Saturday, November 12, 2016

A vet - and a prayer - bring housing for homeless vets

Pastor Donnie Davis is on a spiritual mission to transform an old South Jersey campground into a place of tranquility for homeless veterans.

The Amazing Grace Ministries has embarked on an ambitious project to spruce up a sprawling 277-acre waterfront property in Gloucester County.

Davis purchased the abandoned site in Franklinville in June and has recruited an army of volunteers for Operation Safe Haven, a peaceful retreat where combat veterans can get back on their feet. The vets will be selected by the Veterans Administration.

"It doesn't matter what branch they are in. I have to take care of them," said Davis, 42, a former police officer and Air Force veteran.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness and about 1.4 million others are considered at risk of homelessness, experts say.

Davis plans to provide free housing for as many as 60 homeless veterans in "micro-housing" units - tiny houses - where veterans can stay free for up to two years. The veterans will have access to mental health services, peer counseling, and job search assistance.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year on the first five houses, which have been paid for in full. The first occupants are expected in January.

Located on Delsea Drive, the property formerly was the Village Dock campground. It was vacant for about a decade, fell into disrepair, and was targeted by vandals and squatters.

Last month, about 200 volunteers showed up to lend a hand clearing the grounds, removing debris and cutting down trees and clearing overgrown shrubs.

Home Depot sent 100 employees from nine stores in South Jersey and donated $10,000, which will be used to pay for a house on the property, Davis said. Joseph Jester, a local welder, and his employees donated their services to dig a 110-foot well that will supply water to the compound. A Folsom module home company, 4-U, is supplying the homes.

"It was something I thought I had to do," said Jester, 50, of Franklin Township. "It's something good that can benefit other people. We don't do enough for our vets."

When Ida Gonzalez, of Spotswood, heard about the project, she said she knew immediately it was the perfect cause to support in memory of her son, Michael, 20, who was killed by an IED while serving in the Army in Iraq in 2008. She donated $10,500 to cover the cost of a module home.  (Click to Continue)

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A vet - and a prayer - bring housing for homeless vets

Tiny homes built for veterans, by veterans

Veteran Community project

Those who have served our country share a common thread of bravery and patriotism, but unfortunately not all share good fortunes after reintegrating into civilian life.

Chris Stout, Kevin Jamison and Mark Solomon, founders of the Veterans Community Project, hope to help their fellow servicemen by building a village of 52 tiny homes for homeless veterans in Kansas City.

While the 240-square-foot homes will include a bed, kitchen and bathroom, the VCP hopes to provide more than just shelter. 

The project will also match clients with mentors who provide social support as they transition to their new homes.

Reintegrating back into regular society can be challenging, according to the VCP, and the idea is to "get the veteran up and reintegrating them into society at their own pace while treating the issues that have created social or housing barriers." (Click to Continue)

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Tiny homes built for veterans, by veterans

Feeding Tube Trends in Elderly Alarm Experts

David S. Seres, MD, thinks too many nursing homes reject an inexpensive, nonsurgical procedure that can provide nourishment to patients who are temporarily too ill to feed themselves.

The procedure, a nasogastric feeding tube (NFT), is an old one—and one that has increasingly fallen out of favor in lieu of surgically implanted feeding tubes. Proponents of gastrostomies say they are safer even though they involve minor surgery, less prone to becoming clogged or yanked out, far more comfortable for patients and easier for caregivers to manage.

Dr. Seres, director of medical nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City, conducted a survey that found only 18.3% of skilled nursing care facilities in New York City accept patients with NFTs, compared with 62% of nursing homes elsewhere in the United States (Nutr Clin Pract 2016;31:342-348). Dr. Seres said anecdotally, he has found a general East Coast bias among nursing homes that won’t admit patients with NFTs.

He noted that he is not opposed to percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), particularly if ill or elderly patients cannot feed themselves for extended periods. But, he said, many patients who are transferred to nursing homes are incapacitated for a month or less—recovering from a stroke, for instance—and will be able to feed orally sooner rather than later. In these cases, he said, nursing homes should accept patients with NFTs.

“It’s more of an ethical issue,” Dr. Seres said. “Without any medical justification, the nursing homes have determined that nasal feeding tubes are dangerous and scary. They’ve stopped using them and forgot how to. They are forcing patients to undergo a surgical procedure unnecessarily.” He likened the situation to the forced feeding that drew criticism when it was done to hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba, only this time it’s on vulnerable patients who cannot be transferred from a hospital to a nursing home without a PEG.

As of 2010, some 6% of the 1.6 million Americans living in skilled nursing facilities were fed by a tube. Cognitive and physical impairments caused by stroke or dementia can make a person unable to swallow. Most patients with advanced dementia will be unable to feed themselves by mouth.

A gastroenterologist, using a scope and accompanied by anesthesia, will insert the PEG. Dr. Seres said these surgeries can cost upward of $1,000 compared with a NFT, which can cost $85 or less. Nurses and other workers are able to insert NFTs.

Nursing home executives in New York state say they rely on the recommendations of the hospital discharging the patient. They say they are also concerned that the NFT will not work, and the patient often ends up back in the hospital anyway.
“We don’t really see a lot of referrals,” said Nancy Leveille, RN, MS, senior director for member operational support for the New York State Health Facilities Association, in Albany. “There are times where they might have somebody in the hospital who has a nasogastric tube. Usually those are for short-term, temporary situations. The nursing home, if they were being referred somebody like that, would be evaluating: Is this going to be a long-term issue? This is going to be the main way of being fed? They may be talking to the hospital about a gastric tube so they don’t have to send them back for surgery later if surgical intervention is going to be needed in the long run.”

Timothy Lipman, MD, former chief of gastroenterology at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., said the issue is complex. If the patient won’t need artificial feeding for more than two or three weeks, “I’d rather see the nasogastric tube,” Dr. Lipman said. “I think it’s reasonable if you know what you’re doing.” But he added that the tubes are uncomfortable, and tend to come out “not at 9 in the morning, but at night and on the weekend.”

‘Extremely Rare’

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is agnostic on temporary feeding tubes. Its guidelines discourage the use of any tubes unless the resident’s condition makes them “unavoidable.” The agency also instructs nursing facilities using NFTs to “prevent aspiration pneumonia, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, metabolic abnormalities, and nasal-pharyngeal ulcers and to restore, if possible, normal eating skills.”

CMS acknowledges that the use of NFTs has become “extremely rare” in nursing homes. “I have not seen a NFT on referral for years,” said Lisa Volk, RN, director of clinical and quality services for the New York State Health Facilities Association. There’s a reason, she said: “It’s constantly a source of irritation.” It also strips residents of their dignity, whereas a PEG can be underneath their clothing and out of harm’s way, she added.

An NFT is “not comfortable,” Dr. Volk said. “Your first impulse would be to get that out of there.” Complicating matters is that many nursing homes, unlike hospitals, do not use restraints to prevent residents from pulling out the tube. Patients who remove the tube risk returning to the hospital. “Fluid goes into the lungs and all of a sudden you have an aspiration problem,” she said.

Dr. Lipman, who is now retired, agreed that NFTs, which are narrower than PEGs, are more prone to clogging and displacement. “And the nursing homes think they don’t have the trained staff to put it back in, so they say, ‘We just don’t want to be bothered with these,’” he said. At the VA where he worked, one nurse was in charge of monitoring all gastrostomy tubes. Nursing homes lack people with experience in dealing with temporary NFTs because they don’t accept residents with them. “It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said.

Dr. Seres said NFTs can become clogged, but putting them back in place should be easy. For him, doing so is far better than performing “unnecessary surgery in the sickest of patients in the hospital.” Dr. Seres also said some patients prefer an NFT to risking life-threatening complications from surgery, such as infection.  (Click to Continue)

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Feeding Tube Trends in Elderly Alarm Experts

Friday, November 11, 2016

Bergen County nursing home offers free room to abused seniors in need

Carol Silver Elliott, River Vale Jewish Home Family president and CEO
A free room at one of Bergen County’s top-rated nursing homes is now reserved for any senior who needs a temporary place to stay to get away from exploitative, neglectful or violent circumstances — a major step, advocates said, in the effort to protect the elderly from abuse.

As the population in the region ages, officials have grown more concerned about elder abuse. The Bergen County Office of Adult Protective Services has investigated more than 200 reports of such abuse so far this year — and confirmed 40 instances in which a senior has been physically abused or financially exploited by caregivers, family members or others. Thirty years ago, there were just a handful of these cases each year, officials said.

Seniors often remain victims for far too long, often out of shame, financial desperation or a desire not to be displaced.

“We’ve been working a number of years to educate the professionals who come in contact with older abuse victims and to establish better working relationships so that these cases get reported and get investigated,” said Ria Sklar, a founder of Save Abused and Frail Elderly, a Bergen County group that operates a hotline for people to report elder abuse. “What we didn’t have for a number of years — and now we do — was a shelter.”

The push to find shelters that offer nursing care as well as a safe hideout has arisen from a greater awareness that different tactics are needed to persuade elderly victims to seek help and to get those who witness mistreatment to take action

Victims of elder abuse are less likely to turn up at domestic violence shelters, advocates say, and even if they do, such programs are primarily designed to serve young families rather an elderly person with medical issues.

“Domestic violence shelters are really intended for young women and young children. They might have stairs, or narrow hallways, or toys on the floor for children to play with. For someone who uses a walker or is on medication that needs to be monitored, it’s not always an ideal place,” said Carol Silver Elliott, president and chief executive officer of The Jewish Home Family, the non-profit that runs Senior Haven, which offers the free room for abused seniors.

The group promises a free stay for up to four months at either its Rockleigh nursing home or the assisted living residence it operates in River Vale. Referrals to Senior Haven may be made by calling 855-455-0555.

Elder abuse victims often have counseling and legal needs that don’t fall within the usual expertise offered at traditional domestic abuse shelters, said Joy Solomon, who helped found the first elder abuse shelter in the country more than 10 years ago in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Rather than needing advice on divorce and child custody proceedings, or help finding a job and a baby sitter, older victims might be in need of nursing care, help applying for Medicaid or a referral to a lawyer who can help them sever exploitative power-of-attorney arrangements they might have been coerced into signing.

There are now 14 elder abuse shelters that have opened in East Coast and Midwest metropolitan areas in the past decade as part of a network known as the Spring Alliance.

“My dream is to one day have one in every community like we have a domestic violence shelter in every community,” said Solomon, who heads the shelter network and serves as director and managing attorney for the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale.

Medical, legal aid

In North Jersey, The Jewish Home Family has agreements with its medical director, pharmaceutical suppliers and other service providers not to bill a patient who is there for emergency shelter. While at the nursing home or assisted living center, victims will be provided with any needed medical care as well as counseling and legal assistance until caseworkers can find them permanent housing or long-term care.

Since the program was launched, one senior convalesced for a month at the nursing home. The woman had been physically abused and denied food in her prior home. Her circumstances were known to only the few trusted staffers charged with her care and counseling, and her eventual relocation not disclosed so as to protect her from being victimized again, Elliott said.

Maria Aberasturi, supervisor of Bergen County’s Adult Protective Services, knows there are other seniors out there who also need to be rescued. In her nearly three decades as a social worker, she has encountered many elderly residents who are resistant to leaving their homes, even in situations where they are being abused, neglected, starved or having their bank accounts drained.

“Some people worked their whole lives for their home, and even in these situations, their home is where they are comfortable being,” Aberasturi said. “To lose your house and go into the great unknown when you are older is hard.”

Estimates of how much abuse occurs in the older population vary greatly, but the National Council on Aging cites surveys that found that one in every 10 adults over 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse, which can include physical, emotional or sexual abuse, confinement, denial of food or medicine or financial exploitation. Only one in 14 cases is reported, according to the council.

Perpetrators often exercise psychological control over elderly victims by isolating and threatening them. The abuse continues because seniors are dependent on the abuser for care or help managing the household.

“Sometimes it’s caregiver burnout or sometimes it’s flat-out abuse,” Elliott said. “Financial exploitation tends to be a big piece of the puzzle.

“In many, many cases, the abuser is the child or grandchild, so the victim feels shame that this is someone to whom they taught values who is behaving this way,” Elliott said.

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Bergen County nursing home offers free room to abused seniors in need

Monia gets 30 years for theft of elderly

Judge Benjamin Lewis sentenced Keith Lars Monia, 55, of Cape Girardeau to 30 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on Tuesday after Monia pleaded guilty to nine counts of financial exploitation of the elderly and stealing by deceit in Cape Girardeau and Scott Counties from 2007 through 2013.

Monia received 15 years on each count, but the five Cape Girardeau County charges and the four Scott County charges were concurrent with each other, pursuant to the plea agreement, Lewis said.

Lewis cautioned if Monia decided to appeal his sentence, he could face the full range of punishment allowed under each count — 165 years total.

Monia pleaded guilty to stealing $517,500 from nine victims.

“If you tunneled into a bank vault and stole that money, you would expect a very serious sentence,” Lewis said. “What you did do was worm your way into the hearts of people, and you knew at the time that you were not going to keep your promise and do what you said you were going to do.”

Lewis said imposing a 30-year sentence on Monia may not stop other people like Monia from stealing money, but at least it will stop Monia from stealing any more money for a long time. 

Monia told several victims in this case he would use their money to invest in American Equity annuity plans, but the money ended up in Monia’s personal bank account or in the hands of George Joseph, who was supposed to invest the money, according to a probable-cause statement filed by Gregrey Martin, an investigator with the Missouri Department of Senior Services.

Paul Bollinger complained to the Missouri Department of Insurance, financial institutions and Professional registration in 2010 when Monia failed to purchase the annuity as he promised and Monia’s insurance producer license was not renewed in 2011.

“He took this money from us when I was suffering from large-cell lymphoma,” Bollinger said at the sentencing hearing. “I took this man on as a friend, and I thought he was a friend, and it didn’t work that way. ... He lost his license, and that did not stop him from selling insurance. ... I would think he would be entitled to the severest penalty he can be given.”

Monia apologized to his victims and offered to give $25,000 of inheritance he received from his father to his victims.

“I had very poor judgment,” Monia said.

Lewis approved an order for Monia to pay restitution on the $517,500 he admitted to stealing.

Assistant public defender Arryn Carson said Monia was under the influence of severe back pain and Xanax at that time.

Monia also was the victim of Joseph, who stole money from Monia’s clients and other clients.

“I say all these things today to show you that Mr. Monia never maliciously took the money,” Carson said.

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Monia gets 30 years for theft of elderly

Aging Happens: Adult Protective Services plays a vital role

Many years ago, I had gotten a call from Adult Protective Services (APS) regarding an older man who was in really bad shape. His family member was supposedly taking care of him in his own home. But when APS got involved, it was a different and very sad story. The family member had left in a hurry, with a large amount of his cash. This man could not get out of bed on his own, and no one knew the last time he had been bathed, groomed, toileted, or fed.

At the hospital, it took two aides an entire day to remove packed-on grim, cut his hair and nails and feed him. When I saw him again, I actually did not recognize him as the same person I had seen days before. This is an extreme example of the important services APS provides to our communities. I have always referred to them as “the good guys.” They advocate for our most vulnerable older folks, and make sure they get the help they need. This topic of protection from scams, neglect and abuse is so vital that it will actually require two separate columns to cover.

A group of specialists at APS devoted quite some time to answering questions I had posed to them, and it was important that none of this be left out. This is the first series of questions and answers.

1. What is the role of APS in our community, with regards to older adults?

The role of APS in Oregon communities centers on four key areas:

• Response: Local APS Specialists have a very important role to ensure a timely and effective response to abuse or neglect that is reported. Responding quickly and thoroughly is not only critical, but helps ensure the safety and long-term health of the older adults living in Oregon communities. In addition, APS depends on community members to report abuse, as they can only respond to abuse they are aware of. That means APS needs the local public to assist them in protecting older adults. APS Specialists also provide consultative information, protective services and intervene in a way that does not do any further harm.

• Education/Awareness: APS provides abuse education and awareness materials to help educate Oregon communities on the signs of abuse, and how and where to report it. Reporting enables investigators to intervene with protective services for incidents that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

One source of education for Oregon communities is the Annual Abuse Report created by the Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations (OAAPI). This report contains abuse trends, a list of mandatory reporters, and specific information about abuse and neglect for individuals living at home or in a facility-type setting. To read more about these reports, go to

• Prevention: The third role of APS is to take steps to prevent abuse before it occurs. One way to do this is to collaborate with community members to raise awareness as a primary source of prevention. For example, a Financial Exploitation study by OAAPI resulted in the ability to educate Oregonians with a better understanding of the scope and impact of financial exploitation in local communities.

Financial exploitation has an impact on the well-being of older adults, financial institutions and taxpayers in Oregon communities. This type of abuse can result in the loss of years of hard work, lack of money to pay basic living expenses such as food and electricity, and hope for future security gone. This study pointed out that communication and collaboration can make a difference.

APS workers also participate in secondary types of prevention, such as coordination with local multi-disciplinary teams on adult abuse, coordinating efforts with local law enforcement or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman office for older adults who live in facilities, and collaborating with other community groups who help keep Oregonians independent, healthy and safe.

• Community engagement: We know that a strong investment in community partnerships is vital. Last year, the Department of Human Services (DHS) received more than 43,000 reports of possible abuse and neglect of vulnerable Oregonians. It is important that Oregonians understand that adult abuse is a family issue, a public health issue, a community issue and an Oregon issue. Abuse can happen to anyone. So, an engaged community can become a safe community for all who live there. (Click to Continue)

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Aging Happens: Adult Protective Services plays a vital role

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Alzheimer's: The Caregiver's Perspective

From diagnosis to saying the long goodbye, caregivers share their diverse experiences of caring for loved ones in the world of dementia. Alzheimer’s is more than memory loss; it affects many generations and is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Teepa Snow, Loretta Veney, Bob Schaefer and many more explain how they creatively navigate the frustrations, sorrows and complications of caring for a loved one who can no longer function safely on their own.

Watch Alzheimer’s: The Caregiver’s Perspective November 10 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS / WHTJ PBS.

Alzheimer's:  The Caregiver's Perspective

Federal Judge Grants Nursing Home Arbitration Injunction

By Virgil Dickson

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi has granted a request by the American Health Care Association to bar the CMS from implementing a rule that bans arbitration agreements in skilled-nursing facilities.

A federal rule finalized by the Obama administration earlier this year prohibits nursing facilities from entering binding arbitration agreements before a dispute arises. The provision went much further than the restrictions proposed in the draft rule and is expected to kick in on Nov. 28.

The AHCA argued that the rule exceeds the CMS’ statutory authority and is wholly unnecessary to protect the health and safety of residents.

In a 40 page-decision released Monday, Judge Michael Mills said he agreed.

“As sympathetic as this court may be to the public policy considerations which motivated the rule, it is unwilling to play a role in countenancing the incremental ‘creep’ of federal agency authority beyond that envisioned by the U.S. Constitution,” Mills wrote.

Throughout the opinion, Mills reiterated that while there may truly be a problem with executing arbitration contracts during the nursing home admissions, only Congress, not the CMS, can do something about it.

“While there is undoubtedly a great deal of congressional gridlock, Congress’ failure to enact positive legislation should not serve as an excuse for the executive branch to assume powers which are properly reserved for the legislative branch,” Mills said.

Arbitration agreements prevent families who believe their loved ones received bad care at nursing homes from seeking legal recourse. Some families say they often feel pressured to sign the contracts and don’t understand what they’re agreeing to. They also don’t know that awards through arbitration in nursing home cases are usually lower than those reached in court.

Continue reading –>>

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Federal Judge Grants Nursing Home Arbitration Injunction

Northfield vulnerable adult to receive restitution for stolen funds

A Morristown woman has been convicted of felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, currently residing at Three Links Care Center in Northfield.

Loretta Anne Fossum, 55, was charged with theft by temporary control and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, both felonies. The maximum sentence was up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both.

The theft by temporary control charge was dismissed, though, and Fossum was only convicted of the financial exploitation. Her sentence is 60 days in Dakota County Jail, but she will serve it under work release, according to the sentencing order from Dakota County Judge Thomas Pugh. Fossum had credit for one day of time served at the time of the Nov. 2 sentencing order.

Fossum has also been ordered to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $4,580, as determined by Dakota County Community Corrections. The agency’s review found that Fossum made $7,900 in purchases using the victim’s checking account, and she deposited $3,320 in cash into the victim’s account. The deposits were subtracted from the purchases to determine the final restitution amount.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Dakota County District Court:

In September 2015, Northfield Police officers received a report of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult at an assisted living facility in Northfield. Staff of the facility told police one of the residents had an individual with power of attorney who was not paying bills and completing paperwork for the resident.

Staff identified the power of attorney as Fossum, and said after contacting the banks, they had found a large number of transactions made on the resident’s account while she was at the facility — since May 2015.

The unidentified victim told police she had not authorized Fossum to pay for any additional items. The victim said Fossum renovated her bathroom in her townhouse while she was in the facility due to an injury. She said Fossum has been residing at her townhome.

After examining the bank records, officers noted approximately $2,500 in hardware store sales, $2,500 in ATM withdrawals, in addition to transactions at convenience stores, liquor stores, restaurants and cell phone payments.

Officers also found a transaction in which Fossum rented a floor sander, which was paid for using a debit card under the victim’s name and had been signed by the victim.

After speaking to Fossum, she told police she had been paying the victim’s bills and had access to her account. She said she had spent some of the money getting the victim’s townhouse ready for her to return home.

She also admitted to using some of the victim’s money to pay for expenses for her home improvement business, but claimed she was also paying it back.

Specifically, Fossum said she spent $850 on a bed, chair lift and wheel chair. But officers pointed out that an additional $1,700 was unaccounted for. Fossum said she could not remember what it was used for.

Fossum eventually admitted that approximately $1,500 was spent on projects at other people’s homes, and that she had used some money for her own cell phone bill, trips to the liquor store and internet service. She said she had been paying it back, but probably still owed the victim roughly $3,000.

In addition to her work release jail sentence and restitution payments, Fossum was ordered to pay upwards of $600 in court fees, perform 30 hours of community service and is required to serve five years of probation.

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Northfield vulnerable adult to receive restitution for stolen funds

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pennsylvania Sues Nursing Home Chain Alleging Poor Care and False Advertising

AG Bruce Beemer
Attorney General Bruce Beemer announced Friday that his office has filed a lawsuit a Pittsburgh-based nursing home chain, alleging that it failed to provide basic care, falsified records, and billed the Commonwealth and residents for services never provided.

The lawsuit, filed against 12 nursing homes owned by Grane Healthcare Co., accuses the company of violating the Commonwealth’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law for misrepresenting the care and staffing it promised residents.

“These alleged misrepresentations not only deceived the residents of these facilities, but Grane’s business practices also degraded residents and increased the risk of negative health consequences,” Beemer said in a statement. “We believe there is ample evidence that these facilities fell far short when it came to providing essential services.”

The lawsuit against Grane is one of several that the attorney general has filed since last summer against Pennsylvania nursing homes. In October, Beemer announced a $2 million settlement with the Reliant nursing home chain. A lawsuit against the Golden Living chain is still pending.

According to the attorney general’s lawsuit, Grane advertised to customers that it strives for high staff-to-patient ratios and that sicker residents will get more care. The office says those claims were deceptive, misleading and unfair.

Its allegations include:
*Incontinent residents were not checked and changed for hours, leaving them in wet and soiled clothing and bedding.
*Continent residents were not given timely assistance for using restrooms, causing them to urinate and defecate in their clothes.
*Because of inadequate staffing, showers were skipped, residents were left in their pajamas all day, and residents who needed help eating weren’t fed.
*Staff excessively and inappropriately used pharmacological drugs to restrain residents.
*Records were falsified to show residents got care they never received.

Full Article and Source:
Pennsylvania Sues Nursing Home Chain Alleging Poor Care and False Advertising

Caretaker Accused of Stealing Thousands From Elderly Woman

A Glascock County investigation is stopped in its tracks.
State documents say Timothy Pirtle exploited and abused his Power of Attorney as caretaker of an elderly woman, but now he's dead, and the victim's family is in a legal battle for closure.
Just weeks before officers were ready to serve a warrant, the Coroner says Pirtle committed suicide.
Just as officers were closing in on him, witnesses found 58-year-old Timothy Pirtle dead in his driveway. It was an abrupt ending to an investigation that was just getting started.
"I knew where I had to go as far as more bank records, and I was really getting close to the point of actually conducting an interview with Mr. Pirtle and very possibly warrants within the next 90 to 120 days," Glascock County's Chief Deputy Jeremy Kelley said.
According to the state report, Pirtle was the caretaker and Power of Attorney for Willie Bell Reese, an 89-year-old woman who lived at Gibson Health and Rehabilitation, but those documents say he abused that trust for his own gain.

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Caretaker Accused of Stealing Thousands From Elderly Woman

Peaceful Easy Feeling for Eagles Co-Founder in Conservator Court Battle

legal battle over who should serve as a conservator for Eagles co-founder Randy Meisner has been settled as both sides agreed the two men currently serving as temporary overseers of the entertainer’s personal and business affairs should be given permanent roles.
The resolution means that Meisner’s longtime friend, Arthur Ford, will continue to be responsible for getting proper health care for the 70-year-old bassist and that Meisner’s accountant, Thomas DeLong, will remain in charge of his financial issues.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Barry extended the temporary conservatorships of Ford and DeLong until Dec. 30, but their roles are scheduled to become permanent as soon as the lawyers present the judge with the proper paperwork to sign.
Meisner’s wife, Lana, suffered a fatal gunshot wound March 6 when she lifted a rifle that accidentally discharged in the couple’s Studio City home, according to police. Meisner’s lawyer, Bruce Fuller, filed a petition on his client’s behalf five days later asking that a conservatorship be established to provide for Meisner’s care, maintenance and support.
Fuller stated in his court papers that his client was “in a profound state of grief” and “barely able to accept the sudden and tragic loss” of his 63-year-old wife.
In April, the judge found that Meisner was of sound mind when he agreed to have Ford and DeLong as his temporary conservators. But their selections were criticized by James Newton, who filed a competing petition. Newton said he has known Meisner for years and that he speaks often with the musician’s children.
The settlement came on the day trial was scheduled to begin on the dueling petitions.

Full Article and Source:
Peaceful Easy Feeling for Eagles Co-Founder in Conservator Court Battle

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Delirium: A Surprising Side Effect of Hospital Stays

Often misdiagnosed as dementia, it can cause hallucinations and delusions

(This article originally appeared on

When B. Paul Turpin was admitted to a Tennessee hospital in January last year, the biggest concern was whether the 69-year-old endocrinologist would survive. But as he battled a life-threatening infection, Turpin developed terrifying hallucinations, including one in which he was performing on a stage soaked with blood. Doctors tried to quell his delusions with increasingly large doses of sedatives, which only made him more disoriented.

Nearly five months later, Turpin’s infection has been routed, but his life is upended. Delirious and too weak to go home after his hospital discharge, he spent months in a rehab center, where he fell twice, once hitting his head. Until recently he did not remember where he lived and believed he had been in a car wreck. “I tell him it’s more like a train wreck,” said his wife, Marylou Turpin.

“They kept telling me in the hospital, ‘Everybody does this,’ and that his confusion would disappear,” she said. Instead, her once astute husband has had great difficulty “getting past the scramble.”

Turpin’s experience illustrates the consequences of delirium, a sudden disruption of consciousness and cognition marked by vivid hallucinations, delusions and an inability to focus that affects 7 million hospitalized Americans annually. The disorder can occur at any age — it has been seen in preschoolers — but disproportionately affects people older than 65 and is often misdiagnosed as dementia.

While delirium and dementia can coexist, they are distinctly different illnesses. Dementia develops gradually and worsens progressively, while delirium occurs suddenly and typically fluctuates during the course of a day. Some patients with delirium are agitated and combative, while others are lethargic and inattentive.

Delirium Triggers 

Patients treated in intensive care units who are heavily sedated and on ventilators are particularly likely to become delirious; some studies place the rate as high as 85 percent. But the condition is common among patients recovering from surgery and in those with something as easily treated as a urinary tract infection. Regardless of its cause, delirium can persist for months after discharge.

They kept telling me in the hospital, ‘Everybody does this,’ and that his [my husband's] confusion would disappear. 

— Marylou Turpin

Federal health authorities, who are seeking ways to reduce hospital-acquired complications, are pondering what actions to take to reduce the incidence of delirium, which is not among the complications for which Medicare withholds payment or for which it penalizes hospitals. Delirium is estimated to cost more than $143 billion annually, mostly in longer hospital stays and follow-up care in nursing homes.

“Delirium is very underrecognized and underdiagnosed,” said geriatrician Sharon Inouye, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. As a young doctor in the 1980s, Inouye pioneered efforts to diagnose and prevent the condition, which was then called “ICU psychosis.” Its underlying physiological cause remains a mystery.

“Physicians and nurses often don’t know about it,” added Inouye, who directs the Aging Brain Center at Hebrew SeniorLife, a Harvard affiliate that provides elder care and conducts gerontology research. Preventing delirium is crucial, she said, because “there still aren’t good treatments for it once it occurs.”

Researchers estimate that about 40 percent of delirium cases are preventable. Many cases are triggered by the care patients receive — especially large doses of anti-anxiety drugs and narcotics to which the elderly are sensitive — or the environments of hospitals themselves: busy, noisy, brightly lit places where sleep is constantly disrupted and staff changes frequently.

Recent studies have linked delirium to longer hospital stays: 21 days for delirium patients compared with nine days for patients who don’t develop the condition. Other research has linked delirium to a greater risk of falls, an increased probability of developing dementia and an accelerated death rate.

“The biggest misconceptions are that delirium is inevitable and that it doesn’t matter,” said E. Wesley Ely, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine who founded its ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Study Group.

Long-Term Effects 

In 2013, Ely and his colleagues published a study documenting delirium’s long-term cognitive toll. A year after discharge, 80 percent of 821 ICU patients ages 18 to 99 scored lower on cognitive tests than their age and education would have predicted, while nearly two-thirds had scores similar to patients with traumatic brain injury or mild Alzheimer’s disease. Only 6 percent were cognitively impaired before their hospitalization.

Cognitive and memory problems are not the only effects. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are also common in people who develop delirium. A recent meta-analysis by Johns Hopkins researchers found that 1 in 4 discharged ICU patients displayed PTSD symptoms, a rate similar to that of combat veterans or rape victims.

David Jones, a 37-year-old legal analyst in Chicago, Ill., said that he was entirely unprepared for persistent cognitive and psychological problems that followed the delirium that began during his six-week hospitalization for a life-threatening pancreatic disorder in 2012. Terrifying flashbacks, a hallmark of PTSD, were the worst. “They discharged me and didn’t tell me about this at all,” said Jones, whose many hallucinations included being burned alive.

Jones’s ordeal is typical, said psychologist James C. Jackson of Vanderbilt’s ICU Recovery Center, a multidisciplinary program that treats patients after discharge.

Vivid Flashbacks 

“They go home and don’t have the language to describe what has happened to them,” said Jackson, adding that such incidents are often mistaken for psychosis or dementia. “Some patients have very striking delusional memories that are very clear distortions of what happened: patients who were catheterized who think they were sexually assaulted and patients undergoing MRIs convinced that they were fed into a giant oven.”

Some hospitals are moving to prevent delirium through a more careful use of medications, particularly tranquilizers used to treat anxiety called benzodiazepines, which are known to trigger or exacerbate the problem. Others are trying to wean ICU patients off breathing machines sooner, to limit the use of restraints and to get patients out of bed and moving more quickly. Still others are trying to soften the environment by shutting off lights in patients’ rooms at night, installing large clocks and minimizing noisy alarms.

A recent meta-analysis led by Harvard researchers found that a variety of non-drug interventions — which included making sure patients’ sleep-wake cycles were preserved, that they had their eyeglasses and hearing aids and that were not dehydrated — reduced delirium by 53 percent. These simple fixes had an added benefit: They cut the rate of falls among hospitalized patients by 62 percent.

Inouye and other experts say that encouraging hospitals to recognize and treat delirium is paramount. They have vehemently argued that federal officials should not classify delirium as a “never” event for which Medicare payment will be denied, fearing that would only drive the problem further underground. (“Never” events include severe bedsores.)

Delirium “is not like pneumonia or a fracture” and lacks an obvious physical indicator, said Malaz Boustani, an associate professor of medicine at Indiana University. He proposes that Medicare create a bundle payment that would pay for treatment up to six months after delirium is detected.

Creating effective incentives is essential, said Ryan Greysen, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. Delirium, he said, suffers from a “pernicious know-do gap” — a disparity between knowledge and practice. Many proven interventions, he said, do not seem sufficiently medical. “There’s no gene therapy, no new drug,” Greysen said. “I think we need to put this in the realm of hospital protocol, which conveys the message that preventing and treating delirium is just as important as giving people their meds on time.”

Growing Awareness 

Awareness that delirium is a significant problem, not a transitory complication, is recent, an outgrowth of growing expertise in the relatively new field of critical care medicine. The graying of the baby boom generation, whose oldest members are turning 69, is fueling interest in geriatrics. And many boomers are encountering delirium as they help care for their parents who are in their 80s and older.

“In the early 1990s, we thought it was a benevolent thing to protect people from their memories of having a tube down their throat, of being tied down, by using large doses of drugs to paralyze and deeply sedate patients,” Ely noted. “But by the late 1990s, I was just getting creamed by families and patients who told me, ‘I can’t balance my checkbook, I can’t find my car in the parking lot and I just got fired from my job.’ Their brains didn’t work anymore.”

Delirium “is now taught or at least mentioned in every medical and nursing school in the country. That’s a huge change from a decade ago,” said Inouye, adding that research has increased exponentially as well.

In some cases, delirium is the result of carelessness.

One woman said she was repeatedly rebuffed several years ago by nurses at a Washington area hospital after her mother started acting “stoned” after hip surgery. “She said things like ‘I’m having a dinner party tonight and I’ve invited a nice young man to meet you,’ ” recalled the daughter. She asked that her name be omitted to protect the privacy of her mother, now 96, who lives independently in Northern Virginia and “still has all her marbles — and then some.”

“The nurses kept telling me she was off all medication” and that her confusion was to be expected because of her age. “It was only when I insisted on talking to the doctor and going through her chart” that the doctor discovered that a motion sickness patch to prevent nausea had not been removed. “Within an hour, my mother was acting fine. It was very scary because if she hadn’t had an advocate, she might have been sent to a nursing home with dementia.”

Inouye, who developed the Confusion Assessment Method, or CAM scale, now used around the world to assess delirium, said that significant systemic obstacles to preventing delirium remain.

“We need to back up in our care of older patients so that we don’t treat every little symptom with a pill,” she said. Sometimes, she said, a hand rub or a conversation or a glass of herbal tea can be as effective as an anti-anxiety drug.

Two months ago, Inouye, who is in her 50s, was hospitalized overnight, an experience that underscored the ordeal that older, vulnerable patients face. “I was woken out of the deepest sleep every two hours to check my blood pressure,” she said. In addition, alarms in her room began shrieking because a machine was malfunctioning.

“Medical care,” she added, “has evolved to be absolutely inhumane to older people.”

Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) 

In an effort to prevent or reduce delirium, Inouye created a program called HELP, short for Hospital Elder Life Program, currently operating in 200 hospitals around the country. While the core of the program remains the same, each hospital implements the program in different ways. Some enroll ICU patients, while others exclude them. A 2011 study found that HELP saved more than $7 million in one year at UPMC Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa.

At Maine Medical Center in Portland, HELP is a voluntary program open to patients older than 70 who have been in the hospital for 48 hours or less and do not show signs of delirium. ICU and psychiatric patients are excluded. The program relies on a cadre of 50 trained volunteers who visit patients up to three times daily for half-hour shifts, providing help and companionship and helping them stay oriented.

The CAM scale is built into the hospital’s electronic medical record, said geriatrician Heidi Wierman, who oversees the program and heads a medical team that sees patients regularly. HELP prevented delirium in 96 percent of patients seen last year, she said, adding that resistance by doctors and nurses to the 13-year-old program has been minimal because “we tied the incidence of falls to the prevention of delirium.”

Marylou Turpin, whose husband recently returned to their home outside Nashville, is planning to enroll him at Vanderbilt’s ICU Recovery Center as soon as possible. “I’m just hoping we can have some kind of life after this,” she said.

Full Article & Source:
Delirium: A Surprising Side Effect of Hospital Stays

Liberty lawyer indicted for obstruction of justice

A Liberty lawyer is facing federal indictment for allegedly keeping money meant to reimburse crime victims.

Robert J. Young II, 47, appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City where he was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of obstruction of justice.

Federal prosecutors said that the family of a criminal defendant gave Young more than $62,000 for the purpose of making restitution in the defendant’s case.

Prosecutors say Young instead used the money to buy a motorcycle and make rent payments and retail purchases.

The money was later paid, according to prosecutors.

Full Article & Source:
Liberty lawyer indicted for obstruction of justice

Radio Legend with Alzheimers Facing Nursing Home Eviction

Now this is very different, quite often we are so accustomed to writing stories about sad, once prominent radio and music industry legends, who ran through their money and ended up with nothing. Nevertheless, this case speaks volumes for those who DID plan ahead, SAVED money and STILL end up broke.

Over the weekend, I read a heart-wrenching story about Philly radio legend Mary Mason, who is was living out her last days in a nursing home … broke or at least “cash poor.”

Mason, was once a very prominent figure and black talk radio host in Philly working on the air for over 40 years on the AM frequency as a political pundit, community supporter, an& advocate as well as disciplinarian for the black community. She is now sitting in a wheelchair, leaning to the side, without the ability to speak or remember anything and declining.

During her heyday, she was wise enough to leverage her assets into real estate and other investments. She sold time for the station and hosted many events and was a board member for many committee organizations to earn extra money. Without question, Mason was wisely planning for her retirement.
Unfortunately, perfect planning can still go awry.

When she left radio and 2010, she had $1.5 million in assets. She left her estate to her son C. Steven Turner II, and allowed him to take over her care in the event that she could not take care of herself.

He was alarmed at Mason’s decline and strange behavior and immediately went to work to help with his mother after her diagnosis. She was diagnosed with Dementia which quickly progressed to Alzheimer’s the same year she left radio, 2010. Initially, Mason’s son was doing well with her care until his untimely death at the age of 62 in 2012. By that time, Mason was declining rapidly in a nursing home. All care along with her finances then transferred to her only living recorded relative, her 32-year-old grandson Steven Turner IV who was initially, making payments to the nursing home of an estimated $7000 per month, then suddenly the payments ceased.

Montgomery County Orphans’ Court appointed financial guardianship for Mason to attorney David A. Jaskowiak, Esq. who then filed an emergency petition, seeking the return to Mason’s estate of an estimated $1.5 million from Turner but court documents showed Turner had already written checks in the amounts of $100,000, $150,000, and $550,000. As this would indicate there still may be an approximate $700,000 left from Mason’s assets, the acquisition may not be quick enough to sustain her stay at the nursing home while on her deathbed. She is facing eviction for nonpayment.

Full Article & Source:
Radio Legend with Alzheimers Facing Nursing Home Eviction

Monday, November 7, 2016

Chief judge bans Savitt’s billing practices in guardianship overhaul

For years, families of incapacitated seniors have watched in helpless horror as some professional guardians — and their cadre of aggressive attorneys — siphoned off their loved one’s life savings through fees and unnecessary litigation.

But in an administrative order handed down last month, Palm Beach County’s chief judge attempts to turn this world of rampant self-dealing inside out. At the same time, he addresses the substantive complaints against controversial professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt — the wife of Circuit Judge Martin Colin.

Chief Judge Jeffrey Colbath’s administrative order on Oct. 26 prohibits — through an application process — Savitt’s practice of taking thousands of dollars from incapacitated seniors as so-called retainers before getting approval from a judge.

The Palm Beach Post in its series, Guardianships: A Broken Trust, could find no other guardian save for Savitt who takes money before judicial approval. The chief judge said the stories contributed to his decision to overhaul the guardianship system.

Colbath’s overhaul comes as the state Legislature and the Florida Supreme Court act to address concerns about unethical guardians preying on seniors and other incapacitated adults. And it comes, as promised, after Colbath’s initial reforms in February following The Post’s series.

Palm Beach Circuit Judge Martin Colin
“The goal is to have a basic level of practice from the Palm Beach County professional guardians,” said Colbath in response to a set of written questions from The Post.

Taking out bad guardians

The damage a rogue professional guardian can do is heart-wrenching.

Families have told The Post how seniors were taken from their homes secretly by guardians and placed in assisted living facilities. There were cases where relatives of the senior were banned from seeing their loved ones under false pretenses. Guardians also got marriages annulled and persuaded the court to ignore long-established living wills. The chief judge’s far-reaching order for the first time sets down a means to remove bad guardians from the court’s newly established registry.

“It is a standard policy in the circuit to have language in our applications/contracts which allow for the removal of the professional if there is a violation of a policy,” Colbath told The Post.

The order also addresses favoritism and conflict of interest and insists the profession give back to the community.

But much of the meat of Colbath’s reforms can be found on the new nine-page application guardians must complete if they want to get on the county registry.

It asks specifically if the guardian has any relationship through “blood, marriage, financial or occupational to any person or service providers in the guardianship arena or associated with any guardianship proceedings in Palm Beach County.”

After The Post found that the life savings of incapacitated seniors flowed in the home of Judge Colin via his wife’s guardianship work, the chief judge in February moved Colin out of the Probate & Guardianship Division. Colin then announced his retirement effective Dec. 31.

He also ordered all of Savitt’s cases transferred to the North County Courthouse out of concerns of favoritism outlined in The Post’s stories.

Professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt
Colbath then commenced a study of guardianship in the county to consider how it could be improved. The reforms stem from that panel, the evolving rules for the new statewide Office of Public and Professional Guardian and stories by The Post, he said.

“The group looked at block billing and advance fees,” he said. “The group determined that uniformity and a standard of practice would make for a more efficient system.”

The application asks guardians if they ever filed for bankruptcy or been subject to a foreclosure action or default on a student loan and to explain.

Savitt was under a judgment of foreclosure for several months before she paid it off with $308,000 in cash, days before her home was to be auctioned in March 2015. In two of her guardianships, parties involved have questioned in court whether she paid off the mortgage with her wards’ money. No judge has decided whether those accusations are true.

Savitt still works as a professional guardian.

The judge’s wife responded to Colbath’s order in an email to The Post: “This new Administrative Order appears to be an effort to better the Professional Guardian system in Palm Beach County, which I applaud. Those of your frequent sources who readily complain about professional guardians and the courts will not be happy with the good intentions of this Order.”

Her attorney, Ellen Morris, could not be reached for comment, but the lawyer has vigorously defended the judge’s wife — including the taking of fees prior to judicial approval.

Under the order, professional guardians must annually apply for appointment to the registry and satisfy the requirements set by the state. They must agree to standards in the application, including billing procedures. And they must agree to accept a pro bono case each year, offering their services free of charge.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Chief judge bans Savitt’s billing practices in guardianship overhaul

Liberty attorney indicted after stealing victim restitution funds

LIBERTY, MO (KCTV) - A Liberty attorney has been indicted for allegedly stealing money that was meant to be used for victim restitution.

Robert J. Young II, a 47-year-old attorney from Liberty, was charged on Wednesday in an indictment that was unsealed to the public on Thursday.

According to the indictment, Young was representing Rodney J. Tatum, a man who had been convicted of mail fraud after embezzling money from his employer. Young then allegedly obstructed justice by embezzling money that Tatum’s family had given him for paying restitution in the criminal case.

Young’s scheme was to spend those restitution funds on a motorcycle for himself, make various cash withdrawals, make rent payments, and make retail purchases.

At Tatum’s sentencing on Jan. 21, Young wasn’t able to provide restitution of $62,412. However, that amount was later paid.

The sentencing hearing ended on March 3, where Tatum was ordered to pay a total of $442,810 in restitution and was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.

Young used an Interest on Lawyers Trust account to accept four deposits from Tatum’s wife that were meant for paying restitution. Tatum’s wife also made a deposit into Young’s business account the same reason. The total amount of the checks was $42,412.

Young then allegedly told Tatum’s wife to cut a check and make it payable to him, since the FBI was seeking charges against Tatum for money laundering and the Tatums’ joint checking account would be frozen. Young said that he would be able to protect their money in his business account, so Tatum’s wife gave him a check for $20,000.

The indictment alleges that Young made numerous transfers of restitution funds from the trust account into his business account over the course of the scheme.

Tammy Dickinson, cautioned that the charge in the indictment was an accusation and not evidence of guilt. Evidence in the case against Young will be presented to a federal trial jury later.

Full Article & Source:
Liberty attorney indicted after stealing victim restitution funds

Ethics charges filed against Desert Ridge Justice of the Peace Clancy Jayne

A Phoenix-area justice of the peace faces nearly two-dozen charges of ethical misconduct, including accusations he used court resources to boost his political campaign, failed to report campaign donations and solicited corporate sponsorships for "Breakfast with the Judge" events, according to the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Clancy Jayne, head judge of the Desert Ridge Justice Court since 2008, has received warnings or reprimands by the commission at least eight times during his eight-year tenure, not including the new allegations. The Desert Ridge court precinct covers parts of north Phoenix, north Scottsdale, Cave Creek and Carefree.

Jayne is set to leave office in January after losing the Republican primary race in August to Cathy Riggs, who was endorsed by Gov. Doug Ducey. Riggs is unopposed in the Nov. 8 general election.

Jayne drew attention just before the Aug. 30 primary after blasting Ducey in the Yellow Sheet Report, a political tip sheet published by Arizona News Service. Jayne said he was "beyond pissed" by the endorsement and described Ducey as a "son of a bitch" who did "gofer" work decades ago when Jayne was head of Gilbert Days.

The public comments are part of the 74-page statement of charges filed by the commission's disciplinary counsel, April Elliott, against Jayne in October as they "cast doubt on his temperament and fitness to serve as judge."

Although Jayne only has two months left as justice of the peace, Elliott recommends the Arizona Supreme Court censure, suspend or remove Jayne from office and assess attorney's fees against him for "conduct ... that brings the judicial office into disrepute."

Jayne, in a formal response filed by Mesa-based attorney David Brooks, denies the accusations of misconduct and argues there is no basis for discipline. Brooks did not respond to a request for comment.

Party at Turf Paradise


The state's disciplinary counsel questioned Jayne's use of other judges' email addresses, which it argues are not public, to invite officials from around the state to his "65th birthday party" at Turf Paradise horse track, where Jayne charged $50 per person and held an auction to benefit his re-election campaign.

More than 100 people attended, and the auction featured more than 50 items, including "artistic golf putters," and "raised more than $5,000 to kick off" his campaign fundraising, according to an update on Jayne's website cited by Elliott's report. Campaign-finance reports for that period, however, list $1,567 in donations at the event and no in-kind contributions, according to Elliott.

Jayne, in his response, argues that the judges' email addresses are public information and says that judges often use court email addresses to communicate with third-parties about non-judicial matters. Jayne contends the email invitation, sent from his campaign, was an effort to abide by the Arizona Supreme Court's advice to be "proactive in communicating with the general public, elected officials and other government entities."  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Ethics charges filed against Desert Ridge Justice of the Peace Clancy Jayne

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Martin Patterson ~ Military Veterans are Caught in This Trap

Join us this evening as Martin Patterson tells how he was trapped in a guardianship nightmare after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and after being struck by lightening.

Martin has now been deprived of an estimated $100,000.00 in benefits which have been diverted to those supposedly managing his affairs.

 A former army Ranger, Mr. Patterson was forced into an unnecessary guardianship by his mother who also just happened to be an employee the Erie VA Medical Center.

Initially, the VA found Patterson to be competent. It was only after the interference and insistence of his mother Gail Patterson, that this diagnosis changed. “Martin Patterson was deemed incompetent by VA Field Examiner Carla Amendola in March 2011 at the request of Gail Patterson. They are coworkers and have a personal history. The VA Fiduciary Hub was aware Gail Patterson is an Erie VAMC employee, as evidenced by her own email communication about the investigation into Martin’s VA funds being misused by Laura Eaton. Laura Eaton was recommended by Carla Amendola as a VA Fiduciary.”

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

LISTEN TO THE SHOW LIVE or listen to the archive later

See Also:
Former Army Ranger Claims Forced Guardianship
Mysterious Signature Adds to Confusion in Patterson Guardianship Case
Guardian in Controversial Case Tells Court She Has Conflict of Interest

Loneliness Can Kill

Aging into our senior years can be a wonderful time of life. We have more time to spend on activities we enjoy with family and friends. However, there are many seniors that find loneliness is their only companion. Studies have found that lonely and isolated seniors have one of the highest rates for dying and it can be much worse than even obesity or smoking.

Reasons for Isolation and Loneliness


Many health related issues can cause elders to isolate themselves. Poor eyesight can result in a loss of their driver’s license. A fall can make a senior afraid to get out and enjoy a social life. Dementia can be another factor. When a senior realizes they’re having trouble remembering, they avoid talking especially in social settings. Many seniors have bouts with incontinence so they fear an accident should they go out for a social event.

The stress of loneliness can cause minor health issues to escalate. The isolated senior often declines due to increased blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

The older we get the more likely we are to have losses in our lives. The death of a spouse, friends or other family members narrows our social network, not to mention that grief can play a role in causing a person to isolate. Old neighbors pass away or move into assisted living communities. Our neighbors are a rich resource for all of us and when we lose them, it hurts.

We are all social creatures and it’s just a fact — people need people. When you have close contact with friends and family, they notice even subtle changes in your health and well-being. They care and let us know when they see something going wrong with us. People who have good social and familial connections are less likely to suffer from depression — a major cause to isolate.

Ways to Combat Loneliness


Many of the health issues that can be a factor in isolation can be dealt with. See your doctor regularly and discuss any problems you may be experiencing. Make sure you tell them if you’re feeling depressed and are having panic attacks. Your doctor can get you the help you need.

Get involved! Volunteer in your community — at the library, at the senior center or even with your local hospital. The great feeling you get while helping others will help you overcome your anxiety about getting out. You can even become a phone friend for those who are housebound. Those well-checks will benefit you and help someone in return.

If transportation has become an issue, look into your local public transportation. Most communities have bus service and dial-a-ride. Let your family and friends know that you’d appreciate a weekly ride to church services and even the grocery store. Take them to lunch as a thank you.

Join a gym or take an exercise class at your local senior center. Exercise is a great way to combat depression and keep you healthier.

People add joy and quality to our lives. Don’t deprive yourself of a happy life for any reason. It may just give you many more years to enjoy.

Full Article & Source:
Loneliness Can Kill

Hospice Worker Approaches Dying Woman’s Bed While She Sleeps. Then They Catch THIS On Camera…

Hospice workers are highly trained to take care of those who are no longer able to care for themselves. Yet when it comes time for someone to put a loved one in hospice care, many of us become very reluctant to do so. Not only are these people complete strangers, there have sadly been many horror stories of elderly patients being poorly treated and abused when nobody else is around.
But obviously, that’s not always the case.

What we typically see and hear on the news are the terrible stories of the few exceptional cases but we need to remember that the few bad apples are greatly outnumbered by the care providers who are truly dedicated to their job. So to remind us of this, we have an incredible video of a hospice care nurse who does something so very touching.

At the Austinburg Nursing & Rehab Center in Austinburg, Ohio, a hospice worker named Josh Woodward came across a patient named Mary Redmond and immediately recognized her face. When Josh was only 9 years old, Mary taught him how to sing and play the piano. Josh couldn’t believe it and as thanks for everything she had done for him, he would help lift her spirits by singing to her.

Marti Redmond, Mary’s daughter-in-law, wrote on her Facebook page: “Hospice workers are angels but this hospice aide is special. Mary taught voice and piano in her day and this aide Joshua Woodard was one of her students as a kid. [What] special people hospice workers are!”

In the video below, Josh sings the Biblical hymn, “How Great Art Thou” and it’s absolutely stunning.

Full Article & Source:
Hospice Worker Approaches Dying Woman’s Bed While She Sleeps. Then They Catch THIS On Camera…

Opulent Mobility: Making Assistive Devices Fabulous & Fun

When Laura A. Brody’s partner suffered a stroke, Brody got to know the assistive device landscape. She learned that while wheelchairs, walkers and the like do their jobs well, they’re ugly — insultingly so. Why don’t we trick them out, she wondered?

“Why aren’t they fun, right? Why wouldn’t you want to make these fabulous at every part of your life?” Brody told KCRW.

The answer, she guessed, lies in our discomfort with the idea of disintegration and mortality. “But that’s pretty crappy for the people using them…. It might be pretty cool if we turned them into something desirable, maybe even worthy of envy.” After all, we’re living longer, but we haven’t found cures for the diseases that affect mobility.

So Brody, a costume maker and designer, came up with Opulent Mobility, an international exhibition of assistive device–related art, design and invention that marries fun and whimsy with a “why not?” attitude.

It started with her own designs. “Le Flaneur,” she writes, “is a Victorian-inspired walker with attached parasol, cow horns, compass and a GPS unit…. The hand grips are crowned with crystal doorknobs.”

(Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Opulent Mobility: Making Assistive Devices Fabulous & Fun