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Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Law Blog

All nursing home abuse demands immediate attention

Many elderly people have gone through hardships that we wouldn't even be able to imagine these days. They deserve to be able to live their final days, months and years out in peace. Some elderly people have to live these days out in nursing homes. Still, their right to peace remains intact.

We have heard too many stories and seen too many cases about nursing home residents who are being abused and neglected. Some of these cases, such as physical abuse, are easy to spot. Other cases, such as emotional abuse, aren't as easy to spot. Still, all cases of nursing home abuse and neglect demand immediate attention.

How does California fight elder abuse?

California's elder abuse has long been a problem. What does the state do to combat the problem? California's Department of Justice has three programs that work to hold abusers of elder people accountable for their actions. These programs are run by the Office of the Attorney General to both improve the care for the elderly and to help in prosecuting abuse cases.

The Operations Guardians program is designed to identify abuse and neglect in nursing homes. They investigate reports of abuse and neglect for further criminal or civil prosecution. They also work with the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse for cases involving Medicare or Medicaid fraud and abuse. In 2014/2015, there were 94 criminal cases filed with 56 convictions.

Why is the dysphagia diet a critical consideration?

Meeting the dietary needs of residents is something that is critical for nursing homes. Food allergies and specific restrictions on what a person can eat must be considered with each meal that is handed out in the nursing home. There is one type of diet, the dysphagia diet, that must be followed or else the resident can face serious injuries or death.

What is the dysphagia diet?

Putting a stop to elder abuse!

There is not much in life that is more appalling than elder abuse or neglect -- especially when it is intentional. Nursing home and assisted living facilities, like many other industries, are common places for elder abuse to occur. They have become a business. While there are many good and upstanding nursing home facilities in our state and across the country, like any other business, there are also people who have jumped on board for the financial enticement. Many elder individuals qualify for nursing home or rehabilitation at nursing home facilities through their insurance or through Medicare and Medicaid payments from the government, making the nursing home business a lucrative investment.

Facilities that are financially motivated are often understaffed. Fewer employees means less overhead and a larger profit for the "business." When a facility is understaffed, patients or residents are often neglected. Disabled patients or those in wheelchairs may not be able to get to the restroom as often as needed and end up laying or sitting in soiled clothing. Those who cannot get in and out of bed by themselves may acquire bedsores, which can result in serious infections. Malnutrition, dehydration, lack of attention, isolation, incorrect administering of medications and other types of neglect are common.

Adult Protective Services helps to protect the elderly population

If your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, you might wonder how you can stop the horrible behaviors. One possible way that you can help to stop the abuse is by contacting Adult Protective Services with a complaint about the nursing home.

Adult Protective Services is done on a county level, so you will contact the APS in the county in which the nursing home is located. The services that APS offers are usually available for vulnerable adults and those who are over a specific age. Generally, nursing home residents will fit the criteria necessary to use APS services.

Elder abuse in nursing home leads to employee firings

Addie Meedom House, an assisted living facility in Del Norte County, has two separate instances of complaints of elder patient abuse leading to three employees being fired. The first incident occurred in October 2015. The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office received complaints of employees teasing, harassing and scaring residents. Upon investigation of what was noted as "repeated attempts to tease, harass or scare residents," two employees were fired.

Then in December, another employee was let go for allegedly yelling out loudly when a patient pinched him. The administrator of the home claims that employees and staff are trained when they are hired to expect no thanks for helping patients and that they may even be yelled at; however, they are not permitted to yell back at the resident because they would be violating the resident's right to be free from intimidation or humiliation. He claims "screening new hires doesn't always guarantee they are ready to work."

Reckless neglect is a deplorable factor in some nursing homes

Residents of nursing homes, many of whom are senior citizens, deserve to receive the care they are paying for. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are seen as prey by opportunistic employees of the nursing home. That sad fact is something that means that the loved ones of anyone in a nursing facility must be aware of what is going on with his or her loved one at all times. We know that nobody wants to think that the nursing home staff will mistreat his or her loved one; however, it is a possibility.

One way that nursing home staff members harm residents is through reckless neglect. Reckless neglect means that the staff members make a choice to ignore the needs of the residents. Reckless neglect can lead to severe health issues.

Who evaluates nursing homes?

When you need to find a good nursing home for your loved one, you will appreciate the effort that the California Department of Public Health puts forth so individuals like you will have a reference guide. It is no myth that many nursing homes are consistently in the news for lawsuits regarding neglect and abuse of their residents. But those lawsuits will help improve the state's facilities in the future, and they provoke more stringent guidelines and reviews by the government to ensure homes are safe.

So who and how are nursing homes evaluated? The Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health is responsible for evaluating and rating nursing homes. They do this in a number of ways. One way is by conducting certification surveys for nursing home facilities' eligibility and participation in Med-Cal, which is California's Medicaid and Medicare program. They perform licensing reviews to ensure that facilities are being compliant with state laws. In addition, the L&C Issues citations for state and federal deficiencies, imposes sanctions and penalties as required by law, and investigates all consumer complaints.

Physical abuse of the elderly can be life threatening

Any type of abuse of a nursing home resident is deplorable. Physical abuse is especially horrendous because of the frail condition of many elderly residents. Whether you are the loved one of a nursing home resident or a nursing home resident, it is critical that you take steps to stop the abuse right away before the abuse turns life threatening.

Some of the signs of physical abuse that might occur include repeated injuries, severe injuries and unexplained injuries. Cuts, bruises, burns and similar injuries are signs that abuse might be occurring in the nursing home. More severe injuries, such as brain injuries, broken bones and detached retinas, are signs that immediate action is necessary.

Nursing home running incognito as a boarding house?

A Castro Valley former nursing home, which closed down in November 2014 after amassing 22 health and safety violations considered to be direct threats to residents, is now running as a boarding house. The home, which is just a normal ranch-style house, is inhabited by residents from 40 to 85 years of age. The previous operator of the nursing home -- Accent Garden Care Home -- claims she leased the house to her nephew.

The nephew claims that he rents rooms to tenants and provides them one warm meal a day. Apparently, he and his son live in a portion of the house that is set apart from the rented rooms. Their portion has access to the kitchen, which is locked and inaccessible to the other tenants.

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Kevin P. Kane, Esq.

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