Articles Tagged with California elder abuse attorney

josh-appel-423804-copy-300x225If you are in the process of looking for a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Los Angeles County for a loved one, it can be difficult to know how to choose the best facility and how to assess the risks of nursing home abuse at a particular place. Given that nursing home abuse and neglect can happen in some of the most seemingly luxurious and upscale facilities, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of care alone is not necessarily a predictor of senior safety in the facility. However, according to a recent article from Reveal News, a study conducted by The Center for Investigative Reporting suggests that one clear indicator of safety issues in a nursing home or assisted living facility may be the way the facility treats its workers.

In short, “operators of senior . . . homes that violate labor laws and steal workers’ wages . . . often also endanger or neglect their residents, sometimes with dire consequences.” We want to say more about the study and to discuss ways of identifying potential safety concerns in nursing homes.

U.S. Department of Labor Cases and Nursing Home Abuse Reports in California

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.”

rt_k9r80pya-jean-gerber-300x200In Valley Center and throughout California, laws are in place that are designed to protect older adults from nursing home abuse and neglect. While elder abuse can occur in a variety of settings, caregivers and staff members are nursing facilities can be held accountable under both civil and criminal law in California. When families are considering filing a nursing home abuse claim against an individual or a facility, it is important to understand how criminal laws in California provide language that can help to define the type of abuse that has resulted in a senior’s injuries. 

A recent article in Valley News discusses basic California law related to elder abuse and neglect, and we want to provide more information about the key definitions and components of those laws.

Understanding Legal Definitions Related to Elder Abuse and Neglect in California

brandon-holmes-199535-unsplash-copy-300x200The primary way that state and federal agencies keep track of nursing home and elder abuse rates in the U.S. is through reporting. In other words, healthcare workers, physicians, nursing home staff, and others who interact with seniors are supposed to report incidents of nursing home abuse or neglect to enforcement agencies. However, according to a recent article in NPR, despite the fact that this kind of reporting is required by law, there is substantial underreporting.

This information comes from a recent report published by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which indicates that “in many cases of abuse or neglect severe enough to require medical attention, the incidents have not been reported to enforcement agencies.” Why does underreporting happen, and what steps can lead to more effective reporting?

Reporting Elder Abuse After Patients Receive Care in Emergency Room

daniele-levis-pelusi-9BObZ4pzn3Y-unsplash-copy-300x225When a patient in an Escondido nursing home suffers serious illness or injury as a result of a “superbug,” is nursing home negligence to blame? In other words, if a facility fails to take proper precautions to prevent nursing home patients from contracting “superbugs,” or medication-resistant bacteria and fungi, can that facility be held responsible for nursing home neglect? That is a question that elder safety advocates have begun asking in the wake of news about superbugs causing serious and fatal injuries in hospitals and nursing homes across the country. 

How Nursing Homes are Grappling with Superbugs

According to a recent article in Kaiser Health News, hospitals and nursing homes in California have begun using a strategy that might strike readers as bizarre at first: The facilities have started “washing patients with a special soap.” Along with facilities in Illinois, California nursing homes and hospitals are among the first to begin using this strategy, funded by about $8 million in total from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In all, about 50 facilities in both California and Illinois are employing this new procedure.

james-williams-502481-unsplash-copy-300x225Seniors with Dementia at Increased Risk of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Valley Center 

Older adults in Valley Center who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are at greater risk of becoming victims of nursing home abuse or neglect. The connection between dementia and elder abuse has been relatively well-studied, and an article published in the journal Health Affairs underscores the link between dementia and nursing home abuse, especially in situations of emotional abuse. That journal article reported that, after a literature review concerning elder abuse and dementia, the researchers concluded that “many older adults experienced multiple forms of abuse simultaneously, and the risk of mortality from abuse and self-neglect may be higher in older adults with greater levels of cognitive impairment.”

Are nursing home abuse and neglect risks just as high when seniors are not properly diagnosed with dementia, or when there is a delayed diagnosis? In other words, do symptoms of dementia have to be advanced in order for an elderly nursing home resident to be at greater risk of abuse, or are almost all patients with dementia—even in its earlier stages—at more risk of injury? A recent article in WebMD suggests that “many older Americans with dementia don’t know they have the disease.” Are these individuals likely to suffer injuries as a result of elder abuse or neglect?

josh-appel-423804-copy-300x225Whether nursing home patients reside at a skilled nursing facility in Escondido or elsewhere in California, they now have greater protections against elder abuse and neglect. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, a new California state law requires that patients receive a minimum number of hours of care from certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The law took effect on July 1, 2018, but will patients see an immediate change in the way staffing works at nursing homes across the state? Will staffing increases reduce the rates of nursing home neglect in the state?

Staffing Requirements Stricter, But Will Facilities Meet Those Requirements?

Under the new law, what kinds of staffing requirements are required at nursing homes in Escondido and throughout California? As of July 1, facilities must provide each patient with at least 3.5 hours of direct care every day. This number increased from a previous requirement of 3.2 hours of direct patient care per day. But that change is not the most drastic of the shifts in the law. The significant change is that at least 2.4 of these daily hours of direct patient care must be provided by CNAs.

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200Did you know that a majority of elder abuse cases in Vista and throughout California likely go unreported? According to a report from Calaveras Enterprise, research suggests that “for every case of elder or dependent adult abuse known to agencies, 24 more are unknown.” Crimes against seniors in Southern California more generally are on the rise. The City of San Diego predicts that less than 20% of all incidents of elder abuse and neglect are reported in San Diego County. How can raising community awareness help to increase the rates of nursing home abuse reporting in Vista?

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect is Vastly Underreported, but Raising Awareness can Help

In short, elder abuse is underreported. According to a report from Kusi News, reports of violent crimes against older adults in San Diego County rose by about 37% between 2016 and 2017. In each California county, more than 300 reports of suspected elder abuse are logged each year. If we accept that, for every single case reported there are 24 more unreported cases, that fact would mean that there are more than 7,000 incidents of elder abuse each year in San Diego County. Each month in California, the state Adult Protective Services (APS) gets more than 15,000 reports of elder abuse in the state, and the California Association of Area Agencies of Aging indicates that the number of reported abuse incidents is slowly increasing.

DSC_0761-300x199Residents of Carlsbad who have an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility nearby, or who are currently exploring facilities for a loved one, should know about the risks of elder mistreatment and nursing home abuse. Every year, organizations in California and throughout the country take steps to address the continuing high rates of elder abuse, yet seniors continue to suffer preventable injuries as a result of abuse and neglect.

At the start of 2019, two new elder mistreatment prevention initiatives aim to take different approaches to the problem. We want to discuss these new efforts to detect elder abuse in emergency departments.

Elder Abuse as a Social Justice Issue

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200As many Oceanside residents with elderly loved ones know, nursing homes in Southern California and throughout the country have been cited for improper discharges of patients, amounting largely to evictions or the “dumping” of patients. According to a recent article in Skilled Nursing News, reports about such actions have “become a widespread issue—so much so that it is now one of the most frequent complaints made to states’ long-term care ombudsman programs” in California and across the U.S. When elderly patients are evicted from skilled nursing facilities, they can face nursing home abuse and neglect in the facilities where they end up living. At the same time, the mere act of “dumping” patients may in and of itself constitute nursing home abuse or neglect.

In response to these complaints, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “has announced a new initiative aimed at blunting the growing trend of improper discharges at skilled nursing facilities.” Will federal efforts help to prevent the continued evictions of nursing home residents in San Diego County?

Many Patient Discharges Violate Federal Regulations