alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200When nursing home abuse lawsuits arising from allegations of elder abuse and neglect in Escondido go to jury trials, how do those juries decide liability? When cases go to juries, members of the jury are provided with the “essential factual elements” of the claim. Then, they are instructed that if the essential factual elements have been met, to find in favor of the plaintiff. Different types of nursing home abuse and neglect claims come with different jury instructions.

We want to give you some more information about the essential factual elements of a nursing home neglect claim as well as some examples to clarify how a jury might decide a particular case.

Nursing Home Neglect in California

casey-horner-353950-copy-153x300What types of safety protections are in place for patients at San Marcos nursing homes? While we recently discussed elder safety investigations in San Diego County, it turns out that facilities across the state of California are not doing enough to protect seniors against nursing home abuse in the first place. In other words, although San Diego County’s investigations may be a model for other regions of the country, the state ranks last when it comes to elder abuse protections designed to prevent abuse and neglect, according to a recent report in WalletHub.

Need for States to Take Steps to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

As the report explains, “elder abuse affects as many as 5 million people per year, and 96 percent of all cases go unreported.” Given that a large portion of the population is currently age 65 or older—and that the population in that age group is expected to almost double by the year 2050—it is particularly important to think about preventive measures so that elder abuse does not occur. While enforcement methods are significant in the shorter term, the goal should be to eradicate, inasmuch as possible, the risks of abuse for seniors living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The report ultimately suggests that the impetus for this needs to be on individual states.

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200Whether you live in Vista or elsewhere in San Diego County, you may have an elderly loved one who resides in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility in the area. Given the frequent news reports about elder abuse and neglect, you may worry about your elderly loved one’s safety. While nursing home abuse can occur in almost any facility, a recent report in the Star Tribune highlighted elder abuse prevention efforts in San Diego County specifically, describing the work of San Diego County law enforcement as “a model to protect seniors.”

Are seniors getting safer in Southern California nursing homes, or do we need to remain just as vigilant about the risks of elder abuse and neglect in Vista?

San Diego County’s Approach to Elder Abuse Investigations

max-larochelle-421822-copy-240x300The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida have illuminated serious deficiencies in many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, according to a report from National Public Radio. More specifically, many skilled nursing facilities are not prepared to handle an emergency situation, from a power outage in a severe storm to structural damage caused by a natural disaster such as an earthquake. If nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and RCFEs in Carlsbad are not prepared to keep their residents safe in the event of one of these emergency situations, then elderly patients and residents can suffer injuries as a result of elder neglect.

Nursing home neglect often arises in situations where staff members at facilities did not intend to do harm to patients, but due to understaffing and other problems, neglect results in serious and sometimes fatal injuries.

Failing to Prepare for “Basic Contingencies”

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200Whether an elderly loved one in your life is facing eviction from an Oceanside nursing home or from a skilled nursing facility elsewhere in San Diego County, it is important to recognize that evictions can result in incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect after a patient is forced to move into another facility quickly. At the same time, advocates argue that nursing home evictions are, in and of themselves, a form of elder abuse. According to a recent article in iAdvance Senior Care, the AARP Foundation and the California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association have filed a lawsuit against a California nursing home following a patient eviction.

As the article emphasizes, the AARP Foundation and the California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association hope that they will win the suit, and that it will set a precedent for other cases involving nursing home evictions in the state.

Nursing Home Evictions are a Form of Elder Abuse, Advocates Argue

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200Many San Clemente residents with elderly loved ones may know that elder abuse often occurs in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, and that it can happen at the home of a senior, as well (for a senior who still lives at home). Do we also need to be aware of elder neglect in hospitals and, in particular, in hospice settings? According to a recent report from California Healthline, older hospice patients can be victims of elder abuse and neglect, but many of us do not think about these risks as frequently. Neglect or abuse in hospice can be devastating. Although patients are facing terminal diagnoses, inattention to health needs by staff members can result in irreparable harm.

What do you need to know about elder abuse in hospice?

Elder Neglect Extends to Hospice

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200When elderly residents of Valley Center or another area of San Diego County learn that the nursing home they live in has been the subject of elder abuse and neglect violations and is closing down, what ultimately happens to those residents? That question was posed recently in an article in The Sacramento Bee. While the article largely addresses the fates of nursing home residents at problematic facilities in Northern California, the lessons the article teaches are just as relevant for residents of Southern California. In brief, when dangerous nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities close due to allegations of elder abuse, elderly residents often end up in facilities in which they remain at risk for nursing home abuse and neglect.

Problematic Relocation of Elderly Residents

The article focuses on a recent string of nursing home closures in California, including facilities like Eagle Crest owned by Genesis HealthCare Inc. When facilities owned by this company closed, they sent notices designed to “assure[] family members in writing that loved ones could be accommodated at other company-owned homes.” Here is the issue: Many of the companies’ other facilities “have more serious problems and worse federal ratings than other skilled nursing facilities in the state.”

andres-de-armas-103880-copy-300x200If you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home in Rancho Bernardo or elsewhere in the San Diego area, it is important to learn more about recent off-label use of a drug that could be causing serious harm. According to a recent report from CNN News, a medication designed to treat a disorder that is commonly associated with individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) is now being used on elderly patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. To be clear, this is off-label use, and the CNN News report suggests that it is not being done for the right reasons. In fact, use of the drug could rise to the level of nursing home abuse.

Off-Label Use of Nuedexta Presents Risks to Nursing Home Patients

What is off-label drug use? As an article in U.S. News & World Report explains, off-label drug use can mean one of a couple of different things. Sometimes “it involves taking a drug for a different medical condition than it’s meant for.” In other situations, the term can mean “taking drugs in non-approved dosage or form.”

peter-hershey-282615-copy-300x200Several months ago, we told you about proposed legislation designed to protect LGBTQ seniors from nursing home abuse in long-term care facilities. That proposed legislation, Senate Bill 219 (SB 219), has now been approved by the California Legislature, according to a recent article in San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. Older adults who identify as LGBTQ can face many forms of nursing home abuse and neglect that stem from prejudice and discriminatory behavior.

We want to give you a brief reminder about the proposed law and what it is designed to do, as well as to give you some more information about what it will take for it to become law.

Protections for LGBTQ Seniors Against Discrimination and Nursing Home Abuse

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an older parent or other family member who resides in a nursing home in Poway or elsewhere in Southern California, it is important to understand the risks of nursing home abuse and neglect. In recent years, numerous studies have pointed out that many elder abuse cases involve perpetrators who are also residents of the facilities in which the injuries occur. In particular, cases of sexual abuse in the elderly can happen when one patient sexually assaults another patient. When do issues of consent and capacity arise in these kinds of nursing home abuse claims? Most frequently, as it turns out, when the victim suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Can such a patient ever give consent? In other words, can such a patient actually have the capacity to consent, or is any sexual act always one for which consent simply cannot be given?

This is a question that is currently at issue in California. According to an article in The Sacramento Bee, a 79-year-old woman at a California nursing home may have been sexually assaulted by another patient, a 70-year-old man also residing at the facility. Is there ever a gray area between consent and elder abuse?

Getting the Facts of the Recent Case