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Articles Posted in Los Angeles Nursing Home

When you have a loved one in a Riverside County nursing home or assisted living facility, or an elderly family member recently passed away while residing in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California, you might have concerns about whether nursing home abuse or neglect has played a role in your relative’s injuries or death. Most people do not have any specialized knowledge about how to detect elder abuse and neglect. As such, it can be extremely difficult to know whether you should move forward with a claim against the facility, or whether you should report the facility or launch an investigation. 

In short, it can be extremely difficult to know with certainty whether nursing home abuse or neglect has occurred. We want to offer you some information that can help if you are grappling with the complicated question of whether or not to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Riverside County.

Ask a Riverside County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Help 

Is a senior in a nursing home at greater risk of suffering a fall-related injury if that senior is more socially isolated as a result of the pandemic? Nursing home staff members are supposed to provide regular and frequent care to nursing home residents, and to ensure that older adults in Los Angeles County nursing facilities are not left unattended for a long enough period of time that a serious or even fatal fall-related accident could happen. Yet according to a recent article in The New York Times, not only can social isolation increase a senior’s risk of suffering a fall injury when that senior is living alone, but social isolation can also put a senior at increased risk of a fall-related injury in assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. 

In short, having fewer people around—friends and family members—can make it more likely that an elderly adult will suffer a fall. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significantly more social isolation for older adults, the pandemic ultimately could lead to more serious and fatal fall injuries among seniors.

New Study Shows Socially Isolated Seniors are More Likely to Fall

Lomita Post-Acute Care Center of Los Angeles County, California was issued a Class AA Citation by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on August 14, 2020 after a resident was killed due to sepsis resulting from negligent patient care at the facility.

The Care Center failed to follow its own policies and procedures to ensure that the resident, who had been admitted just 7 days prior, received the care she needed, which started with an accurate assessment of the resident’s change of condition, in combination with urinary catheter care, reporting to the physician the resident’s change of condition in a timely manner, and sending the resident to the hospital only after a family member insisted.

Interviews and Nurses Notes indicated that on several instances there was no documented confirmation that the Resident’s catheter was being examined per physician’s orders. Which likely contributed to the UTI that later caused Sepsis in the Resident.

Santa Fe Heights nursing home in Compton was issued an AA citation by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on October 16, 2020 after a resident was seriously was killed in a fall that went unnoticed by staff.

The injured resident had four falls in four consecutive months despite being assessed by nursing home staff at being at high risk for falling. After the fourth fall, the resident was found on the floor unresponsive and without vital signs.  An investigation by CDPH revealed that Santa Fe Heights failed to implement safety measure and provide adequate supervision to the resident and failed to develop a plan of care to address his growing fall risk.

Nursing notes revealed that at the time of the last (and fatal) fall, the resident was found by a CNA on the floor at 2:45 pm after attempting to transfer from the toilet. He reportedly hit his head in the fall and was promptly returned to bed without a neuro-check being performed. Despite his obvious signs of injury, including a laceration on his head, there was no assessment for injury, nor any follow up.

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

If you are considering filing an elder abuse claim in Los Angeles County, it is important to understand how much time you have to file a lawsuit. All civil lawsuits have what is known as a “statute of limitations,” which creates a time window for filing a claim. If a plaintiff does not file his or her lawsuit within that time window, the claim can become time-barred. A time-barred claim is one that is barred from being filed because the statute of limitations ran out. In some cases, it can be possible to pause the statute of limitations, which is known as tolling. In the meantime, the following is some important information about the timeline for a nursing home abuse claim.

 
Statute of Limitations for a Negligence Claim

 
Many nursing home abuse and neglect cases are filed as negligence claims under California law. Like many other personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations in these cases is two years under Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procure. How does the statute of limitations relate to filing a claim, and when does the “clock” start ticking? In most negligence cases, including claims for injuries resulting from nursing home abuse, the clock on the statute of limitations will start to “tick” on the date of the injury, or the nursing home abuse incident.

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

Virus_Outbreak_California_Nursing_Homes_57249-300x208One of the great tragedies of the coronavirus pandemic is the disparate impact it has had on some of our most vulnerable citizens including elderly patients residing in Southern California nursing homes. Thousands of elderly nursing home residents across the country have died from coronavirus. Indeed, one of the first coronavirus outbreaks occurred in a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington where 129 residents, staff, and visitors fell ill with covid-19 and 40 died. In an unexpected twist of logic, many nursing homes are discharging long-term residents to care for patients with coronavirus. Why? Money, of course, even though this presents an increased risk to other residents of nursing homes and to their staff.

Caring for a patient sick with Covid-19 earns a Los Angeles nursing home, for example, significantly more money than can be charged for a non-Covid-19 patient who needs assistance with long term more mild conditions. In the fall of 2019, Medicare funding changed offering increased payments to nursing homes caring for patients who have recently been discharged from the hospital. The first weeks after their discharge, nursing homes earn up to four times of the daily amount offered for a long-term resident. For example, a nursing home can earn $800 per day for a COVID-19 patient while earning only $200 per day for a patient with dementia.

Thus, nursing homes have great incentive to attract those patients recently released from hospitals who are severely ill and require skilled nursing. To have the space to care for those patients, nursing homes must free up beds in their facilities. How does that happen? The long-term, less valuable patients are discharged, often under conditions that imperil their health and safety. Families of the soon to be discharged patients are called and told their loved one will be discharged sometimes in as few as 10 days, leaving no time to plan for or to find appropriate alternative housing for the patient. Little consideration is given to a patient’s level of income or to their well-being. Instead, the nursing homes while turning their backs on their vulnerable long-term residents tout their care of Covid-19 patients as a public benefit.

If you have an elderly loved one in a San Diego County nursing home or in a skilled nursing facility elsewhere in California, it is important to know about liability for COVID-19 infections and what facilities are doing—or not doing, in many cases—to prevent infections. According to a recent article in Time Magazine, nursing homes across the country are seeking immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits, arguing that patients and their families cannot allege nursing home neglect as a result of the spread of coronavirus. An article in The New York Times recently explained how California nursing homes, along with facilities in places like New York and New Jersey, are being encouraged to take COVID-19 patients from hospitals, which many are doing in order to increase profits.

 
What do you need to know about nursing home claims and what it would mean if facilities were immune from lawsuits?

 
Nursing Home Neglect Claims Tied to COVID-19 Infections

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

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