Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

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.”

james-williams-502481-unsplash-copy-300x225Is the state of California doing enough to penalize skilled nursing facilities in Escondido and throughout North County that are putting their patients’ health and safety at risk? According to a recent article from California Health Report, the California State Auditor issued a report declaring that “California’s skilled nursing facilities are increasingly putting their residents’ health in jeopardy, yet the state is failing to adequately crack down on the problem.” In other words, patients may be suffering injuries as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, but state agencies are not doing enough to punish and prevent those incidents.

What else should seniors in Southern California and their families know about nursing home abuse and the details of the recent report?

Increase in Substandard Care at California Skilled Nursing Facilities

sergey-zolkin-21232-unsplash-copy-300x200In San Marcos and throughout San Diego County, new plans are being developed to combat elder abuse and to make Southern California a safer place for seniors. According to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, San Diego County has long been named as a desirable place to live and a great location to take a family vacation. Recently, the area’s “above-average score in public safety” meant that it made the U.S. News & World Report ranking of “America’s Top 500 Healthiest Communities” out of more than 3,000 nationwide. That ranking means that, on average, San Diego County residents are among the healthiest—and happiest—in the country. In fact, the San Diego metro area is growing yet remains one of the safest in the U.S. But does the same hold true for elderly residents of San Marcos and other parts of North County?

According to the article, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan is working on a “blueprint” to help stop, prosecute, and eventually prevent nursing home abuse and elder neglect in the area.

District Attorney’s Office Focuses on Senior Safety Concerns

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200When you have an elderly loved one with mental health issues in San Clemente, it can be difficult to find a skilled nursing facility that can provide the type of care, as well as the quality of care, that your family member needs. Having a loved one with a mental health issue can mean that she or he may be more vulnerable to nursing home abuse or neglect, or at least the ability to identify and properly report it. As such, it is often particularly important for families searching for nursing homes for a loved one with a mental illness to find a facility with high marks and a history of quality care.

According to a recent article from Reuters Health, “even people with common and often treatable mental health problems like depression and anxiety may have a harder time than patients without these diagnoses getting admitted to a high-quality nursing home.” How does an elderly patient’s mental health impact his or her ability to get accepted into a particular nursing home or assisted-living facility?

Study Says Nursing Homes With High Ratings May be Less Likely to Accept Patients With History of Mental Health Problems

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200When your elderly loved one shows signs of elder abuse or neglect, how can you know whether a caregiver is perpetrating the abuse or whether the harm is self-inflicted? Depending upon whether an older adult in your life has been injured because of negligence by a staff member at a nursing home or because of the senior’s self-neglect, families need to take very different steps. Learning about elder abuse by a caregiver could warrant legal action, while self-inflicted neglect requires different action. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the problem of self-neglect is an underreported one, and “it accounts for more calls to adult protective services nationwide than any other form of elder abuse.”

What should San Diego families know about self-inflicted elder abuse? How do signs and symptoms of self-inflicted abuse differ from signs of neglect when a caregiver or nursing home may be responsible?

What is Elder Self-Neglect?

fabrizio-verrecchia-221046-unsplash-copy-300x200Nursing home evictions have become a serious issue within the larger topic of nursing home abuse and neglect in California and throughout the country. Organizations such as AARP are getting involved in stopping illegal nursing home evictions and questioning the ways in which both federal and state law provides protections to seniors who are being kicked out of facilities. While many commentators are discussing illegal evictions from nursing homes, what about illegal evictions from assisted-living facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) in California?

All of this talk about unlawful nursing home evictions begs the question: What are an elderly person’s rights when it comes to evictions from RCFEs? California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) provides a fact sheet on RCFEs and eviction protection. We want to discuss RCFE evictions with you and help you to understand steps to take when an elderly loved one becomes vulnerable.

What are the Lawful Reasons that an Elderly Resident of an RCFE can be Evicted?

daan-stevens-282446-1-copy-300x191Do you have a loved one with dementia who resides in a nursing home in Carlsbad? If so, it is important to pay close attention to the risks of overmedication for dementia patients. While we have been discussing the problematic off-label use of antipsychotic drugs in patients with Alzheimer’s for quite some time, in more recent months we have not heard a lot about this issue. However, a lack of news coverage about an issue does not mean it has been resolved in a satisfactory manner. According to U.S. News & World Report, a recent report from Human Rights Watch found that “nursing homes unnecessarily give antipsychotic drugs to more than 179,000 residents per week.”

Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Drugs Persists in American Nursing Homes

The Human Rights Watch report says that antipsychotic drugs continue to be administered to elderly nursing home residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia when those drugs have not been prescribed to treat their conditions. Potentially even more harmful, the report suggests, is that those patients are not giving “free and informed consent” to the off-label use of these antipsychotic drugs. These findings appeared in a human rights watch report entitled, “They Want Docile.”

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in San Clemente or elsewhere in San Diego County, it is important to learn more about sexual abuse and how it affects seniors. Nursing home abuse and neglect often involves physical or mental abuse of the elderly, but it can also include sexual abuse. Sometimes perpetrators of sexual abuse in nursing home settings are staff members, while in some situations other residents themselves may be the perpetrators.

A recent article in Reuters emphasized that the #MeToo movement is having an important effect across the country: More victims are reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual abuse. We would like to focus on how this larger societal shift in addressing sexual assault and abuse can influence victims of sexual abuse in the nursing home setting. We will consider recent discussions of elder sex abuse and then discuss methods of detection and prevention.

Turning Media Attention to Sexual Abuse in the Nursing Home Setting

fabrizio-verrecchia-221046-unsplash-copy-300x200Now is as good a time as any to begin thinking carefully about how citizens can play a role in preventing nursing home abuse and elder neglect in Riverside County. According to a recent article in The Acorn, when seniors see their family members and friends more often, signs and symptoms of elder abuse may be more obvious. Once the holiday season ends, it is important to consider ways of helping ensure the safety and well-being of elderly loved ones. The article points citizens to the California Department of Justice’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse.” The publication continues to provide helpful advice for Valley Center residents, and we want to discuss a few key features of the publication with you.

Why should citizens learn more about preventing elder abuse? As the publication points out, “it may take the courage of a caring family member, friend, or caretaker to take action when the victim may be reluctant.”

Recognize Where Elder Abuse can Occur