Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

brandon-holmes-199535-unsplash-copy-300x200The primary way that state and federal agencies keep track of nursing home and elder abuse rates in the U.S. is through reporting. In other words, healthcare workers, physicians, nursing home staff, and others who interact with seniors are supposed to report incidents of nursing home abuse or neglect to enforcement agencies. However, according to a recent article in NPR, despite the fact that this kind of reporting is required by law, there is substantial underreporting.

This information comes from a recent report published by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which indicates that “in many cases of abuse or neglect severe enough to require medical attention, the incidents have not been reported to enforcement agencies.” Why does underreporting happen, and what steps can lead to more effective reporting?

Reporting Elder Abuse After Patients Receive Care in Emergency Room

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.

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.

Goals of Assisted-Living Facilities

james-williams-502481-unsplash-copy-300x225Seniors with Dementia at Increased Risk of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Valley Center 

Older adults in Valley Center who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are at greater risk of becoming victims of nursing home abuse or neglect. The connection between dementia and elder abuse has been relatively well-studied, and an article published in the journal Health Affairs underscores the link between dementia and nursing home abuse, especially in situations of emotional abuse. That journal article reported that, after a literature review concerning elder abuse and dementia, the researchers concluded that “many older adults experienced multiple forms of abuse simultaneously, and the risk of mortality from abuse and self-neglect may be higher in older adults with greater levels of cognitive impairment.”

Are nursing home abuse and neglect risks just as high when seniors are not properly diagnosed with dementia, or when there is a delayed diagnosis? In other words, do symptoms of dementia have to be advanced in order for an elderly nursing home resident to be at greater risk of abuse, or are almost all patients with dementia—even in its earlier stages—at more risk of injury? A recent article in WebMD suggests that “many older Americans with dementia don’t know they have the disease.” Are these individuals likely to suffer injuries as a result of elder abuse or neglect?

brandon-holmes-199535-unsplash-copy-300x200When nursing homes are cited for nursing home abuse and neglect in Poway, how are those citations determined? What can the type of citations a facility has received in the past tell potential residents about the quality of care at the facility?

It can be difficult to find a skilled nursing facility in Southern California that has a strong record when it comes to patient safety and patient care. One clear way to know that a facility has had problems in the past is to look into its citation history. However, nursing home citations can be difficult to understand. While a citation of any sort indicates that there is a problem, the different citation levels, including the most serious of the penalties, do not always clearly indicate by title alone that the facility has been cited for a serious incident of nursing home abuse or neglect. The following will explore these citations and describe the different categories.

Class AA Nursing Home Citations are the Most Serious Citation

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200Did you know that a majority of elder abuse cases in Vista and throughout California likely go unreported? According to a report from Calaveras Enterprise, research suggests that “for every case of elder or dependent adult abuse known to agencies, 24 more are unknown.” Crimes against seniors in Southern California more generally are on the rise. The City of San Diego predicts that less than 20% of all incidents of elder abuse and neglect are reported in San Diego County. How can raising community awareness help to increase the rates of nursing home abuse reporting in Vista?

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect is Vastly Underreported, but Raising Awareness can Help

In short, elder abuse is underreported. According to a report from Kusi News, reports of violent crimes against older adults in San Diego County rose by about 37% between 2016 and 2017. In each California county, more than 300 reports of suspected elder abuse are logged each year. If we accept that, for every single case reported there are 24 more unreported cases, that fact would mean that there are more than 7,000 incidents of elder abuse each year in San Diego County. Each month in California, the state Adult Protective Services (APS) gets more than 15,000 reports of elder abuse in the state, and the California Association of Area Agencies of Aging indicates that the number of reported abuse incidents is slowly increasing.

DSC_0761-300x199Residents of Carlsbad who have an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility nearby, or who are currently exploring facilities for a loved one, should know about the risks of elder mistreatment and nursing home abuse. Every year, organizations in California and throughout the country take steps to address the continuing high rates of elder abuse, yet seniors continue to suffer preventable injuries as a result of abuse and neglect.

At the start of 2019, two new elder mistreatment prevention initiatives aim to take different approaches to the problem. We want to discuss these new efforts to detect elder abuse in emergency departments.

Elder Abuse as a Social Justice Issue

jeremy-wong-298986-copy-300x200Nursing home abuse can take many different forms, and most of us expect it to be physical abuse or neglect. However, a common form of nursing home abuse is elder emotional or psychological abuse. It is important for family members and loved ones of elderly nursing home patients to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse. As a recent article in the Post-Examiner explains, emotional or psychological abuse is one of the most difficult forms of abuse to recognize because it “leaves no physical signs and can be hard to detect.” What should you know about emotional elder abuse, and what are some of the ways to spot it?

What is Emotional or Psychological Elder Abuse?

According to the article, emotional or psychological abuse is defined as “the infliction of mental suffering, anguish, pain, or distress on a nursing home resident either by words, actions, or even inaction.” Emotional elder abuse changes the way an elderly person feels and thinks, and there are rarely obvious physical signs. An article from WebMD defines emotional or psychological abuse similarly, explaining that it can be “any action that hurts a person emotionally.” The article further clarifies that emotional abuse can happen when an individual threatens a senior, yells at a senior, calls a senior names, talks down to a senior, repeatedly ignores a senior; or controls whom the senior can see and where the senior can go.

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207In Poway and elsewhere in the state of California, elderly residents of nursing homes are facing unfair evictions and what has been termed “patient dumping.” In many cases, these evictions may amount to nursing home abuse or neglect. According to a press release from the organization, the AARP Foundation filed a lawsuit against a facility in Northern California after it unlawfully evicted an 83-year-old patient. The lawsuit emphasizes the growing problem of illegal nursing home evictions in California and across the country, and it also offers an opportunity for families to think carefully about the type of skilled nursing facility that is providing the care for an elderly family member.

Lawsuit Alleges Illegal Eviction of Nursing Home Resident

The AARP Foundation explains that the resident at the center of the lawsuit, Gloria Single, had been residing at Pioneer House in the Sacramento area until she was evicted in March of last year. Single suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and she requires particular care in a skilled nursing facility. The lawsuit alleges that Pioneer House, the RHF Foundation, and corporate affiliates are responsible for “illegally dump[ing]” Single at a hospital, which meant that the defendants “willfully violat[ed] a State order requiring that they allow her to return home.”