By Jack Halpern, CEO, My Elder
Are our seniors forced to stay in inferior nursing homes? My Elder shares one of its many challenging cases.
In the last few week, among the many horrible cases that I have been dealing with, is the case of a 52 year old Multiple Sclerosis sufferer, who has been a patient at Brookhaven Hospital in Patchogue for a severe infection, that he developed as a result of the neglectful and abusive care he received as a resident, in a dangerous and sub-standard facility called Lakeview Nursing Home in Middle Island, NY.
How ironic it is that a nursing home that abuses residents should have a name like Lakeview. There is pain but no view of a lake. More on this nursing home on a later post. I have already been contacted by this facility’s attorney to stop telling the truth about a facility that on it’s last survey had 40 pages of serious violations.
Anyway, back to our story. After a few weeks in the hospital my client (let’s call him GEORGE,) and his family were notified that he could no longer stay in the hospital and had to go to a nursing home. He was certainly not able to leave so early. He still needed more hospital care. Although I would never allow him to go back to Lakeview, they preempted by refusing to readmit him, which is a violation of the law.
The hospital referred George’s family to some very bad places like Avalon Nursing Home, and John J. Foley Nursing Home. The NY State Department of Health rates these facilities as very below average. They have received a 1 star rate out of 5 in the archaic and poor Federal Government rating system. These facilities are severely understaffed.
I said no. As George’s advocate I would not place him in a substandard facility, especially since he has special needs, that most nursing homes are not equipped to handle. The hospital put extreme pressure on George and his family to accept admission to these horrible places. They claim that a patient in a hospital must accept the first bed available in a nursing home, regardless of the quality or rating.
I SAY NO!
The hospital suggested two other facilities. I called them to find out if they have any experience with Multiple Sclerosis residents. I was told no, but they want to try. Many hospitals don’t even try to send difficult residents to good nursing homes, because they have profitable relationships with them and they don’t want to refer an undesirable resident. I don’t know if this is the case with George, but it is very unusual that none of the better facilities would even consider him.
Today an attorney for the hospital called me apparently in a failed effort to intimidate me and the family to accept transfer to one of these horrible facilities. Eve Green Koopersmith, an attorney at Garfunkel Wild, P.C. called me to threaten a court proceeding that will force George to accept any available bed in any of the local nursing home. She warned me that she always wins at these proceedings, and she can get it accomplished very quickly. I informed her that the facilities thus far that had empty beds, were very dangerous and sub-standard. What she told me next pretty much summed up her compassion. “All nursing homes are inspected by the Department of Health, and therefore are qualified places.” I’m sure that Eve would not want her mom in these nursing homes, but it’s ok for George.
As the readers of My Elder Blog are well aware, this is total nonsense. I have asked my clients and my readers before and I will repeat it now. Never use an Elder Law Attorney whose firm represents nursing homes and hospitals in actions against patients, even if they are in separate divisions of the firm.
Brookhaven Hospital is refusing to do what it can possibly do to get George into a good facility. They don’t want to rock the boat with their local nursing homes. It’s going to take a lot more than a loud mouth attorney to make me allow George into a facility that will kill him, or treat him, like he was treated at Lakeview Nursing Home.
My Elder provides elder advocacy services to families. Talk to us about long-term planning, finding the right home for your loved ones, preventing crisis and abuse, and ensuring they receive the best care possible.