kaiwen-wang-188920-300x200In San Diego, an advocacy group aimed at improving residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) has been awarded a $30,000 grant to undertake a community project in Southern California, according to a recent article in the California Newswire. The grant comes from the Del Mar Healthcare Fund, which receives funding from the Age Friendly Communities Program at the San Diego Foundation. San Diego is in the process of becoming “an Age Friendly/Livable Community for All Ages, a designation of the World Health Organization and AARP,” and the grant will help to get it there. This is not the first grant that the advocacy group, Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR), has won. As a California Newswire article clarifies, the group previously was awarded a contract to develop an assisted-living facility rating system for seniors in San Diego County.

How will the recent grant specifically help improve the lives of seniors in Southern California? Will it have the capacity to develop initiatives aimed at preventing nursing home abuse and neglect?

Research in Affordability of and Capacity for Assisted Living in San Diego County

olia-gozha-179577-300x199If you have an elderly loved one who lives in a nursing home in Oceanside or elsewhere in Southern California, do you need to be concerned about the risks of nursing home sexual abuse? According to a recent report from CNN News, “vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them.” Allegations of rape and sexual abuse are arising in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the country. Despite the fact that it is difficult to know precisely how many cases occur each year, the CNN News report suggests that “this little-discussed issue is more widespread than anyone would imagine.”

What are some of the significant findings in the report? What should you know about the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse in nursing homes?

Nursing Homes May be Negligent in Reporting Sexual Abuse and Assault

byron-johnson-208827-200x300If a caregiver is charged with elder abuse and is convicted in Escondido, will that  record of abuse follow him or her in the event that he or she attempts to find another job working at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Southern California? Can a person convicted of nursing home abuse apply to have this particular type of record expunged, thereby allowing that person to apply (potentially successfully) for employment at a skilled nursing facility in the area? According to a recent article in the Valley Road Runner, a particular California law may allow for the expungement of abuse records in certain cases. For San Diego-area residents whose loved ones have been the victims of elder abuse, this is particularly disconcerting.

What else should you know about California laws concerning the records of caregivers?

Expunging Records of Elder Abuse

https://www.nursinghomeabuselawyerblog.com/files/2017/03/600px-Pink_check_tick.svg_-300x300.pngVolunteer senior ombudsman programs are helping to ensure that nursing home patients receive care tailored to their needs, in San Diego County and across the state of California. According to a recent article in the Moorpark Acorn, these volunteer ombudsman programs in certain parts of the state might actually serving as a check for parts of the elder care industry that are not as attuned to the individual needs of patients. The article explores the specific volunteer senior ombudsman program in Ventura County that is currently overseen by the county’s Long Term Care Services. As of early 2017, the ombudsman program has advocated for the needs and rights of about 8,500 patients in Southern California’s assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, other facilities.

Could more ombudsman programs be a partial solution when it comes to preventing nursing home abuse and neglect?

What is an Ombudsman?

ian-schneider-95541-300x200How much decision-making power does a Chula Vista nursing home resident get when it comes to his or her quality of care? According to a recent article from Kaiser Health News, seniors in Southern California and across the country may be able to have more autonomy through shifts in federal regulations. As the article explains, around 1.4 million seniors living in nursing homes “now can be more involved in their care under the most wide-ranging revision of federal rules for such facilities in 25 years.”

What does it mean for older adults in nursing homes to have more autonomy over their schedules and care? Could such shifts in care perhaps reduce the rate of nursing home abuse in Southern California and throughout the country?

Shift in Federal Rules Focuses on “Person-Centered Care”

ASA-191x300-191x300If you live in Escondido or Poway and are interested in learning more about nursing home abuse and elder mistreatment, there are some exciting new programs being offered at the University of Southern California (USC), according to a news release from the American Society on Aging (ASA). Specifically, the ASA is partnering with USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to offer five-week online courses to members of the American Society on Aging. You can take advantage of these educational courses from the comfort of your own home or office. The courses are designed for professionals who work in the field of aging, but they can also be extremely helpful to San Diego County residents who have loved ones in local nursing homes and want to learn more about how they can prevent abuse in their professional and personal lives.

Importance of Bringing Awareness to Elder Mistreatment in California

Why are these elder mistreatment classes so important? According to Zach Gassoumis, a Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor a the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at USC, we need to do more to get the issue of elder abuse out into the open and to make people aware of the problem. He explains, “elder mistreatment has been recognized as a largely hidden public health problem that affects over one in ten older adults each year, or roughly seven million people aged 60 and older in the U.S.” Gassoumis goes on to explains that “recent research suggests that this number is even higher in other parts of the world,” and “it is estimated that globally, 141 million older adults experience mistreatment by others.”

file451297827287-1-300x225 Whether you have an elderly loved one who lives in San Diego County or elsewhere in California, it is important to understand how elder abuse laws in our state can help to provide compensation for seniors who suffer injuries as a result of abuse and neglect in the assisted living setting. According to a recent report from the North Coast Journal, a California jury awarded $5 million to the family of an elderly woman who died while under the care of Timber Ridge McKinleyville. The jury, according to the article, “found the facility liable for wrongful death and elder abuse.” Of the $5 million jury verdict, $2.5 million in punitive damages was awarded.

Congratulations to attorneys Tim Needham and Michael Thamer for such outstanding work on behalf of this family.

This jury verdict emphasizes the importance of speaking with an experienced San Diego County nursing home abuse lawyer in the event that an elderly loved one sustains serious or fatal injuries resulting from elder abuse or neglect. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact the Walton Law Firm.

rt_k9r80pya-jean-gerber-300x200For California seniors, one factor that may impact health is loneliness, according to a recent article from NPR. While cases of elder neglect and nursing home abuse can result in serious personal injuries to seniors, such incidents can result in even more substantial injuries if the older adult is already in poor health. Poor health conditions can be dramatically exacerbated by nursing home neglect, for example. According to the article, isolation is a serious underlying issue that affects the health of older Americans, and it is important to find ways to reduce the loneliness or isolation that seniors may experience.

Researchers Emphasize the Health-Related Impacts of Loneliness and Isolation

Research studies have begun to look at the effects of loneliness among seniors, and the findings suggest that loneliness and isolation can result in a higher likelihood of health problems. As the article articulates, “research shows older adults who feel lonely are at greater risk of memory loss, strokes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.” According to AARP, the health threat associated with emotional isolation is “similar to that of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” In addition to increased risk of illness, emotional isolation has also been connected to other conditions that can lower the immune system’s functioning, such as physical inactivity and poor sleeping habits. In some studies, high blood pressure also resulted from loneliness.

ufomxgheugk-todd-diemer-300x178Advocates for seniors in San Diego County and throughout California have concerns about elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Last year, lawmakers took steps to speed up the rate at which elder abuse cases will be heard in California courts. Specifically, a recent article in the Monterey County Weekly reported on changes to the law in 2016 that will take effect this year, including SB 1065. This bill, proposed by State Senator Bill Monning, was signed into law in 2016 and is schedule to take effect on July 1, 2017. This is not a new law altogether, but rather, as the article clarifies, “builds on the existing Elder and Dependent Adult Civil protection Act to move elder abuse cases through the courts faster.”

Currently, without the law in effect, the article emphasizes that the “appellate process can take more than three years.” Once SB 1065 takes effect, however, all appeals must be decided by the court within 100 days. What else should you know about SB 1065 and its impact on San Diego County seniors?

Details of SB 1065 and its Elder Abuse Protections

DSC_0761-300x199Chronic nursing home abuse that results in frequent trips to hospitals and intensive care units is a problem in San Diego County and throughout Southern California. According to a recent article in the Compton Herald, a chronic nursing home neglect case in Inglewood highlights the risk of serious injuries in particular facilities and the threat of continuing healthcare violations. In the recent case, the facility, Centinela Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre, is one of numerous facilities owned by the Los Angeles billionaire Schlomo Y. Rechnitz, which are operated under the chain name of Brius Healthcare Services and have already came under scrutiny in 2016. Does the recent case suggest that Southern California residents need to be wary of this healthcare chain? What can family members do to help prevent nursing home abuse and neglect?

Details of the Recent Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Case

As the article reports, a Southern California woman was admitted into the Centinela Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre in Inglewood, where she was supposed to obtain rehabilitative services after being discharged from the Centinela Hospital Medical Center. While in the hospital, the patient had received care for about six weeks for “a severe body infection.” When she enters Centinela Skilled Nursing, her family members indicated that she was “progressing steadily,” recuperating from the infection that required her hospitalization. However, when the family visited her at the nursing facility a short time later, they found her “sitting in a wheelchair in a seemingly catatonic state, trembling uncontrollably, mumbling jibberish with her eyes rolling back in her head.”