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Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

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

From Patricia McGinnis of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

Don’t Allow Discharges of COVID-19 Positive Patients into Long Term Care
CANHRIf we have learned nothing else over the past couple of weeks, it is that residents of skilled nursing facilities and residential care facilities are the most vulnerable to infection and death as a result of the Coronavirus. Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington – a 120 bed skilled nursing home – became the center of the COVID-19 pandemic where 37 facility residents and visitors have died so far from the virus, and many more have fallen ill.

eduard-militaru-Q4PvX80itZ0-unsplash-copy-300x200Are changing demographics at nursing homes in Orange County, California impacting rates of elder abuse and neglect in those facilities? According to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, new research considering the effects of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 87) is having more of an impact on nursing home demographics than many of us might expect. In short, more nursing homes are admitting patients from hospitals, the diversity of nursing home residents has increased, and the overall percentage of nonprofit nursing homes and other facilities has risen. 

Researchers believe that these shifts should continue as we move into the future, and that they may help to reduce the rate of nursing home abuse and neglect in some instances. The research cited in the article appeared in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine this month. We want to tell you more about the findings.

OBRA 87 was Supposed to Improve the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes

coronavirus_2019-300x169The recent outbreak of coronavirus in a skilled nursing facility in Washington has exposed the susceptibility of nursing home residents to this virus. News reports have indicated that the Washington facility was found to be understaffed with inadequate gear attempting to serve dozens of patients vulnerable to catching the virus. Those reports also indicate children and other relatives of patients in the facility have been attempting to sound the alarm about conditions in the facility for weeks.

The arrival of the coronavirus in the United States has come at a time when we already have ongoing problems associated with caring for the American elderly, one of the country’s most vulnerable populations, especially as long-term care is frequently understaffed and underfunded. It is only be a matter of time before Southern California nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be impacted by the virus. Accordingly, these nursing facilities need to be adequately prepared to handle the virus and proactively work to prevent its introduction into its patient population, and its spread.

As stated, this is especially important given that nursing homes and other care facilities, including assisted living facilities, are particularly vulnerable for viruses: Residents inside are older and live in close proximity. Moreover, many residents don’t know enough not to touch other residents’ foods, drink others waters, rub their own eyes, and touch their own mouths.

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

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an elderly parent or loved one who may soon need nursing home care in San Diego County, it is important to get the facts about skilled nursing care and risks of elder abuse in California. When you get the facts, it is essential to identify the common myths that persist when it comes to nursing home abuse and neglect. An article in Forbes discusses some common misconceptions about elder abuse, and we want to elaborate on those misconceptions to ensure you have the information you need when it comes to choosing a nursing home and identifying signs of abuse or neglect. 

Myth 1: Expensive Nursing Homes are Less Likely to be Places Where Abuse or Neglect Occurs

Nursing home abuse can occur at any facility, regardless of the price tag. Do not be fooled into thinking that the more a nursing home costs, the less likely the chances are of nursing home abuse happening there.

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201A new federal nursing home bill is designed to prevent elder abuse, and it could help patients at facilities in San Bernardino County and throughout California. According to a recent article in Skilled Nursing News, the proposed legislation “seeks to protect individuals in nursing homes by implementing more stringent staffing protocols—including increased clinical hours and training—among other safety measures for residents.” Nursing home abuse and neglect often occurs as a result of understaffing. If a federal law were to mandate certain staffing numbers in facilities, rates of abuse and neglect could drop. 

Learning More About the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act

The proposed law is known as the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act. The bill is co-sponsored by two Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut). It has support from lawmakers in both the House and Senate. In addition to requiring certain staffing levels for facilities receiving payments through Medicare and Medicaid, the bill would also make other changes to nursing home mandates. First, nursing staff members would be required to go through “heightened training” and would be subject to heightened “supervision obligations.” This requirement, in connection with the requirement for increased staff numbers, aims to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect by targeting staff at these facilities. Three registered nurses (RNs) would have to be on staff as “management personnel.”

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you are seeking out a nursing home for an elderly loved one in Orange County, it can be difficult to identify a facility that has a strong history of complying with safety regulations and providing quality care for patients. While you might think that a more expensive nursing home is less likely to engage in hiring practices that could lead to injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect, the price of a nursing home is not necessarily indicative of its quality. Even expensive nursing homes can have safety citations and histories of nursing home abuse injuries. According to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has plans to update its “Nursing Home Compare” information to include an “abuse icon” that will alert potential patients and their families to dangerous histories of abuse and neglect. 

CMS Data Update Will Add an Abuse Icon

Currently, potential nursing home residents and their families can access information about nursing homes from the CMS “Nursing Home Compare” website. The website allows consumers to compare multiple nursing homes, assessing CMS ratings for those facilities and other important information that can illuminate whether the nursing home is a good fit. Yet that data can be difficult to navigate, especially for individuals and families who do not have experience analyzing detailed information about nursing homes. In order to make it easier to assess these facilities and to learn whether the facility has a recent history of abuse, CMS will be adding an “abuse alert icon.”

Walton Law Firm represented the interests of the family of M.E. (confidential), and elderly woman who suffered from dementia and needed the help with her activities of daily living. She was admitted to a small 12-bed San Diego area assisted living facility in April of 2017. Upon admission, M.E. did not have any bedsores.

M.E’s children began to notice that their mother was never out of her bed when they would visit (which was often). Worse, the family would find M.E. alone in her room with all of the lights turned out, even in the middle of the day. The facility’s administrator first lied to the family, telling the children that their mother was helped out of bed every day. Later, she testified in a deposition that M.E. had experienced a “health crisis” during that time frame and needed to stay in bed (even though the family was unaware of any crisis).

As a result of being left in bed, M.E. developed a bedsore on her coccyx. Within a month, the sore was sized as a Stage III, which disqualified M.E. for assisted living care, and required the facility to discharge her or contact the state for permission to retain her with proper care. Instead of taking action, the administrator actively discouraged the family from taking appropriate action with regard to their mother’s health.

obed-hernandez-592136-unsplash-copy-212x300If you are seeking out a nursing home for an elderly loved one in Orange County, it can be difficult to identify a facility that has a strong history of complying with safety regulations and providing quality care for patients. While you might think that a more expensive nursing home is less likely to engage in hiring practices that could lead to injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect, the price of a nursing home is not necessarily indicative of its quality. Even expensive nursing homes can have safety citations and histories of nursing home abuse injuries. According to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has plans to update its “Nursing Home Compare” information to include an “abuse icon” that will alert potential patients and their families to dangerous histories of abuse and neglect. 

CMS Data Update Will Add an Abuse Icon

Currently, potential nursing home residents and their families can access information about nursing homes from the CMS “Nursing Home Compare” website. The website allows consumers to compare multiple nursing homes, assessing CMS ratings for those facilities and other important information that can illuminate whether the nursing home is a good fit. Yet that data can be difficult to navigate, especially for individuals and families who do not have experience analyzing detailed information about nursing homes. In order to make it easier to assess these facilities and to learn whether the facility has a recent history of abuse, CMS will be adding an “abuse alert icon.”

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