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Texas gunman killed 4 at home and a nursing center before killing himself, official says

(Posted: 07/29/2018)

A gunman killed two people at his Texas home before going to a nearby nursing home and killing two others and himself in what investigators believe are related incidents, an official said.

The deaths in the Robstown area, near Corpus Christi and the Gulf of Mexico, are being investigated as murders and a suicide, Robstown city secretary Herman Rodriguez said.

Police said they first were called to a shooting at Robstown's Retama Manor Nursing Center around 7 p.m. There, they found three people dead -- a female and two males, including the shooter, police said.

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Hospitals Urged by Joint Commission to Address Workplace Violence Against Staffers

(Posted: 05/14/2018)

Healthcare facilites have been advised by the Joint Commission to address workplace violence against staffers. 

In an alert released in April, the accrediting body warns healthcare to take seven steps to address the workplace violence. They say hospitals need to more clearly define what constitutes violence, better follow up with and support victims, and develop and assess prevention initiatives. The moves are considered recommendations but employers must take action if an employee faces violence, a Joint Commission spokeswoman said. Should it receive complaints, the Joint Commission would evaluate whether an on-site survey is needed. An unsatisfactory survey can affect accreditation status.

Dr. Ana Pujols McKee, executive vice president and chief medical officer of the Joint Commission says that "We encourage our accredited organizations to use the alert to help their healthcare workers recognize violence from patients and visitors, become prepared to handle it, and more effectively address the aftermath."

According to the accreditor's data, there have been 68 incidents of homicide, rape or assault of hospital staff members in the past eight years. OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has found that many violent incidents are not reported by nurses, but approximately 75% of nearly 25,000 workplace assaults reported every year occurred in healthcare and social service settings.

According to a spokeswoman, there are differences in the rates of incidents noted by the Joint Commission and OSHA differ as it's not mandatory to report workplace violence to the commission.

Healthcare employees are four times more likely to be victimized than workers in other industries, according to OSHA. Healthcare workers also are especially empathetic, and they may believe patients are not be responsible for their actions if they suffer from illness or are taking medication that affects their mental state. This can also affect morale among workers.

The Joint Commission could not say whether the incidents of violence they were made aware of led to a loss of accreditation.

Hospitals are working to address the matter both individually and as a group, according to the American Hospital Association's top lawyer.

Noting that the AHA's Hospitals Against Violence initiative is a tool available to hospitals, Hatton said "the Joint Commission's newest Sentinel Event Alert may provide an additional resource for hospitals on addressing workplace violence, namely physical and verbal violence, and its impact on employee morale, retention and well-being."

Until now, some professional associations believe they have been largely unprotected.

Cheryl Peterson, vice president of nursing programs at the American Nurses Association, said that they should remove barriers to reporting incidents.

Dr. Paul Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, thinks it'll take stiffer penalties at both the federal and state level to really curb the problem.

Currently, legal penalties vary around the country. For instance, in West Virginia a person can face a felony charge and up to three years in jail depending on the severity of the attack against a healthcare worker. In California, an assault or battery against a provider is viewed as a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year of jail time for the most severe cases.

Kivela argues that medical providers should be treated similarly to other front line professionals who regularly deal with combative individuals, such as the police, where assaulting an officer is a felony and can incur up to three years in jail. 

Source: Modern Healthcare

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Emergency Preparedness Concepts & Requirement of Participation for LTC Facilities

(Posted: 04/09/2018)

This webinar will address the essential concepts of emergency preparedness in long-term care facilities (LTC),  including the disaster management continuum of planning, mitigation, response and recovery.

Speaker Stan Szpytek will focus on the necessity of "All Hazards" planning and utilization of a trusted emergency management model known as the Incident Command System (ICS) as it pertains to healthcare facilities.  This program will also include a brief overview of new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Requirements of Participation regarding emergency preparedness in skilled nursing facilities.

Learning objectives:

  • Describe basic emergency preparedness best practices
  • Summarize critical elements of a compliant Emergency Preparedness Plan for LTC facilities
  • Outline new CMS requirements related to emergency preparedness

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Man impersonated worker, smothered senior living resident, killed someone else

(Posted: 03/29/2018)

Billy Kipkorir Chemirmir, arrested on capital murder charges March 20 in Dallas, also is suspected in the October attack on a resident at Parkview in Frisco, a Watermark Retirement Community offering independent living, assisted living and memory care in Frisco, TX.

Chemirmir, who has a criminal record, posed as a maintenance worker to try to gain entry to the resident's apartment, Plano Police Chief Gregory W. Rushin alleged at a Friday press conference. After forcing his way into the apartment, Chemirmir knocked the woman off her walker and to the floor, put a pillow over her face until she passed out and then took her jewelry, Rushin alleged.

The resident survived. Chemirmir is accused of attempted capital murder in the case.

"In late 2017, we reported this individual to the authorities for an intrusion into our community. We are thankful he has been apprehended," the company said in a statement to WFAA. "We are cooperating fully with the authorities to assist them in any way possible. We are deeply saddened by the actions of this individual, and our hearts go out to the affected communities, their residents and family members."

Chemirmir is a former healthcare worker "and has a history of impersonating maintenance personnel at a retirement community in Dallas," Rushin said, although he could not provide details on his work history because the investigation is in the early stages. Tuesday, Plano police said Chemirmir may have used the name Benjamin Koitaba while working in healthcare.

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Florida governor signs generator bills into law; is Oklahoma next?

(Posted: 03/27/2018)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed bills into law Monday requiring assisted living communities and nursing homes in the state to have emergency generators. Legislators in Oklahoma are considering similar requirements for assisted living.

Scott, a Republican, asked for the Florida legislation following the September deaths of eight residents of a Hollywood, FL, rehabilitation facility after a power outage related to Hurricane Irma knocked out the facility's air conditioning. Six additional residents of the facility later died, and a medical examiner ruled that 12 of the deaths were homicides caused by environmental heat exposure.

“As we near the 2018 hurricane season, families can now know the facilities responsible for caring for their loved ones will have the resources needed to be fully prepared ahead of any potential storms,” he said Monday in a statement.

The new assisted living law requires each community to have a backup power source that can maintain an air conditioning system during a power outage. Air temperature in the community must be maintained at or below 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The backup power source can be portable but must provide at least 20 square feet of cool space per resident, calculated based on 80% of the community's licensed number of beds. Communities with fewer than 17 beds also must have 48 hours worth of fuel on hand, and larger ones must have 72 hours worth of fuel.

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Assisted living generator bill headed to Florida governor's desk

(Posted: 03/13/2018)

A bill requiring assisted living communities in Florida to purchase backup generators and have fuel on site is on its way to Gov. Rick Scott's desk for signing after the Florida legislature approved it last week.

The proposed rule ratified by SB 7028 is expected to cost operators more than $243 million over the next five years, calculated the state Department of Elder Affairs, which issued the rule at Scott's direction. The department's earlier estimate of $280 million was modified. Ratification of the rule was required because the five-year cost of the measure was more than $1 million.

The rule requires each assisted living community to have a backup power source that can maintain an air conditioning system during a power outage. The source can be portable but must provide at least 30 square feet of cool space per resident. Communities with fewer than 17 beds also must have 48 hours worth of fuel on hand, and larger ones must have 72 hours worth of fuel.

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Senior living resiliency in the face of disaster

(Posted: 02/20/2018)

Working with several clients in California, I have the opportunity to provide consultative services, including mock surveys and training, to several senior living and long-term care providers around the state. Although it's no secret that the past year has been particularly challenging for all types of senior living and healthcare providers in California and beyond, the response to disasters (yes, disasters — plural) by one particular skilled nursing facility in Shadow Hills represents the pinnacle of preparedness, dedication and resiliency.

For any homeowner or business operator nestled in the hills in Los Angeles County near Burbank, CA, the threat of wildfire is ever present. In September, a raging wildfire in La Tuna Canyon to the east of Shadow Hills Convalescent Hospital was this facility's first real brush with disaster in 38 years. As the fire grew in intensity and acreage at an alarming rate, SHCH was put on high alert and prepared to evacuate.

The exterior sprinkler system manually was turned on to drench the vegetation behind the building, and fire crews initiated a massive attack to stop the inferno from knocking on the facilities back door. An exterior sprinkler system had been installed electively by the facility's owner to provide an extra layer of protection to the property during vegetation and wildfires.

As the fire raged, residents were evacuated from the upper level of the building, which actually is positioned on the side of a hill to the lower level near the street. Facility staff worked tirelessly in concert with fire department and EMS resources as they prepared to initiate total evacuation. Firefighting efforts were successful, and the blaze was stopped within a hundred yards of so from back of the property.

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