Articles Tagged with nursing homes

christopher-ayme-157131-copy-300x200Oceanside nursing home residents and their families should consider learning more about therapy animals and how they could help to improve the general health and quality of life for seniors who reside in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California. According to a recent article in U-T San Diego, animal therapy is becoming more prominent in California and throughout the country, more residents in long-term care facilities are considering the benefits of therapy animals. An article in Psychology Today discusses a recent study that addresses the impact of therapy dogs in nursing homes and the question of whether they could help to improve the emotional health of seniors in these facilities.

It is important to raise public awareness about issues concerning nursing home abuse and neglect in order to prevent such incidents from happening. At the same time, seniors who reside in these facilities need to be in good emotional and psychological health in order to engage in self-care, and to have the strength to report incidents of abuse or neglect when they arise. In addition, when seniors are subject to nursing home abuse, they need strong immune systems to fight injuries. Emotional and psychological health impacts physical health and the immune system—when one falters, the other can, too. Can therapy animals have this effect?

Animals Visitation Programs and Therapy Dogs in Long-Term Care Settings

jonathan-adeline-259286-copy-300x200Many families in Encinitas who have elderly loved ones in San Diego County know that the cost of living is high, and the costs associated with nursing home care can be particularly steep. As reported in a recent article in Voice of San Diego, developers are beginning to think about the value of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the border in Baja California, where the cost of living may be much lower than in Southern California. Lower costs that come with the same quality of care could, of course, be great for seniors who are currently living in Encinitas and do not know how they will afford nursing home care. However, the article raises important questions about what happens if a senior sustains injuries as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect in Mexico. Could the patient or his or her family file a nursing home abuse lawsuit?

Nursing Homes in Mexico Attract California Residents

As the article details, Baja California has long been attracting Southern California residents to a more affordable place to live. Currently, there are anywhere from 300,000 to one million American retirees living in Mexico.

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

file000790132663Throughout the San Diego area, residents are aging and requiring care in nursing homes. According to a fact sheet from the California Department of Aging, our state is “projected to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation in total population” of seniors. By the year 2020, the California Department of Aging predicts that around 14% of California’s population will be aged 65 and older, totaling nearly 16 million people. Given that so many adults in California will need to think about long-term care, it is important that they, along with their families, have the right tools for choosing the best nursing facilities and avoiding situations of elder abuse.

What goes into choosing the right nursing home for your elderly parents? What questions should you ask? What should you look for at the facility to determine quality of care? A fact sheet from the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) provides helpful information for selecting a facility.

Thinking About Medicare and Medi-Cal

William_Albert_Ackman_signatureFor more than a year, mandatory arbitration agreements have been illegal in California nursing homes. Instead, patients at facilities in San Diego can only be asked to sign voluntary binding arbitration agreements. Over the last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been working on a federal rule that would prohibit forced arbitration agreements in nursing homes across the country, permitting facilities instead to have only voluntary binding arbitration agreements (like those in California). Yet according to a recent article in The New York Times, even voluntary binding arbitration agreements can put a nursing home resident in a vulnerable position in relation to a facility. Should we be talking about banning all arbitration agreements if we want to ensure patients get justice when nursing home abuse happens?

No Legal Recourse for Harmed Patients in Arbitration?

As the article in The New York Times explains, federal rules concerning forced arbitration agreements in nursing homes will soon be finalized. However, are those protections sufficient to ensure that nursing homes are held accountable when nursing home abuse or neglect occurs? As a brief reminder, arbitration agreements—both those that are “forced” or required for a patient to enter a nursing home, as well as those that a patient agrees to voluntarily upon entering a facility—require patients and their families to settle legal issues “through private arbitration rather than through lawsuits.”

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Many of us know that the population of seniors in California is growing, and that it will continue to expand over the next couple of decades. According to statistics from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Americans aged 65 and older made up a little over 14% of the population in 2013 (or around 44.7 million people). That number is expected to grow to nearly 22% of the population by the year 2040, and it will more than double—to around 98 million people—by the year 2060. What do these numbers mean for the current population of residents in California’s nursing homes and assisted-living facilities? According to a recent article in The Sacramento Bee, “the number of under-65 nursing home residents has surged 40% in a decade,” and it may be producing a “dangerous mix” at facilities.

When nursing homes serve clients in very different age groups, what problems can arise? Do these issues rise to the level of nursing home abuse or neglect?

gavelWhat happens when a nursing home resident cannot make medical decisions for herself but she has no family members to rely upon? Last summer, we told you about a case that went before the Alameda County Superior Court, which put some of the power back in the hands of nursing home residents. A recent article in the California Health Report emphasized the far-reaching implications of this decision, and the ways in which there are both potential pros and cons for nursing home residents.

CANHR’s Case Against the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Before we discuss some of the recent commentary on the court decision from June of 2015, it is important to recall the key issues at stake in this case. According to the article, the advocacy group California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) filed a lawsuit against the CDPH, arguing against the constitutionality of “a California statute allowing nursing homes to make medical decisions for residents incapable of doing that for themselves and who have no family or legal representatives.”

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.