Articles Posted in Elder Abuse


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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

Residents of Valley Center with elderly loved ones in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities should pay close attention to a recent case concerning the death of a patient at a Northern California facility. According to an article in the Napa Valley Register, a lawsuit alleges that a 91-year-old patient at the Golden LivingCenter died as a result of nursing home neglect. The lawsuit contends that nursing home negligence led the patient, Jeanne Roney, to “suffer multiple falls and injuries including scabies, a urinary tract infection, and malnutrition.” Nine days after a scabies diagnosis, the patient died.

The patient’s family alleges that the facility failed to provide a sufficient number of staff, and that it also failed to properly train the staff members that it did have. Due to such negligence, the family argues that Roney sustained fatal injuries. How is this claim likely to play out? What is required for a successful nursing home negligence lawsuit in Valley Center, California?

Details of the Recent Allegations Against Golden LivingCenter


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If you file a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Rancho Bernardo, can you be eligible to receive punitive damages? Punitive damages represent a particular type of remedy that is not awarded in many cases, including in lawsuits concerning nursing home abuse allegations. However, according to a recent opinion from the California Court of Appeals, Jarman v. HCR ManorCare (2017), there are indeed cases of elder abuse in which punitive damages are appropriate.

This case is important for nursing home residents in Rancho Bernardo and throughout the state of California as it makes clear that the court system will hold nursing facilities accountable for egregious acts of elder abuse. What else do you need to know about punitive damages in order to understand the weight of this decision?

What are Punitive Damages and Why are They Important?

alex-knight-199368-copy-300x200How far has technology come in Encinitas when it concerns health care for seniors and elder abuse prevention? According to a recent article in the BBC News, most American and other Western healthcare facilities have not yet begun using robotics to help provide superior patient care, but the everyday use of robotics might not be too far in the future. As the article explains, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University has begun using an “intelligent” robot as its receptionist, and that robot could be a model for senior care in California, throughout the U.S., and across the world. What else should you know about the possibility of robotics in senior healthcare and the ways that “intelligent” nurses may be able to help detect and prevent nursing home abuse and neglect?

“Intelligent” Nurses Could Provide Senior Care and Attention

At Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, the “intelligent” receptionist is called Nadine. The BBC News notes that, “from a distance, nothing about her appearance seems unusual . . . .  It’s only on closer inspection that doubts set in.” Indeed, “for a machine, her looks and behavior are remarkably natural.” But there is more significance to Nadine than the fact that she may look like a human worker. Perhaps more than humans, the scientists who created her suggest, Nadine and other “intelligent” workers like her have the ability to recognize certain human emotions and to draw conclusions about behavior.

josh-rinard-108856-300x200If you have an elderly loved one who currently lives in a nursing home or assisted-living facility in San Diego County, it is important to learn more about proposed federal legislation that could starkly limit civil protections for victims of elder abuse. According to a recent article in East County Magazine, the bill at issue, H.R. 1215, “will effectively end California’s 20-plus year civil protection system for victims of elder abuse or neglect perpetrated by health care providers.” The bill has been named the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017,” but elder safety advocates argue that, if the name of the bill more accurately reflected its content and possible aims, it would be called “Obstruction of Justice for the Injured,” according to the article.

What do you need to know about the particulars of this bill and the harms that could arise if this proposed legislation passes?

Learning More About H.R. 1215: Protection Access to Care Act of 2017

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

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.