Articles Tagged with San diego elder abuse lawyer

Elder abuse in nursing homes in San Diego County takes many different forms, and certain types of abuse or neglect can often be more difficult to identify than others. While physical abuse commonly produces signs of more obvious physical injuries, signs of sexual abuse may not be as apparent to a friend or family member visiting an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility. While it can be difficult to think about sexual abuse and sexual violence occurring in nursing home settings, it is critical to remember that sexual abuse of elderly nursing home residents occurs more often than many people suspect, and it can have physical and psychological consequences.

What are signs of sexual abuse to look for if you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety in a San Diego County nursing home? Consider some of the following signs and symptoms identified by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), and be sure to contact an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer if you notice any of them when you visit an elderly relative at a skilled nursing facility or residential care facility for the elderly.

Understanding Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Elder advocates and those who work tirelessly to prevent nursing home abuse can be involved in many different professions, including medicine. According to a recent news release from USC News, geriatrician Laura Mosqueda is a “leader in the study and prevention of elder abuse,” and she’s continuing to work toward the prevention and early detection of elder neglect in California. Mosqueda is currently the director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), and she hopes that her work in Southern California will have lasting impact on older throughout the region.6240576176_62b88ae159

Interdisciplinary Work to Prevent Elder Abuse and Neglect

One of Mosqueda’s focuses in the prevention and detection of elder abuse and neglect is taking an interdisciplinary approach to the problem. Sometimes we think of elder abuse prevention as a job that falls within the realm of community advocates or healthcare professionals who have daily contact with older adults. And sometimes we note that dedicated San Diego nursing home abuse attorneys play an important role in holding abusers accountable. But Mosqueda has worked to bring together elder advocates in multiple fields and professions on behalf of the elderly community.

According to a recent article from Kaiser Health News, until recently, a California law permitted nursing homes to make decisions—include about end-of-life care—for nursing home residents who have been declared incompetent. However, a state court recently held that the law, which was enacted more than twenty years ago, is unconstitutional.7750519890_1720d30f09

Nursing Homes Cannot Violate Patients’ Rights

The law remained in effect until Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio M. Grillo ruled that the law is unconstitutional in a decision that came down at the end of last month. As the judge explained, “the law violates patients’ due process rights because it doesn’t require nursing homes to notify patients they have been deemed incapacitated or to give them the chance to object.” While Grillo indicated that he knows the decision “is likely to cause problems” for regular nursing home operations, it’s more important to put nursing home patients’ rights above practical logistics.

How dangerous are psychiatric medications when they’re prescribed for dementia patients in nursing homes? According to a recent article in Modern Healthcare, the benefits of the long-term use of psych meds when they’re prescribed for the disorders for which they’re designed—would “need to be colossal to counter known harms associated with their use.” And while the off-label use of antipsychotics to treat dementia symptoms appears to have declined, it remains a significant problem in Southern California and throughout the country.


Stopping Use of Psychotropic Drugs

Researchers across the globe are speaking out about the dangers of antipsychotic drugs. To be sure, a debate about their efficacy and long-term effects recently sprung up on the website for the journal of the British Medical Association. According to Dr. Peter Gøtzsche, who serves as the director of the Nordic Cochrane Center, the lack of benefit from these medications, particularly when they’re used in an off-label manner, means that “we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm.” For even when they’re used to provide short-term relief, he emphasized, they pose serious long-term harms.

When you learn that an elderly loved one has died while in the care of a nursing home or assisted-living facility, you may suspect that she didn’t receive the proper treatment. In some cases, however, it’s difficult to discern whether an older adult suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence or because of elder abuse.6811278733_eca62c5091

In California, nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem throughout the state. At the same time, medical malpractice can occur in a variety of healthcare settings, including nursing homes. According to a recent article in the National Law Journal, differentiating medical negligence and elder abuse cases can be complicated in California.

Characterizing a Healthcare Provider’s Actions

Over the past year, elderly California residents and their family members have been made all too aware that, if they file elder abuse complaints, the Department of Public Health isn’t likely to respond in a timely manner. However, according to a recent article in California Healthline, testimony given in a joint legislative hearing emphasized that “progress has been made in clearing a huge backlog of nursing home complaints, and steps have been taken to ensure it won’t happen again.”


Department of Public Health Discusses Progress

Last October, a report from a state auditor revealed that the California Department of Public Health had a backlog of about 11,000 complaints concerning elder abuse in nursing homes and related facilities. According to Elaine Howle, the California state auditor, “many of them were urgent and serious complaints, and others were designated as high priority.” Of those complaints, Howle indicated that around 40 percent of those in the backlog fell into the category of “immediate or non-immediate jeopardy designations.”

When older adults become victims of elder abuse in their own homes, do they have any options to escape the violence? According to a recent article in the Orange County Register, more elderly adults are reporting that they’ve been the victims of physical abuse in Southern California, and the Orange County Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Registry received more than 9,000 such reports last year alone.16570337968_57d62c7708

Elder Abuse on the Rise in Orange County

Over the last 10 years, the Orange County Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Registry has received a 74 percent increase in reports of abuse. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, the reported cases of abuse rose by nearly 14 percent. Of those calls, more than 75 percent involved seniors aged 65 and older. Yet experts suspect that the number is actually much higher. In other words, numerous cases simply go unreported.

When most of us think about elder abuse or neglect, we tend to imagine horror stories about staff members getting into physical altercations with residents or failing to take care of patients in need. However, sexual assault can happen at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, too. According to a recent article from the Marin Independent Journal, a female Greenbrae nursing home resident sued the facility for elder abuse after contending that she was sexually assaulted during her residency. Now, authorities with the California Department of Public Health are investigating the incident.

Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including sexual abuse. If you have concerns that your elderly loved one has been the target of elder abuse or neglect, you should seek advice from an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer.

Nursing-Home-Female-PatientDetails of the Greenbrae Sexual Assault

euthanasia-300x175Many Californians are in favor of legislation that would permit assisted suicide in certain situations, yet some elder advocates worry that such legislation won’t have sufficient safeguards to protect against elder abuse. According to a recent article in the Modesto Bee, the Death with Dignity bill, or assisted-suicide legislation, can have “many unintended consequences” that can negatively impact elderly Californians.

Pressure to Agree to Assisted Suicide

The article in the Modesto Bee provides the viewpoint of a former hospital social worker, whose “primary concern is for individuals who might feel pressured into ending their lives.” While assisted suicide may allow individuals with terminal illnesses to end their lives on their own terms, there’s a real concern that such legislation can be dangerous when it comes to “those who might not have a strong support system; access to health care, palliative care, and hospice; or the benefit of a loving, caring family.”

Amidst news reports of elder abuse and neglect in assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) across the state, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been criticized for its failure to investigate. What did it fail to investigate, exactly? Elderly patients and their families argue that they reported nursing home abuse incidents to the CDPH, yet they contend that the department didn’t investigate those complaints in a timely manner and failed to properly fine the responsible facilities.

budgetcalculatorMore Funding for Elder Abuse Investigations

According to a recent press release from the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), Governor Jerry Brown has proposed a budget for the coming fiscal year that would “add more than $30 million and about 260 positions for the Licensing & Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health.” Yet, the most surprising part of the new budget isn’t merely about licensing and certification. Rather, as the CANHR suggests, it’s about taking complaints about nursing home abuse investigations more seriously.

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