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Articles Posted in San Diego Nursing Home

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.

casey-horner-353950-copy-153x300What types of safety protections are in place for patients at San Marcos nursing homes? While we recently discussed elder safety investigations in San Diego County, it turns out that facilities across the state of California are not doing enough to protect seniors against nursing home abuse in the first place. In other words, although San Diego County’s investigations may be a model for other regions of the country, the state ranks last when it comes to elder abuse protections designed to prevent abuse and neglect, according to a recent report in WalletHub.

Need for States to Take Steps to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

As the report explains, “elder abuse affects as many as 5 million people per year, and 96 percent of all cases go unreported.” Given that a large portion of the population is currently age 65 or older—and that the population in that age group is expected to almost double by the year 2050—it is particularly important to think about preventive measures so that elder abuse does not occur. While enforcement methods are significant in the shorter term, the goal should be to eradicate, inasmuch as possible, the risks of abuse for seniors living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The report ultimately suggests that the impetus for this needs to be on individual states.

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200Whether you live in Vista or elsewhere in San Diego County, you may have an elderly loved one who resides in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility in the area. Given the frequent news reports about elder abuse and neglect, you may worry about your elderly loved one’s safety. While nursing home abuse can occur in almost any facility, a recent report in the Star Tribune highlighted elder abuse prevention efforts in San Diego County specifically, describing the work of San Diego County law enforcement as “a model to protect seniors.”

Are seniors getting safer in Southern California nursing homes, or do we need to remain just as vigilant about the risks of elder abuse and neglect in Vista?

San Diego County’s Approach to Elder Abuse Investigations

max-larochelle-421822-copy-240x300The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida have illuminated serious deficiencies in many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, according to a report from National Public Radio. More specifically, many skilled nursing facilities are not prepared to handle an emergency situation, from a power outage in a severe storm to structural damage caused by a natural disaster such as an earthquake. If nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and RCFEs in Carlsbad are not prepared to keep their residents safe in the event of one of these emergency situations, then elderly patients and residents can suffer injuries as a result of elder neglect.

Nursing home neglect often arises in situations where staff members at facilities did not intend to do harm to patients, but due to understaffing and other problems, neglect results in serious and sometimes fatal injuries.

Failing to Prepare for “Basic Contingencies”

dayne-topkin-101956-copy-300x200What is elder or dependent adult abuse according to California law? For residents of Vista and other parts of Southern California, it is important to learn more about the protections available to seniors who may be subject to nursing home abuse. A recent article in CalCoast News reports that the California Department of Justice arrested the owner and a former employee of an assisted living facility in the state for elderly dependent adult abuse. This case involves a critical case of nursing home neglect that resulted in the death of a resident. It serves as a reminder that laws are in place not only to punish perpetrators of elder abuse and neglect, but that there are also legal protections in place to prevent further abuse.

Details of the Recent Elder Neglect Case

As the article explains, the incident that led to the elder and dependent adult abuse charges occurred several years ago. In December of 2014, a senior, Mauricio Edgar Cardenas, at The Manse on Marsh, an elderly facility in San Luis Obispo, attempted to cross a street by himself. He was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle, the driver of which was cleared of wrongdoing. When the accident happened, it was dark outside, and authorities determined that the motor vehicle driver could not have seen the victim in time to stop or to avoid hitting him.

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

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