max-larochelle-421822-copy-240x300Whether your elderly loved one is located in a nursing home in Riverside County or a facility in another part of California, a recent article in Kaiser Health News suggests that natural disasters—and preparation for them—ultimately may reveal possibilities of increased risk of nursing home neglect injuries in facilities. The article cites information from a new report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. As that report explains, when federal health officials visited 20 nursing homes in the state to determine whether the facilities were prepared for natural disasters including fires and earthquakes, they determined that there were other more pressing safety violations at those nursing homes. We want to tell you more about the Kaiser Health News report and its findings.

Nursing Homes Have More Serious Violations Than Mere Lack of Natural Disaster Preparedness

The federal health officials who visited nursing homes in California to determine their preparedness for a natural disaster found, by and large, that the facilities were not prepared for a natural disaster. Indeed, facilities were so unprepared that federal health officials indicated hundreds of nursing home residents throughout the state could be at serious risk of injury or even death. The article clarifies: “Inspectors found hundreds of potentially life-threatening violations of safety and emergency requirements, including blocked emergency exit doors, unsafe use of power strips and extension cords, and inadequate fuel for emergency generators.”

josh-appel-423804-copy-300x225If you are in the process of looking for a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Los Angeles County for a loved one, it can be difficult to know how to choose the best facility and how to assess the risks of nursing home abuse at a particular place. Given that nursing home abuse and neglect can happen in some of the most seemingly luxurious and upscale facilities, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of care alone is not necessarily a predictor of senior safety in the facility. However, according to a recent article from Reveal News, a study conducted by The Center for Investigative Reporting suggests that one clear indicator of safety issues in a nursing home or assisted living facility may be the way the facility treats its workers.

In short, “operators of senior . . . homes that violate labor laws and steal workers’ wages . . . often also endanger or neglect their residents, sometimes with dire consequences.” We want to say more about the study and to discuss ways of identifying potential safety concerns in nursing homes.

U.S. Department of Labor Cases and Nursing Home Abuse Reports in California

paolo-bendandi-s8Wrjl8-AeY-unsplash-copy-300x197When we think about nursing home abuse and neglect in San Clemente, we often think about the role that healthcare providers and nursing facility staff members play in perpetrating elder abuse or failing to take proper care of an elderly loved one. While elder abuse certainly occurs in nursing home settings due to abuse and neglect perpetrated by employees of the facility, it is also important to keep in mind that many elder abuse injuries occur because of a family member’s behavior. According to a recent study reported in Physician’s Weekly, elder abuse is perpetrated most often by family members—both family members who serve as caregivers and family members who otherwise have regular contact with seniors.

Elder Abuse and Family Members: What the Recent Study Says

The recent study on elder abuse sought to determine what type of person is most commonly responsible for perpetrating abuse. The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Gali H. Weissberger at the University of Southern California in Alhambra, and it was published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology. Dr. Weissberger and the other researchers relied on data from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) resource line from 2014 through 2017. The analyzed nearly 2,000 calls that came into the resource line, concluding that “42.2% involved alleged abuse,” and in nearly 47% of those cases involving abuse, “the most commonly identified perpetrators were family members.”

rt_k9r80pya-jean-gerber-300x200In Valley Center and throughout California, laws are in place that are designed to protect older adults from nursing home abuse and neglect. While elder abuse can occur in a variety of settings, caregivers and staff members are nursing facilities can be held accountable under both civil and criminal law in California. When families are considering filing a nursing home abuse claim against an individual or a facility, it is important to understand how criminal laws in California provide language that can help to define the type of abuse that has resulted in a senior’s injuries. 

A recent article in Valley News discusses basic California law related to elder abuse and neglect, and we want to provide more information about the key definitions and components of those laws.

Understanding Legal Definitions Related to Elder Abuse and Neglect in California

obed-hernandez-592136-unsplash-copy-212x300When you are considering the possibility of moving an elderly loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility in Encinitas, it can be difficult to determine whether a particular facility is likely to be a safe and healthy space for your loved one if it does not have any obvious problems. Many families look for histories of elder abuse violations, and check to see whether certain facilities have warning labels from the federal government. 

However, according to a recent report in The Mercury News, a new Senate report indicates “nearly 400 facilities nationwide had a persistent record of poor care . . . but they were not included along with a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny and do have warning labels. For families in California, it is important to know that 34 of these potentially dangerous facilities are located in the state of California.

Budget Cuts Limit Federal Inspections of Facilities, Resulting in Lack of Transparency

brandon-holmes-199535-unsplash-copy-300x200The primary way that state and federal agencies keep track of nursing home and elder abuse rates in the U.S. is through reporting. In other words, healthcare workers, physicians, nursing home staff, and others who interact with seniors are supposed to report incidents of nursing home abuse or neglect to enforcement agencies. However, according to a recent article in NPR, despite the fact that this kind of reporting is required by law, there is substantial underreporting.

This information comes from a recent report published by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which indicates that “in many cases of abuse or neglect severe enough to require medical attention, the incidents have not been reported to enforcement agencies.” Why does underreporting happen, and what steps can lead to more effective reporting?

Reporting Elder Abuse After Patients Receive Care in Emergency Room

parker-byrd-139348-copy-300x200Whether you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in Poway or in an assisted living facility elsewhere in California, it is extremely important to know how the facility makes hiring decisions and whether the facility has been subject to elder abuse violations in the past. While even the best and most thorough research may not always uncover risks of nursing home abuse and neglect in San Diego County or farther north in California, background research can help you to avoid selecting a facility for your elderly loved one that has a history of elder abuse. Part of choosing the best nursing home is having access to proper information about facilities and their safety ratings.

 
A recent article in the Fresno Bee discusses an elder abuse case that resulted in a senior’s death. This incident highlights the need for better CMS oversight of nursing home resources.

 
Elder Abuse Results in Fatality at California Assisted Living Facility

daniele-levis-pelusi-9BObZ4pzn3Y-unsplash-copy-300x225When a patient in an Escondido nursing home suffers serious illness or injury as a result of a “superbug,” is nursing home negligence to blame? In other words, if a facility fails to take proper precautions to prevent nursing home patients from contracting “superbugs,” or medication-resistant bacteria and fungi, can that facility be held responsible for nursing home neglect? That is a question that elder safety advocates have begun asking in the wake of news about superbugs causing serious and fatal injuries in hospitals and nursing homes across the country. 

How Nursing Homes are Grappling with Superbugs

According to a recent article in Kaiser Health News, hospitals and nursing homes in California have begun using a strategy that might strike readers as bizarre at first: The facilities have started “washing patients with a special soap.” Along with facilities in Illinois, California nursing homes and hospitals are among the first to begin using this strategy, funded by about $8 million in total from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In all, about 50 facilities in both California and Illinois are employing this new procedure.

victor-garcia-718191-unsplash-copy-200x300Discussions about the use of cameras in nursing homes in Orange County and throughout Southern California have become common as lawmakers, safety advocates, and family members seek innovative solutions to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect and to gain evidence to hold perpetrators accountable. Yet, are cameras in residents’ rooms the best way to stop nursing home abuse, or are there significant ethical issues that we need to consider before we decide that the benefits of “granny cams,” as these cameras are commonly called, outweigh their limitations? 

A recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News addresses the ethics of “granny cams” in nursing homes and suggests that more research needs to be done concerning these tools before they become widespread.

Are Nursing Home Cameras Ethical, or do They Invade Residents’ Privacy?

jyotirmoy-gupta-443923-unsplash-copy-300x200Nursing home abuse and neglect in Vista should be considered an important public health issue of concern to any resident of San Diego County, especially someone with an elderly loved one who resides in a nursing home. Yet common public perceptions about elder abuse often mean that people assume abuse either is physical or emotional, and that neglect also results only in physical or emotional harm. It is extremely important to recognize how sexual abuse and assault are also forms of nursing home abuse that can affect older adults, and understand how to protect a loved one from this form of abuse in a California nursing facility. 

According to a recent report from CNN Health, sexual abuse and assault happens more often than most people believe in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and perpetrators can vary widely—from staff members to other residents of the facility.

Families Should be Aware of the Risk of Sexual Abuse and Assault in Long Term Care Facilities