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Articles Posted in Elder Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for Los Angeles County nursing home residents and for nursing home residents throughout the state of California. Older adults in nursing homes are particularly susceptible to severe COVID-19 infections, and many facilities do not have the type of infection-control measures in place that can effectively prevent the spread of the coronavirus, not to mention the fact that many of those facilities are understaffed and cannot properly serve the patients who are suffering from serious infections. 

According to a recent article in Roll Call, the pandemic and its effects on nursing home residents has led policymakers and safety advocates to seek significant changes to nursing home safety in order to prevent avoidable injuries and deaths caused by nursing home negligence.

Senior Safety Advocates Seek More Funding and Long-Term Changes for Nursing Home Safety

Nursing home residents in Orange County have a wide variety of rights under California law, which are designed to protect nursing home residents from elder abuse and neglect. Much too often, seniors in skilled nursing facilities in Southern California are still subject to poor care and intentional abuse, and many suffer serious or life-threatening injuries as a result. However, it is still important for older adults and their families to know what their rights are under California law. 

Even if the existence of nursing home residents’ rights are insufficient to prevent nursing home abuse or neglect from happening in the first place, recognizing rights and understanding when they have been violated may allow a senior or her family to take action by filing a claim against the facility or a particular healthcare provider. The following are examples of the resident rights in Orange County nursing homes.

General Residents’ Rights in California Nursing Homes

Nursing homes in San Bernardino County and throughout the state of California have a duty to patients when it comes to infection-control measures and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Yet many facilities have not provided the type of protection that is necessary for seniors, resulting in serious and deadly COVID-19 infections. When a nursing home fails to provide the type of protection to seniors that is necessary to avoid infection with a deadly virus, the nursing home may be liable for negligence. According to a recent report in Becker’s Hospital Review, hospitals and nursing homes across California are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for “lax coronavirus protection.” 

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

One of the most important infection-control measures for nursing homes is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff. PPE helps to prevent nursing home staff members from contracting the virus in a nursing home, but also from spreading it to patients within the facility. According to the article, the California Occupational Safety and Health division is currently proposing more than $77,000 in fines for five skilled nursing facilities and hospitals in the state for failing to provide adequate PPE.

Prior to the start of 2020, nobody was considering the ways in which a global pandemic could impact a senior’s risk of suffering injuries as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. Yet the coronavirus pandemic has, for many older adults, made things worse. According to a recent article in MarketWatch, the pandemic has meant that “many older adults have become more vulnerable” and are suffering harm that otherwise could have been prevented.

 
Whether you currently live in a nursing home in San Bernardino County or have an elderly loved one in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California, it is essential to learn more about elder abuse risks during the pandemic and what can be done to mitigate them.

 
Facilities Refusing to Allow Residents to Reenter

Although nursing homes in Orange County and throughout Southern California are largely focused on issues pertaining to COVID-19 infections and methods of preventing illness and death among residents and patients, it is important to remember that long-term care facilities still have other duties when it comes to resident safety. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in California need to provide a certain level of care to patients in order to prevent injuries from happening solely as a result of inadequate care. Many injuries in nursing homes happen because a resident tried to get out of bed herself after being unable to reach a nurse, or a resident fell because a staff member was not providing proper observation.

 
To be clear, many injuries in nursing homes do not result from bad intentions, but rather from a lack of care often due to inadequate staffing. As many staff members call in sick with COVID-19 and staff members are swamped with coronavirus mitigation duties, more residents could be at risk of a fall-related injury. The following are five things to know about falls in nursing homes.

 
Adults Aged 65 and Older Fall More Often Than You Might Think

Whether you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in San Bernardino County or somewhere nearby in Southern California, we know that you are likely watching the news about the spread of the coronavirus carefully. Given that nursing homes are filled with older adults who suffer from a variety of health conditions, including many with compromised immune systems, residents of these facilities are at a particularly high risk of a severe case of COVID-19 and at a significantly higher risk of death than the rest of the population. News reports indicating that dozens, and sometimes more, residents of nursing homes across the country are dying of COVID-19 have served as a call to action when it comes to making nursing homes safer. 

A recent article from Kaiser Health News reports that many of the “COVID-plagued” facilities in California have histories of safety problems and violations. In other words, these facilities should have been targeted much sooner, in which case some coronavirus deaths may have been prevented. 

California Nursing Homes with Past Problems

coronavirus_2019-300x169It is more important than ever to know if you have an elderly loved one in a facility with a history of infection-control violations, whether he or she is in a nursing home in Riverside County or any other across the state of California. Given the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, nursing homes need to plan and provide effective infection-control strategies to prevent nursing home patients and assisted-living facility residents from contracting this deadly illness. In recent weeks, COVID-19 has spread through many skilled nursing facilities in California and throughout the country quickly, leaving many older adults with severe and fatal COVID-19 infections. 

According to a recent report in the Sacramento Bee, some nursing homes in the state have a history of infection-control violations. While the lack of a history of violations does not necessarily mean that a facility could not make mistakes or poor decisions in the future that might lead to patient harm, facilities that already have a history of violations may put patients at particular risk of COVID-19 infections.

Nursing Homes in California Have Violated Infection-Control Requirements

markus-spiske-3_SvgDspSTE-unsplash-copy-300x200Nursing home patients in San Diego County and throughout the U.S. are particularly vulnerable to infections and illness as a result of age and underlying conditions, even when the world is not experiencing a coronavirus pandemic. However, in this moment of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, news reports across the country are reflecting the ways in which nursing home residents are uniquely vulnerable to the virus and, in particular, to death as a result of contracting it. As such, many nursing homes have limited how visitors can see their loved ones at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in order to prevent the spread of the virus among the elderly. At a moment when residents of California’s nursing homes are especially vulnerable to illness, the Trump Administration announced plans to relax federal oversight of nursing homes. 

According to a recent article in The New York Times, the Trump Administration’s proposal “would loosen federal rules meant to control infections, just as the coronavirus rips through nursing homes.” The following is some information you should know about plans to relax federal oversight of nursing homes and what that could mean for elderly residents.

Rule Changes Were Proposed Last Summer

obed-hernandez-592136-unsplash-copy-212x300Whether you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in San Bernardino County or elsewhere in California, you may have had concerns about elder abuse risks. It can be difficult for older adults and their family members to know whether a nursing home or assisted-living facility is more likely than another to engage in nursing home abuse or neglect, especially when the facility has no history of abuse or safety violations. What may be a deciding factor, according to a recent article in The New York Times, is the resident-to-staff ratio, or the patient-to-staff ratio at the facility. 

Class Action Lawsuit Raises Issues About Understaffing

Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities with poor staffing ratios may have higher rates of neglect. Indeed, as that article explains, a class action lawsuit in California against a chain of assisted-living facilities contends that, “when staff members [at these facilities] conduct periodic assessments—to determine whether a resident needs help bathing or dressing, for example, or suffers from dementia—the facilities don’t use the results to determine an adequate number of staff members.” Rather, the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit contend, staffing decisions are based on the nursing home’s economic well-being. Accordingly, facilities like those named in the class action are routinely understaffed.

dominik-lange-VUOiQW4OeLI-unsplash-1-copy-300x200The population of Southern California is aging rapidly, as it is in many other regions of the state and the country. As more older adults require care in nursing homes and move into assisted-living facilities, those seniors may be at greater risk of suffering injuries as a result of elder abuse and neglect. Yet most instances of nursing home abuse or neglect are preventable. Indeed, if California nursing facilities had more staff members, had better screening processes for elder care licenses, and took more steps to prevent injuries like falls in nursing homes, fewer older adults would get hurt. According to a recent article in StateofReform.com, several new laws will take effect in California in 2020, and many of them are designed to help older adults. 

We want to tell you more about these laws and to explain how they may help to prevent senior injuries in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

SB 280: Reassessing the California Residential Code and Fall Prevention

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