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Whether you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in San Bernardino County or somewhere nearby in Southern California, we know that you are likely watching the news about the spread of the coronavirus carefully. Given that nursing homes are filled with older adults who suffer from a variety of health conditions, including many with compromised immune systems, residents of these facilities are at a particularly high risk of a severe case of COVID-19 and at a significantly higher risk of death than the rest of the population. News reports indicating that dozens, and sometimes more, residents of nursing homes across the country are dying of COVID-19 have served as a call to action when it comes to making nursing homes safer. 

A recent article from Kaiser Health News reports that many of the “COVID-plagued” facilities in California have histories of safety problems and violations. In other words, these facilities should have been targeted much sooner, in which case some coronavirus deaths may have been prevented. 

California Nursing Homes with Past Problems

brandon-holmes-199535-unsplash-copy-300x200The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in thousands of deaths in nursing homes across the country. By mid-April, an article in The New York Times reported that more than 7,000 COVID-19 deaths had occurred in nursing homes, and one commentator referred to the facilities as “death pits.” In addition to the sheer risks of coronavirus exposure and COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, filing a claim during the pandemic can also be a bit more complicated. However, you should know that an experienced Orange County nursing home neglect attorney can help you with your case. In the meantime, the following is a list of things you should know about filing a claim during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nursing Homes May be Liable for COVID-19 Deaths

Nursing homes in California and throughout the country are required to have infection-control procedures in place to prevent the spread of disease throughout the facility. Yet many nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Southern California have not been able to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and thousands of patients in the country have now died from COVID-19. Recognizing the severe threat of COVID-19 to elderly populations in nursing homes, Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced that non-COVID patients in certain facilities would be moved to the Navy hospital ship, the Mercy, to prevent exposure. According to the Los Angeles Times, the state has also dispatched “600 nurses trained in infection disease control to assist nursing homes.”

coronavirus_2019-300x169It is more important than ever to know if you have an elderly loved one in a facility with a history of infection-control violations, whether he or she is in a nursing home in Riverside County or any other across the state of California. Given the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, nursing homes need to plan and provide effective infection-control strategies to prevent nursing home patients and assisted-living facility residents from contracting this deadly illness. In recent weeks, COVID-19 has spread through many skilled nursing facilities in California and throughout the country quickly, leaving many older adults with severe and fatal COVID-19 infections. 

According to a recent report in the Sacramento Bee, some nursing homes in the state have a history of infection-control violations. While the lack of a history of violations does not necessarily mean that a facility could not make mistakes or poor decisions in the future that might lead to patient harm, facilities that already have a history of violations may put patients at particular risk of COVID-19 infections.

Nursing Homes in California Have Violated Infection-Control Requirements

markus-spiske-3_SvgDspSTE-unsplash-copy-300x200Nursing home patients in San Diego County and throughout the U.S. are particularly vulnerable to infections and illness as a result of age and underlying conditions, even when the world is not experiencing a coronavirus pandemic. However, in this moment of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, news reports across the country are reflecting the ways in which nursing home residents are uniquely vulnerable to the virus and, in particular, to death as a result of contracting it. As such, many nursing homes have limited how visitors can see their loved ones at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in order to prevent the spread of the virus among the elderly. At a moment when residents of California’s nursing homes are especially vulnerable to illness, the Trump Administration announced plans to relax federal oversight of nursing homes. 

According to a recent article in The New York Times, the Trump Administration’s proposal “would loosen federal rules meant to control infections, just as the coronavirus rips through nursing homes.” The following is some information you should know about plans to relax federal oversight of nursing homes and what that could mean for elderly residents.

Rule Changes Were Proposed Last Summer

obed-hernandez-592136-unsplash-copy-212x300Whether you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in San Bernardino County or elsewhere in California, you may have had concerns about elder abuse risks. It can be difficult for older adults and their family members to know whether a nursing home or assisted-living facility is more likely than another to engage in nursing home abuse or neglect, especially when the facility has no history of abuse or safety violations. What may be a deciding factor, according to a recent article in The New York Times, is the resident-to-staff ratio, or the patient-to-staff ratio at the facility. 

Class Action Lawsuit Raises Issues About Understaffing

Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities with poor staffing ratios may have higher rates of neglect. Indeed, as that article explains, a class action lawsuit in California against a chain of assisted-living facilities contends that, “when staff members [at these facilities] conduct periodic assessments—to determine whether a resident needs help bathing or dressing, for example, or suffers from dementia—the facilities don’t use the results to determine an adequate number of staff members.” Rather, the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit contend, staffing decisions are based on the nursing home’s economic well-being. Accordingly, facilities like those named in the class action are routinely understaffed.

From Patricia McGinnis of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

Don’t Allow Discharges of COVID-19 Positive Patients into Long Term Care
CANHRIf we have learned nothing else over the past couple of weeks, it is that residents of skilled nursing facilities and residential care facilities are the most vulnerable to infection and death as a result of the Coronavirus. Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington – a 120 bed skilled nursing home – became the center of the COVID-19 pandemic where 37 facility residents and visitors have died so far from the virus, and many more have fallen ill.

eduard-militaru-Q4PvX80itZ0-unsplash-copy-300x200Are changing demographics at nursing homes in Orange County, California impacting rates of elder abuse and neglect in those facilities? According to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, new research considering the effects of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 87) is having more of an impact on nursing home demographics than many of us might expect. In short, more nursing homes are admitting patients from hospitals, the diversity of nursing home residents has increased, and the overall percentage of nonprofit nursing homes and other facilities has risen. 

Researchers believe that these shifts should continue as we move into the future, and that they may help to reduce the rate of nursing home abuse and neglect in some instances. The research cited in the article appeared in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine this month. We want to tell you more about the findings.

OBRA 87 was Supposed to Improve the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes

coronavirus_2019-300x169The recent outbreak of coronavirus in a skilled nursing facility in Washington has exposed the susceptibility of nursing home residents to this virus. News reports have indicated that the Washington facility was found to be understaffed with inadequate gear attempting to serve dozens of patients vulnerable to catching the virus. Those reports also indicate children and other relatives of patients in the facility have been attempting to sound the alarm about conditions in the facility for weeks.

The arrival of the coronavirus in the United States has come at a time when we already have ongoing problems associated with caring for the American elderly, one of the country’s most vulnerable populations, especially as long-term care is frequently understaffed and underfunded. It is only be a matter of time before Southern California nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be impacted by the virus. Accordingly, these nursing facilities need to be adequately prepared to handle the virus and proactively work to prevent its introduction into its patient population, and its spread.

As stated, this is especially important given that nursing homes and other care facilities, including assisted living facilities, are particularly vulnerable for viruses: Residents inside are older and live in close proximity. Moreover, many residents don’t know enough not to touch other residents’ foods, drink others waters, rub their own eyes, and touch their own mouths.

dominik-lange-VUOiQW4OeLI-unsplash-1-copy-300x200The population of Southern California is aging rapidly, as it is in many other regions of the state and the country. As more older adults require care in nursing homes and move into assisted-living facilities, those seniors may be at greater risk of suffering injuries as a result of elder abuse and neglect. Yet most instances of nursing home abuse or neglect are preventable. Indeed, if California nursing facilities had more staff members, had better screening processes for elder care licenses, and took more steps to prevent injuries like falls in nursing homes, fewer older adults would get hurt. According to a recent article in StateofReform.com, several new laws will take effect in California in 2020, and many of them are designed to help older adults. 

We want to tell you more about these laws and to explain how they may help to prevent senior injuries in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

SB 280: Reassessing the California Residential Code and Fall Prevention

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an elderly parent or loved one who may soon need nursing home care in San Diego County, it is important to get the facts about skilled nursing care and risks of elder abuse in California. When you get the facts, it is essential to identify the common myths that persist when it comes to nursing home abuse and neglect. An article in Forbes discusses some common misconceptions about elder abuse, and we want to elaborate on those misconceptions to ensure you have the information you need when it comes to choosing a nursing home and identifying signs of abuse or neglect. 

Myth 1: Expensive Nursing Homes are Less Likely to be Places Where Abuse or Neglect Occurs

Nursing home abuse can occur at any facility, regardless of the price tag. Do not be fooled into thinking that the more a nursing home costs, the less likely the chances are of nursing home abuse happening there.

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