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Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

Nursing home neglect can take many different forms in San Diego County. In some cases, a senior in a nursing home or assisted living facility might be harmed as a result of willful deprivation, where a staff member refuses to provide the senior with the medications, medical devices, or care they need. Under most circumstances, however, nursing home neglect is not intentional. Rather, injuries arising out of neglect in Southern California result from issues like understaffing, lack of appropriate training for staff members, and ultimately, a failure for an elderly nursing home resident to receive the care they need without any intention by the facility to cause harm. Yet just because a nursing home or assisted living facility in San Diego County does not intend to cause injuries or any other type of harm does not mean that the facility cannot be held accountable.

Infections are one type of harm for which nursing homes and assisted living facilities in San Diego County can be liable if any infection results from negligence. Our San Diego County nursing home negligence attorneys can provide you with more information.

Nursing Homes Have a Duty to Prevent Infections

When you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety in a nursing home, it can be difficult to identify signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse. Under some circumstances, it might seem as though there are logical explanations for certain indicators of abuse or neglect, while in other situations, the signs and symptoms of abuse simply might not be obvious. While it is critical for friends and family members of nursing home residents to know how to spot indicators of abuse, it is also important to remember that residents may be able to provide key information about neglect or negligence taking place at the nursing home. Although seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia may not be able to voice their concerns directly, certain questions may be able to provide helpful information.

When you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should learn about the types of questions you can ask to identify indications of abuse. The following types of questions may be able to reveal abuse or neglect.

Questions Concerning Daily Activities

Nursing home abuse injuries can affect any resident of a nursing home in San Diego County or elsewhere in Southern California, regardless of age, sex, or health condition. However, it is important to know that there are risk factors that can make it more likely that a nursing home resident will be subject to nursing home abuse or neglect. To be clear, the fact that a nursing home resident has one or more of the most common risk factors for abuse does not necessarily mean that the resident will be subject to abuse, but that they are at greater risk for harm from abuse or neglect. Consider some of the following risk factors that could make elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home more likely.

Physical Health Issues

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), physical health and mobility issues are common risk factors for nursing home abuse. When an older adult requires assistance with physical care, mobility, and activities of daily living (ADLs), that older adult is more likely to be subject to abuse or passive neglect. Activities of daily living can include dressing and eating, but they can also include bathing and bathroom assistance. Not only can these seniors be at greater risk for acts of intentional physical or emotional abuse, but they can also be more likely to suffer injuries if they do not receive the level of care they need.

Nobody should ever have to fear that an elderly parent or relative is being subjected to physical or emotional abuse in a nursing home, or that a loved one is experiencing pain and suffering because of neglect in a skilled nursing facility. Given that nursing homes want to make money and want to keep patients at their facilities, it can often be difficult to get a straight answer from a facility when you have concerns about abuse or neglect. If you are concerned about abuse in your parent’s nursing home, what should you do?

Understand the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in its Varied Forms

First, be sure you know some of the common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, recognizing the nursing home negligence can take many different forms. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) cites some of the following as common indicators of abuse or neglect:

Psychological and emotional abuse happens much too often in nursing homes in Orange County, and it is important to hold the facility accountable for any harm it has caused. In order to file a nursing home abuse claim arising out of psychological abuse, it is important to understand more about this type of abuse and how it shows up in patients. The following are five things you should know about psychological and emotional abuse in Orange County.

  1. Psychological or Emotional Abuse is a Form of Nursing Home Abuse

While psychological or emotional abuse does not involve the infliction of physical pain, or the deprivation of food or medical care, it is certainly a form of nursing home abuse that happens more often than many people might think. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) explains that it can involve verbal assaults, threats, harassment, intimidation, or behaviors designed to embarrass an elderly nursing home resident. 

Residents of San Diego County nursing homes can be harmed by many different types of nursing home abuse and neglect, from intentional physical or emotional abuse to passive neglect resulting from understaffing. While it may not be as prevalent as certain types of abuse in skilled nursing facilities, sexual abuse is a serious problem in Southern California nursing homes and in facilities across the country. Different parties can perpetrate sexual abuse in the nursing home setting, from staff members to other residents. Even in circumstances in which other residents perpetrate acts of sexual assault, the nursing home may still be liable for failing to prevent those injuries. A recent sexual abuse case in a Seal Beach nursing home underscores the prevalence of sexual abuse in skilled nursing facilities and the need to hold nursing homes accountable.

Learning More About the Recent Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Case in Southern California

According to a recent report from ABC News 7, an 85-year-old woman with dementia who is a resident of Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing home in Southern California, was sexually assaulted by another resident at the facility. Staff members at the nursing home called the police in early March 2022 when they “heard a woman screaming and pushed through the door blocked by the suspect’s wheelchair and found the suspect on top of her, on her bed,” according to the report. It also indicated that, when the staff members were able to get into the room, they found the resident “engaging in acts against her [the other resident] of a sexual nature.” That resident had a prior history of serious domestic violence for which he spent time in prison.

It can be extremely disorienting to visit an elderly loved one at a San Diego County nursing home and to discover that your loved one has unexplained injuries or is behaving in a manner indicative of abuse or neglect. When you have concerns about nursing home abuse or neglect at a skilled nursing or assisted-living facility, you should seek advice from a San Diego County nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. You should also follow these steps to protect your loved one’s ability to seek compensation through a nursing home abuse claim/ 

Document the Injury and the Area Where it Happened

First, you should document the injury as best as you can, including the place or area where it happened. If an elderly relative has obvious physical signs of an injury, you should photograph them, and you should also take pictures of the area where the injury occurred. Documenting the scene may be able to show that the facility failed to take necessary steps to keep your loved one safe.

Does the type of corporation, entity, or individual that owns a nursing home in San Bernardino County affect the likelihood that the facility will be a place where nursing home abuse or neglect occurs? A recent article in Market Watch highlights the particular dangers of facilities that have been bought by private-equity firms and that may not be putting patients first. Indeed, according to that article, residents at many of these facilities face “a threat of imminent danger of death or bodily harm” as a result of poor care at various facilities and California’s failure to take action, according to a judge in the state. That judge described the state government’s failure to protect seniors in nursing homes as a “consistent, endemic, and statewide” problem centered on a lack of investigations into complaints and accusations that have been made against these facilities. 

That recent court decision in California highlights the need for state agencies to take more significant action to protect nursing home residents from injuries caused by abuse and neglect.

California Court Says Department of Public Health Has Failed Nursing Home Residents

More patients in San Diego County nursing homes and across the country are being diagnosed with schizophrenia for reasons that are questionable and raise concerns about nursing home negligence, as a recent article in The New York Times suggested. But are some patients more affected than others, and is race playing a role? A follow-up report in The New York Times argues that Black residents are being disproportionately affected by these harmful diagnoses and subsequent administration of antipsychotic medications, suggesting that nursing home abuse has a clear racial dimension in these situations. Are schizophrenia diagnoses, and other issues in nursing homes, affecting Black residents more than other elderly patients at skilled nursing facilities? 

Black Nursing Home Residents are Diagnosed with Schizophrenia More Often

More nursing home residents are being diagnosed with schizophrenia so that the facilities can administer antipsychotic drugs to “difficult” patients, The New York Times has suggested. Indeed, since nursing home residents with schizophrenia can still readily be prescribed antipsychotic medications (whereas regulations have attempted to reduce the use of antipsychotics in other nursing home cases), there has been a surge in the number of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Since 2012, the number of elderly patients diagnosed with schizophrenia has “grown by 70%.” The article points to a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, which found that the “impact of this has been more severe on Black residents.”

Overmedication has been a problem for years at nursing homes in San Bernardino County and throughout Southern California. Not only are many nursing home patients on too many drugs that can cause harmful interactions with one another, but many nursing home residents are currently taking antipsychotic medications that they may not need. Overmedication, or unnecessary rates of drugging, can have extremely harmful consequences and may lead to nursing home neglect cases. According to a recent article in The New York Times, more than 20 percent of nursing home residents across the country are currently taking antipsychotic drugs, and many of them may not actually need these medications.

What should you know about overmedication or over-drugging at nursing homes in Southern California and the connection to nursing home negligence?

Antipsychotic Drugs are Extremely Dangerous

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