messy and filthy, relates Alhadi’s deliberate and successful measures to isolate Marsh from his nearest relative, by cutting off all phone contact with the niece, and her attempt to wrest from him legal control of his assets.

The Holmes decision relates testimony from the niece, Sheila Person, about the scene during her uncle’s funeral at St. Mary Church in Gilroy.

“Alhadi, dressed in full hijab and carrying a single red rose, tried ‘to crawl in the coffin or get inside there and she was screaming.’

“This was the last contact Ms. Alhadi had with Dr. Marsh,” Holmes wrote.

Simoni said when he became aware of a possible problem when his client asked him to authorize several very large checks for Alhadi including, three months before his death, an huge advance payment to care for him for the rest of his life.

He brought his concerns to Marsh’s financial fund managers who refused to release the money, he said Monday.

Judge Holmes wrote: “Ms. Alhadi made a last lunge for Dr. Marsh’s money. She took him to see an estate attorney, James Simoni, in November 2008 to have Dr. Marsh grant her a power of attorney.
Mr. Simoni, whom we also find a credible witness, testified that he learned about the blocked Vanguard accounts and supposed promise by Dr. Marsh to Ms. Alhadi to pay her approximately $300,000 in exchange for taking care of him for the rest of his life. We find that this trip to his office was a ploy by Ms. Alhadi to get those accounts unblocked and to get her hands on the last few $100,000 checks that Dr. Marsh had written. Dr. Marsh later told Mr. Simoni that Ms. Alhadi was pressuring him to get named in his will, and that he needed to create a separate trust for her so that his family members wouldn’t be able to interfere. Mr. Simoni refused to be part of this, and even tried to convince Ms. Alhadi to return the money she had already received. She told him: “Why should I, he gave it to me.’” The tax court decision can be read online here:

Full Article & Source:
Tax Judge Finds Elder Abuse, Fraud

9 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring an In-Home Caregiver

The largest segment of home care consists of licensed and unlicensed non-medical personnel who assist individuals with daily tasks such as bathing, eating, cleaning the home and preparing meals. Caregivers work to support the needs of individuals who require such assistance, and this care helps them stay at home versus living in a facility.*

Oftentimes the key to supporting a senior who wants to remain at home is to arrange for in-home care. Hiring the right caregiver can be a complex process. There are many, many home care agencies all across the country to choose from. A vast majority are owned and operated by people locally. Look at them first because they know your neighborhood and services that exist there.

This list of questions will be useful in ensuring that you are asking the right questions in the search process.

Questions to Ask

Once you have the names of several providers, you will want to learn more about them and their services. Following is a checklist of questions to ask providers in the initial interview:
  1. How much experience do they have and how long have they been serving your community? Are they licensed and bonded?
  2. How do they recruit and train their employees? Ask about their policy for ongoing training and education for their workers. Do they have a policy manual that describes and guides the work of their employees? Are its caregivers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
  3. Are there any things they will NOT do? Some agencies will not work with patients that need a lot of hands on care like lifting and transferring. Others have limits on the types of maintenance or heavy cleaning they will do.
  4. Does the Provider have a “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the providers, patients, and caregivers alike? The can be helpful if there is a misunderstanding about roles and responsibilities later.
  5. Does this provider supply literature explaining its services, eligibility requirements and fees? Do they have malpractice insurance? Are its caregivers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
  6. Who performs the assessment and care plan? What does this entail? Who oversees the quality of care? How often do these individuals make visits? How does this provider ensure patient confidentiality?
  7. Who can the patient and his or her family members call with questions or complaints? How does the agency follow up on and resolve problems?
  8. How is payment for services handled? Do they furnish written statements explaining all of the costs and payment plan options associated with home care?
  9. What procedures does this provider have in place to handle emergencies?
While it may be less expensive to work with individual providers, it is more difficult to ensure they can deliver the services you need when you need them. A few things to consider about hiring independently:
  • How do you ensure that you have adequate background information?
  • If they can’t work, who will cover for them?
  • Do you have coverage for liability issues should they arise?
  • Who will settle conflicts or disagreements when they arise?


Home care Association of America
National Association for Home Care and Hospice
American Association for Home Care
Family Caregiver Alliance

Full Article & Source:
9 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring an In-Home Caregiver

Monday, May 9, 2016

Citizens demand new hearings after General Assembly Committee lasts until 5 a.m.

DENVER -- It is considered a new record for the General Assembly – holding a committee meeting that lasts until 5 a.m.

“This is absolutely absurd for this to be happening,” Luanne Flemming said.

Flemming and her sisters were forced to stay at the State Capitol from noon on Thursday until 5am on Friday morning in order to testify for their bill regarding probate reform. The bill was heard in the Democratically controlled House Judiciary Committee.

After nearly 17 hours of being at the Capitol, the bill was voted down with only one lawmaker supporting it.

“We need to have another hearing, this is so unfair to the public,” Flemming said.

“They were yawning and one lawmaker fell asleep,” Flemming added.

Flemming believes that since lawmakers have four months to debate and vote on bills, citizens should not have to endure such late night meetings.

The Flemmings weren’t the only family impacted by the legislature’s actions.

Denny Benton says his 91 year old father could barely speak by the time he was called to testify. Benton says this is a bill that could impact his dad greatly.

“How do you explain to your dad that he might be moved out of his house,” Benton added.

Additionally, the late actor Peter Falk’s daughter – Catherine – was forced to testify out of order because she had to catch a flight. Falk is a national champion for probate reform following a public battle she endured regarding custody and visitation rights for her father.

As for why lawmakers decided to stay late, Rep. Daniel Kagan, the committee’s chair, said he “understands” why witnesses and supporters are upset.

“You don’t have much of a choice,” Kagan told FOX31 political reporter Joe St. George. “We don’t bury bills in Colorado,” Kagan added.

Lamwakers are set to leave town on Wednesday and are under pressure to make sure every bill at least gets a hearing. Officials within the Legislative Council office says the late night sessions had a minimal impact on taxpayers as most of the staff are salaried employees.

Full Article & Source:
Citizens demand new hearings after General Assembly Committee lasts until 5 a.m.

Former lawyer indicted in Las Vegas on tax evasion charges

A former Utah lawyer appeared in federal court Friday in Las Vegas following his arrest on felony tax evasion charges.

Craig Orrock, 68, who once lived in Las Vegas, was taken into custody in Salt Lake City last week, according to Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden.

Orrock pleaded not guilty Friday to one count of attempting to evade the payment of tax, one count of attempting to evade the assessment of tax, and one count of attempts to interfere with the administration of IRS laws.

A judge ordered him released on his own recognizance.

A federal indictment alleges Orrock tried to hide money from the IRS over a decade between 2001 and 2010.

He allegedly filed fraudulent bankruptcy petitions and amended tax returns by placing funds and property in the names of nominees and concealing from the IRS the nature and extent of his assets.

The case is being investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Burns.

Full Article & Source:
Former lawyer indicted in Las Vegas on tax evasion charges

Nursing Home or Graveyard

Ninety-six-years-old and suffering from dementia, was moved into a corporate-run nursing home in California. After only 21 days, he had already suffered severe dehydration and lost 5 pounds – the result of a nursing staff that had completely neglected to follow his well-established and doctor-ordered nutrition plans.

While the staff was too overworked to feed Mr. Furumura, they were under strict orders from the nursing home’s owner to give the 96-year-old excessive amounts of physical therapy. Surely food or water would have been more helpful, but the horrific truth of corporate-run nursing homes is that they make unimaginable sums of money from taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The more “therapy” that homes administer, the better for the business’s bottom line. And best of all (for them): The state picks up the tab.

Such financial incentives lead many for-profit nursing home operators to give patients treatments they don’t need. In the case of Jack Furumura, not only was such rigorous therapy totally unnecessary, it was reckless and flat-out outrageous. After 3 weeks, he had to be discharged directly to a hospital. He died only a few weeks later.

Meanwhile, the nursing home received $600 from the state for each day they administered their therapy. All told, the Federal Insurance Program for the Elderly and Disabled paid $13,468.19 for Mr. Furumura’s “care” –– and he is only but one of hundreds of patients likely on similar regimens. Mr. Furumura’s case is, sadly, not unique — private homes rake in money for overworking and ultimately killing people they’re charged to protect. Nationally, private nursing homes overbill Medicare by at least $1.5 Billion every single year.

How is it possible that such heartless business tactics are being used in an industry that already profits billions? Why pick on an elderly population for a few extra dollars in a market that has no shortage of cash flow — and worse, in a market that capitalizes on vulnerability and death?   (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Nursing Home or Graveyard

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Thinking of our Mothers and Grandmothers Today....

Plundering Grandma’s Estate Via Court-Ordered Guardianships

Would you hire someone to manage your personal affairs and finances who charged $50,599.18 in just three months?

What if they charged $1,560 to make two phone calls to your son to discuss “dates for (a) Christmas” visit with you? Or if you got a bill for more than $1,000 from this person because her “computer emails appear(ed) to be breached … (and) extensive work (was) done on (her) phone and computer as a result,” and she charged you for calls to her IT department and an attorney she consulted?

And what if this same person refused to communicate with two of your three children even when you were rushed to the hospital? And when they placed a couple of phone calls three days later to see how you were doing you were charged another $990? Is there any part of this that sounds reasonable?

This is the reality facing a woman I wrote about earlier this year. Widow Betty Winstanley, 94, is under a disputed court-ordered guardianship and lives in a retirement home in Pennsylvania. She is forced to pay her court-appointed guardian for the expenses I just described (and many more) because Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court Judge Jay J. Hoberg says she must.

After a perfunctory hearing in July 2014, just three weeks after her husband of 72 years died and during which Betty said not one word (she attended without her hearing aids), Judge Hoberg declared the very articulate and quick-witted Winstanley was “totally incapacitated.”

Hoberg appointed a guardian from the for-profit guardian conglomerate to take complete control of Betty’s life, including when her children can visit, where she can go and disbursement of all her assets. Betty is concerned that her estate will quickly be emptied and there will be nothing left to leave her heirs.

“If I was so demented, as they say, these things wouldn’t bother me,” Winstanley told me in her cut-to-the-chase, common sense fashion.

The first guardian appointed to Betty charged $125 an hour. Her current guardian charges $300 an hour, and now she’s petitioned to sell the Winstanley home in Somerset, Pennsylvania, and liquidate two investment accounts so she can pay Betty’s bills, including the $50,599.18 she says is due to her.

Even though this guardian has had control since December 2015, Betty’s monthly expenses at the retirement home haven’t been paid for months and she now owes back payments of $34,217.22. In addition, thousands more are owed to the attorney the guardian consults.

Since first writing about the growing problem of unwarranted court-ordered elder guardianships I have been deluged with horror stories from across the country. Wanting to understand the process better I recently attended one of Mrs. Winstanley’s hearings.

At issue the day I visited court was a motion by the guardian to subpoena Betty’s cellphone records. The guardian wanted the contents of all incoming and outgoing telephone calls, texts and voicemail messages to determine if Betty’s son, David, had “communicate(d) with his mother in an abusive and/or threatening manner.”

Back in 2014, David, frustrated with his mother’s new guardianship situation, had ranted a bit and left some unpleasant messages, but there have been no complaints against him since he was accused of “upsetting” his mother. Still, the hunt for conflict continues — at $300+ an hour.

An invasion of Betty’s privacy, you say? Yes, I thought so, too, and I wanted to see just how many civil rights a ward of the court loses after being declared “totally incompetent.”

I never got the chance. Judge Hoberg booted me from the courtroom along with two other journalists interested in Betty’s plight. His reason for closing the hearing to outside scrutiny? He wanted to protect “the ward’s” privacy! How ironic.

The judge ultimately ruled that Betty’s guardian could only ask the phone company if any numbers had been blocked on Betty’s phone. Her son Richard, who initiated the guardianship and has long been at odds with his brother David, had complained he had been blocked from contacting his mother. David, the actual owner of the phone, denies such action.

For almost two years now, Judge Hoberg has refused to look past the sibling sniping and rule on Betty’s simple request to move to a retirement home closer to David and her daughter, Liz, in Annapolis, Maryland. After all, Betty argues, they are the children who come to visit her most often, and she has other family in Maryland as well.

“I have no family near here,” Betty told me. “I just want to be near my family. Is that too much to ask?”  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Plundering Grandma’s Estate Via Court-Ordered Guardianships

Ohio Nursing Home Lawyer Explains Medical Conditions That Could Indicate Neglect

Given their age, Ohio nursing home residents tend to suffer from one or two health problems, and it’s possible that their medical conditions are the reasons they must live in a nursing home. But sometimes nursing home residents suffer medical conditions that are brought on by neglect in their nursing home.

One of the leading killers of the elderly is pneumonia and is often caused by lackluster dental care. A past report from the New York Times found that nursing home residents across the U.S. are suffering from a range of dental problems including broken teeth, cavities, and gum disease. Researchers told the NYT that bacteria tied to inadequate dental care was causing many cases of pneumonia that could easily be prevented through diligent care.

If your loved one suffers from frequent urinary tract infections or bladder infections, their toileting needs may be ignored by staff. When staff member doesn’t help a resident to the bathroom when needed or change their incontinence garments, they may be forced to hold their urine for long periods. That along with their already diminished health can easily lead to a bladder or urinary tract record.

Failing to change a resident’s soiled incontinence garments or underwear also leads to rashes and skin infections. In bad cases of neglect, soiled undergarments can lead to bed sores.

Bedsores are somewhat common in nursing homes especially among residents who are immobile, but most often bedsores are a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect. Bed sores develop when pressure is put on the same part of the body for prolonged periods of time. Muscles, skin and tissue begin to break down if the nursing home staff does not move an immobile person on a regular basis. The Mayo Clinic says a nursing home resident should be moved every two hours to be sure they don’t develop bed sores.

If a resident does develop bed sore, a facility has a duty to ensure they are getting the medical attention they need. Bed sores must be cleaned often and bandage. When a bedsore is in the buttocks region or any other area covered by incontinence garments, staff must ensure those garments are kept dry and clean. But many don’t and failing to do so can lead to severe and potentially deadly infections.

Just because your loved one suffers from one of these conditions does not mean they being neglected, but if that is your concern, you need to take proper steps.
Full Artricle and Source:
Ohio Nursing Home Lawyer Explains Medical Conditions That Could Indicate Neglect