Articles Tagged with San diego elder abuse attorney

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

According to a recent article from Kaiser Health News, until recently, a California law permitted nursing homes to make decisions—include about end-of-life care—for nursing home residents who have been declared incompetent. However, a state court recently held that the law, which was enacted more than twenty years ago, is unconstitutional.7750519890_1720d30f09

Nursing Homes Cannot Violate Patients’ Rights

The law remained in effect until Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio M. Grillo ruled that the law is unconstitutional in a decision that came down at the end of last month. As the judge explained, “the law violates patients’ due process rights because it doesn’t require nursing homes to notify patients they have been deemed incapacitated or to give them the chance to object.” While Grillo indicated that he knows the decision “is likely to cause problems” for regular nursing home operations, it’s more important to put nursing home patients’ rights above practical logistics.

How dangerous are psychiatric medications when they’re prescribed for dementia patients in nursing homes? According to a recent article in Modern Healthcare, the benefits of the long-term use of psych meds when they’re prescribed for the disorders for which they’re designed—would “need to be colossal to counter known harms associated with their use.” And while the off-label use of antipsychotics to treat dementia symptoms appears to have declined, it remains a significant problem in Southern California and throughout the country.

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Stopping Use of Psychotropic Drugs

Researchers across the globe are speaking out about the dangers of antipsychotic drugs. To be sure, a debate about their efficacy and long-term effects recently sprung up on the website for the journal of the British Medical Association. According to Dr. Peter Gøtzsche, who serves as the director of the Nordic Cochrane Center, the lack of benefit from these medications, particularly when they’re used in an off-label manner, means that “we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm.” For even when they’re used to provide short-term relief, he emphasized, they pose serious long-term harms.

When you learn that an elderly loved one has died while in the care of a nursing home or assisted-living facility, you may suspect that she didn’t receive the proper treatment. In some cases, however, it’s difficult to discern whether an older adult suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence or because of elder abuse.6811278733_eca62c5091

In California, nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem throughout the state. At the same time, medical malpractice can occur in a variety of healthcare settings, including nursing homes. According to a recent article in the National Law Journal, differentiating medical negligence and elder abuse cases can be complicated in California.

Characterizing a Healthcare Provider’s Actions

Over the past year, elderly California residents and their family members have been made all too aware that, if they file elder abuse complaints, the Department of Public Health isn’t likely to respond in a timely manner. However, according to a recent article in California Healthline, testimony given in a joint legislative hearing emphasized that “progress has been made in clearing a huge backlog of nursing home complaints, and steps have been taken to ensure it won’t happen again.”

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Department of Public Health Discusses Progress

Last October, a report from a state auditor revealed that the California Department of Public Health had a backlog of about 11,000 complaints concerning elder abuse in nursing homes and related facilities. According to Elaine Howle, the California state auditor, “many of them were urgent and serious complaints, and others were designated as high priority.” Of those complaints, Howle indicated that around 40 percent of those in the backlog fell into the category of “immediate or non-immediate jeopardy designations.”

When older adults become victims of elder abuse in their own homes, do they have any options to escape the violence? According to a recent article in the Orange County Register, more elderly adults are reporting that they’ve been the victims of physical abuse in Southern California, and the Orange County Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Registry received more than 9,000 such reports last year alone.16570337968_57d62c7708

Elder Abuse on the Rise in Orange County

Over the last 10 years, the Orange County Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Registry has received a 74 percent increase in reports of abuse. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, the reported cases of abuse rose by nearly 14 percent. Of those calls, more than 75 percent involved seniors aged 65 and older. Yet experts suspect that the number is actually much higher. In other words, numerous cases simply go unreported.

Back in 2013, a number of elderly residents in a Castro Valley facility were abandoned, “left without proper staffing or care for two days,” according to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News. Now, the owner and administrator from the facility, Valley Springs Manor, “have been charged with felony elder abuse and could face up to 17 years in prison if convicted.”

Indictment for Felony Elder Abuse

Who can be held liable for the serious allegations concerning nursing home abuse in Castro Valley? Based on an announcement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris, both the owner of Valley Springs Manor, Herminigilda Manuel, as well as a top administrator, Edgar Babael, have been indicted on 14 felony counts of elder abuse. Manuel was arrested by agents from the Department of Homeland Security at San Francisco International Airport, and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Babel.

Does race play a role in evaluating a loved one’s risk of nursing home abuse? According to a recent article from New America Media, Latino/a seniors may be at greater risk of elder abuse once they enter a nursing home or assisted-living facility due to cultural differences and discrimination.

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The Pew Research Hispanic Center Project emphasizes that Latinos are “the nation’s largest minority group and among its fastest growing populations.” To be sure, the Latino population made up 17 percent of the U.S. population in 2012, and it “accounted for more than half of the nation’s population growth” between 2000 and 2010. Given that California has a particularly high Latino/a population (with Los Angeles featuring the largest Hispanic population in any U.S. metropolitan area), it’s important to consider the ways in which nursing home abuse and neglect might distinctly affect these older adults.

Physical Abuse and Discrimination

We know that California assisted-living facilities need to be better regulated by the state. After all, many of the serious and life-threatening injuries sustained by patients in nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) are preventable. But what happens when similar incidents of elder neglect occur at home? According to a recent article in The Atlantic, there’s a significant regulation problem—lack of regulation, to be precise—with California’s in-home supportive services (IHSS) program.

As the article explains, this program “pays people to look after seniors,” but without sufficient regulation, many older adults end up sustaining severe injuries as a direct result of elder abuse and neglect.

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State-Funded Care at Home

Are our elderly loved ones receiving proper end-of-life care at California hospices? A recent article in the Huffington Post reported that, unlike other healthcare facilities that receive Medicare funding, hospices aren’t being punished sufficiently when they commit elder abuse and violate rules related to patient health and safety. To be sure, when a hospice fails to provide the promised comfort and care at the end of a person’s life, “it almost always escapes sanctions.” Why isn’t the federal government punishing these hospices for failing to do their jobs?

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Inspections Don’t Yield Sanctions

One of the primary issues, the article suggests, is that federal regulators just aren’t doling out sanctions to hospices in the same way that they often do for nursing homes. The problem isn’t that the federal government isn’t investigating claims of abuse, neglect, and patient mistreatment at hospice facilities. Indeed, “inspections do occur and problems are identified,” yet inspectors often tend to accept “hospices promises that they’ll reform.”