christopher-ayme-157131-copy-300x200Oceanside nursing home residents and their families should consider learning more about therapy animals and how they could help to improve the general health and quality of life for seniors who reside in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California. According to a recent article in U-T San Diego, animal therapy is becoming more prominent in California and throughout the country, more residents in long-term care facilities are considering the benefits of therapy animals. An article in Psychology Today discusses a recent study that addresses the impact of therapy dogs in nursing homes and the question of whether they could help to improve the emotional health of seniors in these facilities.

It is important to raise public awareness about issues concerning nursing home abuse and neglect in order to prevent such incidents from happening. At the same time, seniors who reside in these facilities need to be in good emotional and psychological health in order to engage in self-care, and to have the strength to report incidents of abuse or neglect when they arise. In addition, when seniors are subject to nursing home abuse, they need strong immune systems to fight injuries. Emotional and psychological health impacts physical health and the immune system—when one falters, the other can, too. Can therapy animals have this effect?

Animals Visitation Programs and Therapy Dogs in Long-Term Care Settings

rt_k9r80pya-jean-gerber-300x200A lack of federal funding for elderly healthcare could cause a nursing home abuse epidemic in San Clemente and across the country, a recent article in The New York Times suggests. While a vote on the Senate health care bill has been delayed, even an amended version of the bill that includes drastic cuts to Medicaid could have serious and even deadly consequences for seniors living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. As the article contends, if such a bill passes, introducing “Trumpcare” to California and to the rest of the country, it “is certain to produce drastic upheaval in the landscape of long-term care.” Medicaid is currently “by far the largest source of funding for nursing home stays,” providing the funding for almost two-thirds of all nursing home residents.

If funding ceases, the quality of care is likely to decline, as well. Such a cut to Medicaid would result, at best, in a rise in nursing home neglect cases, the article argues. Could changes to Medicaid funding really produce such damage to elderly nursing home residents’ care?

History of California Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

ian-schneider-95541-300x200Residents of Valley Center, California who currently have loved ones in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Southern California should take note of a recent study that addresses the impact of elder abuse on the long-term health of seniors. According to a recent study supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and published in Lancet Global Health, approximately one out of every six seniors experiences some form of elder abuse. As the study clarifies, this is “a higher figure than previously estimated,” and it is only expected to increase as the population of older adults increases. Moreover, the study also suggests that certain types of elder abuse have long-term health effects that have not been sufficiently studied.

Higher Rates of Elder Abuse Among Senior Population Than Previously Reported

The recent WHO study suggests that more than 15% of the elderly population will experience some type of abuse in old age, from nursing home abuse to neglect at an assisted-living facility. As the study highlights, this number is significantly higher than previously estimates of elder abuse. As a fact sheet from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) indicates, experts previously believed that elder abuse occurred in about one out of every 10 seniors, or 10% of the elderly population.

Falta_de_fusio%CC%81n_del_nu%CC%81cleo_de_la_estiloides-300x221We know that the likelihood of Rancho Bernardo patients who visit emergency rooms receiving elder abuse diagnoses is small, based on a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, among others. However, are there other locations in which physicians could be trained to identify sign and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect? According to an article in Psych Central, a recent study suggests that radiologists could be an important source of detection for abuse among elderly patients. Could more training for radiologists mean earlier treatment for injuries sustained as a result of nursing home abuse in San Diego County?

Why Should We Train Radiologists to Detect Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect?

Are radiologists in a better position to identify signs of nursing home abuse than other types of medical doctors? In some ways, the answer might be yes. To better understand why training for radiologists in elder abuse could be an effective detection measure, it is important to understand what a radiologist does. As a fact sheet from the American College of Radiology explains, radiologists are doctors “who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries using medical imaging techniques, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET), and ultrasound.”

jonathan-adeline-259286-copy-300x200Many families in Encinitas who have elderly loved ones in San Diego County know that the cost of living is high, and the costs associated with nursing home care can be particularly steep. As reported in a recent article in Voice of San Diego, developers are beginning to think about the value of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the border in Baja California, where the cost of living may be much lower than in Southern California. Lower costs that come with the same quality of care could, of course, be great for seniors who are currently living in Encinitas and do not know how they will afford nursing home care. However, the article raises important questions about what happens if a senior sustains injuries as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect in Mexico. Could the patient or his or her family file a nursing home abuse lawsuit?

Nursing Homes in Mexico Attract California Residents

As the article details, Baja California has long been attracting Southern California residents to a more affordable place to live. Currently, there are anywhere from 300,000 to one million American retirees living in Mexico.

brian-erickson-204442-copy-300x169Residents of Poway should be aware of recent elder abuse allegations against a California VA hospital. According to a recent report from NBC News Los Angeles, a navy veteran’s family has filed an elder abuse and neglect claim against a Palo Alto veterans’ hospital following the veteran’s death. The report cites the family’s lawsuit, which alleges that the victim, Douglas Wayne Ross, died after sustaining a traumatic brain injury as a result of a fall. The family contends that “he was in need of continuous care and was left alone for too long.”

Details of the Lawsuit in California

How did the patient’s death occur? According to the report, 72-year-old Ross was admitted to the VA hospital in Palo Alto in spring 2016 for surgery. The surgery was supposed to “restore blood flow to his lower body.” After the first surgery, the patient suffered a heart attack. He remained at the hospital to recover, during which time he required continuous care. More specifically, the lawsuit alleges that he required “dialysis and blood thinners and was designated a high risk for falling down.”

faustin-tuyambaze-135473-copy-300x200If fewer students are interested in pursuing careers in gerontology and other fields associated with aging populations, could more residents of Escondido and other areas of Southern California be subject to elder abuse or neglect in the future? In other words, if there are fewer people entering into professions that serve the elderly in which they help to identify and prevent nursing home abuse, will the rate of abuse and neglect among the senior population increase? According to a recent article in The Ithacan, this is exactly what is happening: Fewer students are interested in careers through which they would work with the elderly population. This news is especially problematic given that the rate of the senior population is expected to increase drastically in the coming years.

Disinterest Among College Students and Some Medical Students in Aging Studies

Is there a stigma surrounding aging studies marked by a persistent ageism? According to the article, “scholars believe ageism and the possible fears associated with death and dying contribute to a common disinterest college students have toward aging studies.” As the article goes on to clarify, studies that have investigated this topic have underscored just how problematic this disinterest could be given that the population of seniors in California and throughout the country is growing, and those people will need well-trained medical professionals.

rt_k9r80pya-jean-gerber-300x200While its effects may not be noticeable for years down the road, a new Alzheimer’s study could help to prevent nursing home abuse in San Marcos and other cities throughout the country. As the Alzheimer’s Association elucidates, elderly nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia often are subject to abuse and neglect. As such, if we can find a way to lower the rate of seniors who suffer from dementia, we might also then be able to lower the rate of nursing home abuse cases tied to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. A new study is hoping to accomplish just that. According to a recent article in SFGate, a study on Alzheimer’s aims to prevent the disease before it begins.

The A4 Study Aims to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the article, Dr. Reisa Sperling, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who serves as the project director for the A4 Study, aims for it to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. What is the meaning behind the study’s name? It refers to “Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s.” Currently, there are more than 10,000 adults in the “Baby Boomer” generation who are entering into old age rapidly, and thus becoming at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. As Dr. Sperling explains, “I have witnessed the devastating effects of this disease in my work as a neurologist, as a clinical researcher and, sadly, in my own family.” Now, Dr. Sperling is undertaking prevention trials through the A4 Study that are designed “to try to stop memory loss before it begins.”


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If there is a shortage of home health aides in Vista and other areas of Southern California, how will such a shortage impact nursing home neglect in the state? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, there is a rising shortage of home health aides in California and across the country. Such a shortage could result in more instances of elder neglect within the homes of seniors, and at the same time, it could result in more elderly patients moving into nursing homes that are already understaffed. As such, the shortage in home health aides could also lead to more instances of nursing home neglect in facilities throughout the country.

Why is there such a significant shortage of home health aides? What can families do to help prevent instances of elder neglect?

Low Wages and Lack of Incentive

ian-schneider-95541-300x200For anyone in Carlsbad who has an elderly loved one residing in a nearby nursing home, it can be difficult to learn about risks related to certain types of medications. In some situations, however, the use of certain drugs in nursing homes may significantly increase a senior’s risk for pneumonia. In particular, patients with Alzheimer’s disease may be particularly susceptible. While we often hear about the dangers of over-medication and the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs, discussed relatively recently in a story by NPR, it is not as common for us to hear about prescription sedatives and pneumonia risks among patients with dementia. According to a recent article in Medical News Today, new research suggests that patients with dementia may be at greater risk for developing pneumonia, especially when they are prescribed sedatives such as benzodiazepines.

If a dementia patient on certain prescription medications develops pneumonia, could it be a result of nursing home neglect?

Nursing Home Prescriptions and Elder Neglect