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Southern California experiences year-round high temperatures, but the summer months can be particularly intense in Orange County. People of all ages can experience heat-related injuries due to exposure, but older adults can be particularly susceptible to heat-related injuries as a result of their increased susceptibility to dehydration and health complications. It is critical for nursing homes to take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries, monitor patients for signs of heat-related illnesses and injuries, and take immediate action when a resident shows signs of a heat-related illness or injury. When a nursing home resident does experience an injury as a result of the heat, the nursing home could be negligent. You should get in touch with an experienced Orange County nursing home neglect lawyer who can help you with your case.

Recognizing the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses and Injuries

Heat-related illnesses and injuries can range from mild to severe, and they can affect older adults in serious ways. As the Mayo Clinic explains, dehydration is especially common among the elderly when they do not drink enough water or experience exposure to high temperatures. There are a few reasons for increased susceptibility to dehydration and heat-related illnesses among seniors, including the fact that “older adults naturally have a lower volume of water in their bodies,” and older nursing home residents frequently take medications that place them at greater risk of dehydration and heat-related illness during heat waves. 

When you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety in a nursing home, it can be difficult to identify signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse. Under some circumstances, it might seem as though there are logical explanations for certain indicators of abuse or neglect, while in other situations, the signs and symptoms of abuse simply might not be obvious. While it is critical for friends and family members of nursing home residents to know how to spot indicators of abuse, it is also important to remember that residents may be able to provide key information about neglect or negligence taking place at the nursing home. Although seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia may not be able to voice their concerns directly, certain questions may be able to provide helpful information.

When you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should learn about the types of questions you can ask to identify indications of abuse. The following types of questions may be able to reveal abuse or neglect.

Questions Concerning Daily Activities

Nursing home abuse injuries can affect any resident of a nursing home in San Diego County or elsewhere in Southern California, regardless of age, sex, or health condition. However, it is important to know that there are risk factors that can make it more likely that a nursing home resident will be subject to nursing home abuse or neglect. To be clear, the fact that a nursing home resident has one or more of the most common risk factors for abuse does not necessarily mean that the resident will be subject to abuse, but that they are at greater risk for harm from abuse or neglect. Consider some of the following risk factors that could make elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home more likely.

Physical Health Issues

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), physical health and mobility issues are common risk factors for nursing home abuse. When an older adult requires assistance with physical care, mobility, and activities of daily living (ADLs), that older adult is more likely to be subject to abuse or passive neglect. Activities of daily living can include dressing and eating, but they can also include bathing and bathroom assistance. Not only can these seniors be at greater risk for acts of intentional physical or emotional abuse, but they can also be more likely to suffer injuries if they do not receive the level of care they need.

Nursing home restraints in Los Angeles County and throughout the state of California can only be used in certain circumstances, and they are generally not appropriate in cases where a lack of restraints would be sufficient to provide a nursing home resident with the care they need. If you have an elderly loved one who was physically or chemically restrained in their nursing home, it may be possible to file a nursing home abuse claim. Our Los Angeles County nursing home neglect lawyers want to provide you with more information about restraints and when they cannot be used for residents of skilled nursing facilities.

Understanding Physical and Chemical Restraints

Generally speaking, there are two types of restraints that can be employed in a nursing home setting — physical restraints and chemical restraints.

When nursing homes in San Bernardino County fail to provide adequate care to residents who are confined to their beds or have trouble with mobility, those residents can develop bed sores. While early stage bed sores can usually be treated effectively, bed sores that worsen can result in debilitating and life-threatening harm. In fact, in some cases, bed sores can result in fatal infections. What causes bed sores in Southern California nursing homes, and what should you do if you have an elderly loved one who developed bed sores under a nursing home’s watch? Our San Bernardino nursing home abuse lawyers can assist you.

Learning About the Causes of Bed Sores in Nursing Homes

What usually causes bed sores in nursing homes in San Bernardino County? According to the Mayo Clinic, bed sores result from “pressure against the skin that limits blood flow to the skin.” There are major contributing factors that often involve nursing home negligence, as well as risk factors for certain residents. The Mayo Clinic identifies the following as the three major contributing factors to bed sore injuries:

Currently, when nursing homes in Orange County and elsewhere in the country receive payments from Medicaid, they are able to spend the payments on facility maintenance, operations, and even toward profits. According to a recent article in California Healthline, newly proposed legislation could change that, requiring nursing homes in California to spend those Medicaid payments on patient care alone. There are currently about 15,500 nursing homes in the United States, and the article underscores that the Biden administration is considering making this change for all nursing homes nationwide. In the meantime, however, California lawmakers are considering making the change across the state. 

A bill that is currently being considered “would require nursing homes to spend at least 85% of revenue from all payers on direct care for residents.” What do you need to know about potential changes and how they could limit nursing home abuse injuries in Southern California? 

Pandemic Has Changed the Way Many Think About Nursing Home Safety

Whether you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in Riverside County or elsewhere in Southern California, it is extremely important to pay attention to signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse or neglect. Yet family members and friends alone should not bear the immense responsibility of identifying indicators of abuse or nursing home negligence. Rather, state laws should be in place to protect seniors at skilled nursing facilities from injuries resulting from intentional abuse and passive neglect. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, California lawmakers “are considering several proposals” aimed at making facilities safer, “including changes to nursing home licensing rules.”

Assembly Bill 1502 Would Prevent Nursing Home Owners From Operating Without a License

Did you know that it is actually possible for a nursing home operator to buy a skilled nursing facility and even to run a nursing home in the state of California without obtaining a license to do so? According to the article, the process has been described as “backward and unique to the state.” Indeed, according to California state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, “in California, nursing home owners and operators can operate without a license even after they have been denied a license.” As a result, Muratsuchi explained, “many of these owners and operators have, unfortunately, an extensive history of neglect and abuse.”

While most residents of San Diego County who have loved ones in nursing homes are not thinking about risks of dehydration when they worry about elder abuse and neglect, it is important to know that dehydration is a serious issue that can lead to severe and life-threatening harm. Much too often, nursing home residents become dehydrated and suffer serious harm because employees at the facility failed to provide a reasonable level of care. Indeed, according to an article in Reuters, “people in nursing homes are more likely to be dehydrated than elderly people living in the community.” 

What do you need to know about dehydration risks in nursing homes in San Diego County? Consider the following when you are looking for a facility for a loved one or assessing a loved one’s risk of injuries in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California.

Common Causes of Dehydration in Nursing Homes

Nobody should ever have to fear that an elderly parent or relative is being subjected to physical or emotional abuse in a nursing home, or that a loved one is experiencing pain and suffering because of neglect in a skilled nursing facility. Given that nursing homes want to make money and want to keep patients at their facilities, it can often be difficult to get a straight answer from a facility when you have concerns about abuse or neglect. If you are concerned about abuse in your parent’s nursing home, what should you do?

Understand the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in its Varied Forms

First, be sure you know some of the common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, recognizing the nursing home negligence can take many different forms. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) cites some of the following as common indicators of abuse or neglect:

Fall prevention in San Bernardino County nursing homes is critical to avoid serious injuries among elderly residents. Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities have a duty to ensure that patients have the care they need to avoid a fall and that the premises are also safe for use. When a fall does happen at a San Bernardino nursing home, the facility could be liable. 

Learning More About Falls in Nursing Homes

To understand prevention methods for falls in nursing homes, it is important to understand how often falls occur and why they happen in nursing homes. The following facts and figures come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

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