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Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

When nursing homes in San Bernardino County fail to provide adequate care to residents who are confined to their beds or have trouble with mobility, those residents can develop bed sores. While early stage bed sores can usually be treated effectively, bed sores that worsen can result in debilitating and life-threatening harm. In fact, in some cases, bed sores can result in fatal infections. What causes bed sores in Southern California nursing homes, and what should you do if you have an elderly loved one who developed bed sores under a nursing home’s watch? Our San Bernardino nursing home abuse lawyers can assist you.

Learning About the Causes of Bed Sores in Nursing Homes

What usually causes bed sores in nursing homes in San Bernardino County? According to the Mayo Clinic, bed sores result from “pressure against the skin that limits blood flow to the skin.” There are major contributing factors that often involve nursing home negligence, as well as risk factors for certain residents. The Mayo Clinic identifies the following as the three major contributing factors to bed sore injuries:

Currently, when nursing homes in Orange County and elsewhere in the country receive payments from Medicaid, they are able to spend the payments on facility maintenance, operations, and even toward profits. According to a recent article in California Healthline, newly proposed legislation could change that, requiring nursing homes in California to spend those Medicaid payments on patient care alone. There are currently about 15,500 nursing homes in the United States, and the article underscores that the Biden administration is considering making this change for all nursing homes nationwide. In the meantime, however, California lawmakers are considering making the change across the state. 

A bill that is currently being considered “would require nursing homes to spend at least 85% of revenue from all payers on direct care for residents.” What do you need to know about potential changes and how they could limit nursing home abuse injuries in Southern California? 

Pandemic Has Changed the Way Many Think About Nursing Home Safety

Whether you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in Riverside County or elsewhere in Southern California, it is extremely important to pay attention to signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse or neglect. Yet family members and friends alone should not bear the immense responsibility of identifying indicators of abuse or nursing home negligence. Rather, state laws should be in place to protect seniors at skilled nursing facilities from injuries resulting from intentional abuse and passive neglect. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, California lawmakers “are considering several proposals” aimed at making facilities safer, “including changes to nursing home licensing rules.”

Assembly Bill 1502 Would Prevent Nursing Home Owners From Operating Without a License

Did you know that it is actually possible for a nursing home operator to buy a skilled nursing facility and even to run a nursing home in the state of California without obtaining a license to do so? According to the article, the process has been described as “backward and unique to the state.” Indeed, according to California state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, “in California, nursing home owners and operators can operate without a license even after they have been denied a license.” As a result, Muratsuchi explained, “many of these owners and operators have, unfortunately, an extensive history of neglect and abuse.”

While most residents of San Diego County who have loved ones in nursing homes are not thinking about risks of dehydration when they worry about elder abuse and neglect, it is important to know that dehydration is a serious issue that can lead to severe and life-threatening harm. Much too often, nursing home residents become dehydrated and suffer serious harm because employees at the facility failed to provide a reasonable level of care. Indeed, according to an article in Reuters, “people in nursing homes are more likely to be dehydrated than elderly people living in the community.” 

What do you need to know about dehydration risks in nursing homes in San Diego County? Consider the following when you are looking for a facility for a loved one or assessing a loved one’s risk of injuries in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California.

Common Causes of Dehydration in Nursing Homes

Nobody should ever have to fear that an elderly parent or relative is being subjected to physical or emotional abuse in a nursing home, or that a loved one is experiencing pain and suffering because of neglect in a skilled nursing facility. Given that nursing homes want to make money and want to keep patients at their facilities, it can often be difficult to get a straight answer from a facility when you have concerns about abuse or neglect. If you are concerned about abuse in your parent’s nursing home, what should you do?

Understand the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in its Varied Forms

First, be sure you know some of the common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, recognizing the nursing home negligence can take many different forms. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) cites some of the following as common indicators of abuse or 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

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