Journalists' Expose' On California Board of Registered Nursing Shows Shocking Delays Which Harm The Public
Thursday, July 23, 2009, 06:13 PMThe Los Angeles Times and the nonprofit news organization Pro Publica published an article, July 11, 2009, regarding the shocking delays tolerated by the California in investigating patient complaints against registered nurses. The article, entitled, "When Care Givers Harm: Problem Nurses Stay On The Job As Patients Suffer", describes the result of an investigation by reporters into licensing records of every nurse – 2,000 in all – who faced disciplinary action from 2002 to 2008.
The reporters found that, “The RN board took more than three years, on average, to investigate and discipline errant nurses, according to its own statistics." Yet, in at least 6 other large states, "the process typically takes a year or less.” The articles describes how 61 nurses were accused of wrongdoing by employers before the Board got around to even filing charges against them or disciplining them.
In response to the article, Gov. Schwartznegger cleaned house at the RN Board, firing some of the RN Board members, while others resigned. . Let's hope the new people bring about a new way of doing things in taking action against bad nurses.
The article profiles some of the patients who were hurt by the nurses' misconduct, including Spencer Sullivan, 48. Spencer was rendered a paraplegic in 2001 as a result of an overdose of medication given to him by a nurse, Rose McKenzie, who did not think to question it when doctors at UC San Francisco Medical Center mistakenly wrote identical orders for Spencer's post surgery medications. The nurse gave him the double dose, and then did not check back on him, according to state licensing records. As a result of the overdose, he suffered a brain injury, rendering him quadriplegic. It took the Board until April 2008 – 6 1/2 years later – to file charges against the nurse. McKenzie did not even contest the charges, and her license was revoked.
The Propublica website describes the heartbreaking cases of other victims of nursing incompetence where the RN board took years to act on the complaints, leaving the public to be unwitting victims of these bad nurses.
The website contains an extremely useful database, The California Sanctioned Nurses Database. It contains detailed information on bad nurses by name, county, and type of misconduct, including:
1090 nurses who lost their licenses
436 nurses on probation
191 nurses with cases pending
262 nurses who have completed probation
80 nurses in other categories
You can even pull up the public accusation and disciplining documents for these nurses from the data base. I urge anyone with a case against a California nurse to check the database for a match.
Getting Expert Advice From Occupational Therapist on Safety Check of Your Home May Be Key To Aging In Place
Sunday, July 19, 2009, 10:48 AMThe New York Times ran a great article yesterday on “Senior Proofing" your home -- viz, how to make your home a safe environment, so you can age in place and avoid having to move to assisted living or nursing home. The basic thrust of the article is that Assisted Living arrangements typically run from $34,000 to $70,000 a year or more, but that for an investment of several thousand dollars you may be able to stay in your home and be safe. The article profiles Catherine Fisher of Newton New Jersey, pictured here , who was able to stay in her home even after having a bad fall, with the help of an occupational therapist who went through Catherine’s home and added safety features such as electric stair lift and grab bars and removed hazards such as slippery area rugs. The article contains references to internet resources on making your home safe, including the Home Safety Council’s site, www.mysafehome.net, the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, www.stopfalls.org www.stopfalls.org, as well as an an interactive safety checklist sponsored by the AARP.
Don't assume that assisted living or a nursing home would keep you safer than you'd be at home. In fact one of the leading types of cases brought against nursing homes have to do with safety hazards that go unchecked resulting in injury to nursing home residents.
Keep in mind that any change you make to your home can inadvertently make it safer or unsafer. My mother fell at home, breaking her hip, when she bought a new futon bed (to better support her back, we hoped)with a wide frame – she tripped on the frame edge that was jutting out when she got up one morning a few days after it arrived. We were oblivious to the safety hazard the new bed frame posed, but an occupational therapist with a geriatric focus is much more likely to catch a hazard you might miss.
Good luck in staying at home.
Sunday, June 28, 2009, 01:22 PMEverything you need to know about life, love, and helping others, you can learn from Michael Jackson. Be passionate, have fun, and reinvent yourself.
MAN IN THE MIRROR: If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.
Love: THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL, With Britney Spears, -- hot!
Love your neighbor BLACK AND WHITE
DON'T STOP TIL YOU GET ENOUGH : Go for it in whatever you do and use the force within you.
NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE Michael, I hope that with your death all the drama of the last few years will be forgiven/forgotten and people will remember what a fabulous artist you are and what an inspriration your music was.
GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER TERMINATES FUNDING FOR OMBUDSMAN OFFICE, AGENCY THAT INVESTIGATES COMPLAINTS OF ELDER ABUSE IN NURSING AND CARE HOMES
Sunday, October 19, 2008, 04:16 PMCalifornia Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) has sounded the alarm on Governor Schwarzenegger’s line item veto of all state funding for the Ombudsman program, a state-wide watch dog agency that investigates complaints on behalf of 250,000 residents of California’s 1,300 nursing homes and more than 8,000 assisted living facilities.
As CANHR points out, “the cut came days after the federal government issued a report condemning conditions in nursing homes. In each of the past three years, over 91 percent of nursing homes surveyed nationwide were cited for deficiencies, according to a Sept. 18 report by Inspector General Daniel Levinson. In California, 99.1 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies in 2007 and California nursing homes had an average of 11.8 deficiencies, second in the nation to Wyoming, which had 12.3.”
To make matters worse, the cut is retroactive to July 1, so some of the Ombudsman offices may already have spent money that they are now being told they don’t have.
At the same time that Gov. Schwarzenegger is cutting funding on behalf of elder advocates, his new budget “authorized another lavish Medi-Cal rate increase for California's nursing homes, whose annual payments from Medi-Cal have increased by more than $1 billion since he took office. He sought and signed a multi-hundred-million dollar nursing home rate increase this year, and signed legislation calling for 5 percent rate increases in each of the two following years.”
To contact the governor and lodge a protest, click here.
To read the CANHR press release, click here.
National Academies of Science Host Author of New Book "A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America"
Monday, October 13, 2008, 05:39 PM - Heros & HeroinesThe National Academies of Science presents author Dudley Clendinen, reading passages from his new book, A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY: Tales of the New Old Age in America, on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. at the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W. Washington D.C. The event is free; a photo ID is required for admittance.
DUDLEY CLENDINEN is a former national reporter and editorial writer for The New York Times. This description of A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY APPEARS on the National Academies' website.
“In 1994, New York Times writer Dudley Clendinen’s mother followed the example of her generational compatriots: she sold her home and moved into an all-amenities-included geriatric apartment building: Canterbury Tower in Tampa Bay. Wealthy, poor, Christian, Jewish, widowed, married—all of Canterbury’s residents had come together, at the average age of 86, in search of a last place to live and die.
Clendinen’s curiosity about this final phase of human life in the 21st century led him to spend 400 days and nights living at Canterbury, during which he became intimately involved in the lives of its residents and staff. With A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY: Tales of the New Old Age in America (Viking), Clendinen offers a beautifully written, hilarious and deeply moving look at old age in the new millennium.
The last challenge to the generation of the Great Depression and World War II is longevity—none of them expected to live so long, and their baby boomer children weren’t prepared to take so much responsibility for parents who seem to live forever, collecting ailments and shedding assets as they go. But places like Canterbury Tower, more adult camps than retirement homes, allow residents to live out their remaining time on their own terms.
Peopled by brave, daffy, memorable characters determined to grow old with dignity, A PLACE CALLED CANTERBURY is at once a delightful soap opera and a poignant chronicle of the last years of the Greatest Generation. It is an essential read for anyone with aging parents and anyone wondering what his or her own old age will look like.”
If the book is a good one – and this sounds like it – there’s nothing better than hearing the author talk about the book and read part of it. Check it out if you can.
For the National Academies' website, click here.