Articles Tagged with San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer

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).

According to a recent article from Kaiser Health News and NPR, proposed federal rules are aiming at “modernizing” nursing home safety requirements across the country. What does modernization mean in this context? Given that the proposal contains “hundreds of pages of proposed changes,” which “cover everything from meal times to use of antipsychotic drugs to staffing,” it looks like modernization would require quite a bit of effort. In all likelihood, such modernization is deeply needed to help prevent nursing home neglect at facilities in California and throughout the nation.

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Better Technology Requires Revision to the Rules

If approved the proposed rules will require nursing homes comply in order to qualify for payments from Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare officials also think it’s time for a change. According to Dr. Shari Ling, the deputy chief medical officer for Medicare, “the existing regulations don’t even conceive of electronic communications the way they exist today.”

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.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a rule forbidding nursing homes from “requiring residents to sign binding arbitration agreements,” and according to a recent article in Modern Healthcare, the rule is “long overdue.” While California currently requires nursing homes to use only voluntary arbitration agreements—something that the American Health Care Association has been seeking—even voluntary agreements can pose problems for nursing home residents in the event of an elder abuse claim.6337308344_52480361a7

Are Voluntary Agreements Always Voluntary?

To have a better understanding of why even voluntary arbitration agreements might not be so great, it’s important to recognize why nursing homes and other facilities use them in the first place. In short, they “help nursing homes avoid costly litigation.” In other words, if a patient (or her family) thinks about filing a nursing home neglect lawsuit, an arbitration agreement can prevent her from doing so. Instead, she’ll have to go through arbitration. And many arbitration agreements—even voluntary ones—appear amidst a lot of other paperwork that appears when a patient enters a nursing home.

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.