Assisted Living Facility Injuries Caused By Neglect

broken hip

Collectively, we are living longer.  That’s the good news.  When it comes to living arrangements, however, with increased age,  often comes the need for more formal medical care.  There many be health concerns that prohibit our elderly family members from continuing to live at home or with family.  As potential caregivers, we wish to make parents and grandparents as comfortable as possible but if there are medical or housing issues, our desires are secondary to necessary daily healthcare and well-being management.   Often, families and seniors look to assisted living facilities (ALF) for elder residential and medical care.  The hope is to find a caring and attentive senior living facility but that is all too often not the case. Generally through negligence rather than malevolence, elderly people in these type of institutions are getting hurt- too often, from preventable injuries such as hip fractures.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that there are around 300,000 people in this age group who suffer from a broken hip each year. Of those, 20 to 30% will be dead within 12 months of the injury, and many others show a significant decrease in their functional abilities.

Main Causes of Broken Hips in the Elderly

The primary cause of broken hips in the elderly are slip and fall incidents. In an ALF, these type of falls are fairly common.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the average 100-bed ALF reports 100 to 200 falls each year and that around 1,800 patients who fall die from their injuries.

There are many reasons that seniors in these facilities may fall. Their muscles are weaker, their balance may be off, vertigo, poor eyesight and the physical limitations of moving from one place to another.  However, these problems are often exacerbated by negligence within the facility.

Of the reported falls each year, approximately 27% are due to environmental hazards. Some of the most common hazards include:

  • Wet floors
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Wheelchairs and beds that are not properly equipped for the patient (i.e., chairs are not locked into place or the beds do not have high rails or restraints to prevent falling)
  • Improper monitoring and lack of physical assistance

Each of these hazards is preventable, and may be considered negligent acts by the facility when a patient is injured.

A thorough ALF injury investigation should include a comprehensive review of the resident’s medical records, daily activity reports, maintenance records, incident reports, personnel files, prior litigation involving the facility, visitor logs, surveillance camera footage and any and all other records maintained by the ALF. Canvassing for witnesses should also be conducted.

Broken hips in the elderly are serious, and when they occur in an assisted living facility, one should consider whether the injury (or worse) was due to institution’s abuse or negligence,

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Interview Techniques By Witness Personality Type: Part I: The Narcissist.

narcissist

An often requested service for investigators is to interview witnesses in order to obtain written or recorded statements.

To that end, a successful interview is often based on the investigator’s approach and the better she can assess the subject’s personality, the more effective the interview. Fortunately, most people are cooperative, fairly truthful and possess a relatively normal personality.  There have been quite a number of times, however, when we’ve had to extract information from people whose base nature or personality has been overwhelmingly outside of the normal range.

With these type subjects, it’s the investigator’s people skills that determine whether she will prevail.

In our multiple-part series, we begin this week with tips for interviewing a subject with a narcissistic personality. Because of their compulsive, detail-oriented personality bent, narcissists can actually make very good witnesses – if you know how to handle them.

Definition of a Narcissistic Personality:

Most experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions and personalities.

DSM-5 criteria for a narcissistic personality include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

Description of a Narcissist (from Psychology Today):

Narcissism is often interpreted in popular culture as a person who’s in love with him or herself. It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who’s in love with an idealized self-image, which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self.

Having the above knowledge, a field investigator should be able to quickly assess the subject’s personality during the pre-interview casual conversation we engage in with witnesses to determine where they are “coming from”.

If the investigator has ascertained that she is dealing with a narcissist, the three best basic approaches are:

  1. Provide positive feedback throughout the interview without being disingenuous and overly solicitous.  A narcissist needs to be constantly recognized but, is also suspicious of people who are being nice.
  2. Base the account from the narcissist’s perspective.  As with most people, but more so with a narcissist, people recall best when mentally positioned (though guided imagery) to recall an event from where they were at the moment of occurrence.
  3. Let the subject talk.  At some point, with mild encouragement, the narcissist, because of the compulsive component of this specific personality, will give you the information necessary to complete a thorough statement.  By his very narcissistic nature, he is exacting with details.  Also, we’ve found that engaging a narcissist in minor physical tasks (such as drawing a diagram of the location of accident or arranging site photos) during interviews, helps defuse excess energy and OCD-like behavior.

In the next Bulletin in this series, we will cover, “The Empath” – Does she give a true account of the incident or is she wrapped in the emotion of the moment, clouding her recall?

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Can Prosecutors Indict DNA Profiles?

Apparently, the answer is yes.

From the NY Post (August 6, 2019):

The DNA profile of an unknown woman has been indicted in the death of an infant found inside a backpack in Illinois three years ago, prosecutors said.

A grand jury on Thursday indicted the unknown female DNA profile on a felony charge of failure to report the death or disappearance of a child in connection to an infant known as “Baby Hope,” a full-term newborn girl who was found dead by landscapers in Wheaton, IL in August 2016. (More.)

The above images were developed through phenotyping <fee-no-type-ing>, the process of predicting a human’s phenotype (the composite of a person’s observable characteristics, including its physical form and structure; its developmental processes; its biochemical and physiological properties; its behavior, and the products of behavior, for example,a person’s self-built home), using only genetic information collected from DNA sequencing. This term is primarily used to refer to the prediction of a person’s physical appearance and/or biogeographic ancestry for forensic purposes.

It will be interesting to see the legal challenges that will undoubtedly be forthcoming should arrests be made based on suspect’s phenotyped profiles.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always,

Stay safe.

 

Top 5 Reasons Why Cell Phone Signals Suddenly Go Bad

1. Heavier than usual cellular traffic. There’s really nothing you can do about a saturated cell tower but wait out the phone traffic.  It’s a numbers game- the more phone traffic that fights for that same spot, the weaker your signal becomes.

2. Building material.  The primary reason for a weak cell signal is the materials that surround you.  Whether you are home, at work, in a shopping center, your cell phone is struggling for signal access.  Metal and tinted, low-E glass are the two main materials most responsible for a degraded cell phone signal.  You’ll notice when waling around that if your signal improves, you are usually by a door or window rather than metal construction materials that blocks your phone’s signal.

3. Low Battery.  Your phone needs actual energy to maintain a connection.  The higher the charge, the better the connection.  Keep your phones battery at optimal charge.

4. Bad weather, geography, cosmic events.  Cell phones operate via electromagnetic waves which can easily be affected by weather (thunder, lightening, wind, rain, snow, etc.), natural obstructions (hills and mountains commonly impact cell phone reception) and cosmic occurrences (such as sunflares).

5. Blocking your own antenna.  The bulky, shoebox-sized cell phones of the early days of mobile communication were surprisingly better at connectivity than today’s sleeker models. The early phones had exterior antennas- making the reception fairly consistent.  Today’s cell phone antennas are embedded inside the phone.  You can effortlessly and unknowingly block the antenna and lose your signal.  You can easily search online for the exact location of your phone’s antenna and once known, inadvertent blocking should be significantly reduced.

The best solution for all of the above is a good mobile phone booster: https://www.lifewire.com/best-cell-phone-signal-boosters-4154516

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

RING – The New Law Enforcement Surveillance Tool

remote access

For years now, privacy rights activists have been calling for the restriction of government security cameras in residential neighborhoods.

That scenario has been overtaken by the proliferation of private surveillance cameras in the form of smart doorbells, like Amazon’s Ring.  Given Ring’s explosive popularity, their usage in so many homes has now essentially created a private surveillance network across the country.

According to cnet:

Aware of this network, police departments across the country have offered free or discounted Ring doorbells to citizens, sometimes using taxpayer funds to pay for Amazon’s products. While Ring owners are supposed to have a choice on providing police footage, in some giveaways, police require recipients to turn over footage when requested.

Ring said that it would start cracking down on those strings attached.

“Ring customers are in control of their videos, when they decide to share them and whether or not they want to purchase a recording plan. Ring has donated devices to Neighbor’s Law Enforcement partners for them to provide to members of their communities,” Ring said in a statement. “Ring does not support programs that require recipients to subscribe to a recording plan or that footage from Ring devices be shared as a condition for receiving a donated device. We are actively working with partners to ensure this is reflected in their programs.”

While more surveillance footage in neighborhoods could help police investigate crimes, the sheer number of cameras run by Amazon’s Ring business raises questions about privacy involving both law enforcement and tech giants.

Police can gather more video footage, while Amazon can charge new Ring owners up to $3 a month for subscription fees on the smart doorbells. Residents, meanwhile, get some peace of mind, particularly with the Neighbors app, essentially a social network sharing camera feeds.

More than 50 local police departments across the US have partnered with Ring over the last two years, lauding how the Amazon-owned product allows them to access security footage in areas that typically don’t have cameras — on suburban doorsteps.

We ask, security at what price?

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

Top Three Remote Access Software

No one has time these days to go back and forth between locations to access files or wait for an IT specialist to physically present to the office.  The time-saving solution is obvious – remote digital access.  Our top three remote desktop access programs are:

 

Teamviewer supports Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS, and is free for personal use. It’s probably the most obvious alternative to LogMeIn. Not only does Teamviewer offer remote support and remote management—as in you don’t necessarily have to have the remote side set up before you need to connect—it also comes with useful features like wake-on-LAN to wake up a sleeping computer and put it back to sleep when you’re finished, file transfer capabilities, clipboard passthrough and support for connecting from mobile devices like phones or tablets.  Teamviewer even supports online meetings and collaboration, so multiple people can connect to one host or share a session if they need to.

Splashtop supports Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS, and is free for personal use (up to five computers, and depending on how you use it). It’s perhaps most notable as a tool that allows you to stream audio and video across computers with minimal latency, so if you love watching movies on your tablet that are stored on your desktop but don’t want to deal with apps or compatibility issues, Splashtop is a great tool. It’s not limited to that though—You can use the applications on your remote device like you were sitting right there, manage files without transferring them first in their own native applications.

VNC, or Virtual Network Computing, is less of a specific product and more of a platform. It uses existing protocols to send keyboard and mouse actions to a remote computer, and in turn it sends the screen from that remote system back to your viewer. Depending on the VNC client and server software you use, you get more features, like clipboard syncing, file sync and transfer, and more. That’s the catch though—there’s a VNC client and server that supports every operating system, mobile and desktop, and as long as you know what you’re doing and set it up properly, you’ll be able to connect to any system you control, anywhere you have internet access, completely for free. The “Official” VNC software is RealVNC, which offers its client and server apps for Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, and even Chrome for free (but will happily add features and support if you’re willing to pay for them).

Regardless of which program you decide to go with, just make sure your security protocols are up-to-date.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Favorite Tools Of The Professional P.I. – And Others Who Work For A Living

pi-tools

I’m often asked which tools simplify my life as a private investigator. The top three on my list are:

  1. Truthful witnesses
  2. Forthcoming clients
  3. PayPal for Business

Aside from that:

Evernote – I scan and save important documents and things I may want to refer to later when browsing the web.

Bitly – I share links on social media, in emails and when writing reports dozens of times daily. Bitly helps me shorten those long, ugly links. I also have a cool branded link for my business if that is interesting for you.

Zapier – This helps me automate tasks between web apps. So if I put a new client into QuickBooks, Zapier automatically adds their contact details into my client newsletter in MailChimp or WordPress. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Social Media and Content Marketing

Constant Contact – With Constant Contact, you can schedule, publish and analyze all your social media posts in one place.

Canva – I use Canva to create images for social media, blog posts and just about anything else. It can instantly turn you into an amateur graphic designer.

Feedly – Add your favorite blogs and websites to start filling up your feed with content that rocks.

Google Analytics – Easily track site traffic and visitor behavior to see how your content is performing.

File Sharing

Dropbox – Dropbox has become synonymous with online file sharing, and for a good reason.

Business

QuickBooks Online – We switched from QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online about four years ago, and have not looked back. It’s become better and better every year.

Google Docs – I use Google Apps for Work and Google Docs to collaborate with other investigators on documents. It’s the best collaborator that I have worked with for things like word processing documents and spreadsheets.

Microsoft Office 365 – Even though I am huge fan of Google Docs, I still use Microsoft Office to write reports. In part, because Google Docs does not have all of the advanced formatting options that Microsoft Word does.

Security

LastPass – With access to hundreds of databases and websites, it’s not easy keeping track of passwords. But LastPass stores difficult-to-crack, encrypted passwords in the cloud that can be used on multiple platforms.

Google Authenticator – I am a huge proponent of two-factor authentication, which protects your accounts with a second form of authentication by adding an extra layer of security to your account. Google Authenticator protects your account with both your password and your phone, by providing a “secret” code so that nobody can get in.

StrongVPN – A VPN secures your computer’s internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes. I have been using StrongVPN for several years without a glitch, primarily because it allows me to have a static IP, but there are a number of great services out there.

Website Hosting / WordPress Theme

Synthesis – I used a number of different web hosts for the first few years until I came across Synthesis. It’s probably not the cheapest service out there, but it’s reliable and fast, and the support is great.

StudioPress Themes for WordPress – If you like the way this website looks, then you need to have a WordPress site from StudioPress. These are the best WordPress themes out there.

Editing

ProofreadNOW.com – I can write like the wind, but I am no grammarian. I leave that up to ProofreadNOW.com. For a nominal fee, they will have professional proofreaders make sure that every blog post I write has every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.