Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

daan-stevens-282446-1-copy-300x191Do you have a loved one with dementia who resides in a nursing home in Carlsbad? If so, it is important to pay close attention to the risks of overmedication for dementia patients. While we have been discussing the problematic off-label use of antipsychotic drugs in patients with Alzheimer’s for quite some time, in more recent months we have not heard a lot about this issue. However, a lack of news coverage about an issue does not mean it has been resolved in a satisfactory manner. According to U.S. News & World Report, a recent report from Human Rights Watch found that “nursing homes unnecessarily give antipsychotic drugs to more than 179,000 residents per week.”

Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Drugs Persists in American Nursing Homes

The Human Rights Watch report says that antipsychotic drugs continue to be administered to elderly nursing home residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia when those drugs have not been prescribed to treat their conditions. Potentially even more harmful, the report suggests, is that those patients are not giving “free and informed consent” to the off-label use of these antipsychotic drugs. These findings appeared in a human rights watch report entitled, “They Want Docile.”

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in San Clemente or elsewhere in San Diego County, it is important to learn more about sexual abuse and how it affects seniors. Nursing home abuse and neglect often involves physical or mental abuse of the elderly, but it can also include sexual abuse. Sometimes perpetrators of sexual abuse in nursing home settings are staff members, while in some situations other residents themselves may be the perpetrators.

A recent article in Reuters emphasized that the #MeToo movement is having an important effect across the country: More victims are reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual abuse. We would like to focus on how this larger societal shift in addressing sexual assault and abuse can influence victims of sexual abuse in the nursing home setting. We will consider recent discussions of elder sex abuse and then discuss methods of detection and prevention.

Turning Media Attention to Sexual Abuse in the Nursing Home Setting

fabrizio-verrecchia-221046-unsplash-copy-300x200Now is as good a time as any to begin thinking carefully about how citizens can play a role in preventing nursing home abuse and elder neglect in Valley Center. According to a recent article in The Acorn, when seniors see their family members and friends more often, signs and symptoms of elder abuse may be more obvious. Once the holiday season ends, it is important to consider ways of helping ensure the safety and well-being of elderly loved ones. The article points citizens to the California Department of Justice’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse.” The publication continues to provide helpful advice for Valley Center residents, and we want to discuss a few key features of the publication with you.

Why should citizens learn more about preventing elder abuse? As the publication points out, “it may take the courage of a caring family member, friend, or caretaker to take action when the victim may be reluctant.”

Recognize Where Elder Abuse can Occur

jonathan-adeline-259286-copy-300x200Whether you are reading about nursing home evictions in Poway or elsewhere in Southern California, it is important to think carefully about the rising rates of evictions and how these actions might rise to the level of elder and dependent adult abuse in the state. According to a recent article in California Healthline, more nursing homes in California are evicting patients who allegedly cannot pay after being assessed higher fees, while others are evicting residents and patients with certain illnesses and medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Do improper evictions rise to the level of nursing home abuse? Can you file an elder abuse lawsuit following an improper eviction from a skilled nursing facility in California?

Evictions Complaints on the Rise in California

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

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

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.”

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