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

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in San Clemente or elsewhere in San Diego County, it is important to learn more about sexual abuse and how it affects seniors. Nursing home abuse and neglect often involves physical or mental abuse of the elderly, but it can also include sexual abuse. Sometimes perpetrators of sexual abuse in nursing home settings are staff members, while in some situations other residents themselves may be the perpetrators.

A recent article in Reuters emphasized that the #MeToo movement is having an important effect across the country: More victims are reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual abuse. We would like to focus on how this larger societal shift in addressing sexual assault and abuse can influence victims of sexual abuse in the nursing home setting. We will consider recent discussions of elder sex abuse and then discuss methods of detection and prevention.

Turning Media Attention to Sexual Abuse in the Nursing Home Setting

fabrizio-verrecchia-221046-unsplash-copy-300x200Now is as good a time as any to begin thinking carefully about how citizens can play a role in preventing nursing home abuse and elder neglect in Valley Center. According to a recent article in The Acorn, when seniors see their family members and friends more often, signs and symptoms of elder abuse may be more obvious. Once the holiday season ends, it is important to consider ways of helping ensure the safety and well-being of elderly loved ones. The article points citizens to the California Department of Justice’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse.” The publication continues to provide helpful advice for Valley Center residents, and we want to discuss a few key features of the publication with you.

Why should citizens learn more about preventing elder abuse? As the publication points out, “it may take the courage of a caring family member, friend, or caretaker to take action when the victim may be reluctant.”

Recognize Where Elder Abuse can Occur

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted living facility in Rancho Bernardo or elsewhere in the San Diego area, it is important to learn more about how facilities’ corporate ties could impact quality of care. According to a recent article in The New York Times, seniors in facilities across the country are suffering nursing home neglect injuries as a result of “lackluster care” and a “scarcity of nurses and aides.” Yet the underfunding of nursing homes actually could be linked to the “constellation of corporations” to which many facilities are tied. In other words, nursing home owners’ attachments to corporate entities could be a primary cause of elder neglect incidents occurring at facilities across the country.

Outsourcing Services to Corporations Linked to Nursing Home Owners

When we hear that nursing homes are underfunded and understaffed, are those problems actually a result of the facilities wanting to provide quality care failing to have enough funding to hire an adequate number of staff members? Or, as the article suggests, are these problems tied to the more disturbing reason that nursing home owners have business interests that come first above patient safety and quality care? According to The New York Times, an “increasingly common business arrangement” involves nursing home owners outsourcing “a wide variety of goods and services to companies in which they have a financial interest or that they control.”

anh-nguyen-498075-unsplash-copy-151x300Many cases of nursing home neglect injuries in Encinitas and other parts of San Diego County result from falls. In certain situations, seniors are not monitored properly, and they suffer serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries after falling. In other scenarios, nursing home staff members may fail to provide the proper health aids, such as walkers, which can prevent a fall-related injury. According to a news release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 29 million elderly Americans suffer falls each year, resulting in more than $31 billion in Medicare costs. Given the prevalence of falls among seniors, are there ways to improve preventive measures?

According to a recent article in The New York Times, Southern Californians may be able to take some senior safety tips from the Dutch, who “are living longer than in previous generations” with the help of “courses that teach them not only how to avoid falling, but how to fall correctly.”

Fear of Falling can Lead to Injuries Among Older Adults

jonathan-adeline-259286-copy-300x200Whether you are reading about nursing home evictions in Poway or elsewhere in Southern California, it is important to think carefully about the rising rates of evictions and how these actions might rise to the level of elder and dependent adult abuse in the state. According to a recent article in California Healthline, more nursing homes in California are evicting patients who allegedly cannot pay after being assessed higher fees, while others are evicting residents and patients with certain illnesses and medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Do improper evictions rise to the level of nursing home abuse? Can you file an elder abuse lawsuit following an improper eviction from a skilled nursing facility in California?

Evictions Complaints on the Rise in California