Anyone with an elderly loved one in a San Bernardino nursing home or any long-term care facility in Southern California should be aware of elder abuse and neglect risks and should be able to recognize concerning signs in order to take action. Yet, being able to recognize potential signs of abuse becomes significantly more important when you have an elderly loved one with dementia in a nursing home. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, the term “dementia” does not refer to a specific, diagnosed disease, “but rather is a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities.” What do you need to know about recognizing nursing home abuse if you have an elderly parent or loved one with dementia? Our San Bernardino nursing home abuse attorneys can tell you more.

Understanding Dementia

In order to understand specific signs or symptoms of elder abuse in nursing home residents with dementia, it is essential to understand how older adults are affected by dementia and what it involves. The CDC explains that about five million people over the age of 65 had dementia in 2014, and that number has risen over the last decade. To be sure, as the aging population increases, the number of dementia patients is expected to surge and to nearly triple by the year 2060.

When you are searching in Orange County or elsewhere in Southern California for a nursing home where your elderly loved one can obtain the level of care they need, it is essential to do as much research as possible and to choose a facility that can provide what your family member needs. There are many different types of facilities in terms of quality and size, and there are also for-profit and non-profit facilities. According to a recent report from CBS News, many for-profit nursing homes in California are not serving residents well, and it is important for families to understand the distinctions between for-profit and non-profit facilities.

Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Can Happen Anywhere

Before we discuss the important distinctions between for-profit and non-profit nursing homes, and the research surrounding those distinctions, we want to emphasize that nursing home abuse and negligence can happen anywhere. Even seemingly high quality facilities can have issues, and nursing homes with no past records of safety problems can be places where injuries occur. 

Hospice is everywhere. California has over 1,200 hospice providers, a roughly 10-fold increase in the last decade. Why the growth? Because hospice can be a very profitable business, and it has very little government oversight.

At Southern California Nursing Home Law Group, we frequently hear that same story: Mom or dad has some health event and skilled nursing, or assisted living is recommended. At the time of admission, an employee of the facility asks (out of the blue), “have you considered putting mom/dad on hospice?”

“Hospice?” a family member responds, “but mom/dad is not dying.”

Elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in San Diego County can sustain injuries in many different ways, unfortunately. In some cases, an elderly resident might suffer a preventable injury resulting from negligence. In other words, nobody intended to harm, but a lack of proper care or a failure to attend to safety concerns might have resulted in an accident and injury. Under other circumstances, an elderly resident might be harmed by intentional abuse at the hands of a staff member or caregiver. When is a San Diego nursing home itself liable for resident injuries? In short, a nursing home or assisted living facility can be liable in most cases involving resident injuries. Our San Diego nursing home abuse lawyers can tell you more.

Medication Mistakes

Medication mistakes are especially common in nursing homes, and they can involve mistakes in prescribing, dosing, filling prescriptions, and administering drugs. Often, staff members without the necessary training make errors in administering resident medications, and those residents sustain injuries. Even if a particular healthcare provider may also be liable for a medication mistake, nursing homes can also be liable.

Does the language spoken by a caregiver at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Riverside County have an effect on the quality of care a resident receives? Do nursing homes and assisted-living facilities need to have caregivers on staff who speak the same language as the residents and who are familiar with the linguistic and cultural contexts from which residents have come to the nursing home or assisted-living facility? A recent report from McKnights Senior Living discusses initiatives to overcome language barriers for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in California and in several other states across the country. Our Riverside County nursing home negligence lawyers can tell you more.

Language Barriers for Caregivers and Residents in Southern California Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

According to the article, there are currently significant language barriers impacting the ability of potential nursing home and assisted living facility employees to become CNAs due to language barriers. Indeed, “foreign-born workers account for 27% of the nation’s direct care workforce, but many states maintain strict, English-only testing and training requirements that can prevent some immigrants from entering the workforce.” Given that there is a significant need for more long-term care workers, efforts are underway in California and other states to make it possible for workers to pass CNA certification exams in foreign languages. In California, AB 2131 aims to allow workers to take the written and oral competency portions of the CNA exam in Spanish. 

Whether an older adult with a chronic health condition is residing in a skilled nursing facility, assisted-living facility, memory-care facility, or other location in Los Angeles County, studies have shown that these seniors tend to be more vulnerable to abuse and neglect. In particular, older adults with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment are often targets of elder abuse in nursing homes and related facilities, and their conditions frequently prevent them from recognizing or reporting the abuse themselves. Yet, according to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, a new study focused on the Comprehensive Older Adult and Caregiver Help (COACH) method might be able to reduce the likelihood of physical and emotional abuse. 

Could this method also be applicable to caregivers who are employed by nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California? Our Los Angeles County nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers can say more.  

Learning About the COACH Method

Long before social media platforms entered into wide and nearly constant use by people of all age groups in the US, nursing home abuse and neglect were serious problems in San Bernardino nursing homes and in facilities across the state. In other words, social media has not caused a rise in nursing home abuse or neglect in Southern California, but it has made new forms of emotional abuse possible that can have serious psychological repercussions for nursing home residents. A recent report from Insider discusses the prevalence of “social media mistreatment” affecting nursing home residents throughout the country. 

What do you need to know about emotional abuse and its rise on social media? And what can you do for an elderly loved one who is being mistreated? Our San Bernardino nursing home abuse attorneys can tell you more. 

Understanding Elder Emotional and Psychological Abuse 

Elder abuse and neglect in Orange County often result in severe and deadly resident injuries in nursing homes. Abuse can take many different forms, from intentional physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to passive neglect. To be clear, even when a staff member or other employee of a nursing home does not intend to cause harm, failing to attend to a resident’s health needs can result in serious harm for which the facility can be liable. Likewise, injuries resulting from intentional harm can also result in successful nursing home abuse and neglect claims against the facility, as well as the perpetrators. While studies underscore that nursing home abuse and neglect injuries occur with some frequency, they also highlight that abuse and neglect often go unreported.

To be sure, some studies suggest that the underreporting of nursing home abuse and neglect means that rates of harm are significantly higher than data currently indicate. Why is nursing home abuse and neglect underreported? There are many potential reasons that various studies have addressed, but a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut argues that fears of retaliation are central to understanding the problem. What do you need to know? Our Orange County nursing home negligence lawyers can say more.

Common Reasons for Abuse and Neglect Underreporting in Southern California Nursing Homes and Assisted-Living Facilities

The nursing home industry, often perceived as a sector struggling with financial viability due to reported accounting losses, presents a conundrum when analyzed through the lens of recent financial activities and market trends. Despite these reported losses, the industry has seen a surge in private equity investments and high transaction prices, suggesting a disconnect between reported financials and the actual economic value of nursing home facilities.

One explanation for this paradox is the concept of profit tunneling, where businesses who own nursing homes engage in financial maneuvers to misreport or hide true profits, essentially obscuring the true financial health of the enterprise. This tactic not only complicates the industry’s financial landscape but also raises questions about the quality of care provided in these facilities. With staffing levels directly tied to the quality of care, the financial engineering within the industry can have real-world impacts on patient care and facility operations.

Furthermore, the practice of engaging in related party transactions—where businesses make deals within a network of interconnected entities—complicates the financial transparency of nursing homes. Such transactions can mask the true profitability of these facilities, affecting everything from investment decisions to policy regulations concerning the industry.

Older adults who reside in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities in Riverside County or elsewhere in Southern California should be able to expect that the facility where they live has taken sufficient safety precautions to prevent resident injuries. However, nursing homes throughout the state, and indeed across the country, often have safety issues that can result in resident injuries. Depending on the particular hazard, injuries can range from minor to severe. In many of these cases where an injury does occur, it may be possible to hold the nursing home accountable by filing a nursing home neglect claim. Our Riverside County nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys can assist you, and in the meantime, we can tell you more about common safety issues in Southern California nursing homes.

Fall Concerns

Nursing homes have a duty to ensure that their facilities are safe and do not prevent fall hazards, including those that could result in dangerous slips and falls or trips and falls. Common fall hazards, according to the AHRQ, include a lack of grip bars in bathrooms, slick flooring, torn or damaged carpeting, lack of handrails in stairwells, and liquid spills that go uncleaned.

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