Articles Tagged with assisted living

Very Old LadyIs the quality of life improving for Southern California residents in assisted-living facilities? And if so, how much attention do we need to pay to the risks of nursing home abuse and neglect in these communities if a majority of seniors say they are content? According to a recent article in McKnight’s Senior Living, “residents of assisted living communities in California are very satisfied with their living situations” on the whole. While this is good news for many elder justice advocates in the state, we should not let it obscure the fact that there remain a number of seniors who are not satisfied with their living situations and who become victims of elder abuse.

Although the recent article presents promising data on elderly assisted living in the state, we still need to consider the risks to California seniors who do not fall into this depicted majority.

Many Seniors in California are Indeed Happy, Survey Says

Vr_(14798594120)A recent article in Reuters Health reported that one out of every five nursing home residents that suffers verbal or physical nursing home abuse is not enduring that abuse at the hands of one of the staff members at a facility. Rather, about 20% of all verbal and physical nursing home abuse cases involve violence committed by another resident. While these cases may result from serious issues of nursing home neglect and understaffing (and the general failure to properly monitor patients in a facility), a recent article from NPR and KQED News, a new virtual reality device is helping seniors in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to remain calmer and to, perhaps, live fuller lives.

Can such technology help to prevent elder abuse when it is perpetrated by other residents?

Virtual Reality Improving the Lives of Seniors

file000356994816For those of us with elderly loved ones who are currently living in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, the threat of injuries caused by nursing home abuse is all too real. But what leads staff members at these facilities to perpetrate acts of elder abuse and neglect? Often, as we have noted in previous posts, understaffing at nursing homes frequently results in patients not receiving proper levels of care. But when we think about physical elder abuse, it is more difficult for most San Diego residents to consider explanations.

The possibility of nursing home abuse is abhorrent to us, but it can be difficult to understand why, exactly, it happens. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, one emergency room physician decided to look more closely into acts and events that prompt elder abuse.

Exploring Causes of Elder Abuse

file2811310649672According to a recent article from U.S. News & World Report, many nursing homes in California and across the country are working hard to eradicate elder abuse and neglect, but there is still more work to be done. As the article explains, “the next generation of nursing homes is working to shed old stereotypes.” But do cases of nursing home abuse persist?

Changing the Face of Nursing Homes in California

How do most of us imagine nursing facilities when we have not visited loved ones who are residents? The article in U.S. News & World Report notes that, “for many, the image of nursing homes is one of sad, sterile institutions where elderly people are left isolated by family members who stop caring.” Generally speaking, this image of nursing homes is not accurate. We cannot necessarily tell whether a facility is taking good care of its residents—and taking important steps to prevent elder abuse and neglect—just by looking at it. As we have noted in previous posts, numerous nursing homes that have been fined for nursing home abuse or neglect have posh interiors and carry higher price tags than safer facilities.

apartment buildingFederal laws exist to prevent nursing homes from removing elderly residents into hospitals, yet the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) are alleging that the state of California is doing just that, according to a recent press release. The nonprofit advocacy group argues that “California nursing homes have been sending Medi-Cal residents to acute care hospitals and refusing to allow them to return to the nursing homes where they reside.”

CANHR has described the state’s actions as “patient dumping,” according to a report from Southern California Public Radio. And dumping patients is not just an issue for older adults or for those of us with elderly loved ones. If the allegations turn out to be true, they will have cost taxpayers in California more than $70 million over the last decade.

Federal Requirements and Readmission to Nursing Facilities

file1251238100316Cases of nursing home abuse and neglect often go unreported. Even when seniors report incidents of elder abuse, there is no promise that a nursing or assisted-living facility will be held accountable. Given that nursing home abuse continues to plague elderly residents of Southern California, where can we turn to seek clearer answers about the causes of abuse and neglect? According to a report from NBC News, interviewing certified nurse aides might help to give us some insight into the reasons that nursing home neglect continues to result in serious injuries to some of the most vulnerable Californians.

Taking Questions About Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect “Straight to the Source”

How can we find out more about the reasons that elder abuse persists in facilities throughout the state of California? One advocate, Carolyn Pickering, has decided to go “straight to the source,” and she is “asking certified nurse aides what they think the problems are.” As Pickering explained, there is a close relationship between happy and healthy employees and happy and healthy patients. You cannot have one without the other, she intimates. Given the link between employee safety and patient safety, Pickering believes that certified nurse aides and other healthcare professionals employed by nursing homes can help to shed light on the issues that result in elder neglect.

file3261246766942According to a recent article from Modern Healthcare, a Riverside nursing home owned by Schlomo Rechnitz was the target of an FBI investigation. The FBI served search warrants at the Alta Vista Healthcare & Wellness Centre late last month, but the agency has not yet commented on the nature of its investigation. Have more issues of nursing home abuse and neglect arisen at facilities in our state?

Learning about nursing home abuse and neglect allegations in Southern California can be disconcerting, particularly when you have an elderly loved one who receives care at a nursing home or assisted living facility in our state. If you have concerns about a senior’s safety, you should contact an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse attorney.

Renewed Scrutiny into Rechnitz Facilities

file0002014909352According to a recent article in the Contra Costa Times, the family members of an 85-year-old senior are suing the San Pablo skilled care facility where she lived for elder abuse and neglect. The family alleges that the senior’s death was “the direct result of improper care at the facility where she was a patient for the last three years.” The family also alleges that the San Pablo facility, Vale Healthcare Center, failed to:

  • Meet staff-to-patient ratios required by the law;
  • Provide care plans for dementia patients;

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.”

As of July 1, 2015, owners of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) in California were required to have liability insurance in the event of elder neglect and other related injuries. The new law, which went into effect just this past summer, began as AB 1523, a bill that was sponsored by the Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR). In the minds of many elder justice advocates, mandatory liability insurance for RCFEs represents one step toward safer care options for seniors in California. If we take a closer look at the history of the bill and the implications of mandatory liability insurance in our state, we can better understand how this new law may have an effect on incidents of nursing home abuse.

Background to AB 1523 and the Requirement of RCFE Insurance

Over the last couple of years, numerous advocates have voiced concern about the state of the assisted-living industry in California. Many reports about elder abuse and neglect appeared in The San Diego Union-Tribune, emphasizing the need for reform measures throughout the state. One of those reforms includes the law requiring liability insurance for RCFEs. As CARR explains in a press release about the new law taking effect, the advocacy group conducted extensive research into the affordability of mandatory insurance. In short, CARR found that “the average monthly cost to a small, six-bed facility would amount to approximately $50 per month per resident.” According to CARR, $50 per month for each resident of an RCFE is “a reasonable amount by any standard.”

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