Articles Tagged with elder abuse

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an older parent or other family member who resides in a nursing home in Poway or elsewhere in Southern California, it is important to understand the risks of nursing home abuse and neglect. In recent years, numerous studies have pointed out that many elder abuse cases involve perpetrators who are also residents of the facilities in which the injuries occur. In particular, cases of sexual abuse in the elderly can happen when one patient sexually assaults another patient. When do issues of consent and capacity arise in these kinds of nursing home abuse claims? Most frequently, as it turns out, when the victim suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Can such a patient ever give consent? In other words, can such a patient actually have the capacity to consent, or is any sexual act always one for which consent simply cannot be given?

This is a question that is currently at issue in California. According to an article in The Sacramento Bee, a 79-year-old woman at a California nursing home may have been sexually assaulted by another patient, a 70-year-old man also residing at the facility. Is there ever a gray area between consent and elder abuse?

Getting the Facts of the Recent Case

Falta_de_fusio%CC%81n_del_nu%CC%81cleo_de_la_estiloides-300x221We know that the likelihood of Rancho Bernardo patients who visit emergency rooms receiving elder abuse diagnoses is small, based on a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, among others. However, are there other locations in which physicians could be trained to identify sign and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect? According to an article in Psych Central, a recent study suggests that radiologists could be an important source of detection for abuse among elderly patients. Could more training for radiologists mean earlier treatment for injuries sustained as a result of nursing home abuse in San Diego County?

Why Should We Train Radiologists to Detect Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect?

Are radiologists in a better position to identify signs of nursing home abuse than other types of medical doctors? In some ways, the answer might be yes. To better understand why training for radiologists in elder abuse could be an effective detection measure, it is important to understand what a radiologist does. As a fact sheet from the American College of Radiology explains, radiologists are doctors “who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries using medical imaging techniques, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET), and ultrasound.”

alex-knight-199368-copy-300x200How far has technology come in Encinitas when it concerns health care for seniors and elder abuse prevention? According to a recent article in the BBC News, most American and other Western healthcare facilities have not yet begun using robotics to help provide superior patient care, but the everyday use of robotics might not be too far in the future. As the article explains, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University has begun using an “intelligent” robot as its receptionist, and that robot could be a model for senior care in California, throughout the U.S., and across the world. What else should you know about the possibility of robotics in senior healthcare and the ways that “intelligent” nurses may be able to help detect and prevent nursing home abuse and neglect?

“Intelligent” Nurses Could Provide Senior Care and Attention

At Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, the “intelligent” receptionist is called Nadine. The BBC News notes that, “from a distance, nothing about her appearance seems unusual . . . .  It’s only on closer inspection that doubts set in.” Indeed, “for a machine, her looks and behavior are remarkably natural.” But there is more significance to Nadine than the fact that she may look like a human worker. Perhaps more than humans, the scientists who created her suggest, Nadine and other “intelligent” workers like her have the ability to recognize certain human emotions and to draw conclusions about behavior.

josh-rinard-108856-300x200If you have an elderly loved one who currently lives in a nursing home or assisted-living facility in San Diego County, it is important to learn more about proposed federal legislation that could starkly limit civil protections for victims of elder abuse. According to a recent article in East County Magazine, the bill at issue, H.R. 1215, “will effectively end California’s 20-plus year civil protection system for victims of elder abuse or neglect perpetrated by health care providers.” The bill has been named the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017,” but elder safety advocates argue that, if the name of the bill more accurately reflected its content and possible aims, it would be called “Obstruction of Justice for the Injured,” according to the article.

What do you need to know about the particulars of this bill and the harms that could arise if this proposed legislation passes?

Learning More About H.R. 1215: Protection Access to Care Act of 2017

byron-johnson-208827-200x300If a caregiver is charged with elder abuse and is convicted in Escondido, will that  record of abuse follow him or her in the event that he or she attempts to find another job working at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Southern California? Can a person convicted of nursing home abuse apply to have this particular type of record expunged, thereby allowing that person to apply (potentially successfully) for employment at a skilled nursing facility in the area? According to a recent article in the Valley Road Runner, a particular California law may allow for the expungement of abuse records in certain cases. For San Diego-area residents whose loved ones have been the victims of elder abuse, this is particularly disconcerting.

What else should you know about California laws concerning the records of caregivers?

Expunging Records of Elder Abuse

file451297827287-1-300x225 Whether you have an elderly loved one who lives in San Diego County or elsewhere in California, it is important to understand how elder abuse laws in our state can help to provide compensation for seniors who suffer injuries as a result of abuse and neglect in the assisted living setting. According to a recent report from the North Coast Journal, a California jury awarded $5 million to the family of an elderly woman who died while under the care of Timber Ridge McKinleyville. The jury, according to the article, “found the facility liable for wrongful death and elder abuse.” Of the $5 million jury verdict, $2.5 million in punitive damages was awarded.

Congratulations to attorneys Tim Needham and Michael Thamer for such outstanding work on behalf of this family.

This jury verdict emphasizes the importance of speaking with an experienced San Diego County nursing home abuse lawyer in the event that an elderly loved one sustains serious or fatal injuries resulting from elder abuse or neglect. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact the Walton Law Firm.

503px-Paracetamol_acetaminophen_500_mg_pills_crop-1-252x300This past spring, a right-to-die law took effect in California, permitting residents of San Diego County who are terminally ill to make the decision to end their lives through doctor-prescribed medications. As an article from NBC News explained back in June 2016, California’s “End of Life Option Act” made the state the fifth in the nation “to create a legal process for patients to obtain aid in dying.”

While the law comes with many protections to prevent a situation in which a person takes life-ending drugs without making that choice for him or herself, numerous elderly safety advocates have voiced concerns about how the law could enable certain forms of elder abuse, particularly among patients with dementia. At the same time, however, some Californians think the law has not gone far enough to protect patients suffering from dementia. What do you need to know about the law and how it may impact elderly patients affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia?

Understanding the Key Tenets of the End of Life Option Act

LAFD_ambulanceWhen an elderly loved one in San Diego requires nearly constant medical care, many family members are at their most concerned when that loved one has to be hospitalized. However, according to a recent article in California Healthline, one of the most dangerous periods for elderly patients actually starts after they leave the hospital, and perhaps not for the reasons you might think. The problem is not that the elderly person does not receive sufficient care after a hospital visit, but rather that the patient failed to receive proper care while in the healthcare facility. Does this rise to the level of elder neglect?

Problems Associated with Poor Transitional Care

The time between leaving the hospital and receiving care either from a home caregiver or staff members at a nursing home in Southern California is known as a period of “transitional care.” As Alicia Arbaje, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine explains, “poor transitional care is a huge, huge issue for everybody, but especially for older people with complex needs.” While “the most risky transition,” Arbaje explains, “is from hospital to home with the additional need for home care services,” since it is the type of situation about which the least is known, injuries resulting from poor transitional care can also happen when the patient goes from a hospital to a local nursing home.

Patch_of_the_San_Diego_Police_DepartmentLaw enforcement officials are often in a unique position to recognize signs and symptoms of elder abuse in the San Diego area. Yet, as an article from In Public Safety points out, police officers frequently are not sufficiently trained in recognize nursing home abuse and neglect, and as such they inadvertently miss the symptoms that could help to prevent future injuries and, in some cases, deaths. Since nursing home abuse cases also can coincide with calls concerning assault and domestic violence, it is important for law enforcement officers to be trained to recognize the signs of elder abuse.

Getting Law Enforcement Officials in California Involved in Elder Abuse Awareness

One of the first things we can do, the article suggests, to change the ways in which police officers evaluate whether someone has been the victim of elder abuse is to require specific training about nursing home abuse and neglect. In our state, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) does have required training for mandatory reporters, but not all law enforcement officials understand the extent of elder abuse in the community and the ways that we can work together to help prevent it.

800px-Cbh_emergencydepartment1If an elderly San Diego County resident who has sustained injuries as a result of nursing home abuse ends up in an emergency department, will he or she be properly diagnosed with injuries caused by elder abuse? According to a recent article in Psych Central, formal diagnoses of elder abuse are made in only one out of every 7,700 visits to emergency rooms across the country. This information comes from a new study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of California San Diego, and Weil Cornell Medicine.

Given what we know about rates of elder neglect and nursing home abuse—a fact sheet from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) predicts that about 10% of all Americans aged 60 and older have been subject to some form of elder abuse—the notion that only about .01% of seniors who seek treatment in emergency departments are diagnosed with injuries caused by elder abuse seems startling. What else does this study teach us, and what can we do to help?

Majority of Elder Abuse Cases are Not Reported or Go Undiagnosed