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Aug 21, 2021 by |

San Mateo County Elder Abuse Attorney: Hospice Patients’ Rights And Recourse For Neglect Or Abuse

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Hospice Patient Rights

Examples Of Neglect Of Hospice Patients

Checking The Track Record Of Hospice Agencies 

Medicare patients who elect hospice care are an especially vulnerable population. They have the right to be free from abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and misappropriation of patient property. When hospices cause harm or fail to prevent or mitigate harm caused by others, patients are deprived of these basic rights. When a patient elects hospice care, the hospice is responsible for providing all services related to the patient’s terminal illness and related conditions, including ensuring the patient’s rights are respected. When a hospice does not comply with Medicare requirements related to patient rights, there can be significant consequences. In these instances, abuse or neglect may occur, causing harm to the patient. Our litigators have experience with cases of hospice patients neglected or abandoned with untreated pressure wounds/bed sores and infections that turn fatal.  The parties responsible for the condition and fatality should be held accountable. Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents injured seniors and their families here in San Mateo County and throughout California.  We can be reached at (415)441-8669 or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267)

Neglect of Hospice Patients

Neglect in hospice may be difficult to identify and may result from inaction on the part of the hospice or its employees. Examples of neglect may include:

  • Not providing reasonable and appropriate wound management leading to development of pressure ulcers or wounds/bed sores
  • The hospice not responding to repeated calls from the patient and/or caregiver for pain or symptom management, including calls on weekends or after normal business hours
  • Failure to deliver medication for pain or symptom management in a timely manner
  • Lack of response from the hospice that results in the patient seeking emergency services to alleviate symptoms
  • The hospice not addressing the psychological, emotional, or spiritual distress of the patient and/or caregiver
  • A failure of the hospice to address symptoms or conditions that exacerbate the distress of pain and discomfort
  • The lack or diversion of comfort medication to address pain and symptom management
  • A failure of the hospice to respond to requests for increased pain control or symptom management

Medicare Hospice Requirements

To participate in Medicare, hospices must be certified as meeting certain Federal requirements called Conditions of Participation (CoPs), or standards for health and safety. Hospices are surveyed at least once every 3 years to verify their compliance with Federal requirements. Hospices may choose to have the survey conducted by State agencies or by a CMS-approved accrediting organization. Surveyors conduct home visits and interviews with patients and staff, as well as observe the facility’s condition and operations. A primary role of the hospice surveyor is to assure the patient’s rights are being met and that quality-of-care concerns are identified. Surveyors document their official findings in a survey report. Complaints from patients, caregivers, health care providers, or others can result in additional inspections. CMS tracks complaints, categorizing them into different severity levels to determine which actions to take. For more severe complaints, CMS requires the State agency to conduct onsite surveys to investigate within certain timeframes.  Before admitting a loved one to a hospice program, check the hospice program’s record of complaints and citations with the California Department of Public Health under “Hospice Facility” here: Home (ca.gov).  You can also check the hospice facility’s record under Provider Type “Hospice care” with Medicare here: Find Healthcare Providers: Compare Care Near You | Medicare.

Representing Families Of Hospice Patients

If you have a loved one who has suffered any kind of abuse or neglect in a hospice program, call us at Evans Law Firm, Inc. right away.  Do not ignore warning signs like bruises, personality changes, discomfort, delirium or silence.  Act on your instincts always since you know your loved one best and call us if you suspect any problem.  We know how to investigate cases of physical (and financial) elder abuse and how to pursue all remedies available under California law which include holding supervisors and owners responsible for neglect and abuse of institutionalized patients. Sometimes the ownership of for-profit hospice programs or facilities can be complicated.  We have experience in piercing through any elaborate corporate structures to hold those accountable who profit from substandard care.  Awards may include attorneys’ fees and expenses you’ve incurred in bringing your case.  We will hold all parties responsible for the abuse to count, including owners of home health care agencies and owners, administrators and supervisors in nursing homes and other care facilities.

Contact Us

You can reach Ingrid M. Evans at (415) 441-8669, or by email at info@evanslaw.com or TOLL FREE 1-888-80EVANS (888-503-8267)

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