Articles Posted in Residential Care Facilities

dayne-topkin-101956-copy-300x200What is elder or dependent adult abuse according to California law? For residents of Vista and other parts of Southern California, it is important to learn more about the protections available to seniors who may be subject to nursing home abuse. A recent article in CalCoast News reports that the California Department of Justice arrested the owner and a former employee of an assisted living facility in the state for elderly dependent adult abuse. This case involves a critical case of nursing home neglect that resulted in the death of a resident. It serves as a reminder that laws are in place not only to punish perpetrators of elder abuse and neglect, but that there are also legal protections in place to prevent further abuse.

Details of the Recent Elder Neglect Case

As the article explains, the incident that led to the elder and dependent adult abuse charges occurred several years ago. In December of 2014, a senior, Mauricio Edgar Cardenas, at The Manse on Marsh, an elderly facility in San Luis Obispo, attempted to cross a street by himself. He was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle, the driver of which was cleared of wrongdoing. When the accident happened, it was dark outside, and authorities determined that the motor vehicle driver could not have seen the victim in time to stop or to avoid hitting him.

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

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.

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

alice-donovan-rouse-195453-copy-300x200If you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Oceanside, or if your family is just beginning to think about skilled nursing options, it is important to learn more about proposed legislation designed to protect LGBT long-term residents of such facilities. Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious problems in California and across the country, and such incidents can sometimes involve discrimination against the patient.

The proposed law, SB 219, has been named the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights.” The bill is aimed at extending certain protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to seniors in nursing homes and other facilities in California.

Learning More About SB 219 and LGBT Protections in California Nursing Homes

Sitting_Room_At_The_Braeside_Home_In_Preston_Ontario,_1947_(5933797538)According to a recent report from U.S. News & World Report, nursing homes in California, including in San Diego, may rank better than facilities in other parts of the country. However, just because a nursing home makes the list for having the highest number of high-quality nursing homes, according to a recent article in Senior Housing News, that fact alone does not necessarily correspond to the state having a particularly high percentage of high-quality facilities. If you have a loved one who currently resides in a nursing home in Southern California, or if your aging parent soon may be moving into an assisted-living facility, it is important to understand what nursing home rankings do (and do not) mean.

What can we learn about the quality of California’s nursing homes from the report in U.S. News & World Report? What other issues do we need to take into consideration when evaluating the quality of a particular nursing home and the risks of nursing home abuse?

Rankings for High-Quality American Nursing Homes

799px-Alcohol_bottles_photographed_while_drunkHow broad is the term nursing home neglect? For instance, when a senior has a problem with drug or alcohol abuse and lives in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility in Southern California, does the facility have a duty to prevent the senior from obtaining potentially harmful substances? And if the facility knows about a history of drug or alcohol abuse and does not take precautions to limit a senior resident’s access to alcohol or prescription drugs, can the nursing home be responsible for injuries that occur? According to a fact sheet from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), it can be difficult to recognize signs and symptoms of substance abuse among older adults.

Should we be able to expect that facilities will look into signs and symptoms of substance abuse among elderly residents? And if a facility in San Diego already knows that one of its residents has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, what must it do differently in other to avoid allegations of nursing home negligence?

Difficulty Identifying Senior Residents with Substance Abuse Problems

Q2191986_noun_108043_ccNicolasVicent_elderly.svgWhen you have a loved one residing in a San Diego nursing home, it is extremely important to think about how the facility is managing fall risks. According to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of seniors suffer injuries from falls each year, and about 25% of the elderly population will fall in any given year. As the CDC points out, about 20% of those falls among seniors result in serious injuries such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or broken bones. More than 800,000 older adults require hospitalization because of a fall-related injury each year, and around 300,000 seniors need to be hospitalized specifically because of a hip fracture. All in all, approximately 2.8 million elderly adults are treated in emergency departments each year due to falls. Of those seniors who get hurt, about 1,800 die as a result of their injuries.

Since falls are so common among older adults, and given that they often result in serious injuries, what should nursing homes do to help prevent falls from happening? If nursing facilities in San Diego do not take proper precautions when it comes to fall prevention, can they be liable for nursing home neglect?

Nursing Home Falls Occur in Many Different Contexts

Very Old LadyIs the quality of life improving for Southern California residents in assisted-living facilities? And if so, how much attention do we need to pay to the risks of nursing home abuse and neglect in these communities if a majority of seniors say they are content? According to a recent article in McKnight’s Senior Living, “residents of assisted living communities in California are very satisfied with their living situations” on the whole. While this is good news for many elder justice advocates in the state, we should not let it obscure the fact that there remain a number of seniors who are not satisfied with their living situations and who become victims of elder abuse.

Although the recent article presents promising data on elderly assisted living in the state, we still need to consider the risks to California seniors who do not fall into this depicted majority.

Many Seniors in California are Indeed Happy, Survey Says

file3451272140532How often does the California Department of Public Health fine nursing homes and assisted-living facilities for elderly patient injuries and deaths? When facilities do receive significant fines as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, are those fines sufficient to protect other residents in the future? According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Daily News, the California Department of Public Health issued a $75,000 fine for a Southern California nursing home due to neglect resulting in a patient’s death.

Fatal Injuries Caused By Nursing Home Neglect in Canoga Park

As the article explains, Topanga Terrace, a nursing home in Canoga Park, was issued a $75,000 fine “after staff there failed to monitor a resident who kept removing his own breathing tube, resulting in death.” The patient needed a tracheostomy tube in order to breathe following a surgery in 2013. In addition to the use of the tracheostomy tube, the patient also “suffered from multiple illnesses including dementia, chronic respiratory failure, and tuberculosis.” Despite his medical needs, however, the facility did not have a treatment plan that included methods to prevent or deter the patient from removing his breathing tube.