Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

cristian-newman-63291-199x300Katherine Jackson, 86, the mother of famous siblings Michael and Janet Jackson, came forward earlier this year claiming that her nephew, Trent Lamar Jackson, had been financially and emotionally abusing her for years. According to documents filed in court for a restraining order, Mrs. Jackson stated that Trent made himself the custodian over her care and was employed as her driver. She heavily relied on him, yet Trent would refuse to take her home, would not drive her unless she met his demands, isolated her from other family members to exert undue influence on her, and did all of this to control her finances and live in her guest house for free. Trent’s psychological abuse confused Mrs. Jackson and caused her angst, fear, and depression. The documents also claim that Trent accessed Mrs. Jackson’s bank accounts and used her credit cards for his own purchases without her permission.

Mrs. Jackson was granted a temporary restraining order against her nephew, who is not allowed within 100 yards of her or within the gated community where she lives. Trent is required to move out of Mrs. Jackson’s home and return all keys, passwords, and combinations to the property. A hearing for a permanent restraining order is set for March 1.

Accusations of elder abuse like this are taken seriously by California courts. Physical, emotional, and financial abuse of individuals over the age of 65 can lead to civil lawsuits and criminal charges.

zi8-e3qj_rm-cristian-newman-300x199In early February, a man from Newport Coast, California was charged with financial elder abuse, 19 counts of fraud, first-degree residential burglary to commit larceny, and theft from an elder after emptying the bank account of a 95-year-old woman who has dementia and resides in a nursing home. The man was working as an assistant to the trustee of the elderly woman’s bank accounts when he is said to have stolen the woman’s checkbooks. He then allegedly forged her checks between March 2015 and September 2016. The trustee discovered the issue in October when a check was returned for insufficient funds and contacted the authorities. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigated and arrested the man after it was determined that he stole more than $500,000 from the elderly woman. The man allegedly used the money to pay for his personal expenses, including credit cards and European vacations.

Financial Elder Abuse is a Growing Problem

While this story is shocking, it is unfortunately not uncommon. The elderly are often taken advantage of financially, sometimes by small amounts and other times in such significant ways that it leaves them in considerable debt or bankrupt. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, 1 in 20 older adults reports some type of financial mistreatment in the recent past. However, this figure is likely far too low for the amount of financial abuse that actually goes on. Studies have shown that it is possible that only 1 in 44 cases of financial abuse is actually reported. This means millions of elderly across the country may be victims of theft and fraud and either unaware, unable to come forward, or too ashamed to speak up.

b3ims-0adiw-frantzou-fleurine-300x140Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation are growing concerns across the U.S., and unfortunately, not all states are working to reduce the occurrence of these issues. In December 2016, WalletHub released a study of each state’s and the District of Columbia’s elder abuse protections and ranked state’s and D.C.’s efforts. Overall, California ranked 49 out of 51, which means only two other states have made a poorer effort to protect its elderly citizens.

Since California’s laws and infrastructure do not provide an abundance of elder abuse protection, it is up to you to keep a close eye on your loved ones living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. If you believe your family member or friend is being abused by someone or neglected, contact an experienced San Francisco elder abuse attorney at Brod Law Firm as soon as possible.

How the States and D.C. Were Ranked

Practical_electro-therapeutics_and_X-ray_therapy_-_with_chapters_on_phototherapy_X-ray_in_eye_surgery_X-ray_in_dentistry_and_medico-legal_aspect_of_the_X-ray_1912_14754827864-175x300Elder abuse is unfortunately common around the country. The National Council on Aging estimates that one in 10 Americans older than 60 experiences a type of elder abuse, such as physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse. Despite these high figures, which amount to millions of elderly individuals every year, only one in 14 cases are reported to authorities. This disparity may come not only from willful oversight but also from lack of detection. If individuals do not understand the signs of elder abuse, it can be hard to realize it is happening to a friend or loved one. However, a recent study found that radiologists may be well-equipped to spot elder abuse, increasing the cases reported to authorities.

Radiologists Could Potentially Identify Elder Abuse

According to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, radiologists could play an important role in detecting elder abuse if they were to receive the proper training. Normally, physical elder abuse is not recognized quickly or at all. The signs and physical indications of elder abuse can be subtle, particularly because older individuals can have a myriad of health issues. However, radiologists are “uniquely positioned” to identify elder abuse when it is happening.

b3ims-0adiw-frantzou-fleurine-300x140There may come a time when you need to admit a loved one into a nursing home. Despite your care and commitment to your spouse, parent, or other family member, you may not have the skill, experience, or time necessary to truly take care of them. When a nursing home becomes a necessity, you want to make sure that you choose the best facility possible. By doing your homework and taking the time to shop around, you may be able to avoid having your loved one become a victim of elder abuse. Unfortunately, elder neglect and abuse is common across the state. It can greatly reduce your family member’s quality of life, lead to additional serious medical conditions, and directly cause their death. To find a quality facility in California, follow these steps:

Check the Facility’s State License

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Licensing and Certification program is responsible for ensuring that nursing home facilities in the state comply with all state laws. You can look up licensed facilities online. The CDPH provides information on the facilities ownership, certifications, performance, complaints, and any state action taken against it. If a facility does not appear on the site, it may not be licensed by the state and should be avoided.

gbvrye4prlk-kate-300x200According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 million individuals in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 8.1 million go undiagnosed. A small percentage of these individuals have Type 1 diabetes, while the more significant portion of Americans have Type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity and other lifestyle factors. Considering the proportion of Americans with diabetes, it is no surprise that many elderly individuals in nursing homes need their diabetes properly maintained to avoid injury. Undiagnosed or improperly treated diabetes can lead to devastating consequences, including death. If you believe nursing home staff over- or under-treated your parent’s diabetes causing an injury, contact a San Francisco nursing home neglect attorney at Brod Law Firm today. Your parent’s situation may be protected by California’s elder abuse and personal injury laws.

Avoiding Hypoglycemia

For elderly individuals, particularly those with diabetes, it is crucial to avoid hypoglycemia, which is when a person has detrimentally low blood sugar. A normal blood sugar level ranges from 70 to 110 milligrams per deciliter. A diabetic patient’s goal depends on a number of factors and should be set and monitored by a physician. Hypoglycemia can occur when patients are administered too much insulin or another drug that lowers blood glucose levels.

800px-Hospital_Bed_2011When we leave our loved ones in a nursing home we expect that they will be properly cared for. Sadly, that is not always the case. Sometimes nursing homes fall short of providing the care that is expected. Nursing home residents often suffer injuries due to neglectful care. One common medical problem that happens to elderly people in nursing homes is the appearance of pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, are often a sign of nursing home neglect.

What Causes Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers are red sores that are caused by something that rubs against the skin on a continuous basis. They most commonly occur in the elderly and those who are bedridden. The sores form on areas of the body that are in contact with the bedding, such as the heels, tailbones, and elbows. The sores are painful, and if allowed to worsen, can be difficult to treat.

500px-ViejitaA Canadian nursing home nurse was recently arrested and charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. The nurse is accused of poisoning eight residents between the years of 2007 and 2014. As terrible as these allegations are, this is only one example (albeit, a potentially tragic and incomprehensible example) of the abuse and neglect that thousands of nursing home residents face each day. Sadly, many instances of nursing home abuse or neglect go unreported and/or uninvestigated because:

  • The abuse victim feels ashamed or embarrassed about the abuse or neglect;
  • Family members or friends to whom the abuse is reported do not believe the victim;

According to a report from KGTV 10 News, San Diego, California, the Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is taking a toughened stance against instances of “social media abuse” in nursing homes. The CMS issued a nationwide memo to state health departments calling upon nursing homes and the state departments that oversee their operations to begin creating and following policies limiting the ability of nursing home workers to abuse residents through social media. The new directives come after numerous cases across the country – including one alleged, recently-reported instance in Vista – of nursing home workers taking advantage of residents under their care using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Used to Abuse Nursing Home Residents

Numerous incidents paint a picture of the “typical” instance of nursing home abuse: An elderly resident residing in a nursing home is vulnerable because he or she is suffering from some physical and/or (oftentimes) mental condition. Nursing home workers take photographs or videos of these residents in various stages of undress or in other embarrassing circumstances and then upload these photos and videos to social media platforms. This (of course) is designed to expose the nursing home resident to embarrassment and humiliation (although, because of the mental conditions many of these residents have, the residents themselves are often unaware of what the nursing home worker is doing). Family and friends of the mistreated resident are oftentimes made aware of the humiliating photo or video when they come upon it online by chance.

“Patient dumping” used to refer to the practice of a hospital or other care facility kicking a patient out of their facility if that patient’s resources dried up. At that point, the healthcare facility was not likely to obtain any further compensation for their efforts at treating the patient, and these facilities needed to make room for new patients who needed treatment – and who could pay for it.

Within the past few weeks, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have asked healthcare providers about a new healthcare fraud scheme that also goes by the name “patient dumping.” In this particular scheme, health care providers like doctors’ offices and urgent care centers entice patients who would otherwise qualify for Medicare or Medicaid to sign up for private health insurance policies. In some alleged instances, the third party enticing the patient may even agree to pay for the patient’s insurance premium in order to secure the patient’s participation in the scheme. In this way, patients are “dumped” into private health insurance plans that they would not otherwise be able to afford.

What Benefit Do the Third Party “Enticers” Receive?