Articles Posted in Southern California 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.”

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200As many Oceanside residents with elderly loved ones know, nursing homes in Southern California and throughout the country have been cited for improper discharges of patients, amounting largely to evictions or the “dumping” of patients. According to a recent article in Skilled Nursing News, reports about such actions have “become a widespread issue—so much so that it is now one of the most frequent complaints made to states’ long-term care ombudsman programs” in California and across the U.S. When elderly patients are evicted from skilled nursing facilities, they can face nursing home abuse and neglect in the facilities where they end up living. At the same time, the mere act of “dumping” patients may in and of itself constitute nursing home abuse or neglect.

In response to these complaints, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “has announced a new initiative aimed at blunting the growing trend of improper discharges at skilled nursing facilities.” Will federal efforts help to prevent the continued evictions of nursing home residents in San Diego County?

Many Patient Discharges Violate Federal Regulations

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

casey-horner-353950-copy-153x300What types of safety protections are in place for patients at San Marcos nursing homes? While we recently discussed elder safety investigations in San Diego County, it turns out that facilities across the state of California are not doing enough to protect seniors against nursing home abuse in the first place. In other words, although San Diego County’s investigations may be a model for other regions of the country, the state ranks last when it comes to elder abuse protections designed to prevent abuse and neglect, according to a recent report in WalletHub.

Need for States to Take Steps to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

As the report explains, “elder abuse affects as many as 5 million people per year, and 96 percent of all cases go unreported.” Given that a large portion of the population is currently age 65 or older—and that the population in that age group is expected to almost double by the year 2050—it is particularly important to think about preventive measures so that elder abuse does not occur. While enforcement methods are significant in the shorter term, the goal should be to eradicate, inasmuch as possible, the risks of abuse for seniors living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The report ultimately suggests that the impetus for this needs to be on individual states.

peter-hershey-282615-copy-300x200Several months ago, we told you about proposed legislation designed to protect LGBTQ seniors from nursing home abuse in long-term care facilities. That proposed legislation, Senate Bill 219 (SB 219), has now been approved by the California Legislature, according to a recent article in San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. Older adults who identify as LGBTQ can face many forms of nursing home abuse and neglect that stem from prejudice and discriminatory behavior.

We want to give you a brief reminder about the proposed law and what it is designed to do, as well as to give you some more information about what it will take for it to become law.

Protections for LGBTQ Seniors Against Discrimination and Nursing Home Abuse

rt_k9r80pya-jean-gerber-300x200When a senior in San Marcos suffers injuries as a result of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, family members should know that this might not be a one-time occurrence. A fact sheet from the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that nursing home abuse can be a single occurrence, or it can be repeated. In many situations, older adults are victims of recurrent abuse. What can you do if you are a senior and are being repeatedly victimized by an individual at your nursing home or assisted-living facility, or if you have an elderly loved one who is in this situation? In such cases, an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order may be able to help.

What is Required for an Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order in California?

According to a fact sheet from the California Courts, an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order may be able to provide some protection to seniors who are suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect. In order to be eligible for one of these types of restraining orders, the elderly adult who is seeking the order must be at least 65 years of age, and must be a victim of one of the following:

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.

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

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