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Articles Posted in San Diego Elder Abuse

Shower headOver the past couple of years elder advocates have been paying a significant amount of attention to physical abuse and neglect at nursing homes in the San Diego area. It is important to remember that nursing home abuse can take many forms, including emotional and psychological abuse. According to a recent report from ABC 10 News, allegations of elder abuse at a Vista facility have resulted in an investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The article indicates that an employee at the LifeHOUSE Vista Healthcare Center has been “accused of using her cellphone to take footage of a patient getting in the shower, and then posting it on the internet.”

Elder Abuse Investigation in Vista

The elder abuse investigation in Vista got underway after someone who viewed the online video “took a screen grab” of it and sent it to ABC 10 News. The video was taken on Snapchat. According to the report, “it shows a partially nude woman from the shoulders up,” and there is an employee “standing behind her laughing.”

Could helping more of America’s seniors to live independently be a method for preventing nursing home abuse? If an elderly San Diego resident does not require the kind of care that an assisted-living facility or a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE) would provide—if she can have that same kind of care at home—would she take away some of the risks of becoming a victim of elder abuse? One of our first steps in preventing elder abuse should be to make care facilities safer for older adults. But at the same time, even if we did want to push for more seniors to live independently, a recent article in Forbes Magazine suggests that our country simply is not providing the kind of assistance that would make this possible.7622108790_a2a735a94a

Older Americans Act (OAA) and Providing Assistance to Seniors

Every year, elder rights advocates and others attend the National Home and Community Based Services Conferences, which brings together professionals in various fields to discuss the state of independent living for older adults and those with disabilities. The conference is sponsored by the National Association of States United for Aging and Disability, and it has more than 1,400 participants. Indeed, Kathy Greenlee, the Assistant Secretary for Aging, gave an opening speech that marked the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA).

When we think about nursing home abuse and neglect, most of us imagine a scenario in which a healthcare professional or nursing home employee mistreats an elderly resident. However, a recent study conducted by Cornell University Weill Medical College found that many facilities actually see “a high level of resident-to-resident elder mistreatment.”

Nursing home abuse can take many different forms, and it can result in serious and life-threatening injuries to your elderly loved one. If you believe that your parent has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to contact an experienced San Diego elder abuse lawyer.

file0001780974018Aggressive Encounters with Fellow Residents

Statistics in Southern California suggest that elder abuse is an extremely underreported crime, which means that many older adults suffer injuries while their abuses go unpunished. A recent article in the Los Angeles Daily News reported that Los Angeles officials recently indicated that the city will take greater efforts to protect the elderly from nursing home abuse. How will these new measures work? In short, millions of dollars in funding are going to flow in from the Department of Justice and the Verizon Corporation.

DSC_5767Elder Abuse Prevention Grants to the City of Los Angeles

Will San Diego be able to get the kind of funding that Los Angeles recently received? Grants totaling $1.6 million were provided in Los Angeles primarily to train police officers to recognize signs and symptoms of elder abuse—a skill that officials hope will lead to more abuse and neglect reporting. Last year, the Los Angeles Police Department saw a shockingly low number of elder abuse reports—only 100. To place that number in perspective, the LAPD received more than 11,000 claims of domestic violence reports in 2013.

Earlier this month, the Sacramento Bee ran a story that exposed the lack of oversight from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) when it comes to nursing home abuse allegations. What is going on? According to the article, the CDPH is “weighed down by a backlog of more than 11,000 open complaints” with “no clear path to dig its way out.”

Evidence of this serious problem became cID-10045437lear after an audit report was released toward the end of October 2014. In short, the CDPH appears to have failed elderly adults in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities by failing to manage its investigations of elder abuse complaints received.

Numerous Problems “Up and Down the State”

Did you know that Southern California is home to the largest Latino and Asian populations in the country? According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, elderly persons within these populations may not be getting a fair deal in elder abuse cases. When claims go to court, it is important for a judge or a jury to understand a plaintiff’s injuries and to grasp the extent of the nursing home abuse or neglect that took place. However, when your first language is not English, it is sometimes extremely difficult to mIMG_1930ake your way through the justice system.

Language Barriers to Legal Forms, Filings, and Testimonies

In California alone, the Los Angeles Times estimates that there are about seven million “limited-English proficient speakers,” and for those people, the civil court system is “practically impenetrable.” What is the problem?

First Nursing Home Facility Rating System in California

As the population of California continues to age, and more baby boomers find themselves thinking about San Diego assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, it is becoming more important than ever to ensure that seniors in the San Diego area are protected from nursing home abuse and neglect.  According to a recent story San Diego CBS 8, San Diego County leaders currently are in the process of developing an elder care facility rating system that is aimed at preventing elder abuse.

file0001867553256According to the news story, the new rating system will be the first of its kind in California.  The ratings will be based on several different factors, and the Board of Supervisors hopes that the system will allow families to make informed decisions about the care of their elderly loved ones. The system is still in its early stages, but the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved its creation, emphasizing the need to protect older adults from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in Southern California facilities.

Who looks out for aging Californians who do not have relatives our outside caregivers to keep an eye out for the signs of elder abuse?  The California State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is in place to make sure that older adults receive proper care in long-term care facilities across the state.  What is a long-term care facility?  Examples in California include: nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs).

San Diego residents following the latest news about RCFEs know that many of these facilities in our state have fallen under much scrutiny in recent months, along with many assisted-living facilities.  The Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman program speID-100190126cifically “investigates elder abuse complaints” at facilities such as these.

Services Offered by the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Elder abuse is much too common across the country, and nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in California have proven particularly prominent offenders of nursing home abuse and neglect.  What do we need to prevent elder abuse in our state?  Many elder rights supporters believe that policy changes might help, and a recent grant aims to help with this kind of advocacy work.

Southern California file0001159645301Center Receives Advocacy Grant

According to a recent news release from the University of Southern California, the Keck School of Medicine became the sole grant recipient to fund the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).  The NCEA is, according to the article, “a vital clearinghouse created by the Administration on Aging,” which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Changes are on the way for nursing homes and California assisted living facilities.  In the midst of shifts to the law, victims of nursing home abuse are filing a class action lawsuit against the owner of 57 skilled nursing facilities in the state, according to an article from Courthouse News Service.  The owner, Schlomo Rechnitz, owns more facilities in the state than any other, with nurfile451297827287 (1)sing homes in nine different California cities, according to a recent report in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.  Rechnitz’s facilities are accused of “chronic understaffing” with allegations of “Actual or suspected abuse or neglect.”

Details of the Class Action Lawsuit

The lawsuit was filed after several years of investigation into the practices at many of Rechnitz’s facilities.  Rechnitz owns Brius Management and Brius LLC, and he owns nursing homes in Inglewood, Los Angeles, Norwalk, Pasadena, San Gabriel, and several other California cities.

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