Articles Tagged with San Diego nursing home abuse attorney

A common blood-thinning drug, Coumadin, has been cited as the cause for numerous deaths in nursing homes, according to a recent article in the Washington Post. What’s the problem with Coumadin? In short, it requires that a very precise amount be administered to patients, and either too much or too little of the medication can result in fatal injuries to the elderly.12175858204_36c6287934

What is Coumadin?

According to WebMD, Coumadin is the brand name for the generic drug Warfarin. It’s generally used to treat blood clots, or to prevent clots from forming (and thus to help reduce a patient’s risk of a stroke or a heart attack). This medication often is described as a blood thinner, but as WebMD explains, “the more correct term is anticoagulant.” Coumadin, when used properly, can decrease the clotting proteins in your blood, which ultimately can help blood to flow better if there’s a risk of clotting.

For the last 35 years, California’s Senior Legislature has been advocating for the rights of older adults throughout the state. Indeed, according to a recent report from NBC News, the ground has been proposing laws to state legislators aimed at preventing elder abuse throughout its tenure. Now, however, the advocacy group is facing a serious problem with funds and is taking steps to ensure that it retains a voice when it comes to lawmaking and the rights of the elderly in California.Getting from Here to There

Long-Time Group Advocates for Seniors’ Rights

The California Senior Legislature currently has 120 members, all of whom are volunteers. Its members come from a variety of cities throughout the state, from Southern California to the Bay Area. Each of the members, according to NBC News, is elected from separate senior organizations in their respective cities. “Throughout its history,” the report states, “the group has proposed a myriad of laws dealing with topics ranging from elder abuse to senior health issues.” Legislators recall members of the group actually walking through the state capitol in order to personally track down legislators and encourage them to carry proposals created by the group.

Nursing homes in California continue to receive warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the use of antipsychotic medications given to elderly residents, yet the use of chemical restraints continues. Indeed, according to a recent news story from ABC News 10, nearly fifty nursing homes in our state “rate below average for the use of antipsychotic drugs.” Does the use of chemical restraints constitute nursing home abuse?3056268889_8235784d86

Dementia and Antipsychotic Medications

Many of us know that elderly nursing home residents, particularly those who have been diagnosed with dementia, may be prescribed antipsychotic medications in order to chemically “restrain” them. For those of us with loved ones residing in these facilities, it can be frustrating to learn that off-label drug use is taking place when it’s unnecessary and could lead to serious harms.

According to a recent story from ABC 7 Eyewitness News Los Angeles, “California’s largest nursing home chain has come under fire from government regulators, facing a flurry of citations and penalties.” Indeed, Brius Healthcare Services will have to account for the numerous elder abuse allegations against its facilities across the state.341653009_14c3f29e39

Serious Violations in Brius Health Services Facilities

Over the course of the past year, Brius facilities have been investigated by the police, they’ve been sued for nursing home abuse, and they’ve been the target of investigations conducted by state and federal agencies that have issued violations. The company has 81 facilities in California, and they cover a wide expanse of the state. Indeed, the facilities stretch from “San Diego to Roseville to Eureka.”

Every year on June 15th, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and the Administration on Aging (AoA) provide awareness resources and prevention information for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). According to a press release from the AoA, WEAAD was established in 2006 by several different global organizations that partnered to help stop elder abuse across the world.4015324803_d0e5839192

Elder Abuse and Neglect Occurs Across the Globe

In conjunction with the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, the NCEA and AoA hope to “provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons.” What kind of tools are necessary to help global citizens understand elder abuse and neglect? While age is a primary risk factor for sustaining injuries resulting from elder abuse, nursing home abuse and neglect isn’t limited to just one socioeconomic or ethnic group.

According to a recent article in the Courthouse News Service, a California senior’s family filed an elder abuse lawsuit against “the nation’s largest nursing home chain” after the patient was accidentally given a fatal dose of morphine. The victim, Jonathan Bell, had been a dialysis patient at American River Center in Sacramento when his nurse mistakenly administered the morphine. Bell’s family has alleged that the nursing home “refused to let an ambulance take the catatonic man to a hospital” after the medical mistake occurred. Bell died the following day.1921401904_b3e2bdfd81

Nursing Home Concerned About Sanctions

Why wouldn’t staff members at American River Center allow an ambulance to take Bell to the hospital for care? His daughters argue that “the nursing home feared sanctions for giving him the wrong treatment and tried to cover up its mistake by letting Bell remain in a catatonic state for more than 24 hours without medical attention.” Indeed, according to the family’s lawyer, “they tried to bury their mistake and buried his life.”

When emergency medical responders receive a call to a nursing home or assisted-living facility, they may be in the best position to identify signs and symptoms of elder abuse. According to a recent article from ABC 7 KRCR News, “paramedics and first responders are sometimes the first to notice something is wrong.” As such, they can help to ensure that victims of nursing home abuse can receive they help they need.red-cross-29930_1280

Training Paramedics to Look for Signs of Neglect

A recently reported case of elder abuse in Redding has led to an increased emphasis on paramedics and their unique position to identify signs of elder neglect. To be sure, according to Mark Belden, an operations manager for American Medical Response, when paramedics enter the home of an elderly adult, they’re “trained to look for signs of neglect.” Under California law, paramedics must report suspicions of elder abuse or neglect, but it’s important that these first responders have the necessary training to know what they’re seeing.

Back in September, we discussed a federal lawsuit concerning nursing home abuse in Watsonville. According to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News, the leaders of those two Watsonville nursing homes involved in the suit have agreed to a $3.8 million settlement. The lawsuit alleged that the owners “provided ‘substandard or worthless services,’ overly medicated residents, and submitted false Medicare and Medicaid claims.”2189387168_cc27c053e0

Background of the $3.8 Million Nursing Home Abuse Settlement

Filed eight months ago, the lawsuit alleged gross misconduct related to elder abuse and neglect. Now, almost a year later, the leaders of those Watsonville nursing homes have agreed to settle the case. The facilities include Country Villa Watsonville East (now renamed as Watsonville Nursing Center), and Country Villa Watsonville West Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (now renamed as Watsonville Post-Acute Center). Other named parties included the CF Watsonville East, LLC, CF Watsonville West, LLC, and the entities overseeing the finances and nursing home management of the facilities.

Given the sheer number of nursing home abuse complaints that have created a backlog in Southern California, it sounds like good news that state officials are hoping to change nursing home inspection and oversight duties. Indeed, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, officials in Los Angeles County are changing the way they handle nursing home neglect complaints “as part of a drive to better manage a backlog of investigations.”

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However, the reorganization may not be sufficient to yield a significant change. To be sure, “some patient advocates say the proposed changes aren’t likely to significantly improve conditions, and could make matters worse.”

Investigation Practices in Los Angeles County

In California, elder abuse isn’t limited to nursing homes. To be sure, residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), which are also known as assisted-living facilities, retirement homes, and board and care homes, have been cited for numerous instances of elder abuse and neglect. And given that RCFEs only provide incidental medical services, these facilities aren’t subject to the same regulations as nursing homes. Which ones are safest for your elderly loved one? And which facilities haven’t been implicated in recent nursing home abuse allegations? Proposed legislation seeks to help Californians with these important questions.

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New Bill Aims to Provide Access to Elder Abuse Information

Many RCFEs exist throughout the state of California. According to the California Department of Social Services, they offer services ranging from personal supervision and assistance with activities of daily living to medical services that are incidental to personal care. How can consumers know which of these facilities will provide the best care to their elderly loved ones?