ASA-191x300-191x300If you live in Escondido or Poway 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.”

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.

rt_k9r80pya-jean-gerber-300x200For California seniors, one factor that may impact health is loneliness, according to a recent article from NPR. While cases of elder neglect and nursing home abuse can result in serious personal injuries to seniors, such incidents can result in even more substantial injuries if the older adult is already in poor health. Poor health conditions can be dramatically exacerbated by nursing home neglect, for example. According to the article, isolation is a serious underlying issue that affects the health of older Americans, and it is important to find ways to reduce the loneliness or isolation that seniors may experience.

Researchers Emphasize the Health-Related Impacts of Loneliness and Isolation

Research studies have begun to look at the effects of loneliness among seniors, and the findings suggest that loneliness and isolation can result in a higher likelihood of health problems. As the article articulates, “research shows older adults who feel lonely are at greater risk of memory loss, strokes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.” According to AARP, the health threat associated with emotional isolation is “similar to that of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” In addition to increased risk of illness, emotional isolation has also been connected to other conditions that can lower the immune system’s functioning, such as physical inactivity and poor sleeping habits. In some studies, high blood pressure also resulted from loneliness.

ufomxgheugk-todd-diemer-300x178Advocates for seniors in San Diego County and throughout California have concerns about elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Last year, lawmakers took steps to speed up the rate at which elder abuse cases will be heard in California courts. Specifically, a recent article in the Monterey County Weekly reported on changes to the law in 2016 that will take effect this year, including SB 1065. This bill, proposed by State Senator Bill Monning, was signed into law in 2016 and is schedule to take effect on July 1, 2017. This is not a new law altogether, but rather, as the article clarifies, “builds on the existing Elder and Dependent Adult Civil protection Act to move elder abuse cases through the courts faster.”

Currently, without the law in effect, the article emphasizes that the “appellate process can take more than three years.” Once SB 1065 takes effect, however, all appeals must be decided by the court within 100 days. What else should you know about SB 1065 and its impact on San Diego County seniors?

Details of SB 1065 and its Elder Abuse Protections

DSC_0761-300x199Chronic nursing home abuse that results in frequent trips to hospitals and intensive care units is a problem in San Diego County and throughout Southern California. According to a recent article in the Compton Herald, a chronic nursing home neglect case in Inglewood highlights the risk of serious injuries in particular facilities and the threat of continuing healthcare violations. In the recent case, the facility, Centinela Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre, is one of numerous facilities owned by the Los Angeles billionaire Schlomo Y. Rechnitz, which are operated under the chain name of Brius Healthcare Services and have already came under scrutiny in 2016. Does the recent case suggest that Southern California residents need to be wary of this healthcare chain? What can family members do to help prevent nursing home abuse and neglect?

Details of the Recent Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Case

As the article reports, a Southern California woman was admitted into the Centinela Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre in Inglewood, where she was supposed to obtain rehabilitative services after being discharged from the Centinela Hospital Medical Center. While in the hospital, the patient had received care for about six weeks for “a severe body infection.” When she enters Centinela Skilled Nursing, her family members indicated that she was “progressing steadily,” recuperating from the infection that required her hospitalization. However, when the family visited her at the nursing facility a short time later, they found her “sitting in a wheelchair in a seemingly catatonic state, trembling uncontrollably, mumbling jibberish with her eyes rolling back in her head.”

zdunbsai3p0-geo-darwin-300x225When many of us think about nursing home abuse or neglect in Carlsbad, California, we imagine scenarios in which patients have clearly been subjected to inadequate care. Yet nursing home neglect can be much more insidious, particularly when it involves malnutrition. What is malnutrition, exactly? An article in the Huffington Post clarifies that malnutrition simply refers to “insufficient food intake compared with nutrition requirements.”

As a recent peer-reviewed article in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care explains, “malnutrition in the nursing home is increasingly recognized as a major international research priority, given the expanding geriatric populations, serious consequences, and challenges conducting research in nursing homes.” What do you need to know about the connections between nursing home neglect and malnutrition in Southern California?

Learning More About Malnutrition Among Elderly California Residents

Fb9bc088db57af5328b8a36aa37a8e6e_article-300x169If your elderly loved one resides in a San Diego nursing home and requires antibiotics for a bacterial infection, can you trust that your loved one is receiving the proper medication? According to a report from Kaiser Health News, “antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly to ailing nursing home residents up to 75 percent of the time,” based on data gathered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When seniors are not provided with the right antibiotics, the antibiotics can lose their effectiveness, leading those same seniors to develop serious and life-threatening conditions at a later date when those antibiotics no longer function as they should. Do these medication errors rise to the level of nursing home abuse or neglect? What can you do to help your elderly parent to avoid contracting a superbug at a nursing facility in Southern California?

Learning More About the Rise of Superbugs in Nursing Homes

As the article explains, just about one year ago, the CDC advised nursing homes across the country that they needed to take immediate action “to protect more than 4 million residents from hard-to-treat superbugs that are growing in number and resist antibiotics.” Elderly people in California nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to superbugs because their immune systems are not as strong as they once were. As the CDC has emphasized, “one way to keep older Americans safe from these superbugs is to make sure antibiotics are used appropriately all the time and everywhere, particularly in nursing homes.”

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

ydigmrc7xsc-christopher-300x225Has an elderly loved one mentioned a fall-related injury in a nursing home or assisted-living facility in San Diego County? Or, have you learned that an elderly parent suffered a fall while under the care of a nursing home staff? Falls often result from nursing home neglect, and it is important to ensure that our elderly loved ones are safe from preventable accidents and injuries. According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, fall-related injuries are becoming a more serious concern in California and throughout the country. One researcher in particular, Jon Pynoos, emphasizes that falls really are preventable. What should you know about falls among the elderly and learning about new methods of prevention?

Paying Greater Attention to Falls Among the Elderly

As the article notes, about “one-third of seniors over 65 fall each year, causing more than 2.5 million injuries treated in ERs, leading to 734,000 hospitalization and more than 30,200 deaths, with an annual price tag exceeding $40 billion.” Those rates will only increase as the U.S. population continues to age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that deaths from falls among the elderly will rise to around 100,000 per year—a number that is four times the current rate of fall-related fatalities. Given these numbers, both government and private funding sources to study fall prevention have helped to make new research possible.

tuyyno_vdp0-sam-wheeler-300x199If you have an elderly loved one who recently required care in a hospital and now will need long-term care in a nursing home in Escondido, how do you know which facility will provide the best quality of care and does not have a history of nursing home abuse or neglect? According to a recent article from NPR, a potential change to the rules concerning Medicare and hospitals’ rights and responsibilities toward patients could mean that more hospitals, which often see elderly patients in Southern California and throughout the country, could provide helpful information to families struggling to select a quality nursing home in their budget.

Hospitals Required to Provide ‘Unrestricted’ Information About Nursing Homes

Up to this point, why have hospitals in San Diego County avoided giving patients and their families information about certain nursing homes that they believe can provide quality care? The article explains that “hospitals have long been reluctant to share with patients their assessments of which nursing homes are best because of a Medicare requirement that patients’ choices can’t be restricted.”