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Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

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

Risks of nursing home abuse and neglect in Orange County are often considered in connection with physical elder abuse. In other words, when seniors themselves or their family members are investigating histories of abuse at the facility or worrying about the possibility of injuries due to elder abuse, they are often thinking about physical abuse. Yet nursing home abuse and neglect can take many different forms, and it is essential to have a basic understanding of the signs and symptoms of each type of abuse that may occur in a skilled nursing facility. Today, our experienced Orange County nursing home abuse attorneys want to discuss the differences between physical abuse and psychological abuse in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California. 

What is Physical Abuse in a Nursing Home?

Physical abuse in a nursing home or assisted-living facility can take many different forms, but it is often recognizable due to visible signs and symptoms of the abuse. For example, if a staff member at a facility strikes or physically assaults a nursing home resident, that resident may have visible bruises, cuts, or other related wounds. Likewise, if a staff member at a nursing home uses physical restraints on a patient unnecessarily, that nursing home patient may have visible signs of physical restraints, such as abrasions around the arms or legs. 

Nobody wants to think about risks of elder abuse and neglect at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Riverside County, yet older adults routinely suffer serious and fatal injuries as a result of nursing home abuse. It is critical for family members to recognize that nursing home abuse and neglect often go unreported. Thus, it is essential to be able to recognize the signs of various types of abuse, from symptoms of physical or emotional abuse to clear warning signs of passive neglect. Although each type of nursing abuse has its own particular signs and symptoms, you should always seek help anytime an elderly loved one exhibits changes in behavior or shows signs of physical harm that do not have a logical explanation. 

Why does nursing home abuse go unreported so frequently? Our Riverside County nursing home abuse attorneys want to discuss some of the common reasons that abuse and neglect are not reported at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California.

Fear of Further Abuse or Retaliation 

Monitoring an elderly loved one’s safety and well-being in a San Diego County nursing home can be exhausting, and it is not a role that friends and family members should have to fill. However, given that nursing home abuse and neglect is unfortunately common in Southern California skilled nursing facilities. As such, it is often necessary to learn about the signs and symptoms of various forms of nursing home abuse and neglect when you have an elderly parent or other older relative who lives in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. Yet it can be difficult to know what you should do if you are worried about abuse when you see potential signs of negligence, abuse, or neglect. Should you report the abuse? Should you investigate further yourself? Should you seek advice from a San Diego County nursing home abuse attorney? 

Many people feel uncomfortable initiating an investigation of any type in the event they are mistaken about abuse. Yet it is critical to remember that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to addressing concerns about nursing home abuse and neglect in Southern California. Generally speaking, you should not decide between reporting the abuse to authorities and initiating a lawsuit. Instead, you should be thinking about reporting your concerns and seeking advice from an attorney who can help.

Seeking Advice From a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in San Diego County

Whether you have an elderly loved one in a Riverside County nursing home or in a skilled nursing facility elsewhere in Southern California, it is critical to be aware of signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect. While family members and friends should not have to be the ones to spot warning signs of abuse or neglect, they are often the only ones who do. This kind of problem, highlighting the negligence of various facilities, is often particularly notable in situations in which seniors at nursing homes ultimately require emergency treatment at a hospital due to neglect at the nursing home. 

Indeed, according to a recent article in Reuters, a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicated that “California did not ensure that nursing facilities reported potential abuse or neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries transferred from nursing facilities to hospital emergency rooms.”

Nursing Homes are Supposed to Report Abuse and Neglect

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