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Articles Posted in Southern California Elder Abuse

CANHRThe California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) is a statewide nonprofit that has been dedicated to improving the choices, care and quality of life for California’s nursing home residents and families.

On Jul 21, 2021 at 12:00 pm, CANHR will be holding an online town hall to discuss nursing home visitation rights in the Covid era. The goal of the town hall is to provide information to participants about the current state of the statewide visitation rules, and explain how advocacy can be used to gain more visitation access. There will also be a Q&A.

The town hall speakers will be CANHR staff attorneys Tony Chicotel and Mike Dark and Essential Caregivers Coalition co-founders Maitely Weismann and Melody Taylor Stark.

If you are seeking a nursing home in Los Angeles County and you are particularly concerned about risks of elder abuse or neglect at the facility, how can you determine whether you are selecting a nursing home that will provide a high quality of care for your elderly loved one? Families in Southern California and across the country go through this complicated process, and many of them turn to the star rating system provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). However, a recent investigation by The New York Times demonstrates that the CMS star system is significantly flawed, and it may not provide any kind of accurate picture of nursing home safety in California or elsewhere in the country.

What do you need to know about the CMS star system and the risks of using it to find a safe facility where your elderly parent or loved one will not suffer harm as a result of nursing home abuse?

Investigation by The New York Times Reveals Serious Flaws in CMS Nursing Home Star System

When you have a loved one in a Riverside County nursing home or assisted living facility, or an elderly family member recently passed away while residing in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California, you might have concerns about whether nursing home abuse or neglect has played a role in your relative’s injuries or death. Most people do not have any specialized knowledge about how to detect elder abuse and neglect. As such, it can be extremely difficult to know whether you should move forward with a claim against the facility, or whether you should report the facility or launch an investigation. 

In short, it can be extremely difficult to know with certainty whether nursing home abuse or neglect has occurred. We want to offer you some information that can help if you are grappling with the complicated question of whether or not to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Riverside County.

Ask a Riverside County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Help 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for Los Angeles County nursing home residents and for nursing home residents throughout the state of California. Older adults in nursing homes are particularly susceptible to severe COVID-19 infections, and many facilities do not have the type of infection-control measures in place that can effectively prevent the spread of the coronavirus, not to mention the fact that many of those facilities are understaffed and cannot properly serve the patients who are suffering from serious infections. 

According to a recent article in Roll Call, the pandemic and its effects on nursing home residents has led policymakers and safety advocates to seek significant changes to nursing home safety in order to prevent avoidable injuries and deaths caused by nursing home negligence.

Senior Safety Advocates Seek More Funding and Long-Term Changes for Nursing Home Safety

Nursing homes in San Bernardino County and throughout the state of California have a duty to patients when it comes to infection-control measures and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Yet many facilities have not provided the type of protection that is necessary for seniors, resulting in serious and deadly COVID-19 infections. When a nursing home fails to provide the type of protection to seniors that is necessary to avoid infection with a deadly virus, the nursing home may be liable for negligence. According to a recent report in Becker’s Hospital Review, hospitals and nursing homes across California are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for “lax coronavirus protection.” 

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

One of the most important infection-control measures for nursing homes is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff. PPE helps to prevent nursing home staff members from contracting the virus in a nursing home, but also from spreading it to patients within the facility. According to the article, the California Occupational Safety and Health division is currently proposing more than $77,000 in fines for five skilled nursing facilities and hospitals in the state for failing to provide adequate PPE.

If you are considering a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Riverside County, you are likely wondering what steps you will need to go through during the claims process, and how the lawsuit will work more generally. The most important part of any nursing home abuse lawsuit is hiring an experienced nursing home abuse attorney who can help you to hold the nursing home and any other parties accountable. While each lawsuit will have its own particularities based on the facts of the case, the following are general steps that you can expect in a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

 
Meeting With a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

 
The first step in any nursing home abuse case is to meet with a nursing home abuse lawyer in order to receive case evaluations and to select an attorney for your case. When you first meet with a nursing home abuse attorney in Riverside County or elsewhere in Southern California, that lawyer will evaluate your case and will provide you with more information about what you should expect in the case and what type of compensation you might be able to expect.

If you are considering filing an elder abuse claim in Los Angeles County, it is important to understand how much time you have to file a lawsuit. All civil lawsuits have what is known as a “statute of limitations,” which creates a time window for filing a claim. If a plaintiff does not file his or her lawsuit within that time window, the claim can become time-barred. A time-barred claim is one that is barred from being filed because the statute of limitations ran out. In some cases, it can be possible to pause the statute of limitations, which is known as tolling. In the meantime, the following is some important information about the timeline for a nursing home abuse claim.

 
Statute of Limitations for a Negligence Claim

 
Many nursing home abuse and neglect cases are filed as negligence claims under California law. Like many other personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations in these cases is two years under Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procure. How does the statute of limitations relate to filing a claim, and when does the “clock” start ticking? In most negligence cases, including claims for injuries resulting from nursing home abuse, the clock on the statute of limitations will start to “tick” on the date of the injury, or the nursing home abuse incident.

Nursing homes in Riverside County and throughout California and the country are facing lawsuits related to COVID-19 infections and deaths among residents. Many nursing homes are arguing that they could not have taken any additional steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, yet skilled nursing facilities are required to have particular infection-control measures in place.

 
In fact, in early April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued guidance to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities about the types of infection-control methods that would be necessary “to keep patients and residents safe.” The guidance helps to provide clarity for the types of actions (or inactions) for which a nursing home or assisted-living facility may be liable if a patient contracts COVID-19 and suffers a serious infection or dies as a result of that infection.

 
Actions to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 at Nursing Homes and Assisted-Living Facilities

Virus_Outbreak_California_Nursing_Homes_57249-300x208One of the great tragedies of the coronavirus pandemic is the disparate impact it has had on some of our most vulnerable citizens including elderly patients residing in Southern California nursing homes. Thousands of elderly nursing home residents across the country have died from coronavirus. Indeed, one of the first coronavirus outbreaks occurred in a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington where 129 residents, staff, and visitors fell ill with covid-19 and 40 died. In an unexpected twist of logic, many nursing homes are discharging long-term residents to care for patients with coronavirus. Why? Money, of course, even though this presents an increased risk to other residents of nursing homes and to their staff.

Caring for a patient sick with Covid-19 earns a Los Angeles nursing home, for example, significantly more money than can be charged for a non-Covid-19 patient who needs assistance with long term more mild conditions. In the fall of 2019, Medicare funding changed offering increased payments to nursing homes caring for patients who have recently been discharged from the hospital. The first weeks after their discharge, nursing homes earn up to four times of the daily amount offered for a long-term resident. For example, a nursing home can earn $800 per day for a COVID-19 patient while earning only $200 per day for a patient with dementia.

Thus, nursing homes have great incentive to attract those patients recently released from hospitals who are severely ill and require skilled nursing. To have the space to care for those patients, nursing homes must free up beds in their facilities. How does that happen? The long-term, less valuable patients are discharged, often under conditions that imperil their health and safety. Families of the soon to be discharged patients are called and told their loved one will be discharged sometimes in as few as 10 days, leaving no time to plan for or to find appropriate alternative housing for the patient. Little consideration is given to a patient’s level of income or to their well-being. Instead, the nursing homes while turning their backs on their vulnerable long-term residents tout their care of Covid-19 patients as a public benefit.

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

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