Articles Tagged with California nursing home abuse lawyer

Nursing homes in San Bernardino County and throughout Southern California must comply with state and federal laws concerning resident care. Those laws require nursing homes to provide a particular level of care based on the resident’s needs, to comply with residents’ rights, and to ensure a certain level of safety at the facility. In recent years, questions and concerns about transparency in nursing homes have become particularly important as residents have experienced injuries due to nursing home abuse and neglect, have been transferred unlawfully to hospice facilities, and have been evicted for inexplicable reasons. 

As of January 1, 2024, a new law is in effect that requires nursing homes to provide detailed information to residents upon eviction. Our San Bernardino County nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers can tell you more.

Risk of Forcible Discharge or Eviction at California Nursing Homes

Nursing home abuse occurs frequently, but it can still be difficult to spot or identify if you do not know what to look for. Quite often, friends and family members of older adults in nursing homes are in the best position to spot injuries that may have resulted from abuse or neglect, so it is critical to know what you should be observing and reporting. Our Orange County nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have tips. The following are the top ways to spot nursing home abuse in Orange County.

Learn About Different Forms of Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many different forms, so it is critical to understand the types of abuse that can occur. Those forms of abuse typically include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, willful deprivation, and passive neglect.

Summertime brings even hotter temperatures to Southern California than the Los Angeles County region experiences in other parts of the year, and seniors in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities can suffer harm if these facilities do not take additional precautions. Moreover, the summer months do not have any reduced likelihood of common nursing home abuse and neglect injuries that are unrelated to higher temperatures, and it is important to be on the lookout for those harms, as well. As recent research reported in Science News highlights, rising temperatures can also make people more aggressive, which might result in shorter fuses for nursing home employees who are providing care for residents and patients. Indeed, humans have difficulty “coping with extreme heat,” and during heat waves, in particular, employees could be more likely to behave aggressively.

What do you need to know if you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Southern California? Our Los Angeles County nursing home neglect lawyers have some key things to keep in mind.

Hot Temperatures Can Result in Distinct Injuries Due to Neglect

Since nursing home abuse and neglect in Riverside County can take many forms, it can be challenging to know whether or not a specific sign is likely to indicate nursing home abuse. It is imperative to keep in mind that any sign or symptom that raises concern should be investigated. Given that even small changes in a senior’s behavior can indicate a much larger problem, it is critical to take any concerns seriously. At the same time, some signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect are more common than others, so you should be particularly attuned to certain indicators. The following are ten of the most common signs of elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Southern California.

1. Unexplained Bruises and Other Soft Tissue Injuries

Anytime a senior has unexplained bruises, cuts, burn marks, or any other related injuries, they should be taken extremely seriously. They are often a sign of physical abuse.

When we think about characteristics that make people particularly vulnerable to nursing home abuse or neglect in San Bernardino County, we often think about age, socioeconomic factors, community relationships, and a nursing home resident’s relative health. It is important to know that older adults are subject to abuse and neglect in ways other patients may not. Nursing home residents who cannot afford certain types of care or do not have family members or trustworthy loved ones in their community to consider their best interests can suffer injuries due to nursing home abuse or neglect — sometimes at higher rates than others. The Alzheimer’s Association also underscores that nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are especially vulnerable to abuse, often because they do not have the cognitive abilities to recognize abuse or to report it.

What about gender and sex? And, in particular, are women at higher risk of certain types of abuse in nursing home settings? Our San Bernardino nursing home abuse attorneys want to say more about gender-based violence and elder abuse in Southern California.

Women Residents of Nursing Homes Are More Likely to Be Victims of Sexual Abuse

Older adults, including nursing home and assisted-living facility residents in Riverside County, may be more likely to suffer serious fall injuries than younger people. Yet it is important to remember that falls are preventable, and nursing homes have a duty to take steps to ensure resident safety. If a fall does occur in a Riverside County nursing home or assisted-living facility, it is important to seek advice from a Riverside County nursing home negligence lawyer who can determine whether the facility may be liable. In the meantime, the following are five things you should know about falls and nursing homes.

1. Falls are Extremely Common But Preventable Among Older Adults

Falls occur much more frequently than you might think among older adults. Indeed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 36,000 fall-related deaths among adults aged 65 and up in 2020, which makes falls the “leading cause of injury death for that group.” Around 3 million older adults experience injuries in falls that require treatment in an emergency department, and approximately 800,000 require hospitalization. Among older adults, about 20% of all falls result in serious injury.

Could “ownership transparency” help to prevent injuries and severe harm to patients in skilled nursing facilities in San Diego County? Nursing home abuse and neglect in Southern California have many causes, including issues of understaffing and failure to properly investigate staff members prior to employment. Commentators often argue that certain nursing homes put profits before patient well-being. According to a recent article in Skilled Nursing News, the Biden administration has been focusing on “ownership transparency,” or addressing who owns — or what entities own — skilled nursing facilities across the country. The idea is that nursing homes that are owned by real estate investment trusts (REITs) may not provide the same quality of care as other nursing homes.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a rule aimed at “ownership transparency,” or as the article describes it, “a rule requiring more ownership disclosures and floating definitions of private equity and real estate investment trusts.” Yet as the article reports, “providers are pushing back on elements of this proposal,” and commentators argue that “the proposed policy’s definitions of different ownership structures is still too vague.” What do you need to know about the proposed rule and its implications? Our San Diego County nursing home abuse lawyers can say more.

Proposed Rule is Part of Broader Ownership Transparency Plan

When a senior in a Los Angeles County nursing home suffers an injury because of the facility’s negligence or because of an intentional act committed by a staff member, it may be possible to file a claim against the facility in order to seek compensation and to hold the facility accountable. Yet it can be difficult to know when a facility should be sued, especially since there are so many different types of injuries and harm that an older adult can experience. One type of harm that may not be discussed as often as physical abuse in nursing homes but that can cause serious psychological injuries is harm to a person’s dignity. What rights does a nursing home resident have in California concerning rights to dignity and the right to be free from psychological or emotional harm? Our Los Angeles County nursing home abuse attorneys can provide you with more information.

Harm to a Person’s Dignity Can Be a Form of Nursing Home Abuse

It is critical to know that nursing home abuse is a term that can refer to many different types of harm — not just physical abuse. Indeed, there are many kinds of elder abuse and neglect that can occur at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Southern California. In some cases, a staff member at a nursing home might not even intend to cause harm but may be so busy or overwhelmed that they cannot fully perform the requirements of their job, which results in a nursing home resident suffering an injury. In other cases, various forms of intentional abuse, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, and willful deprivation, may result in harm to a person’s dignity.

Although COVID-19 does not pose the same broad risks in San Bernardino County that it did in the early years of the pandemic, the virus does continue to pose a relatively serious risk to older adults in nursing homes. Even seniors who have been fully vaccinated and boosted are still at higher risk of developing serious symptoms from COVID-19, and nursing homes have a duty to ensure that infection-control measures are in place to prevent the spread of the virus if a resident does become infected. According to a recent story from KQED, some nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are using COVID-sniffing dogs to identify the virus in residents. Can dogs really sniff out COVID? And when can a nursing home be liable for injury or death caused by COVID in a nursing home, assisted-living facility, or another type of long-term care facility?

Learning More About COVID-Sniffing Dogs in California

Can dogs really sniff out COVID? And can this practice make nursing homes and assisted-living facilities safer for residents? According to the KQED story, using COVID-sniffing dogs can be quick and effective, in large part. Indeed, the piece says, “in less than a half hour, dogs can scan hundreds of patients at a nursing home by sniffing their shoes and ankles,” and “if they identify COVID, they will sit down next to the suspected resident.” Facilities are then using rapid antigen tests to “verify the results” provided by the dogs.

If you are considering the possibility of filing a nursing home abuse or neglect claim in Orange County, or if you are wondering whether you have a valid nursing home abuse or neglect claim, it is important to learn more about how these claims work. A recent Forbes article provided information about the key elements of a nursing home abuse claim regardless of where you are in the country. Still, it is also important to understand how California law works specifically. The following is a general guide to nursing home abuse and neglect claims in Orange County and throughout California.

Understand What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect, and Negligence

The terms nursing home “abuse” and “neglect” are often used interchangeably, and you will also often see references to “nursing home negligence.” Generally speaking, nursing home negligence claims can include claims of abuse and neglect, and they usually name a specific nursing home or group of facilities (although sometimes additional parties may be named, such as certain staff members), and they allege that the nursing home’s negligence resulted in a resident’s injuries. More specifically, nursing home abuse claims tend to involve specific allegations of known types of nursing home abuse, and they may name the nursing home in addition to a specific staff member who perpetrated the abuse. At the same time, you may see these terms used interchangeably in various circumstances.

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