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Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Psychological and emotional abuse happens much too often in nursing homes in Orange County, and it is important to hold the facility accountable for any harm it has caused. In order to file a nursing home abuse claim arising out of psychological abuse, it is important to understand more about this type of abuse and how it shows up in patients. The following are five things you should know about psychological and emotional abuse in Orange County.

  1. Psychological or Emotional Abuse is a Form of Nursing Home Abuse

While psychological or emotional abuse does not involve the infliction of physical pain, or the deprivation of food or medical care, it is certainly a form of nursing home abuse that happens more often than many people might think. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) explains that it can involve verbal assaults, threats, harassment, intimidation, or behaviors designed to embarrass an elderly nursing home resident. 

Residents of San Diego County nursing homes can be harmed by many different types of nursing home abuse and neglect, from intentional physical or emotional abuse to passive neglect resulting from understaffing. While it may not be as prevalent as certain types of abuse in skilled nursing facilities, sexual abuse is a serious problem in Southern California nursing homes and in facilities across the country. Different parties can perpetrate sexual abuse in the nursing home setting, from staff members to other residents. Even in circumstances in which other residents perpetrate acts of sexual assault, the nursing home may still be liable for failing to prevent those injuries. A recent sexual abuse case in a Seal Beach nursing home underscores the prevalence of sexual abuse in skilled nursing facilities and the need to hold nursing homes accountable.

Learning More About the Recent Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Case in Southern California

According to a recent report from ABC News 7, an 85-year-old woman with dementia who is a resident of Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing home in Southern California, was sexually assaulted by another resident at the facility. Staff members at the nursing home called the police in early March 2022 when they “heard a woman screaming and pushed through the door blocked by the suspect’s wheelchair and found the suspect on top of her, on her bed,” according to the report. It also indicated that, when the staff members were able to get into the room, they found the resident “engaging in acts against her [the other resident] of a sexual nature.” That resident had a prior history of serious domestic violence for which he spent time in prison.

Choosing the best nursing home for an elderly loved one can be a difficult task. Although some information about nursing home ratings and previous safety violations can be located, recent reports suggest that information is often incomplete, or even worse, that it may be incorrect and misleading. Moreover, you cannot always know for certain whether a facility will pose injury risks to its residents based on its history. While a history of safety violations should certainly be a cause for concern, even skilled nursing facilities with clear records can be places where elderly residents sustain serious and life-threatening injuries. 

How can you know what to look for in a nursing home? More often than not, it is important to know what you should not see at a nursing home or assisted-living facility. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is more important than ever to be able to recognize red flags at nursing homes. The following are red flags that should raise concern.

High Rate of Infections and Deaths From COVID-19

Nursing home abuse and neglect injuries in San Bernardino nursing homes can take many different forms, and they can have varying causes. It is important for families with elderly loved ones in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to be on the lookout for common injury signs, and to know when those injuries may have resulted from abuse or neglect. In many cases, nursing homes may not intend to cause any harm, but as a result of passive neglect, seniors can suffer debilitating and life-threatening harm. In those cases, the nursing home may be liable for damages. The following are among the common types of injuries at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California.

Broken Bones or Fractures

A senior at a nursing home can sustain broken bone or fracture injuries in many different ways, and a bone fracture may be a sign of abuse or neglect. In some instances, broken bones can result from a slip and fall, or a fall out of bed. Yet fractures can also be signs of intentional physical abuse. Even if a senior slips and breaks a bone, the facility may be responsible. 

Newly proposed legislation in California is designed to end so-called “zombie” licenses for nursing homes in Orange County and throughout the state. What are zombie licenses when it comes to nursing homes? According to a recent article in the Times of San Diego, the California Department of Public Health has indicated that it does not have the authority to “disqualify owners and operators [of nursing homes] who are already in operation in the state,” which means that nursing home chains can acquired properties without obtaining a license first. As such, even nursing home chains or owners with histories of safety and health violations can operate nursing homes without being required to meet certain benchmarks first or to qualify for a license to operate a facility.

California Assembly Bill 1502 is designed to stop this practice from continuing and to ensure that owners of nursing homes obtain licenses before they are able to acquire or operate a nursing home in the state. Our Orange County nursing home abuse lawyers can tell you more about the pending bill.

Nursing Home Reform in California and Details of Assembly Bill 1502

When you are helping an elderly parent or loved one to find a nursing home in Orange County or elsewhere in Southern California, the process of searching for a safe facility can be daunting. While nursing home rating systems exist, recent reports suggest that those ratings may not provide a full or accurate picture of safety violations at those facilities or actual staff-patient ratios. Information about safety violations can be more difficult to locate since that information is not easily obtained through a central repository, depending upon the location of the facility and other factors. How, then, can you identify a safe nursing home in Orange County? 

It is critical to keep in mind that any nursing home can be a site of nursing home abuse or neglect. Even facilities that have no histories of negligence can be the subject of a future investigation. Thus it is nearly impossible to know with absolute certainty that a facility is safe. However, there are certain factors you can look for in a facility to have more confidence in its treatment of and care for residents. Our Orange County nursing home abuse attorneys want to provide you with tips for choosing a facility.

Transparency in Policies

More patients in San Diego County nursing homes and across the country are being diagnosed with schizophrenia for reasons that are questionable and raise concerns about nursing home negligence, as a recent article in The New York Times suggested. But are some patients more affected than others, and is race playing a role? A follow-up report in The New York Times argues that Black residents are being disproportionately affected by these harmful diagnoses and subsequent administration of antipsychotic medications, suggesting that nursing home abuse has a clear racial dimension in these situations. Are schizophrenia diagnoses, and other issues in nursing homes, affecting Black residents more than other elderly patients at skilled nursing facilities? 

Black Nursing Home Residents are Diagnosed with Schizophrenia More Often

More nursing home residents are being diagnosed with schizophrenia so that the facilities can administer antipsychotic drugs to “difficult” patients, The New York Times has suggested. Indeed, since nursing home residents with schizophrenia can still readily be prescribed antipsychotic medications (whereas regulations have attempted to reduce the use of antipsychotics in other nursing home cases), there has been a surge in the number of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Since 2012, the number of elderly patients diagnosed with schizophrenia has “grown by 70%.” The article points to a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, which found that the “impact of this has been more severe on Black residents.”

Whether you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in Los Angeles County or you currently reside in a nursing home yourself, you may be hesitant to report your concerns about nursing home abuse or neglect if you do not feel certain. In other words, it may be stressful to debate over whether or not to seek help from a Los Angeles County nursing home abuse attorney or to file a report with authorities if you do not feel 100% sure that the signs or symptoms you are witnessing rise to the level of abuse in a skilled nursing facility. Many people wonder if they are observing evidence of nursing home abuse and if they should report. When in doubt, it is always better to seek assistance than to allow a potentially abusive or neglectful situation to continue. We want to say more about identifying nursing home abuse in Southern California and what you should do if you need help. 

Know the Varied Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

There are a wide variety of ways that nursing home abuse and neglect manifests itself since there are so many different forms that abuse can take. Nursing home abuse can be physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual in nature. Neglect can also be unintentional but can result in devastating consequences for which a facility can be liable. If you see any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek advice from a nursing home abuse attorney who can help you. Reporting a case—even if it turns out there is a logical explanation for a senior’s symptoms—is better than a harmful situation continuing.

Nobody wants to think about risks of elder abuse and neglect at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Riverside County, yet older adults routinely suffer serious and fatal injuries as a result of nursing home abuse. It is critical for family members to recognize that nursing home abuse and neglect often go unreported. Thus, it is essential to be able to recognize the signs of various types of abuse, from symptoms of physical or emotional abuse to clear warning signs of passive neglect. Although each type of nursing abuse has its own particular signs and symptoms, you should always seek help anytime an elderly loved one exhibits changes in behavior or shows signs of physical harm that do not have a logical explanation. 

Why does nursing home abuse go unreported so frequently? Our Riverside County nursing home abuse attorneys want to discuss some of the common reasons that abuse and neglect are not reported at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California.

Fear of Further Abuse or Retaliation 

Monitoring an elderly loved one’s safety and well-being in a San Diego County nursing home can be exhausting, and it is not a role that friends and family members should have to fill. However, given that nursing home abuse and neglect is unfortunately common in Southern California skilled nursing facilities. As such, it is often necessary to learn about the signs and symptoms of various forms of nursing home abuse and neglect when you have an elderly parent or other older relative who lives in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. Yet it can be difficult to know what you should do if you are worried about abuse when you see potential signs of negligence, abuse, or neglect. Should you report the abuse? Should you investigate further yourself? Should you seek advice from a San Diego County nursing home abuse attorney? 

Many people feel uncomfortable initiating an investigation of any type in the event they are mistaken about abuse. Yet it is critical to remember that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to addressing concerns about nursing home abuse and neglect in Southern California. Generally speaking, you should not decide between reporting the abuse to authorities and initiating a lawsuit. Instead, you should be thinking about reporting your concerns and seeking advice from an attorney who can help.

Seeking Advice From a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in San Diego County

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