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Articles Posted in Riverside Nursing Home

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

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

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

victor-garcia-718191-unsplash-copy-200x300Discussions about the use of cameras in nursing homes in Orange County and throughout Southern California have become common as lawmakers, safety advocates, and family members seek innovative solutions to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect and to gain evidence to hold perpetrators accountable. Yet, are cameras in residents’ rooms the best way to stop nursing home abuse, or are there significant ethical issues that we need to consider before we decide that the benefits of “granny cams,” as these cameras are commonly called, outweigh their limitations? 

A recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News addresses the ethics of “granny cams” in nursing homes and suggests that more research needs to be done concerning these tools before they become widespread.

Are Nursing Home Cameras Ethical, or do They Invade Residents’ Privacy?

christopher-ayme-157131-copy-300x200Oceanside nursing home residents and their families should consider learning more about therapy animals and how they could help to improve the general health and quality of life for seniors who reside in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California. According to a recent article in U-T San Diego, animal therapy is becoming more prominent in California and throughout the country, more residents in long-term care facilities are considering the benefits of therapy animals. An article in Psychology Today discusses a recent study that addresses the impact of therapy dogs in nursing homes and the question of whether they could help to improve the emotional health of seniors in these facilities.

It is important to raise public awareness about issues concerning nursing home abuse and neglect in order to prevent such incidents from happening. At the same time, seniors who reside in these facilities need to be in good emotional and psychological health in order to engage in self-care, and to have the strength to report incidents of abuse or neglect when they arise. In addition, when seniors are subject to nursing home abuse, they need strong immune systems to fight injuries. Emotional and psychological health impacts physical health and the immune system—when one falters, the other can, too. Can therapy animals have this effect?

Animals Visitation Programs and Therapy Dogs in Long-Term Care Settings

ian-schneider-95541-300x200How much decision-making power does a Chula Vista nursing home resident get when it comes to his or her quality of care? According to a recent article from Kaiser Health News, seniors in Southern California and across the country may be able to have more autonomy through shifts in federal regulations. As the article explains, around 1.4 million seniors living in nursing homes “now can be more involved in their care under the most wide-ranging revision of federal rules for such facilities in 25 years.”

What does it mean for older adults in nursing homes to have more autonomy over their schedules and care? Could such shifts in care perhaps reduce the rate of nursing home abuse in Southern California and throughout the country?

Shift in Federal Rules Focuses on “Person-Centered Care”

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Peer-on-peer abuse in the nursing home setting is a problem that gets very little attention, but occurs with more and more frequency. A horrific example of this occurred two weeks ago at Chino Valley Health Care Center in Pomona. On November 23rd, John Lazzaro, a 91-year-old resident of the rehabilitation hospital, was killed after being attacked by fellow resident Matthew Harvey, who was only 47.

The details of the attack are kind of sketchy, but according to news accounts Lazarro was found in his room with severe wounds to his arm and face. So severe were the wounds to his arm it required amputation. It is very likely that Mr. Lazzaro couldn’t survive the surgery and died shortly thereafter.

As California starts to overhaul the regulation of its 350,000 registered nurses, one of the nursing board’s most promoted and trouble programs is under the microscope. The nursing drug diversion program, which seeks to help nurses maintain their licenses while they kick addiction to drugs, has apparently not been the success the nursing board would like the public to believe.

An investigation by the Los Angeles Times and ProPublica discovered several examples of nurses in the drug diversion program who practiced nursing while intoxicated, stole drugs from bedridden patients, and committed fraud to prevent from being caught.

Most troubling is that since the program was started in 1985, more than half the nurses who entered the program were unable to finish it and numerous nurses who failed the program were deemed to be “public safety threats.” Yet despite the identification of incorrigible nurses, several continued to work after the findings were made.

Elder abuse cases are rarely reported, and even more rarely prosecuted. “Elder abuse cases, for whatever inappropriate reason, are not considered as severe,” said Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco.

The reasons for the low reporting and prosecuting are varied. There is the embarrassment of being a victim, and in many cases – up to two-thirds – the elderly victim knows the abuser. But there is also the problem of ageism; the failure to take the matter seriously because the victim is elderly.

And it’s not just the public that needs educating about elder abuse and neglect, but law enforcement as well. Riverside County has a special team dedicated to elder abuse cases, and it sees the ageism first hand. “They’re old. They didn’t have to live anyway,” are the types of excuses heard by Tristan Svare, a San Bernardino deputy district attorney.

The Walton Law Firm elder abuse and neglect lawsuit filed against Vista Hospital of Riverside was the subject of a front page story in the Press Enterprise newspaper today.

The lawsuit arises out of the improper care provided to 78-year-old Shirley Buffa, who died after the hospital failed to administer dialysis treatments necessary to treat her diabetes. According to her son, Marine Corp. veteran Robert Buffa, his mother became increasingly sick in the days after she was admitted to the hospital, but the hospital attributed the decline in her health to a reaction to antibiotics. When the mistake was realized, it was too late.

At that point, she couldn’t even talk,” Robert Buffa said. “I said, ‘Mom, I love you. How come you can’t open your eyes?'”

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