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Articles Posted in San Bernardino Nursing Home

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”

Sitting_Room_At_The_Braeside_Home_In_Preston_Ontario,_1947_(5933797538)According to a recent report from U.S. News & World Report, nursing homes in California, including in San Diego, may rank better than facilities in other parts of the country. However, just because a nursing home makes the list for having the highest number of high-quality nursing homes, according to a recent article in Senior Housing News, that fact alone does not necessarily correspond to the state having a particularly high percentage of high-quality facilities. If you have a loved one who currently resides in a nursing home in Southern California, or if your aging parent soon may be moving into an assisted-living facility, it is important to understand what nursing home rankings do (and do not) mean.

What can we learn about the quality of California’s nursing homes from the report in U.S. News & World Report? What other issues do we need to take into consideration when evaluating the quality of a particular nursing home and the risks of nursing home abuse?

Rankings for High-Quality American Nursing Homes

Very Old LadyIs the quality of life improving for Southern California residents in assisted-living facilities? And if so, how much attention do we need to pay to the risks of nursing home abuse and neglect in these communities if a majority of seniors say they are content? According to a recent article in McKnight’s Senior Living, “residents of assisted living communities in California are very satisfied with their living situations” on the whole. While this is good news for many elder justice advocates in the state, we should not let it obscure the fact that there remain a number of seniors who are not satisfied with their living situations and who become victims of elder abuse.

Although the recent article presents promising data on elderly assisted living in the state, we still need to consider the risks to California seniors who do not fall into this depicted majority.

Many Seniors in California are Indeed Happy, Survey Says

About a month ago, the New York Daily News reported that fourteen nursing home residents at Valley Manor Community Care Home, also called Valley Springs Manor, were abandoned in “filthy and unsafe” conditions. According to the article, some of the residents at this Castro Valley, California facility were bedridden, while others were ill and simply required significant care. Reporters from NBC Bay Area referred to the situation as a “botched closure,” as the California Department of Social Services had closed the nursing facility days before but hadn’t accounted for the safety of these residents. At the time, these social services officials closed nursing home “because of deplorable conditions.”

Sheriff%27s%20Badge.jpgWhen we think about transitioning an elderly loved one into a nursing home or an assisted-living facility, we expect that the facility will provide care and won’t engage in acts of nursing home abuse or neglect. However, nursing home abuse occurs more often than we’d like to think. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s safety or care, a California elder justice advocate can discuss your case with you today.

Details of the Nursing Home Shut Down and Resident Abandonment

When police came to a San Bernardino board-and-care home looking for 23-year-old Trevor Castro, they found Castro and a whole lot more. Upon arrival they found a bucket of urine outside the door, and inside found outright squalor. The discovery led to the arrest of the home’s owner, 61-year-old Pensri Sophar Dalton, who is currently being held on 16 counts of felony elder abuse.

According to reports, Dalton, who was called “Mama Sophar,” ran a prison-like home – which was unlicensed – for 22 elderly and mentally ill residents in San Bernardino County. The home was surrounded by cinderblock walls with barbed wire atop. Several residents lived in converted chicken coops with no plumbing. A bucket was used for a toilet.

“None of [the chicken coop rooms] were up to code,” said City Atty. James Penman. “They had some with padlocks on the outside and no emergency exits, which concerned us because it could be used to lock people in as well as lock people out. The smell of urine was horrific; it permeated the entire place.”

The Del Rosa Villa nursing home in San Bernardino received the state’s harshest citation after investigators concluded that inadequate care led to a resident’s suicide. The California Department of Public Health issued a AA citation and a fine of $90,000.

According to reports, on June 11, 2009 a 52-year-old resident was found hanging from a fence in the parking lot of the nursing home. He apparently had rolled his wheelchair through a back entrance to the nursing home and into parking lot where he hung himself with a belt

The man’s care plan, which all skilled nursing facilities must maintain for patients, required that he be under suicide watch at all times, and that a nursing assistant admitted to investigators that she made a mistake. It was not the man’s first attempt at suicide. He was in the facility from an acute care hospital where he was admitted after throwing himself in front of a moving vehicle.

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.

This list contains the issuance of citations to Southern California nursing facilities by the California Department of Public Health over the last six months. All the citations listed are issued for reasons related to patient care. For verification of the citation, please contact the local department office or Walton Law Firm LLP.

<font size='2'Facility Date Citation
Los Angeles County
Antelope Valley Healthcare 3/04/09 Class B
Arbor View Rehabilitation 3/11/09 Class B
Burbank Healthcare and Rehab 3/04/09 Class B
Casa Bonita Convalescent 3/31/09 Class AA
Chandler Convalescent 2/04/09 Class B
Country Villa Broadway 3/02/09 Class B
Emeritas at San Dimas 3/30/09 Class A
Lutheran Health Facility 3/04/09 Class B
Mid-Wilshire Health Care Center 2/02/09 Class B
Royal Oaks Convalescentr 3/13/09 Class B
Tarzana Health and Rehab 4/07/09 Class B
Windsor Terrace Healthcare 2/09/09 Class B
Orange County
Coastal Communities Hospital 03/17/09 Class B
Country Villa Laguna Hills 03/03/09 Class B
Fountain Care Center of Orange 4/07/09 Class B
Sunbridge Care and Rehabilitation 1/21/09 Class A
Riverside County
Hemet Valley Healthcare Center 2/10/09 Class A
Hemet Valley Medical Center 12/04/08 Class A
Plymouth Tower 1/13/09 Class B
San Diego County
Care With Dignity Convalescent 2/11/09 Class B
Escondido Care Center 02/25/09 Class AA
Fallbrook Hosp. Dist. Skilled Nursing 3/02/09 Class B
La Paloma Healthcare Center 3/04/09 Class B
Remington Club Heatlh Center 3/18/09 Class B
Vista Knoll Specialized Care 3/04/09 Class B
Ventura County
Brighton Gardens of Camarillo 3/09/09 Class B, WMO
Camarillo Healthcare Center 3/09/09 Class B
Country Villa Oxnard 10/30/08 Class B
Fillmore Convalescent 4/03/09. Class B
Twin Pines Healthcare 3/09/09. Class B
Santa Paula Healthcare 3/17/09 Class B, A, A, A

Class AA: The most serious violation, AA citations are issued when a resident death has occurred in such a way that it has been directly and officially attributed to the responsibility of the facility, and carry fines of $25,000 to $100,000.

Class A: Class A citations are issued when violations present imminent danger to patients or the substantial probability of death or serious harm, and carry fines from $2,000 to $20,000.

Class B: Class B citations carry fines from $100 to $1000 and are issued for violations which have a direct or immediate relationship to health, safety, or security, but do not qualify as A or AA citations.

Southern California legislators are supporting a proposal that would require nursing homes to post their ratings on the front door, much like health grades are posted at restaurants. Yesterday, Assembly Bill 215 was introduced in the California legislature to require that any nursing home that receive federal money to prominently display the rating it received under the federal government’s recently unveiled five-star rating system.

“Posting nursing home grades is crucial to ensuring our loved ones receive the high quality of care they deserve,” State Representative Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement. “This legislation will give families valuable information and provide an additional incentive to facilities to achieve the highest standards.”

Last month, Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously to require that any nursing facility that receives Medicare and Medi-Cal funding to post their ratings, and inform all new residents of the rating. The ratings are based on federal inspections, using three years worth of data.

The California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is the state program responsible to investigate and resolve complaints made by individuals (or their representatives) residing in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. Last week, when the California budget was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, he cut state funding for the ombudsman program.

The decision has not gone over well with elder care advocates. The governor’s cuts removes roughly 15% of the budget for the program, which translates into a loss of 1.25 of every 3.7 positions.

To contact your local ombudsman’s office call the appropriate telephone number in the geographical area the incident leading to the complaint occurred.

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