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Articles Posted in Southern California Elder Abuse

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

paolo-bendandi-s8Wrjl8-AeY-unsplash-copy-300x197When we think about nursing home abuse and neglect in San Clemente, we often think about the role that healthcare providers and nursing facility staff members play in perpetrating elder abuse or failing to take proper care of an elderly loved one. While elder abuse certainly occurs in nursing home settings due to abuse and neglect perpetrated by employees of the facility, it is also important to keep in mind that many elder abuse injuries occur because of a family member’s behavior. According to a recent study reported in Physician’s Weekly, elder abuse is perpetrated most often by family members—both family members who serve as caregivers and family members who otherwise have regular contact with seniors.

Elder Abuse and Family Members: What the Recent Study Says

The recent study on elder abuse sought to determine what type of person is most commonly responsible for perpetrating abuse. The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Gali H. Weissberger at the University of Southern California in Alhambra, and it was published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology. Dr. Weissberger and the other researchers relied on data from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) resource line from 2014 through 2017. The analyzed nearly 2,000 calls that came into the resource line, concluding that “42.2% involved alleged abuse,” and in nearly 47% of those cases involving abuse, “the most commonly identified perpetrators were family members.”

victor-garcia-718191-unsplash-copy-200x300Discussions about the use of cameras in nursing homes in Orange County and throughout Southern California have become common as lawmakers, safety advocates, and family members seek innovative solutions to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect and to gain evidence to hold perpetrators accountable. Yet, are cameras in residents’ rooms the best way to stop nursing home abuse, or are there significant ethical issues that we need to consider before we decide that the benefits of “granny cams,” as these cameras are commonly called, outweigh their limitations? 

A recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News addresses the ethics of “granny cams” in nursing homes and suggests that more research needs to be done concerning these tools before they become widespread.

Are Nursing Home Cameras Ethical, or do They Invade Residents’ Privacy?

jyotirmoy-gupta-443923-unsplash-copy-300x200Nursing home abuse and neglect in Vista should be considered an important public health issue of concern to any resident of San Diego County, especially someone with an elderly loved one who resides in a nursing home. Yet common public perceptions about elder abuse often mean that people assume abuse either is physical or emotional, and that neglect also results only in physical or emotional harm. It is extremely important to recognize how sexual abuse and assault are also forms of nursing home abuse that can affect older adults, and understand how to protect a loved one from this form of abuse in a California nursing facility. 

According to a recent report from CNN Health, sexual abuse and assault happens more often than most people believe in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and perpetrators can vary widely—from staff members to other residents of the facility.

Families Should be Aware of the Risk of Sexual Abuse and Assault in Long Term Care Facilities

daan-stevens-282446-1-copy-300x191There are many different ways that elder abuse and neglect can happen in Rancho Bernardo, and seniors can suffer from a variety of injuries as a result of nursing home negligence. While we often think about scenarios in which injuries can occur in skilled nursing facilities, should older adults and their families also be thinking more carefully about elder neglect or negligence in hospitals, and what this means for a senior’s long-term health? According to a recent article in The New York Times, many elderly hospital patients end up suffering serious injuries as a result of “post-hospital syndrome.”

What is post-hospital syndrome? In brief, it is tied to hospital readmissions and inadequate care among seniors, according to the article. Who is responsible when elderly patients sustain serious injuries as a result of post-hospital syndrome?

Understanding the Harms of Hospital Readmissions Among Seniors

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

obed-hernandez-592136-unsplash-copy-212x300Nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities, in Vista and throughout San Diego County were the topic of discussion in a recent article in The San Diego Union-Tribune. More specifically, do family members and seniors have any recourse when a skilled nursing facility says it is time to leave? The article presents the following scenario for readers in Southern California to consider: “Your family member, who was sent to a skilled nursing rehabilitation facility after a hospitalization, is told to leave before he/she is ready.” There are many different reasons that a nursing home might tell a patient it is time to leave. In some scenarios, these reasons are legitimate, but in other situations, such actions could rise to the level of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Reasons a Skilled Nursing Facility in Vista Might Tell a Patient to Leave      

Why do skilled nursing facilities tell patients it is time to leave? According to the article, there are numerous reasons, and some are better than others. Generally speaking, the following explanations for why your family member needs to leave the facility are not usually sufficient:

fabrizio-verrecchia-221046-unsplash-copy-300x200Nursing home evictions have become a serious issue within the larger topic of nursing home abuse and neglect in California and throughout the country. Organizations such as AARP are getting involved in stopping illegal nursing home evictions and questioning the ways in which both federal and state law provides protections to seniors who are being kicked out of facilities. While many commentators are discussing illegal evictions from nursing homes, what about illegal evictions from assisted-living facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) in California?

All of this talk about unlawful nursing home evictions begs the question: What are an elderly person’s rights when it comes to evictions from RCFEs? California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) provides a fact sheet on RCFEs and eviction protection. We want to discuss RCFE evictions with you and help you to understand steps to take when an elderly loved one becomes vulnerable.

What are the Lawful Reasons that an Elderly Resident of an RCFE can be Evicted?

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