Articles Posted in Elder Care

daan-stevens-282446-1-copy-300x191There are many different ways that elder abuse and neglect can happen in Rancho Bernardo, and seniors can suffer from a variety of injuries as a result of nursing home negligence. While we often think about scenarios in which injuries can occur in skilled nursing facilities, should older adults and their families also be thinking more carefully about elder neglect or negligence in hospitals, and what this means for a senior’s long-term health? According to a recent article in The New York Times, many elderly hospital patients end up suffering serious injuries as a result of “post-hospital syndrome.”

What is post-hospital syndrome? In brief, it is tied to hospital readmissions and inadequate care among seniors, according to the article. Who is responsible when elderly patients sustain serious injuries as a result of post-hospital syndrome?

Understanding the Harms of Hospital Readmissions Among Seniors

josh-appel-423804-copy-300x225Whether nursing home patients reside at a skilled nursing facility in Escondido or elsewhere in California, they now have greater protections against elder abuse and neglect. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, a new California state law requires that patients receive a minimum number of hours of care from certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The law took effect on July 1, 2018, but will patients see an immediate change in the way staffing works at nursing homes across the state? Will staffing increases reduce the rates of nursing home neglect in the state?

Staffing Requirements Stricter, But Will Facilities Meet Those Requirements?

Under the new law, what kinds of staffing requirements are required at nursing homes in Escondido and throughout California? As of July 1, facilities must provide each patient with at least 3.5 hours of direct care every day. This number increased from a previous requirement of 3.2 hours of direct patient care per day. But that change is not the most drastic of the shifts in the law. The significant change is that at least 2.4 of these daily hours of direct patient care must be provided by CNAs.

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207One of the most common reasons that seniors sustain serious injuries from nursing home neglect is understaffing. When skilled nursing facilities do not have enough staff members, there are not enough people to provide the necessary care to patients and residents at the facility. Both California state law and federal law require skilled nursing facilities to have a specific staff-to-patient ratio to help ensure that seniors are getting the care they need. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, many nursing homes across the country have been overstating their staffing numbers in order to be in compliance with state and federal regulations. As a result, patients have been suffering from nursing home abuse and neglect.

Federal Data Shows Inadequate Staffing Levels at Many Nursing Homes

For many years, according to the article, numerous family members of seniors in skilled nursing facilities have worried that staffing levels were insufficient. As it turns out, many of those suspicions and fears have some validity to them. Indeed, “on the worst staffed days at an average facility, the new data show, on-duty personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as they did when the staffing roster was fullest.” Records also showed that there were significant fluctuations in staffing numbers at many facilities from day to day, with some days having adequate staff while others had grossly inadequate staff on hand to meet the needs of the residents.

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.

jyotirmoy-gupta-443923-unsplash-copy-300x200Falls are a serious problem among elderly residents of Carlsbad nursing homes. For seniors who live at home, a dangerous fall can mean the difference between being able to live independently and requiring daily care at a skilled nursing facility, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Slips and falls, as well as falls from heights, often result in permanent disabilities and sometimes death among elderly patients. As such, it is important for researchers, physicians, and caregivers to continue seeking out new ways of preventing falls in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across Southern California and throughout the country. In some situations, a serious fall may be the result of nursing home neglect or nursing home negligence.

According to a recent public radio report, a small sensor developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University may help to reduce the rate of falls among older adults.

Falls are Common in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

parker-byrd-139348-copy-300x200Can Yelp help Valley Center seniors avoid nursing homes with histories of elder abuse or neglect? Most residents of San Diego County think of Yelp as a crowd-sourced set of reviews for businesses like restaurants or retail establishments. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, Yelp also might be able to provide helpful information about nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to patients and their families who are looking for places with high ratings.

Given that nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem across Southern California and throughout the state, using an unlikely source such as Yelp to find reviews can not hurt. As the article points out, “gerontologists at the University of Southern California have been looking into Yelp nursing home reviews and think they make a useful addition to the homework any prospective resident or family member needs to undertake.”

Using Crowd-Sourced Information to Choose a Skilled Nursing Facility

andres-de-armas-103880-copy-300x200Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia make seniors in Escondido much more vulnerable to nursing home abuse and neglect. Indeed, as the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation emphasizes in a recent article, one of the most significant ways of stopping elder abuse is finding a way to prevent the elderly from developing Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, the fewer seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the fewer seniors who are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect in nursing homes.

What can we do to prevent dementia? Since researchers have yet to identify a fully effective treatment for this disease, many have turned to preventing it from occurring in the first place. According to a recent article from Harvard Health Publishing, new research suggests that certain medications could contribute to dementia in elderly patients.

Commonly Used Medications Affect Memory and Learning

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200Elder abuse is prevalent in Carlsbad, and many families seeking out nursing homes for their elderly loved one worry about nursing home abuse and neglect. According to an article in Health & Fitness CheatSheet, there are many things that nursing homes do not want patients to know—from information contained within admission contracts to the problems and limitations facing residents within the facility. If you are considering a particular nursing home or assisted-living facility for your loved one, you should always do as much research as possible into the facility, including looking at records of violations and visiting the facility itself to get a sense of the space. In addition, you might consider some of the following issues, which, according to the article, nursing homes may not want you to know.

Many Residents are Isolated from One Another in Nursing Homes

It is important for nursing home residents to have interaction with other people and to be able to socialize. However, residents often do not have as much freedom to move around the facility as they would like, and many feel isolated from other residents. According to the article, in a recent study, about 50% of nursing home patients interviewed reported that they “felt depressed due to a lack of independence and freedom, as well as loneliness.”

elias-castillo-658736-unsplash-copy-300x200In Oceanside and throughout much of Southern California, many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are staffed by immigrants who are residing in the country under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. What is the connection between nursing home staff members working in the country under TPS and risks of nursing home negligence? In short, as the article contends, the Trump administration’s targeting of immigrants could result in significant nursing home staff shortages in California in particular. As a report from the Urban Institute for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains, maintaining a staff-to-resident ratio at skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities is essential to prevent unintended nursing home neglect.

Trump Administration Ending TPS for Immigrants

The article in the Los Angeles Times explains that there are currently about 59,000 Haitians who are living and working in the U.S. under TPS, and many more thousands from other countries. TPS is a humanitarian program, and for Haitians it provided immigrants with the ability to live and work in the United States following the devastating earthquake in 2010. Yet many people living and working in the U.S. under TPS may need to leave the country given that “the Trump administration decided to end TPS for Haitians, giving them until July 22, 2019, to leave the country or face deportation.”

andres-de-armas-103880-copy-300x200News about the opioid crisis or opioid epidemic has put many patients on notice about the dangers of these drugs. But what about nursing home patients in Rancho Bernardo and elsewhere in Southern California who may be suffering harms from opioids, benzodiazepines, and other prescription medications? Should physicians be prescribing such medications for seniors in skilled nursing facilities, or could these drugs be doing more harm than good? Is it possible that the use—and overuse—of benzodiazepines and opioids together in nursing homes could rise to the level of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect?

According to a recent article in The New York Times, use of benzodiazepines is on the rise among America’s seniors, yet older adults are “particularly vulnerable to the drugs’ ill effects.” In combination with opioid prescriptions, elderly adults using benzodiazepines may be at particularly severe risk of harm.

History of Benzodiazepine Dangers in Older Adults