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Articles Posted in Alzheimers and Dementia

ElderCare-1024x571When does a staffing shortage at a nursing home or assisted-living facility become grounds for an elder neglect case? According to a recent article in the San Francisco Examiner, staffing levels at skilled nursing facilities and other residences for elderly Californians “is an ever-expanding problem.” The need for support services continues to grow in the state, yet the demand doesn’t always fit the need.

To be sure, “individuals 85 years and older, the oldest of the old, are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population.” But, does California have the tools it needs to properly care for these elderly residents?

Rapidly Growing Elderly Population

New Bill Raises Penalties for ElderSacramento_Capitol Abuse and Neglect

Is the state of California taking seriously the problems with nursing home abuse and elder neglect at assisted-living facilities?  According to a recent article in UT San Diego, Governor Jerry Brown just signed into law a bill that will impose “a 100-fold increase in the top fine for violations of state regulations at assisted-living homes for the elderly.”  Before Governor Brown signed the bill, the highest fine for a violation that results in the death of a resident was only $150.  Now, the top fine rose drastically to $15,000.

Fines for elder abuse and neglect resulting in the death of an older adult are not the only penalty increases.  To be sure, the bill will also raise the maximum fine for “violations leading to serious injury or abuse from $150 to $10,000.”  And the new law will not just apply to assisted-living facilities, as was originally proposed in the bill co-authored by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein of San Diego.  It will “apply to all community care facilities in the state.”

Nursing homes in California should take note of the negative publicity surrounding elder abuse and assisted-living facilities in our state.  A recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel described serious nursing home abuse allegations that point to fraudulent Medicare claims and poor patient treatment.  In Watsonville, located in Santa Cruz County, the owners of two nursing homes are facing a lawsuit.  According to the report, federal prosecutors sued the owners “allegiDSC08554-bng that leaders made fraudulent Medicare claims” and “persistently and severely overmedicated elderly and vulnerable residents.”

Overmedication and Fraud Allegations

The two nursing homes at issue are Country Villa Watsonville Easy Nursing Center and Country Villa Watsonville West Nursing Center, both in Santa Cruz County.  The owners have been linked to serious crimes connected to nursing home abuse and neglect.

Does your elderly parent have dementia? Many California residents live with dementia, and their children and family members worry about what kind of care is best for a dementia patient. A recent article in U-T San Diego explained the different options for dementia care. According to Dr. Diane Darby Beach, the Director of Education and Outreach for the Vista Gardens Memory Care Community, there are basically three different kinds of providers who offer long-term care to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia: home care, assisted living, and adult day care.

Dementia%20Woman%20Credit.jpgAre some of these options better than others? Depending on your unique situation, there are many factors to consider when deciding what kind of care is best for someone who suffers from dementia. If you have questions or concerns about the level of care your elderly loved one has received or is currently receiving, it’s a good idea to contact an experienced California nursing home abuse lawyer. At the Walton Law Firm, we have years of experience dealing with elder law issues and can answer your questions today.

Options for Dementia Care

A few months ago we talked about the widespread use of antipsychotic drugs for patients with dementia. Across the United States, off-label use is a major problem in nursing homes. In case you don’t remember, “off-label use” refers to situations in which physicians prescribe drugs for patients without medical diagnoses that actually require the use of those drugs. In nursing homes, off-label use of antipsychotics is most prevalent for residents suffering from dementia.

In many cases these patients are victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. What can we do about it here in California? If you’re concerned that an elderly loved one has suffered abuse at a nursing home or assisted-living facility, the first step is to contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. In fact, many nursing home abuse lawyers are licensed by the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR). A CANHR elder justice advocate will ensure that your elderly loved ones are protected and safe.

California Initiatives for Antipsychotic Medication Reduction

Earlier this month, the California Department of Public Health fined a Sacramento nursing home for the choking death of a patient. The nursing home received an $80,000 fine after Mary Yip, an 86-year-old patient with swallowing difficulties, “choked on a piece of meat during a lunchtime outing with staff members,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

Choking deaths are very serious violations for which many nursing facilities in our state have been fined. Just a few months ago, we told you about a San Diego care center that received a $100,000 fine from the State of California. Nursing homes in Los Angeles County and Orange County have also been fined for choking deaths. If your elderly loved one has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s important to speak to an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.


Details of the Serious Violation

Many older adults who experience depression may see their risks for developing Alzheimer’s and dementia increase, according to a recent article in the New York Times. This is a serious issue for patients in nursing homes and other elder care facilities. While elder abuse and neglect can take many forms, the failure to provide for a patient’s mental needs, such as depression, may constitute neglect.

Statistics on Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease

The New York Times article reported that current research suggests that “late-life depression” has not only led to increased risks for “social isolation, poorer health, and an increased risk of death,” but it also may lead to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of vascular dementia. With an increasingly large population of older adults, these facts are concerning.

A recent article in the New York Times discussed certain dangers that can await Parkinson’s patients when they’re admitted to hospitals. These patients require specific medications at certain times, and general hospital staff members aren’t educated about the needs that these patients have. As a result, Parkinson’s patients can be the victims of serious medication errors, and they can undergo severe side effects from seemingly routine hospital visits. abuse.jpg

If an elderly parent or loved one has been mistreated while in the hospital, an experienced elder justice advocate can discuss the details of your case with you today.

Dangerous Consequences of Medication Errors

Do you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia? According to a recent article in the New York Times, dementia care costs are projected to double by the year 2040. This story comes just a few days after a new report in The New England Journal of Medicine that measured the monetary costs of dementia in America.

What do these new figures mean for nursing home costs and long-term care facilities in the San Diego area? While experts can’t make definitive predictions, many researchers fear that “it’s going to swamp the system,” creating more elderly persons in need of care than there are available caregivers and facilities.

How the Study was Conducted

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