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2018 Important Conferences for Senior Housing Professionals (Posted: 01/01/2018)

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Looking Back as We Move Ahead! (Posted: 02/01/2018)

As we head into 2018, we would like to take a moment to reflect on Pendulum’s 2017 accomplishments. Please share these achievements with us by clicking this link. Thank you in advance for your business going forward. We appreciate you very much!

Ric Henry
President | Pendulum, LLC

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Presidents' Day Holiday (Posted: 02/16/2018)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the Presidents' Day holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Monday, February 19, 2018. Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support!

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Facility's Failure to Protect Staff Results in OSHA Fines of More Than $9K (Posted: 02/14/2018)

A Colorado nursing home where residents "grabbed, kicked, bit, and punched" staff has been fined more than $9,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), McKnight's reported.

To resolve the issues, Pioneer Health Care Center in Rocky Ford must install additional security cameras and alarms, remove dangerous items from the rooms of those patients deemed as violent, and improve training and staff levels, according to the article.

OSHA's investigation resulted from "incidents of violence" in 2017 that determined "certified nursing assistants suffered 'bites, sprains, broken skin, bruising, scratches, soft tissue trauma, and injuries to the head and torso from punches, kicks, and forceful grabs,'" per McKnight's.

The facility has three weeks to determine if it will contest or accept the penalties.

Source: McKnight's

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Arkansas Scabies Outbreak Attributed to Nursing Home Leadership's Inaction (Posted: 01/31/2018)

The scabies outbreak at an Arkansas nursing home in December 2017 that spread to the surrounding community has been linked to failure at the leadership level to properly address the situation—as well as the alleged direction to staff to not leave a paper trail, Arkansas Online reported.

Government records show that leadership at Longmeadow Nursing Care in Camden directed nurses to not document treatment of residents with scabies, a highly contagious skin condition caused by burrowing mites, according to the article. In addition, procedures to contain the outbreak—such as isolating those infected, requiring direct-care personnel to wear protective equipment, and implementing special cleaning techniques—were not utilized, causing it to spread to employees and, in turn, the outside community.

All 29 residents at the facility were infected, resulting in the citing of level "L" Immediate Jeopardy deficiencies—the highest level of severity, the article notes. Weeks before, Longmeadow had been cited by the state for failure to address a smaller scabies outbreak that was also not documented.

According to the article, state surveyor reports regarding the December outbreak document how the facility "failed to follow almost every scabies mitigation protocol."

Source: Hunter Field, Arkansas Online

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Bed Rail Leads to Resident's Suffocation Death; State Cites Facility's Neglect (Posted: 01/26/2018)

State of Minnesota officials squarely placed the blame on nursing home operators for the death of a resident who suffocated after her head was trapped between a mattress and a grab bar, McKnight's reported.

There was no "policy, procedure or system to ensure the proper sizing of mattresses, the fit of the grab bars [or the proper] space between the mattresses and the grab bar device to reduce the risk of entrapment" at Langton Place, per health department findings released by the Star Tribune.

The resident was observed sleeping on her back at roughly 4 a.m., but 90 minutes later, she was found face down and was unable to be resuscitated.

State officials recommended a fine and a correction plan to be submitted. The facility's staff said it is appealing the ruling and that the state's report did not take all facts into account, according to the article.

Click here to read the McKnight's article.

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Nurses Resuscitate Woman with DNR Bracelet; Facility Cited (Posted: 01/15/2018)

The state of New York cited a Syracuse facility after staff nurses resuscitated a woman who was wearing a special bracelet to denote she had a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order, McKnight's reported.

The nurse who found the woman unresponsive at what is now Bishop Rehabilitation & Nursing Center said she "had not been trained on identifying DNR residents," and when another nurse saw the DNR order in the woman's chart, the resident had already been taken to the hospital, according to the article.

The resident's records also indicated she did not want to be intubated, wanted "limited medical interventions," and that she should only be sent to the hospital "if it was necessary," the inspection report states.

Current Administrator Margaret Mary Wagner was not with the facility when the incident occurred but told that "(t)his is a human business, and people are going to make mistakes...(w)hen something like that happens, you have to do a root-cause analysis [and] then change the process."

Read the McKnight's article.

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Happy New Year! (Posted: 12/29/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the New Year's holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Monday, January 1, 2018. Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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Controlling Legionnaires' in Long Term Care (Posted: 12/27/2017)

According to an article by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the new CMS requirement for Legionnaires’ disease (LD) will provide direction for the preventative measures long term care (LTC) facilities can take.

According to the article, "nineteen percent of LD outbreaks are LTC related." Since a federal directive is not yet in place, LTC facilities have not had a clear approach for addressing LD, and facilities' current measures may be ineffective and confusing. The new CMS guidelines require facilities to develop policies and procedures that inhibit microbial growth, among other issues identified with the spread of the disease.

The risks of an outbreak are "real," and the costs may be "significant," the article notes. One of the reasons an outbreak may be more likely to occur in an LTC facility than in a hospital is water temperature. Water temperatures in LTC are generally required to be less hot than hospitals, and this may create a suitable bacterial environment for LD, according to the article.

The article also mentions a few Do's and Don'ts regarding LD, such as strict adherence to the policies and procedures set by the facility---so as to physically protect the residents from an outbreak and to protect the company from legal ramifications.

Source: McKnight's

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Holiday Schedule (Posted: 12/22/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the holidays with their families, Pendulum will be closed Monday, December 25, 2017, and Tuesday, December 26, 2017. Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Wednesday, December 27, 2017.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support. Happy holidays to you and your family!

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When Done Right, Ridesharing Offers Residents Numerous Advantages - But Know The Risks (Posted: 12/18/2017)

An article in Senior Housing News offers advice to senior living providers that use ridesharing services to transport residents.

Accidents, injuries, driver misconduct, and insurance issues are areas on which providers need to keep a watchful eye, according to the article. If done right, however, using such companies as Lyft can offer a multitude of advantages. "While Brookdale manages a fleet of transportation services, Lyft is integral in giving our residents flexibility and independence at a moment’s notice," Dana Schroering, senior communications specialist at Brookdale, says in the article.

Lyft has sought out senior living providers and currently works with dozens nationwide. Gyre Renwick, vice president of Lyft Business, says the company's goal is to "supplement senior living providers' current capabilities with a better alternative and eventually work towards replacing all of their transportation needs over time as our capabilities grow."

Providers interested in working with a ridesharing company should enquire how the business vets its drivers and if background checks, vehicle inspections, and driving record checks are conducted—and if in-app photo identification of drivers are provided, says John Atkinson, a managing partner at the risk management firm of Willis Towers Watson. Atkinson also says that providers should ask to be listed as an additional insured on the company’s auto liability policy, along with documented evidence of this, according to the article.

Source: Tim Regan, Senior Housing News

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Wrongful Death Suit Filed after Elopement-related Death (Posted: 12/01/2017)

A resident of a Pennsylvania personal care facility who was found dead after eloping from the building did not have necessary precautions in place to prevent her from wandering, a wrongful death suit alleges.

The body of Audrey Penn, 77, was discovered in a roadside ditch three weeks after she wandered from Woodland Terrace at Oaks Senior Living Community, the article states. In addition to the allegations regarding the lack of preventative interventions, the suit claims facility staff waited for two hours to call police after discovering Penn was missing, according to the article. 

The suit alleges staff were not properly trained, and that the facility’s under-budgeting and understaffing” contributed to Penn’s death. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services pulled the facility’s operating license for “gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct,” the article notes. In a letter contesting that order, a member of the facility’s counsel said that the employee responsible for not reporting Penn’s disappearance was immediately terminated and that two days before the incident, the same employee had been trained on what to do in case a resident went missing, according to the article.

Read the Advisen article.

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Thanksgiving Holiday (Posted: 11/23/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Thursday, November 23, and Friday, November 24, 2017.  Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Monday, November 27, 2017.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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Hidden Camera Captures Staff Laughing as Resident Dies (Posted: 11/17/2017)

Video that shows the death of an 89-year-old resident at a Georgia nursing home contains what an expert in adult critical care calls "several violations of care"—as well as staff laughing as the man dies in front of them, 11Alive reported.

The video, which was captured by a hidden camera, shows Jack Dempsey—89 and a decorated World War II veteran—calling for help six times, gasping for air, and going unconscious, according to the article. Per state records, it took nursing home staff at Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation almost an hour to call 911 after finding Dempsey unresponsive.

While a nurse claimed she gave Dempsey continuous CPR, the video contradicts this. The video also shows nurses laughing when they had trouble operating Dempsey's oxygen machine.

Elaine Harris, a retired nursing professor and expert in adult critical care, was shown the film by 11Alive. She said she identified "failure to respond, failure to assess, and failure to act" on part of the staff, the article states. Harris also said the nurses erred when stopping and starting CPR on Dempsey. "That is absolutely inappropriate. You never stop compressions," she told the station.

The nurses were fired 10 months after they were made aware of the video, according to the article. Dempsey's family has filed a suit against the facility.

Source: Andy Pierrotti,

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Woman's Death from Smoking While Unsupervised Leads to Lawsuit (Posted: 11/07/2017)

The son of a woman who died after catching fire while smoking has filed suit against the nursing home where she was a resident, Advisen Healthcare reported.

Donna Chapman, 83, died two days from fatal burns suffered after she was smoking while unsupervised at a Missouri nursing home. Chapman suffered from dementia and had limited use of her legs and left arm; the suit alleges staff left her alone without a special protective apron and that they "failed to adequately assess (Chapman's) ability to smoke unsupervised and detect changes in her mental and physical condition," according to the article.

After the incident, the nursing home changed its smoking policy.

Source: Advisen Healthcare

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Police, Facility Management Offer Differing Accounts on Residents Left in Nursing Home During Calif. Wildfires (Posted: 10/20/2017)

Contradictory versions were offered regarding residents found at a nursing home that was on fire as a result of northern California wildfires, WPVI reported.

Oakmont Management Group said that authorities did not allow staff to reenter Varenna Oakmont Senior Living Community due to the fire danger, and that they would "take responsibility for evacuating remaining residents." However, the Santa Rosa Police Department stated that it was "not stopping anybody from helping save lives that night," according to the article.

RJ Kisling went to the nursing home to check on his grandfather said he found several elderly residents in their rooms, many of which were locked. He added that he saw two women in the lobby who he "assumed were employees," but they were gone when he returned to the lobby, the article states.

Kisling said the residents asked "How come nobody came and got us? How come nobody told us we were evacuating?" He also said upon arriving, the firefighters asked where the staff was and the master key was, the article notes.

Oakmont staff said all 400 residents of the nursing home are "accounted for and safe."

Source: WPVI

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Nursing Shortage and the Influx of Millennials (Posted: 10/06/2017)

As baby boomers are retiring, millennials are flooding into the nursing field, Home Health Care News reported.

Though millennials are "186% more likely to become a registered nurse (RN) than the average baby boomer," the unexpected interest in nursing may not be enough to meet the growing demand, according to the article referencing a new study.

The article describes an alternating period of high and low statistical bulges to visualize the influx and outflow of nurses over three generations; millennials are the "second course," according to a statement by The College of Nursing at Montana State University Study Author David Auerbach when referencing the 'Pig in the Python' phenomenon.

In another statement by Auerbach, he postulates that millennials, who are known for their tendency to switch jobs, may be motivated towards nursing by "making a difference in people's lives day to day."

Source: Tim Regan, Home Health Care News

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Ohio Nursing Home Offers Family of Oxycodone Overdose Victim $375,000 (Posted: 09/27/2017)

An Ohio nursing home has offered the family of a woman who died after receiving 20 times her prescribed dose of oxycodone a $375,000 settlement, McKnight’s reported.

Nurses at Normandy Manor in Rocky River allegedly failed to read the medication label and did not dilute it before administering it to Susanne Lawrence, the article notes. She was prescribed 25 milligrams but was given 500 milligrams “over the span of several hours,” according to the article.

A hearing on the proposed settlement is scheduled for Oct. 2.

Read the McKnight's article.

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Eight Nursing Home Residents Die After Irma-caused Power Outage (Posted: 09/18/2017)

Eight residents died after Hurricane Irma left a Florida nursing home without power or air conditioning, McKnight’s reported.

The residents’ deaths at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were due to “heat-related causes,” according to the article. Three died at the facility; five died after being evacuated. Police have opened a criminal investigation, the article states.

In a statement, The Rehabilitation Center Administrator Jorge Carballo said that the facility’s administration is “cooperating fully with relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to this unfortunate and tragic outcome.” Governor Rick Scott (R) tweeted that he would “aggressively demand answers” regarding the incident.

Source: Emily Mongan, McKnight’s

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Harvey Highlights Importance of Disaster Preparedness (Posted: 09/06/2017)

The devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey cast in sharp relief the need for strong disaster management plans.

Harvey's toll on hospitals was especially severe. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center closed nine locations due to flooding, while six other facilities were evacuated, the article states, adding that a public health emergency was declared, allowing hospitals and nursing homes to not be required to meet certain documentation requirements.

In the article, Chief executive of the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council Darrell Pile said that "no one was prepared for the 'epic level'" of Harvey.

Source: Fierce Healthcare

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Labor Day Holiday (Posted: 09/01/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the Labor Day holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Monday, September 4, 2017.  Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support. Happy Labor Day to you and your family!

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More Legionella Discovered at Syracuse Nursing Home (Posted: 08/24/2017)

Additional water restrictions have been implemented at a Syracuse nursing home where two residents have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease since March, reported.

Additional water restrictions have been implemented at a Syracuse nursing home where two residents have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease since March, reported.

Recent test results showed that a second building at James Square Health and Rehabilitation Center contains low levels of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires', according to the article. Restrictions were implemented in the first building when Legionella was found in the water on August 8.

While Legionella does not make most healthy people sick, the elderly are at risk due to their weakened immune systems, the article states, adding that one in 10 people who contract Legionnaires' disease die. The bacteria is "found naturally in lakes and streams," but it presents a health issue when it develops in water systems, including showers, faucets, and air-conditioning and plumbing systems, according to the article.

James Square staff has installed filters on shower heads and faucets and has provided residents with bottled water, the article notes.


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'Peggy's Law' Goes in Effect for New Jersey LTC Facilities in October (Posted: 08/17/2017)

A new law regarding New Jersey long-term care (LTC) employees and the reporting of abuse goes into effect on October 6, 2017, Goldberg Segalla reported.

Under the new regulation—named "Peggy's Law" for an assisted living resident who was allegedly an abuse victim—LTC employees must contact police if there is "reasonable cause to suspect of believe (that an) elderly person is being or has been abused or exploited," according to the article.

Time requirements are part of the new law—e.g., if suspected abuse led to "serious bodily injury," it must be reported within two hours of the initiation of the "suspicion or belief," the article states. For non-serious bodily injury, the deadline for reporting is 24 hours.

Those who fail to follow the new law face monetary penalties; employees who do not report suspected abuse could be fined up to $500, while facilities could be fined up to $2,500, according to the article.

Source: Goldberg Segalla

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GAO Report: Court Reform Needed in Face of Abuse of Elderly by Legal Guardians (Posted: 08/08/2017)

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that state guardianship systems are “rife with exploitation” and recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) look into evaluating the monitoring of guardians, the New York Times reported.

The report found “hundreds” of examples of physical and financial abuse in addition to negligence, according to the article. The organization has determined that guardians in six states stole more than $600,000 from their wards and that guardians in 20 cases stole $5.4 million between 1990 and 2010.

Lack of oversight funding is cited as a primary factor in this abuse; another is that judges rarely have the “time or expertise” to make a more than brief review of a guardianship petition, the article notes, adding that guardians’ fees also help “sap or erase” an individual’s savings.

Click here to read the New York Times article.

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Medicare Fraud Scheme Lands Mother, Son in Prison (Posted: 07/25/2017)

A psychological-testing scheme that swindled $25 million from Medicare has resulted in prison sentences for a mother and son, McKnight’s reported.
Gertrude Parker, 63, and Rodney Hesson, 47, received sentences of seven and 15 years, respectively, for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and conspiracy to make false statements related to healthcare matters, according to the article. In addition, the pair will have to pay more than $20 million in restitution.
Parker and Hesson submitted fraudulent—unnecessary or, in some cases, not provided—Medicare claims for psychological testing in nursing homes in four states, the article notes.
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SNF Employees Lauded for Saving Residents During Fire (Posted: 07/12/2017)

A pair of maintenance workers who pulled two residents to safety during a fire at a New Hampshire nursing home are being praised as heroes, McKnight's reported.

The fire at Courville at Nashua was contained to a second-floor room. The two workers (who declined to be identified) entered "heavy smoke conditions" to save the residents, according to the article. Fire officials said sprinklers contained the fire and that the cause was being investigated.

Read the McKnight's article.

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Independence Day Holiday (Posted: 07/04/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the Independence Day holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support!

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Iowa Facility Gets Social Media-related Fine Halved, IJ Citation Downgraded (Posted: 06/28/2017)

A Continuing Care Retirement Center in Lone Tree, Iowa fought back against a fine and Immediate Jeopardy deficiency related to a photo posted to Snapchat by staff, McKnight's reported.

Chris Wolfe, administrator of Lone Tree Health Care Center, said, "As far as I'm concerned, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous. Nobody in an agency capacity has even seen the picture nor can they see the picture, so how can you write a deficiency let alone a fine when there isn't a picture to substantiate the accusation?"

Snapchat posts typically expire after 10 seconds or less. The $68,000 fine was cut in half, and the IJ deficiency was downgraded, according to the article. 

The deficiency and fine were imposed after the facility allegedly failed to conduct a "timely investigation" and "separate the alleged abusers from residents," the article notes. Wolf said the photos did not contain nudity or abuse, or "put residents or others at risk," and that staff received related training and were told not to bring their phones into the workplace.

Read the McKnight's article.

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Workers: Ohio Nursing Home Gunman Shot Out Facility's Alarm System (Posted: 06/22/2017)

The man who murdered two Ohio nursing home employees and a police officer in May shot out the facility’s alarm system, McKnight's reported.

Thomas Hartless came to Pine Kirk Care Center on May 12 to kill his estranged girlfriend, Marlina Medrano, who was one of his victims. He shot the alarm system in order to keep workers unaware that he was in the building, according to nurses' aides who are raising money to cover counseling sessions for facility employees. The aides also said Hartless spoke with a male resident as Hartless "shot his way inside," according to the article.

The aides said they were in the basement when they were told a coworker had been shot. They called 911 and hid in a resident's room, keeping the door closed with their body weight. They said at one point that Hartless "wiggled the doorknob" and "pushed on the door" but did not open it, the article notes.

Source: Emily Mongan, McKnight’s

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Alzheimer's Death Rate Skyrockets (Posted: 06/13/2017)

A recent report found that deaths related to Alzheimer's disease rose 55 percent from 1999 to 2014, Medical Law Perspectives reported.

The article notes that the study's findings highlights the need for more education for caregivers regarding the disease.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the article. "Our new study reveals an increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's disease-related deaths. As the number of older Americans with Alzheimer's disease rises, more family members are taking on the emotionally and physically challenging role of caregiver than ever before. These families need and deserve our support," Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Anne Schuchat, MD, said in the article.

Key findings in the report include that while most Alzheimer’s-related deaths still occur in nursing homes, that rate dropped in the time period studied; counties with the highest death rates were in the Southeast; and age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's. 

Read the Medical Law Perspectives article.

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More Than 25% of Nursing Home Residents Have Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria (Posted: 06/05/2017)

Researchers discovered that antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be found in more than one-quarter of nursing home residents, HealthDay reported.

The report notes that just because someone has, or is "colonized" with, bacteria does not mean that person will show symptoms. However, (s)he can spread the bacteria to others and can eventually become sick, according to the article.

Nursing home residents are especially prone to such bacteria due to their weakened immune systems, and many are on prolonged antibiotic use, the article states. The senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for the American Health Care Association says that overprescribing antibiotics is "a real and serious threat in the U.S."

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection is hand-washing, the president-elect of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. says in the article.

Source: Serena Gordon, Healthday

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Memorial Day Holiday (Posted: 05/28/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Monday, May 29, 2017. Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support!

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Suit Filed in Wake of Legionnaires'-related Death (Posted: 05/24/2017)

The son of a woman who died after an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at a New York nursing home has filed suit, the Daily Gazette reported.

Alice Johnson, 86, was a resident of the Wesley Community nursing home in Saratoga Springs when she contracted the disease in October 2016. She died almost two weeks later, the article states. A woman who survived the disease has also filed suit, alleging she caught the disease at Saratoga Hospital, according to the article.

At the time of Johnson's death, the state Health Department noted that she had underlying health conditions, the article notes.

Michael Conway of Harris, Conway & Donovan is the plaintiffs' attorney in both cases and told the Daily Gazette that the suits claim "both (the nursing home and hospital) were negligent in allowing Legionella to propagate at the premises. It's very difficult to have outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease without negligence. Somebody did something wrong relative to sanitation."

Read the Daily Gazette article.

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More Than 60 Guns Removed from Home of Nursing Home Killer (Posted: 05/19/2017)

More than 60 guns were recovered from the home of Thomas Hartless, who killed himself inside an Ohio nursing home after murdering his ex-girlfriend, another employee, and a police chief, CBS News reported.

Marlina Medrano, Cindy Krantz, and Police Chief Steven Eric DiSario were shot at Pine Kirk Care Center in Kirkersville. Hartless had a history of abusing Medrano, who earlier this month filed for a protection order against her former boyfriend, according to the article.

As a result of a felony conviction in 2010, Hartless was not permitted to “possess or own a firearm,” the article states. He had been sentenced to 90 days in March as a result of a domestic violence case and was released in April. The judge who presided over the case said that “mistakes were made,” and that he will “review how similar cases are handled in the future,” CBS reported.

An article in McKnight’s notes that it is unsure how Hartless gained access to the secure facility. None of the 23 residents were injured during the incident.

Sources: CBS News; Emily Mongan, McKnight’s

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SHEA Provides Guidelines for Pet Therapy, Service Animals (Posted: 05/11/2017)

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) recently issued guidelines addressing pet therapy, Healthcare Business & Technology reported.

The guidelines are designed to help facilities create policies for allowing animals on their premises—and to keep patients safe from such risks as infections, bites, and allergic reactions. Among the guidelines are allowing dogs who are at least one year old and have been fully trained—as well as evaluated by a professional regarding their behavior, according to the article. SHEA advises against permitting cats and kittens to be part of pet therapy programs due to the difficulty in training them, the higher risk for allergic reactions, and the fact that cat-related injuries (from scratches and bites) are likely to spread more bacteria, the article notes.

In addition, handlers and volunteers involved with pets should have undergone formal training, and dogs should have a rabies vaccination and be combed to remove dander and loose fur before entering a facility.

SHEA also provides guidance regarding service animals, according to the article.

Read the Healthcare Business & Technology article.

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Another Day, Another Inappropriate Posting to Social Media by an LTC Worker (Posted: 04/28/2017)

A Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating an incident in which an employee of a Florida memory care facility allegedly secretly recorded consensual sexual relations between two residents and posted the video to Snapchat, McKnight’s reported.

Bristol Court Assisted Living Facility’s administrator pledged his full cooperation with the investigation, calling medical assistant Alexis Williams’ alleged actions “deeply disturbing”—especially since Williams underwent a state-required criminal background check, was verified for hire by the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, and received training—and testing—on resident privacy rights and HIPAA, according to the article.

Bristol Court’s policy on photography and recording is posted at the facility’s front door and in the employee break room, the article adds.

Williams faces one count of video voyeurism and one count of video voyeurism dissemination. She was fired from the facility after it was determined she was responsible for the video, the article states.

Read the McKnight's article.

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Suit Alleges Nursing Assistant Misread Chart, Failed to Perform CPR (Posted: 04/12/2017)

A recently filed lawsuit alleges a nursing assistant at an Illinois nursing home misread a resident’s chart and did not perform CPR on the unconscious woman, McKnight’s reported.

In March 2016, a nursing assistant at Warren Barr North Shore allegedly found Kimberly Cencula, 52, unconscious. Roughly 30 minutes later, a call was made to report the death of a resident who did not want to be resuscitated. However, 10 minutes after the first call, another call was placed to emergency services requesting that paramedics respond immediately, as the resident’s chart had been misread, according to the article.

Cencula’s family said she signed a form on admission noting she wished to be resuscitated if needed, according to the article. The family’s attorney added that the facility was fined $25,000 by the Illinois Department of Public Health as a result of Cencula’s death.

Facility staff said that while privacy laws and the ongoing investigation preclude them from commenting on the case’s specifics, they nonetheless “respectfully disagree with all of the allegations” made in the lawsuit, the article states.

Read the McKnight's article.

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CMS Encourages Providers to Not Procrastinate on Emergency PreparednessCMS Encourages Providers to Not Procrastinate on Emergency Preparedness (Posted: 04/03/2017)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is advising providers to begin implementing training exercises for emergency preparedness.

While the deadline for compliance is not until Nov. 2017, in a recently published memo, CMS encouraged “full-scale, community-based” exercises begin to be conducted now to ensure providers are ready.

CMS has created a website to assist providers with training; the site includes checklist, pertinent links, and templates. In addition, a national provider call regarding the rule/requirements is scheduled for April 27.

Read the McKnight's article.

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Article Outlines Changes to CMS Emergency Preparedness Rules (Posted: 03/22/2017)

New Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations regarding emergency preparedness are examined in an article published by iAdvance Senior Care. 

Stan Szpytek, president of consulting firm Fire and Life Safety, Inc., writes that the “highlights” of the new rules can be categorized in four specific areas of compliance, including developing an emergency plan using an all-hazards approach; policies and procedures; a communication plan; and training and testing.

All skilled nursing facilities, as well as any provider reimbursed by CMS, will be required to comply with the new rules by November 15, 2017, according to the article. Szpytek adds that compliance will be added to the survey process, and that any noncompliance issue will have to be addressed in the same manner as any other deficiency.

Read the iAdvance Senior Care article.

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House Committee Approves Med Mal Damages Cap (Posted: 03/09/2017)

Legislation that would cap medical malpractice damages for those covered under Medicare, Medicaid, veterans/military health plans, and the Affordable Care Act has passed a House committee, Advisen reported.

The recovery of economic damages would not be limited under the bill, but payments for pain and suffering would be capped at $250,000. The House Judiciary Committee narrowly passed the bill by an 18-17 vote, pleasing lobbyists for medical professionals. The legislation would also provide immunity to pharmaceutical companies in cases in which individuals are harmed by FDA-approved prescriptions, according to the article.

Several Democrats stated the bill would infringe on states' rights, and in the article, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington noted her state’s Supreme Court ruled such caps were unconstitutional. "We should be protecting patients," she said, adding that under the legislation, "(health providers) can act irresponsibly perhaps to make more money and get away with it."

Read the Advisen article.

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Alabama AG Applauds Facility Management for Reporting Ant-Bite Incident (Posted: 03/02/2017)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall lauded management of a skilled nursing facility in Centre for reporting neglect that led to a resident sustaining more than 100 ant bites, McKnight's reported.

As a result of the incident, three staff members at Cherokee County Health and Rehabilitation Center—one licensed practical nurse and two certified nursing assistants—were charged with second-degree Elder Abuse/Neglect, according to the article. They face a sentence of two to 20 years if convicted.

Surveillance cameras showed that the bedridden resident had not been checked on for roughly 11 hours on the night she was bitten, the article states. Preferred Health Services (which manages the facility) self-reported the incident, leading to Marshall's praise.

Read the McKnight's article.

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Medical Marijuana Company Sets Sights on SNFs (Posted: 02/23/2017)

Finding it difficult to gain customers, a New York company that grows and sells medical marijuana is turning its attention to the skilled nursing industry, McKnight’s reported.

Etain, one of the companies that has been licensed by the state to grow and distribute marijuana, has contracted with one nursing home, according to the article, which adds that this partnership is believed to be the first such affiliation in New York.

Hillary Peckham, Etain’s founder, said such partnerships are key, as demand for medical marijuana isn’t currently high. She called working with nursing homes “a very vital [part] of our strategy for outreach and building a customer base.” Under the agreement, Etain’s staff will work with the facility’s staff to register those residents who will receive the drug. Etain will deliver the marijuana directly to the residents or their families for administration.

Some providers have balked at bringing medical marijuana into their facilities—mostly due to the state and federal regulations involved, the article notes.

Read the McKnight’s article.

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Planning, Training, and Exercising are Key to Effective Disaster Management (Posted: 05/24/2013)

According to a disaster-planning expert, senior housing administrators and supervisors should focus on planning, training, and exercising when implementing a disaster plan at their facilities, McKnight’s reported.

“We would never expect an R.N. to walk into a job and nurse without any practice, but we do expect administrators and shift supervisors to be disaster managers with no training and one two-hour drill a year,” Keith F. Hansen, assistant director of the Center for Preparedness Education (CPE), told McKnight’s.

Hansen said that facilities should first ensure their plan addresses Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (SMC) and Joint Commission regulations. Staff should then be trained on the plan, and disaster drills should be conducted multiple times. Revisions should be made as necessary; if revisions are made, the aforementioned steps should be repeated, according to the article.

Hansen also said that while a plan to address a disaster is vital, just as important is a plan for post-disaster recovery—a process that can take up to three years. The key areas of focus for this plan are business continuity and behavioral health, the article stated.

“There's lots of psychological trauma that occurs in a disaster, especially if (a) facility has people with mental health or behavioral health issues. Disrupting that schedule can be very hard on people, so mental health is very important,” Hansen told McKnight’s.

Read the McKnight's article.