Articles Tagged with assisted living facilities

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.

tuyyno_vdp0-sam-wheeler-300x199If you have an elderly loved one who recently required care in a hospital and now will need long-term care in a nursing home in Escondido, how do you know which facility will provide the best quality of care and does not have a history of nursing home abuse or neglect? According to a recent article from NPR, a potential change to the rules concerning Medicare and hospitals’ rights and responsibilities toward patients could mean that more hospitals, which often see elderly patients in Southern California and throughout the country, could provide helpful information to families struggling to select a quality nursing home in their budget.

Hospitals Required to Provide ‘Unrestricted’ Information About Nursing Homes

Up to this point, why have hospitals in San Diego County avoided giving patients and their families information about certain nursing homes that they believe can provide quality care? The article explains that “hospitals have long been reluctant to share with patients their assessments of which nursing homes are best because of a Medicare requirement that patients’ choices can’t be restricted.”

William_Albert_Ackman_signatureFor more than a year, mandatory arbitration agreements have been illegal in California nursing homes. Instead, patients at facilities in San Diego can only be asked to sign voluntary binding arbitration agreements. Over the last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been working on a federal rule that would prohibit forced arbitration agreements in nursing homes across the country, permitting facilities instead to have only voluntary binding arbitration agreements (like those in California). Yet according to a recent article in The New York Times, even voluntary binding arbitration agreements can put a nursing home resident in a vulnerable position in relation to a facility. Should we be talking about banning all arbitration agreements if we want to ensure patients get justice when nursing home abuse happens?

No Legal Recourse for Harmed Patients in Arbitration?

As the article in The New York Times explains, federal rules concerning forced arbitration agreements in nursing homes will soon be finalized. However, are those protections sufficient to ensure that nursing homes are held accountable when nursing home abuse or neglect occurs? As a brief reminder, arbitration agreements—both those that are “forced” or required for a patient to enter a nursing home, as well as those that a patient agrees to voluntarily upon entering a facility—require patients and their families to settle legal issues “through private arbitration rather than through lawsuits.”

file1251238100316Fact sheets provided by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and the Administration on Aging (AoA) emphasize that elder abuse is a common phenomenon, likely affecting at least 10% of seniors in America. Yet those organizations also note that nursing home abuse and neglect are widely underreported, meaning that we do not necessarily have all the facts we need in order to think through new and better ways of combatting nursing home abuse and neglect. According to a recent report from Fox News Health, researchers are voicing similar concerns about the limitations of our current knowledge.

A new research review noted that “maltreatment and abuse have important effects on the health, quality of life, and even on the lifespan of elderly people, but there is very little evidence on ways to stop it.” Recognizing signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse is an important step in putting a stop to abuse. But do we really know the best prevention methods when we may not have a completely accurate picture of the prevalence of elder abuse?

Looking Back at Studies of Elder Maltreatment

gavelWhat happens when a nursing home resident cannot make medical decisions for herself but she has no family members to rely upon? Last summer, we told you about a case that went before the Alameda County Superior Court, which put some of the power back in the hands of nursing home residents. A recent article in the California Health Report emphasized the far-reaching implications of this decision, and the ways in which there are both potential pros and cons for nursing home residents.

CANHR’s Case Against the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Before we discuss some of the recent commentary on the court decision from June of 2015, it is important to recall the key issues at stake in this case. According to the article, the advocacy group California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) filed a lawsuit against the CDPH, arguing against the constitutionality of “a California statute allowing nursing homes to make medical decisions for residents incapable of doing that for themselves and who have no family or legal representatives.”