Comprehensive Planning. Lifelong Solutions.

Steps to Take in Resolving a Dispute with a Nursing Home

By Hook Law Center

Disputes between nursing homes and residents’ families can arise over a number of topics. The quality of care and food, adequate staffing levels for proper assistance, and opportunities for occupational therapy are all possible points of conflict.

If you never have an issue with the care your loved one receives in a nursing home, you are one of the lucky few. If, on the other hand, you have a concern that must be addressed, you may be unsure how to proceed.

The following list explains actions you may take in making your concerns known and getting the level of care you expect for your family member. Significant and pervasive issues – and those involving injury or suffering – often are best handled with the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney. Fortunately, many issues are easily resolved with simple communication.

In all cases, keep careful written records of the observations you made that led to your concerns and your communications with facility staff, including their names. And at all stages, make it known what attempts you have already made to resolve the matter.

1) Talk to staff and explain to them what concerns you and what you expect of them and the facility. Avoid using an accusatory manner.

2) Talk to a supervisor. Again, explain the problem you are having and how you want it resolved.

3) Hold a meeting with nursing home personnel, including a supervisor. If you have regular care planning meetings, that is a good time to raise your concerns. Otherwise, you may request a special meeting.

4) Contact the ombudsman assigned to the nursing home or, if the issue constitutes a regulatory violation, contact your state licensing agency.

5) Hire a lawyer. If communication and appeals to authorities have not resolved the matter, an attorney has the tools to force facilities to follow regulations.

6) Move your relative. While this may be difficult, it is available as a last resort. This does not prevent you from taking legal action against the current facility.

Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2013. Filed under Estate Planning, Long-Term Care, Senior Law News.

Study Finds Similar Gene Variations in African-American and Caucasian Alzheimer’s Patients

By Hook Law Center

African-Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at a slightly higher rate than people of European ancestry, but a new study found no genetic difference between the groups that could account for the asymmetry.

In one of the first large studies on Alzheimer’s in African-Americans, researchers found the same gene variants that previous studies found in Caucasian Alzheimer’s patients. APoE4, a gene long known to correlate with higher Alzheimer’s risk in Caucasian people, was identified in a similar percentage of African-American patients as Caucasian patients. Another, ABCA7, was found at slightly higher rates in African-Americans with the disease.

In an editorial accompanying the publication of the research, Dr. Robert L. Nussbaum of the University of California, San Francisco, said that finding the genes in African-Americans supports theories that they contribute to susceptibility to Alzheimer’s.

The study analyzed data from 6,000 African-Americans over the age of 60. Approximately 2,000 had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers determined that ABCA7 confers an 80 percent increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s in African-Americans, compared with a risk of 10 to 20 percent among whites. Even 80 percent is considered modest; a gene conferring significant risk would at least double the likelihood of a disease. And the gene is fairly uncommon even among African-American Alzheimer’s patients, leaving the cause of the disease mostly unexplained.

ABCA7 helps move cholesterol in and out of cells and is also suspected of influencing the development of heart disease. That may explain why many Alzheimer’s patients are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and vice-versa.

Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013. Filed under Estate Planning, Long-Term Care, Senior Law News.
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