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Articles Posted in San Diego Nursing Home

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

Is elder care in America working, or do we need a new system to ensure better nursing home quality of care for seniors?  According to a recent article in Forbes, the system as it currently stands just is not working.  Indeed, the author suggests that the disproportionate attention to caution and safety results in risk aversion, which actually may diminish the quality of care that the elderly receive at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Nursing Home CareDoes Risk Aversion Result in Lower Quality of Life?

Why would risk aversion result in seniors experiencing a lower quality of life?  The article explains that many assisted-living facilities are particularly concerned about accusations of neglect.  As a result, each time a patient complains of pain or falls, staff at the facility will call an ambulance.

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.

Are nursing homes in California abiding by federal regulations for reporting allegations of elder abuse or neglect?  According to a recent report released by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), not all facilities are reporting incidents of nursing home abuse.

Reporting Requirements and IncrHHSeasing Rates of Elder Abuse

The HHS report emphasized that about five million elderly Americans (or ten percent of the elderly population) sustain injuries from physical abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.  However, these crimes are not always reported.

History of the Star Rating System

A recent New York Times article discussed the danger of trusting the Medicare star rating system, providing as an example a five-star nursing home facility in California with a history of elder neglect violations. Last week, we discussed the star rating system and the Rosewood nursing home in the Sacramento area. In sum, the rating system is not helping consucohdranknmomprknsnsmers in the way it claims. How did this rating system rise to prominence, and why are so many Americans willing to trust it without additional investigation?

According to the article, the five-star rating system began in 2007, when Oregon Senator Ron Wyden posed the following question at a congressional hearing: why is it easier to shop for washing machines than to select a nursing home? Two years later, Medicare officials developed the  star rating system, “a move that was applauded by consumer groups, who hope that more transparency would lead to greater accountability.”

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