Articles Posted in Elder Care

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.”

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

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200When your elderly loved one shows signs of elder abuse or neglect, how can you know whether a caregiver is perpetrating the abuse or whether the harm is self-inflicted? Depending upon whether an older adult in your life has been injured because of negligence by a staff member at a nursing home or because of the senior’s self-neglect, families need to take very different steps. Learning about elder abuse by a caregiver could warrant legal action, while self-inflicted neglect requires different action. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the problem of self-neglect is an underreported one, and “it accounts for more calls to adult protective services nationwide than any other form of elder abuse.”

What should Poway families know about self-inflicted elder abuse? How do signs and symptoms of self-inflicted abuse differ from signs of neglect when a caregiver or nursing home may be responsible?

What is Elder Self-Neglect?

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200When do falls among elderly nursing home residents in Escondido and throughout Southern California constitute nursing home negligence? Seniors are more likely to suffer a serious fall-related injury if they already suffer from a cognitive impairment, according to a recent article in Neurology Advisor. That information comes from a new review published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and it makes clear that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities need to consider the cognitive impairment of each resident when determining the amount of care and monitoring that is required.

In other words, if a senior falls when a facility knows that individual has a cognitive impairment, the facility may be responsible for nursing home neglect.

Falls are More Likely When Cognition Suffers

jyotirmoy-gupta-443923-unsplash-copy-300x200Whether you have an elderly loved one in a Vista nursing home or in a skilled nursing facility elsewhere in California, it is important to understand the risk of serious falls as a result of nursing home negligence. We often think of nursing home abuse in terms of intentionally harmful behavior toward nursing home residents, yet many seniors get hurt because facilities are understaffed and nursing home neglect leads to serious and sometimes fatal injuries. According to a recent report in The Daily Journal, a California assisted-living facility is facing lawsuits after the deaths of two patients from falls last year. The family members allege that the facility was understaffed and that the falls resulted from nursing home negligence.

We want to discuss the recent case with you and then talk through some ways to prevent senior falls in nursing homes.

Assisted-Living Facility Faces Lawsuits for Fall-Related Fatalities

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted living facility in Rancho Bernardo or elsewhere in the San Diego area, it is important to learn more about how facilities’ corporate ties could impact quality of care. According to a recent article in The New York Times, seniors in facilities across the country are suffering nursing home neglect injuries as a result of “lackluster care” and a “scarcity of nurses and aides.” Yet the underfunding of nursing homes actually could be linked to the “constellation of corporations” to which many facilities are tied. In other words, nursing home owners’ attachments to corporate entities could be a primary cause of elder neglect incidents occurring at facilities across the country.

Outsourcing Services to Corporations Linked to Nursing Home Owners

When we hear that nursing homes are underfunded and understaffed, are those problems actually a result of the facilities wanting to provide quality care failing to have enough funding to hire an adequate number of staff members? Or, as the article suggests, are these problems tied to the more disturbing reason that nursing home owners have business interests that come first above patient safety and quality care? According to The New York Times, an “increasingly common business arrangement” involves nursing home owners outsourcing “a wide variety of goods and services to companies in which they have a financial interest or that they control.”

anh-nguyen-498075-unsplash-copy-151x300Many cases of nursing home neglect injuries in Encinitas and other parts of San Diego County result from falls. In certain situations, seniors are not monitored properly, and they suffer serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries after falling. In other scenarios, nursing home staff members may fail to provide the proper health aids, such as walkers, which can prevent a fall-related injury. According to a news release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 29 million elderly Americans suffer falls each year, resulting in more than $31 billion in Medicare costs. Given the prevalence of falls among seniors, are there ways to improve preventive measures?

According to a recent article in The New York Times, Southern Californians may be able to take some senior safety tips from the Dutch, who “are living longer than in previous generations” with the help of “courses that teach them not only how to avoid falling, but how to fall correctly.”

Fear of Falling can Lead to Injuries Among Older Adults

max-larochelle-421822-copy-240x300The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida have illuminated serious deficiencies in many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, according to a report from National Public Radio. More specifically, many skilled nursing facilities are not prepared to handle an emergency situation, from a power outage in a severe storm to structural damage caused by a natural disaster such as an earthquake. If nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and RCFEs in Carlsbad are not prepared to keep their residents safe in the event of one of these emergency situations, then elderly patients and residents can suffer injuries as a result of elder neglect.

Nursing home neglect often arises in situations where staff members at facilities did not intend to do harm to patients, but due to understaffing and other problems, neglect results in serious and sometimes fatal injuries.

Failing to Prepare for “Basic Contingencies”

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

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.”