jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200When you have an elderly loved one with mental health issues in San Clemente, it can be difficult to find a skilled nursing facility that can provide the type of care, as well as the quality of care, that your family member needs. Having a loved one with a mental health issue can mean that she or he may be more vulnerable to nursing home abuse or neglect, or at least the ability to identify and properly report it. As such, it is often particularly important for families searching for nursing homes for a loved one with a mental illness to find a facility with high marks and a history of quality care.

According to a recent article from Reuters Health, “even people with common and often treatable mental health problems like depression and anxiety may have a harder time than patients without these diagnoses getting admitted to a high-quality nursing home.” How does an elderly patient’s mental health impact his or her ability to get accepted into a particular nursing home or assisted-living facility?

Study Says Nursing Homes With High Ratings May be Less Likely to Accept Patients With History of Mental Health Problems

matthew-lejune-716127-unsplash-copy-200x300If you are physically fit in older age, are you less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, “physically fit women seem to live longer free of dementia.” Given that dementia often makes individuals more vulnerable to nursing home abuse, the Alzheimer’s Association reports, finding ways to prevent seniors from developing dementia in the first place could help to reduce the rate of elder abuse and neglect.

When does physical fitness need to start in order to reduce a woman’s likelihood of developing dementia? What should families in Valley Center know about the links between physical fitness, dementia, and the reduced risk of nursing home abuse or neglect?

New Research Shows That Physical Fitness in Middle Age can Prevent Dementia Years Later

andres-de-armas-103880-copy-300x200News about the opioid crisis or opioid epidemic has put many patients on notice about the dangers of these drugs. But what about nursing home patients in Rancho Bernardo and elsewhere in Southern California who may be suffering harms from opioids, benzodiazepines, and other prescription medications? Should physicians be prescribing such medications for seniors in skilled nursing facilities, or could these drugs be doing more harm than good? Is it possible that the use—and overuse—of benzodiazepines and opioids together in nursing homes could rise to the level of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect?

According to a recent article in The New York Times, use of benzodiazepines is on the rise among America’s seniors, yet older adults are “particularly vulnerable to the drugs’ ill effects.” In combination with opioid prescriptions, elderly adults using benzodiazepines may be at particularly severe risk of harm.

History of Benzodiazepine Dangers in Older Adults

parker-byrd-139348-copy-300x200For anyone in Encinitas who is thinking about long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, it is important to do a substantial amount of background research before selecting a facility in order to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect. A new website from the state of California, “Cal Health Find,” was designed to make this research easier, allowing potential patients and their families to compare nursing homes and to consider safety ratings. However, according to a recent report in California Healthline, the website may be doing more harm than good. Nursing home advocates in California “are calling on the state to take it down,” describing the website as “incomplete, inaccurate, and a huge step in the wrong direction.”

Learning More About Cal Health Find and Potential Problems with the Website

The California Department of Public Health launched Cal Health Find to “help people compare the quality of nursing homes and other health care facilities.” The site was designed as a replacement for the Health Facilities Consumer Information System provided by the state, and it was supposed to be more user-friendly. The state invested about $437,000 to build and to operate the new website. What are some of the additions the state made to make it easier for Encinitas residents to learn about histories of nursing home abuse or neglect at certain facilities?

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200When your elderly loved one shows signs of elder abuse or neglect, how can you know whether a caregiver is perpetrating the abuse or whether the harm is self-inflicted? Depending upon whether an older adult in your life has been injured because of negligence by a staff member at a nursing home or because of the senior’s self-neglect, families need to take very different steps. Learning about elder abuse by a caregiver could warrant legal action, while self-inflicted neglect requires different action. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the problem of self-neglect is an underreported one, and “it accounts for more calls to adult protective services nationwide than any other form of elder abuse.”

What should Poway families know about self-inflicted elder abuse? How do signs and symptoms of self-inflicted abuse differ from signs of neglect when a caregiver or nursing home may be responsible?

What is Elder Self-Neglect?

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200When do falls among elderly nursing home residents in Escondido and throughout Southern California constitute nursing home negligence? Seniors are more likely to suffer a serious fall-related injury if they already suffer from a cognitive impairment, according to a recent article in Neurology Advisor. That information comes from a new review published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and it makes clear that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities need to consider the cognitive impairment of each resident when determining the amount of care and monitoring that is required.

In other words, if a senior falls when a facility knows that individual has a cognitive impairment, the facility may be responsible for nursing home neglect.

Falls are More Likely When Cognition Suffers

fabrizio-verrecchia-221046-unsplash-copy-300x200Nursing home evictions have become a serious issue within the larger topic of nursing home abuse and neglect in California and throughout the country. Organizations such as AARP are getting involved in stopping illegal nursing home evictions and questioning the ways in which both federal and state law provides protections to seniors who are being kicked out of facilities. While many commentators are discussing illegal evictions from nursing homes, what about illegal evictions from assisted-living facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) in California?

All of this talk about unlawful nursing home evictions begs the question: What are an elderly person’s rights when it comes to evictions from RCFEs? California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) provides a fact sheet on RCFEs and eviction protection. We want to discuss RCFE evictions with you and help you to understand steps to take when an elderly loved one becomes vulnerable.

What are the Lawful Reasons that an Elderly Resident of an RCFE can be Evicted?

jyotirmoy-gupta-443923-unsplash-copy-300x200Whether you have an elderly loved one in a Vista nursing home or in a skilled nursing facility elsewhere in California, it is important to understand the risk of serious falls as a result of nursing home negligence. We often think of nursing home abuse in terms of intentionally harmful behavior toward nursing home residents, yet many seniors get hurt because facilities are understaffed and nursing home neglect leads to serious and sometimes fatal injuries. According to a recent report in The Daily Journal, a California assisted-living facility is facing lawsuits after the deaths of two patients from falls last year. The family members allege that the facility was understaffed and that the falls resulted from nursing home negligence.

We want to discuss the recent case with you and then talk through some ways to prevent senior falls in nursing homes.

Assisted-Living Facility Faces Lawsuits for Fall-Related Fatalities

daan-stevens-282446-1-copy-300x191Do you have a loved one with dementia who resides in a nursing home in Carlsbad? If so, it is important to pay close attention to the risks of overmedication for dementia patients. While we have been discussing the problematic off-label use of antipsychotic drugs in patients with Alzheimer’s for quite some time, in more recent months we have not heard a lot about this issue. However, a lack of news coverage about an issue does not mean it has been resolved in a satisfactory manner. According to U.S. News & World Report, a recent report from Human Rights Watch found that “nursing homes unnecessarily give antipsychotic drugs to more than 179,000 residents per week.”

Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Drugs Persists in American Nursing Homes

The Human Rights Watch report says that antipsychotic drugs continue to be administered to elderly nursing home residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia when those drugs have not been prescribed to treat their conditions. Potentially even more harmful, the report suggests, is that those patients are not giving “free and informed consent” to the off-label use of these antipsychotic drugs. These findings appeared in a human rights watch report entitled, “They Want Docile.”

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200As many Oceanside residents with elderly loved ones know, nursing homes in Southern California and throughout the country have been cited for improper discharges of patients, amounting largely to evictions or the “dumping” of patients. According to a recent article in Skilled Nursing News, reports about such actions have “become a widespread issue—so much so that it is now one of the most frequent complaints made to states’ long-term care ombudsman programs” in California and across the U.S. When elderly patients are evicted from skilled nursing facilities, they can face nursing home abuse and neglect in the facilities where they end up living. At the same time, the mere act of “dumping” patients may in and of itself constitute nursing home abuse or neglect.

In response to these complaints, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “has announced a new initiative aimed at blunting the growing trend of improper discharges at skilled nursing facilities.” Will federal efforts help to prevent the continued evictions of nursing home residents in San Diego County?

Many Patient Discharges Violate Federal Regulations