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Articles Posted in Assisted Living Facilities

If you have an elderly loved one in a San Diego County nursing home or in a skilled nursing facility elsewhere in California, it is important to know about liability for COVID-19 infections and what facilities are doing—or not doing, in many cases—to prevent infections. According to a recent article in Time Magazine, nursing homes across the country are seeking immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits, arguing that patients and their families cannot allege nursing home neglect as a result of the spread of coronavirus. An article in The New York Times recently explained how California nursing homes, along with facilities in places like New York and New Jersey, are being encouraged to take COVID-19 patients from hospitals, which many are doing in order to increase profits.

 
What do you need to know about nursing home claims and what it would mean if facilities were immune from lawsuits?

 
Nursing Home Neglect Claims Tied to COVID-19 Infections

When you have an elderly parent in a Los Angeles County nursing home or another loved one receives daily care in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California, it is essential to understand the rights that an older adult has under California law, and how a dangerous facility can be held accountable for resident injuries. Given that so many nursing home residents are contracting COVID-19 as a result of poor infection-control measures and policies in nursing homes across the country, and many seniors are dying from COVID-19 infections in California skilled nursing facilities, it is important for all Los Angeles County residents to know more about protections under state law.

The primary law that protects nursing home residents and provides a remedy for safety violations is the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA). We want to provide you with some frequently asked questions and answers about this law.

What is the EADACPA Designed to Do?

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

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.

Walton Law Firm represented the interests of the family of M.E. (confidential), and elderly woman who suffered from dementia and needed the help with her activities of daily living. She was admitted to a small 12-bed San Diego area assisted living facility in April of 2017. Upon admission, M.E. did not have any bedsores.

M.E’s children began to notice that their mother was never out of her bed when they would visit (which was often). Worse, the family would find M.E. alone in her room with all of the lights turned out, even in the middle of the day. The facility’s administrator first lied to the family, telling the children that their mother was helped out of bed every day. Later, she testified in a deposition that M.E. had experienced a “health crisis” during that time frame and needed to stay in bed (even though the family was unaware of any crisis).

As a result of being left in bed, M.E. developed a bedsore on her coccyx. Within a month, the sore was sized as a Stage III, which disqualified M.E. for assisted living care, and required the facility to discharge her or contact the state for permission to retain her with proper care. Instead of taking action, the administrator actively discouraged the family from taking appropriate action with regard to their mother’s health.

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

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?

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207Whether your elderly loved one resides in an assisted living facility in Oceanside or another area of San Diego County, it is important to reconsider whether an assisted living facility is the right place if your elderly loved one suffers from dementia. According to a recent article in Kaiser Health News, the number of assisted living facilities has been expanding across the country, meaning that there are more assisted living options than there were previously. However, as a result of the rapid growth of these facilities, they are becoming less and less equipped to handle the needs of patients with dementia. Dementia patients are suffering injuries as a result of elder neglect. 

Nursing home abuse and neglect can occur in any facility regardless of its previous safety record, and even the most well-intentioned facilities may not be able to provide property care for dementia patients, the article suggests.

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