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Articles Posted in Orange County Nursing Home

Worrying about an elderly loved one in an Orange County nursing home can be stressful and exasperating. When you have suspicions or concerns about nursing home abuse but you are not certain if you have clear evidence of negligence, you may feel unsure about whether you should move forward with allegations against a specific caregiver or against the nursing home or assisted-living facility. Many people find themselves in this situation, and it is critical to remember that the failure to take action can have serious consequences. If an older adult is suffering harm as a result of elder abuse or neglect at a California facility, the consequences can be debilitating and even fatal. 

Ultimately, if you have any suspicions or concerns about nursing home neglect, you should talk with an Orange County nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as you can. In the meantime, we want to provide you with some details about the varied consequences of nursing home abuse, particularly when it goes unreported, in California skilled nursing facilities.

Physical Harm and the Elderly Victim

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

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

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

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.”

obed-hernandez-592136-unsplash-copy-212x300Nursing homes in San Diego and throughout Southern California should be on warning that nursing home residents and their families are not willing to deal with understaffing problems that can easily lead to nursing home neglect injuries. According to a recent article in Advance Senior Care, there are 15 nursing homes in the state of California that are now the subject of class action lawsuits “alleging that their owner systematically understaffed them to increase his profits.” While these nursing homes are facing claims for nursing home negligence risks, a recent report from California Healthline stated that approximately 1,400 nursing homes in the country will now have to report lower Medicare ratings as a result of concerns about understaffing.

Southern California skilled nursing facilities are required to have specific staffing numbers in order to prevent patient injuries due to elder neglect. When facilities do not have adequate staff, patients can suffer serious and life-threatening injuries due to neglect alone. What should families in California know about the changes to Medicare ratings and how those might relate to the recent class action lawsuits in the state?

Understaffing Problems Lead to Lower Medicare Ratings for Nearly 1,400 Nursing Homes

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207One of the most common reasons that seniors sustain serious injuries from nursing home neglect is understaffing. When skilled nursing facilities do not have enough staff members, there are not enough people to provide the necessary care to patients and residents at the facility. Both California state law and federal law require skilled nursing facilities to have a specific staff-to-patient ratio to help ensure that seniors are getting the care they need. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, many nursing homes across the country have been overstating their staffing numbers in order to be in compliance with state and federal regulations. As a result, patients have been suffering from nursing home abuse and neglect.

Federal Data Shows Inadequate Staffing Levels at Many Nursing Homes

For many years, according to the article, numerous family members of seniors in skilled nursing facilities have worried that staffing levels were insufficient. As it turns out, many of those suspicions and fears have some validity to them. Indeed, “on the worst staffed days at an average facility, the new data show, on-duty personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as they did when the staffing roster was fullest.” Records also showed that there were significant fluctuations in staffing numbers at many facilities from day to day, with some days having adequate staff while others had grossly inadequate staff on hand to meet the needs of the residents.

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200Elder abuse is prevalent in Carlsbad, and many families seeking out nursing homes for their elderly loved one worry about nursing home abuse and neglect. According to an article in Health & Fitness CheatSheet, there are many things that nursing homes do not want patients to know—from information contained within admission contracts to the problems and limitations facing residents within the facility. If you are considering a particular nursing home or assisted-living facility for your loved one, you should always do as much research as possible into the facility, including looking at records of violations and visiting the facility itself to get a sense of the space. In addition, you might consider some of the following issues, which, according to the article, nursing homes may not want you to know.

Many Residents are Isolated from One Another in Nursing Homes

It is important for nursing home residents to have interaction with other people and to be able to socialize. However, residents often do not have as much freedom to move around the facility as they would like, and many feel isolated from other residents. According to the article, in a recent study, about 50% of nursing home patients interviewed reported that they “felt depressed due to a lack of independence and freedom, as well as loneliness.”

parker-byrd-139348-copy-300x200For anyone in Encinitas who is thinking about long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, it is important to do a substantial amount of background research before selecting a facility in order to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect. A new website from the state of California, “Cal Health Find,” was designed to make this research easier, allowing potential patients and their families to compare nursing homes and to consider safety ratings. However, according to a recent report in California Healthline, the website may be doing more harm than good. Nursing home advocates in California “are calling on the state to take it down,” describing the website as “incomplete, inaccurate, and a huge step in the wrong direction.”

Learning More About Cal Health Find and Potential Problems with the Website

The California Department of Public Health launched Cal Health Find to “help people compare the quality of nursing homes and other health care facilities.” The site was designed as a replacement for the Health Facilities Consumer Information System provided by the state, and it was supposed to be more user-friendly. The state invested about $437,000 to build and to operate the new website. What are some of the additions the state made to make it easier for Encinitas residents to learn about histories of nursing home abuse or neglect at certain facilities?

799px-Alcohol_bottles_photographed_while_drunkHow broad is the term nursing home neglect? For instance, when a senior has a problem with drug or alcohol abuse and lives in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility in Southern California, does the facility have a duty to prevent the senior from obtaining potentially harmful substances? And if the facility knows about a history of drug or alcohol abuse and does not take precautions to limit a senior resident’s access to alcohol or prescription drugs, can the nursing home be responsible for injuries that occur? According to a fact sheet from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), it can be difficult to recognize signs and symptoms of substance abuse among older adults.

Should we be able to expect that facilities will look into signs and symptoms of substance abuse among elderly residents? And if a facility in San Diego already knows that one of its residents has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, what must it do differently in other to avoid allegations of nursing home negligence?

Difficulty Identifying Senior Residents with Substance Abuse Problems

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