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Articles Tagged with elder care

toni-hukkanen-87089-copy-300x189Could Carlsbad residents with dementia see improvement in their condition by using an app for iPhones or iPads? According to a recent article in U-T San Diego, “a brain training game played on an iPad improves memory for those in the earliest stages of dementia.” The article cites a recent study conducted by scientists in Britain and published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. Many nursing home residents in Southern California who become victims of nursing home abuse also suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Could apps help to reduce some of the risks for elder abuse and neglect by improving conditions for dementia patients?

Study Addresses Episodic Memory

The study’s findings are particularly important in terms of episodic memory, which “is used to remember thing important for the day, but which can be forgotten after that.” For instance, a person might remember where she put her car keys or where she parked her car. The study introduced the memory exercise game app to 21 different people who have been diagnosed with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, in addition to 21 other individuals for control. This condition, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, often is “considered a transitional stage to actual dementia.” When a person has this condition, they experience “lapses of memory greater than typical with normal aging.”


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If there is a shortage of home health aides in Vista and other areas of Southern California, how will such a shortage impact nursing home neglect in the state? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, there is a rising shortage of home health aides in California and across the country. Such a shortage could result in more instances of elder neglect within the homes of seniors, and at the same time, it could result in more elderly patients moving into nursing homes that are already understaffed. As such, the shortage in home health aides could also lead to more instances of nursing home neglect in facilities throughout the country.

Why is there such a significant shortage of home health aides? What can families do to help prevent instances of elder neglect?

Low Wages and Lack of Incentive

ian-schneider-95541-300x200For anyone in Carlsbad who has an elderly loved one residing in a nearby nursing home, it can be difficult to learn about risks related to certain types of medications. In some situations, however, the use of certain drugs in nursing homes may significantly increase a senior’s risk for pneumonia. In particular, patients with Alzheimer’s disease may be particularly susceptible. While we often hear about the dangers of over-medication and the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs, discussed relatively recently in a story by NPR, it is not as common for us to hear about prescription sedatives and pneumonia risks among patients with dementia. According to a recent article in Medical News Today, new research suggests that patients with dementia may be at greater risk for developing pneumonia, especially when they are prescribed sedatives such as benzodiazepines.

If a dementia patient on certain prescription medications develops pneumonia, could it be a result of nursing home neglect?

Nursing Home Prescriptions and Elder Neglect

kaiwen-wang-188920-300x200In San Diego, an advocacy group aimed at improving residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) has been awarded a $30,000 grant to undertake a community project in Southern California, according to a recent article in the California Newswire. The grant comes from the Del Mar Healthcare Fund, which receives funding from the Age Friendly Communities Program at the San Diego Foundation. San Diego is in the process of becoming “an Age Friendly/Livable Community for All Ages, a designation of the World Health Organization and AARP,” and the grant will help to get it there. This is not the first grant that the advocacy group, Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR), has won. As a California Newswire article clarifies, the group previously was awarded a contract to develop an assisted-living facility rating system for seniors in San Diego County.

How will the recent grant specifically help improve the lives of seniors in Southern California? Will it have the capacity to develop initiatives aimed at preventing nursing home abuse and neglect?

Research in Affordability of and Capacity for Assisted Living in San Diego County

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

ian-schneider-95541-300x200How much decision-making power does a Chula Vista nursing home resident get when it comes to his or her quality of care? According to a recent article from Kaiser Health News, seniors in Southern California and across the country may be able to have more autonomy through shifts in federal regulations. As the article explains, around 1.4 million seniors living in nursing homes “now can be more involved in their care under the most wide-ranging revision of federal rules for such facilities in 25 years.”

What does it mean for older adults in nursing homes to have more autonomy over their schedules and care? Could such shifts in care perhaps reduce the rate of nursing home abuse in Southern California and throughout the country?

Shift in Federal Rules Focuses on “Person-Centered Care”

ASA-191x300-191x300If you live in Southern California and are interested in learning more about nursing home abuse and elder mistreatment, there are some exciting new programs being offered at the University of Southern California (USC), according to a news release from the American Society on Aging (ASA). Specifically, the ASA is partnering with USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to offer five-week online courses to members of the American Society on Aging. You can take advantage of these educational courses from the comfort of your own home or office. The courses are designed for professionals who work in the field of aging, but they can also be extremely helpful to San Diego County residents who have loved ones in local nursing homes and want to learn more about how they can prevent abuse in their professional and personal lives.

Importance of Bringing Awareness to Elder Mistreatment in California

Why are these elder mistreatment classes so important? According to Zach Gassoumis, a Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor a the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at USC, we need to do more to get the issue of elder abuse out into the open and to make people aware of the problem. He explains, “elder mistreatment has been recognized as a largely hidden public health problem that affects over one in ten older adults each year, or roughly seven million people aged 60 and older in the U.S.” Gassoumis goes on to explains that “recent research suggests that this number is even higher in other parts of the world,” and “it is estimated that globally, 141 million older adults experience mistreatment by others.”

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

page1-424px-Looqi_polsband_productfoto.pdfCan nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Chula Vista and Escondido do more to prevent wandering among dementia patients? According to a recent article in McKnight’s Senior Living, “wandering and elopement are among the oldest challenges senior living communities face.” While incidents of wandering often do not lead to any serious harm, in some cases, seniors who do not have proper supervision can sustain severe and even fatal injuries as a result of wandering from the facility. Typically, cases of wandering and elopement involve patients who are suffering from dementia.

Given that wandering often results from limited staffing that may rise to the level of nursing home neglect, certain innovators have begun to imagine ways in which technology might be able to help. As the article discusses, technological innovations, such as radio frequency and real-time location devices, as well as behavior-tracking tools, can allow facilities to track residents and to prevent them from wandering outside the facility.

Learning More About Statistics on Wandering and Elopement

800px-Old_Man_in_San_JoseCalifornia law has proven to be a step ahead of federal law when it comes to banning arbitration agreements in nursing homes in order to prevent elder abuse. A recent Medicare final rule has banned nursing homes “from requiring patients to agree to mandatory arbitration prior to admission,” according to an article in Bloomberg BNA. Another article in The New York Times emphasized the importance of this new rule. When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released news of the final rule on September 28, San Diego nursing home residents already were protected against mandatory arbitration agreements under section 1599.81 of the California Health & Safety Code.

Yet the Medicare final rule still has relevance for San Diego residents. First, anyone living in Southern California who has elderly loved ones in another state now can be assured that those seniors, too, are protected against mandatory arbitration agreements. In addition, the new Medicare final rule also does more than protect against mandatory arbitration agreements, and those additional requirements will apply to elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the San Diego area.

How California Law Compares to CMS Final Rule on Arbitration Agreements

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