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Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

Prior to the start of 2020, nobody was considering the ways in which a global pandemic could impact a senior’s risk of suffering injuries as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. Yet the coronavirus pandemic has, for many older adults, made things worse. According to a recent article in MarketWatch, the pandemic has meant that “many older adults have become more vulnerable” and are suffering harm that otherwise could have been prevented.

 
Whether you currently live in a nursing home in San Bernardino County or have an elderly loved one in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California, it is essential to learn more about elder abuse risks during the pandemic and what can be done to mitigate them.

 
Facilities Refusing to Allow Residents to Reenter

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?

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

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.

Anyone in Los Angeles County who has a loved one with dementia in a nursing home should learn more about a recent study concerning a drug that purports to reverse the effects of this disease. While nursing home abuse and neglect in Los Angeles County can affect any senior regardless of any existing health issues, older adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can be particularly vulnerable to elder abuse. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “people with dementia are especially vulnerable because the disease may prevent them from reporting the abuse or recognizing it.” Moreover, seniors with dementia “also may fall prey to strangers who take advantage of their cognitive impairment.” 

According to a recent press release from the University of California, researchers at UC Berkeley recently published a study that suggests certain drugs may be able to “slow or even reverse the cognitive decline that comes with age.” By reversing the effects of dementia, it could be possible to reduce the rate of nursing home abuse that occurs. We want to tell you more about the recent study and to discuss its implications.

Reducing Brain Inflammation May Reverse Signs of Dementia

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201A new federal nursing home bill is designed to prevent elder abuse, and it could help patients at facilities in San Bernardino County and throughout California. According to a recent article in Skilled Nursing News, the proposed legislation “seeks to protect individuals in nursing homes by implementing more stringent staffing protocols—including increased clinical hours and training—among other safety measures for residents.” Nursing home abuse and neglect often occurs as a result of understaffing. If a federal law were to mandate certain staffing numbers in facilities, rates of abuse and neglect could drop. 

Learning More About the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act

The proposed law is known as the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act. The bill is co-sponsored by two Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut). It has support from lawmakers in both the House and Senate. In addition to requiring certain staffing levels for facilities receiving payments through Medicare and Medicaid, the bill would also make other changes to nursing home mandates. First, nursing staff members would be required to go through “heightened training” and would be subject to heightened “supervision obligations.” This requirement, in connection with the requirement for increased staff numbers, aims to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect by targeting staff at these facilities. Three registered nurses (RNs) would have to be on staff as “management personnel.”

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you are seeking out a nursing home for an elderly loved one in Orange County, it can be difficult to identify a facility that has a strong history of complying with safety regulations and providing quality care for patients. While you might think that a more expensive nursing home is less likely to engage in hiring practices that could lead to injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect, the price of a nursing home is not necessarily indicative of its quality. Even expensive nursing homes can have safety citations and histories of nursing home abuse injuries. According to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has plans to update its “Nursing Home Compare” information to include an “abuse icon” that will alert potential patients and their families to dangerous histories of abuse and neglect. 

CMS Data Update Will Add an Abuse Icon

Currently, potential nursing home residents and their families can access information about nursing homes from the CMS “Nursing Home Compare” website. The website allows consumers to compare multiple nursing homes, assessing CMS ratings for those facilities and other important information that can illuminate whether the nursing home is a good fit. Yet that data can be difficult to navigate, especially for individuals and families who do not have experience analyzing detailed information about nursing homes. In order to make it easier to assess these facilities and to learn whether the facility has a recent history of abuse, CMS will be adding an “abuse alert icon.”

brandon-holmes-199535-unsplash-copy-300x200Whether you have a loved one who currently resides in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility, or if a former neighbor or co-worker lives in a nursing facility and you visit regularly, it is important to know how to spot signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Yet simply being able to identify possible symptoms of elder abuse is only the first step. If you do not have any familiarity with the legal system or the health care system in San Diego County, it can be difficult to know what to do once you have concerns about elder abuse. This is particularly true if you do not know the senior well and want to help, but you do not know where to turn. 

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the California Institute on Aging provides information about identifying and reporting elder abuse and neglect, and we want to discuss some of those steps and options with you below.

When You are Worried About an Emergency Situation

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

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