Articles Posted in San Diego Elder Abuse

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200When you have an elderly loved one with mental health issues in San Clemente, it can be difficult to find a skilled nursing facility that can provide the type of care, as well as the quality of care, that your family member needs. Having a loved one with a mental health issue can mean that she or he may be more vulnerable to nursing home abuse or neglect, or at least the ability to identify and properly report it. As such, it is often particularly important for families searching for nursing homes for a loved one with a mental illness to find a facility with high marks and a history of quality care.

According to a recent article from Reuters Health, “even people with common and often treatable mental health problems like depression and anxiety may have a harder time than patients without these diagnoses getting admitted to a high-quality nursing home.” How does an elderly patient’s mental health impact his or her ability to get accepted into a particular nursing home or assisted-living facility?

Study Says Nursing Homes With High Ratings May be Less Likely to Accept Patients With History of Mental Health Problems

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

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”

rt_k9r80pya-jean-gerber-300x200A lack of federal funding for elderly healthcare could cause a nursing home abuse epidemic in San Clemente and across the country, a recent article in The New York Times suggests. While a vote on the Senate health care bill has been delayed, even an amended version of the bill that includes drastic cuts to Medicaid could have serious and even deadly consequences for seniors living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. As the article contends, if such a bill passes, introducing “Trumpcare” to California and to the rest of the country, it “is certain to produce drastic upheaval in the landscape of long-term care.” Medicaid is currently “by far the largest source of funding for nursing home stays,” providing the funding for almost two-thirds of all nursing home residents.

If funding ceases, the quality of care is likely to decline, as well. Such a cut to Medicaid would result, at best, in a rise in nursing home neglect cases, the article argues. Could changes to Medicaid funding really produce such damage to elderly nursing home residents’ care?

History of California Nursing Home Abuse and 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

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

Patch_of_the_San_Diego_Police_DepartmentLaw enforcement officials are often in a unique position to recognize signs and symptoms of elder abuse in the San Diego area. Yet, as an article from In Public Safety points out, police officers frequently are not sufficiently trained in recognize nursing home abuse and neglect, and as such they inadvertently miss the symptoms that could help to prevent future injuries and, in some cases, deaths. Since nursing home abuse cases also can coincide with calls concerning assault and domestic violence, it is important for law enforcement officers to be trained to recognize the signs of elder abuse.

Getting Law Enforcement Officials in California Involved in Elder Abuse Awareness

One of the first things we can do, the article suggests, to change the ways in which police officers evaluate whether someone has been the victim of elder abuse is to require specific training about nursing home abuse and neglect. In our state, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) does have required training for mandatory reporters, but not all law enforcement officials understand the extent of elder abuse in the community and the ways that we can work together to help prevent it.

Shower headOver the past couple of years elder advocates have been paying a significant amount of attention to physical abuse and neglect at nursing homes in the San Diego area. It is important to remember that nursing home abuse can take many forms, including emotional and psychological abuse. According to a recent report from ABC 10 News, allegations of elder abuse at a Vista facility have resulted in an investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The article indicates that an employee at the LifeHOUSE Vista Healthcare Center has been “accused of using her cellphone to take footage of a patient getting in the shower, and then posting it on the internet.”

Elder Abuse Investigation in Vista

The elder abuse investigation in Vista got underway after someone who viewed the online video “took a screen grab” of it and sent it to ABC 10 News. The video was taken on Snapchat. According to the report, “it shows a partially nude woman from the shoulders up,” and there is an employee “standing behind her laughing.”

Could helping more of America’s seniors to live independently be a method for preventing nursing home abuse? If an elderly San Diego resident does not require the kind of care that an assisted-living facility or a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE) would provide—if she can have that same kind of care at home—would she take away some of the risks of becoming a victim of elder abuse? One of our first steps in preventing elder abuse should be to make care facilities safer for older adults. But at the same time, even if we did want to push for more seniors to live independently, a recent article in Forbes Magazine suggests that our country simply is not providing the kind of assistance that would make this possible.7622108790_a2a735a94a

Older Americans Act (OAA) and Providing Assistance to Seniors

Every year, elder rights advocates and others attend the National Home and Community Based Services Conferences, which brings together professionals in various fields to discuss the state of independent living for older adults and those with disabilities. The conference is sponsored by the National Association of States United for Aging and Disability, and it has more than 1,400 participants. Indeed, Kathy Greenlee, the Assistant Secretary for Aging, gave an opening speech that marked the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA).

When we think about nursing home abuse and neglect, most of us imagine a scenario in which a healthcare professional or nursing home employee mistreats an elderly resident. However, a recent study conducted by Cornell University Weill Medical College found that many facilities actually see “a high level of resident-to-resident elder mistreatment.”

Nursing home abuse can take many different forms, and it can result in serious and life-threatening injuries to your elderly loved one. If you believe that your parent has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to contact an experienced San Diego elder abuse lawyer.

file0001780974018Aggressive Encounters with Fellow Residents