rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207In Poway and elsewhere in the state of California, elderly residents of nursing homes are facing unfair evictions and what has been termed “patient dumping.” In many cases, these evictions may amount to nursing home abuse or neglect. According to a press release from the organization, the AARP Foundation filed a lawsuit against a facility in Northern California after it unlawfully evicted an 83-year-old patient. The lawsuit emphasizes the growing problem of illegal nursing home evictions in California and across the country, and it also offers an opportunity for families to think carefully about the type of skilled nursing facility that is providing the care for an elderly family member.

Lawsuit Alleges Illegal Eviction of Nursing Home Resident

The AARP Foundation explains that the resident at the center of the lawsuit, Gloria Single, had been residing at Pioneer House in the Sacramento area until she was evicted in March of last year. Single suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and she requires particular care in a skilled nursing facility. The lawsuit alleges that Pioneer House, the RHF Foundation, and corporate affiliates are responsible for “illegally dump[ing]” Single at a hospital, which meant that the defendants “willfully violat[ed] a State order requiring that they allow her to return home.”

james-williams-502481-unsplash-copy-300x225Is the state of California doing enough to penalize skilled nursing facilities in Escondido and throughout North County that are putting their patients’ health and safety at risk? According to a recent article from California Health Report, the California State Auditor issued a report declaring that “California’s skilled nursing facilities are increasingly putting their residents’ health in jeopardy, yet the state is failing to adequately crack down on the problem.” In other words, patients may be suffering injuries as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, but state agencies are not doing enough to punish and prevent those incidents.

What else should seniors in Southern California and their families know about nursing home abuse and the details of the recent report?

Increase in Substandard Care at California Skilled Nursing Facilities

sergey-zolkin-21232-unsplash-copy-300x200In San Marcos and throughout San Diego County, new plans are being developed to combat elder abuse and to make Southern California a safer place for seniors. According to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, San Diego County has long been named as a desirable place to live and a great location to take a family vacation. Recently, the area’s “above-average score in public safety” meant that it made the U.S. News & World Report ranking of “America’s Top 500 Healthiest Communities” out of more than 3,000 nationwide. That ranking means that, on average, San Diego County residents are among the healthiest—and happiest—in the country. In fact, the San Diego metro area is growing yet remains one of the safest in the U.S. But does the same hold true for elderly residents of San Marcos and other parts of North County?

According to the article, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan is working on a “blueprint” to help stop, prosecute, and eventually prevent nursing home abuse and elder neglect in the area.

District Attorney’s Office Focuses on Senior Safety Concerns

obed-hernandez-592136-unsplash-copy-212x300Nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities, in Vista and throughout San Diego County were the topic of discussion in a recent article in The San Diego Union-Tribune. More specifically, do family members and seniors have any recourse when a skilled nursing facility says it is time to leave? The article presents the following scenario for readers in Southern California to consider: “Your family member, who was sent to a skilled nursing rehabilitation facility after a hospitalization, is told to leave before he/she is ready.” There are many different reasons that a nursing home might tell a patient it is time to leave. In some scenarios, these reasons are legitimate, but in other situations, such actions could rise to the level of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Reasons a Skilled Nursing Facility in Vista Might Tell a Patient to Leave      

Why do skilled nursing facilities tell patients it is time to leave? According to the article, there are numerous reasons, and some are better than others. Generally speaking, the following explanations for why your family member needs to leave the facility are not usually sufficient:

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200Elder abuse is prevalent in Carlsbad, and many families seeking out nursing homes for their elderly loved one worry about nursing home abuse and neglect. According to an article in Health & Fitness CheatSheet, there are many things that nursing homes do not want patients to know—from information contained within admission contracts to the problems and limitations facing residents within the facility. If you are considering a particular nursing home or assisted-living facility for your loved one, you should always do as much research as possible into the facility, including looking at records of violations and visiting the facility itself to get a sense of the space. In addition, you might consider some of the following issues, which, according to the article, nursing homes may not want you to know.

Many Residents are Isolated from One Another in Nursing Homes

It is important for nursing home residents to have interaction with other people and to be able to socialize. However, residents often do not have as much freedom to move around the facility as they would like, and many feel isolated from other residents. According to the article, in a recent study, about 50% of nursing home patients interviewed reported that they “felt depressed due to a lack of independence and freedom, as well as loneliness.”

elias-castillo-658736-unsplash-copy-300x200In Oceanside and throughout much of Southern California, many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are staffed by immigrants who are residing in the country under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. What is the connection between nursing home staff members working in the country under TPS and risks of nursing home negligence? In short, as the article contends, the Trump administration’s targeting of immigrants could result in significant nursing home staff shortages in California in particular. As a report from the Urban Institute for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains, maintaining a staff-to-resident ratio at skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities is essential to prevent unintended nursing home neglect.

Trump Administration Ending TPS for Immigrants

The article in the Los Angeles Times explains that there are currently about 59,000 Haitians who are living and working in the U.S. under TPS, and many more thousands from other countries. TPS is a humanitarian program, and for Haitians it provided immigrants with the ability to live and work in the United States following the devastating earthquake in 2010. Yet many people living and working in the U.S. under TPS may need to leave the country given that “the Trump administration decided to end TPS for Haitians, giving them until July 22, 2019, to leave the country or face deportation.”

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?