Archive for the ‘Elder Abuse’ Category

Alameda County: Assisted living reform advocates hope new director will overhaul state’s licensing agency

November 20, 2013

The California agency criticized for its botched closure of a Castro Valley assisted living home is on the hunt for a new director — and it must choose from a pool of state workers unless Gov. Jerry Brown appoints an outside figure.

An internal hire is unlikely to satisfy senior advocates demanding a major shake-up at the Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division.

“They need an overhaul of that department,” said Patricia McGinnis, director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “Unless they have a complete change of attitude, unless they have a complete change of guard, I don’t see how things are going to be any different.”

The agency drew outrage last month for allowing more than a dozen frail residents to be left at Valley Springs Manor without proper care after the state had ordered the home closed. An internal review is now looking into what went wrong.

It was the previous head of the division, Jeffrey Hiratsuka, who initiated formal proceedings in May to revoke the license of the Castro Valley facility and ban its owners from ever running such a home again.

That was after complaints by residents and advocates against Valley Springs and a sister home in Oakland began mounting last year. The complaints led to unannounced state inspections that discovered numerous violations and forced the ouster of the homes’ longtime administrator, according to state records.

Hiratsuka, who could not be reached for comment, retired this summer after fours years directing the division and a total of 12 years working in its Sacramento headquarters. A staff newsletter commended the 61-year-old for guiding “the program through some of the worst economic and budget times ever experienced in the state.”

Full Article and Source:
Alameda County: Assisted living reform advocates hope new director will overhaul state’s licensing agency

See Also:
Castro Valley care home patients abandoned

Types of Elder Abuse

November 16, 2013

NASGA affiliate and advocate Danielle Jesserer addresses guardianship abuse as a form of elder abuse in the early segment of  this interview: 

Type of Elder Abuse YouTube

Linda Kincaid Reports: Consumer Voice conference discusses elder abuse in long-term care

November 12, 2013

The October 24-27, 2013 Consumer Voice conference in Washington, DC brought advocates and experts from across the county to discuss long-term care facilities. Prevention of elder abuse was a leading topic.

A panel discussed Engaging Family in Advocacy. This Examiner had the privilege of leading a discussion titled Toward a National Model for Advocacy.

The discussion emphasized the need for families of victims to collaborate with other families and with independent advocates. Case studies from California emphasized the frustrations of families attempting to advocate independently for an abused or neglected loved one. However, coalitions that focused multiple families and advocates toward a common goal were more effective.

Wildwood Canyon Villa in San Bernardino County was the first facility discussed. Citations from Department of Social Services (DSS) establish that Wildwood Canyon Villa unlawfully confined and isolated a resident for fifteen months. Police reports establish that Executive Director Lynnette Alvarado refused to allow family to visit. Alvarado stated that corporate instructions were to have visitors arrested for trespassing.

Court records show that family eventually obtained a restraining order against the unlawful and abusive isolation at Wildwood. That effort required sixteen court hearings over fifteen months. It cost family $70K to require Wildwood to follow the law and allow their loved one to have visitors.

Full Article and Source:
Consumer Voice conference discusses elder abuse in long-term care

Nursing home abuse and neglect on the rise in Texas

November 10, 2013

A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovered cases of nursing home neglect on the rise across Texas. The investigation also discovered that facilities repeatedly cited for violations rarely see their contracts terminated with the state, despite getting millions in taxpayer dollars.

One of those abused included 97-year-old Minnie Graham. Her granddaughter Shirley Ballard considered her a saint.
“She would do anything for anybody. She would give you the shirt off her back,” Ballard said.
When Graham’s dementia took its toll a few years ago, her family put her in a Dallas-area nursing home.
After noticing bruises on her hands and face, they put a clock in her room equipped with a hidden camera.
A few days later, they reviewed the video in horror. They saw two nursing home aids slapping her on separate occasions. Video also showed a male aid shoving her head in the bed and then later flips Graham the middle finger.
Ballard said it was difficult to watch.
“It was hurtful that they would do that to her, because they don’t know her like I know her,” Ballard said.
Both aids were fired and charged with elderly abuse. Graham died about a month after the video was recorded.
According to the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), deficiencies involving Texas nursing homes jumped from 14,215 in 2011 to 15,113 in 2012. The most severe violations, which put patients in immediate danger, increased by 35 percent.
“This is crisis mode right now for Texas,” said Brian Lee, executive director for Families for Better Care.
Earlier this year, the nonprofit released what it says is the first comprehensive state-by-state review of nursing home care.
It calculated its grades using data from Medicaid. The analysis involved staffing numbers, inspections, deficiencies and complaints.
Texas failed.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing home abuse and neglect on the rise in Texas

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder abuse at Senior Paradise: NASGA president speaks out

November 7, 2013

Margarita Zelada has been confined and isolated for months at Senior Paradise. The Monterey County, California assisted living facility has management practices more akin to a prison than a paradise.

Margarita is allowed almost no visitation with her family. Phone calls are often restricted.

Elder advocates attempting to make contact with Margarita found multiple locks on the front door. Administrator Margaret Eldred Camara told advocates she would call the police if they did not leave. Camara said her instructions to unlawfully confine and isolate Margarita were issued by Deputy Public Guardian Jennifer Empasis.

The National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse (NASGA) is a human rights organization that opposes abusive guardianships. NASGA president Elaine Reniore sent the following open letter to Deputy Public Guardian Empasis.

Full Article and Source:
Elder abuse at Senior Paradise: NASGA president speaks out

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder abuse at Senior Paradise: Isolation & possible chemical restaint

November 7, 2013

Margarita Zelada’s family tells of frightening elder abuse at Senior Paradise. The small assisted living facility is located in idyllic Del Rey Oaks, quiet town on the California coast in Monterey County. A charming facade hides licensing violations and criminal abuse.

Margarita is rarely allowed visitors or phone calls. When family is able to establish contact, they find Margarita has suffered a dramatic decline in mental and physical function.

On August 2, 2013, Margarita’s niece, retired Air Force Colonel Bonnie Lind, had traveled from her home in Texas to visit Margarita on Saturday and Sunday. Senior Paradise allowed Bonnie and Margarita just one hour together on Saturday.

Then Senior Paradise Administrator Margaret Eldred Camara sent Bonnie the following email denying the visit planned for Sunday.

Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2013 18:13:08 -0700
Subject: postponed Sunday visit 

Hi Bonnie,

I think we are going to need to postponed the visit on Sunday to another day.
Margarita had a very upsetting day and it is best to postpone the visit.
If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer on her cell 831-594-6550
Thank you so very much for understanding

Senior Paradise did not respond to Bonnie’s requests for another visit.

Full Article and Source:
Elder abuse at Senior Paradise: Isolation & possible chemical restaint

Linda Kincaid Reports – Elder abuse at Senior Paradise: Unlawful confinement and isolation

November 7, 2013

Senior Paradise or senior prison? The residential care facility advertises,

“Del Rey Oaks Senior Paradise is a new kind of living experience!”

For Margarita Zelada, that living experience does not include her family or friends. She is locked inside and not allowed visitors.

Family says phone calls are often restricted. Visitors for Margarita are denied entry into the facility. Staff threaten to call police when advocates request to to check on Margarita.

Around noon on October 20, 2013, elder advocates Dr. Robert Fettgather and Linda Kincaid attempted to visit Margarita Zelada at Del Rey Oaks Senior Paradise. Fettgather and Kincaid arrived with flowers, strawberries, and chocolate.

  • Senior Paradise had doors locked (with three locks) in violation of 22 CCR 87468(a)(6).
  • Margarita was not allowed to leave the building, which is a violation of 22 CCR 87468(a)(6).
  • Administrators Margaret Eldred Camara and Judith Pardo-Soto stated that Margarita is not allowed any visitors without approval from Deputy Public Guardian Jennifer Empasis, which is a violation of 22 CCR 87468(a)(11). Empasis instructed the administrators to call police if anyone asked to visit Margarita.
  • Margarita’s relatives state that phone calls to Margarita are often blocked, which is a violation of 22 CCR 87468(a)(14).

Advocates were not allowed to conduct a welfare check or determine whether Margarita receives adequate care. Flagrant violation of personal rights leads advocates to wonder what sort of conditions are hidden behind locked doors.

Full Article and Source:
Elder abuse at Senior Paradise: Unlawful confinement and isolation

Linda Kincaid Reports: NCPEA forum discussed social isolation as psychological elder abuse

November 7, 2013

On October 1, 2013, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) held its first Forum on Polyvictimization in Later Life. The event in St. Paul, Minnesota was attended by elder abuse experts from around the country. This Examiner had the honor of being invited to participate.

The team solicited research and practice examples from a range of experts. The Oct 1 Forum deepened the team’s understanding of the research findings.

A common theme throughout the discussions was that elder abuse rarely occurs as single incident or as a single form of abuse. As with child abuse and domestic violence, abuse patterns repeat. Multiple forms of abuse occur together.

Social isolation is often an indicator of more broad ranging elder abuse. Perpetrators with designs on an older person’s assets will often isolate the victim from family and friends.

Social isolation is itself a form of elder abuse. Preventing an elder from having visitors or phone calls, telling callers that the elder is not available is a common tactic to separate the elder from loved ones. Social isolation is recognized as a form of psychological abuse.

In California, isolating an elder is a crime under Penal Code 368. On August 19, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 937, clarifying that conservatees retain the right to visitation, phone calls, and personal mail.

Investigators attending the forum were encouraged to “look beyond the surface.” They will often find that psychological abuse is accompanied by financial abuse and perhaps physical abuse or sexual abuse. By “digging deeper” investigators can find the forms of abuse that are not as readily seen.

Full Article and Source:
NCPEA forum discussed social isolation as psychological elder abuse

Castro Valley care home patients abandoned

October 29, 2013

Fourteen sick and elderly patients were abandoned at a Castro Valley assisted living facility when the staff apparently walked out Thursday after the state ordered the home closed, Alameda County sheriff’s deputies said.

Paramedics called to Valley Manor Residential Care at 17926 Apricot Way on Saturday afternoon found a notice on the door from the state Department of Social Services ordering the site to be closed as of Oct. 24.

Inside, they found the patients, many of them bedridden, attended by only a handful of staff members.

“Thursday came around, and the majority of the staff left and the majority of the patients remained,” said sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson.

The staff members who stayed, including a cook, a janitor and what is believed to be a single caretaker, “stayed because they felt bad for the patients,” Nelson said. “They weren’t getting paid or anything.”

The patients all were taken by ambulance to other centers in the county, and none seemed to be suffering additional health problems from their abandonment.

The transport wasn’t easy, Nelson added.

“We had people who were bedridden, in wheelchairs, amputees and people with mental problems. It ran the gamut,” he said.

Deputies are still trying to determine how many people were at the center when it closed to ensure that none of the patients had wandered off on their own, Nelson said.

As of Saturday night, sheriff’s investigators had not been in touch with the center’s owners or the state officials responsible for the closure.

“Right now we have a lot more questions than answers,” Nelson said. “There’s a question of what happens when the state closes a home, whether they send anyone in afterward to see what happened.”

The incident is being treated as a criminal case, and the investigation is continuing.

“All we know is that 14 people were left here today that shouldn’t have been there by themselves,” Nelson said.

Full Article and Source:
Castro Valley care home patients abandoned

Sacramento caregiver to stand trial in death of 88-year-old

October 24, 2013

Both sides agree that Silvia Cata’s “Super Home Care” facility in Sacramento was “neat and clean,” and that 88-year-old Georgia Holzmeister seemed content to live there.

And that’s where the agreement pretty much ends.

On Tuesday – 16 months after the death of Holzmeister, who was hospitalized in June 2012 with gaping bedsores – Cata was ordered to stand trial in a unique criminal case being pursued by California’s attorney general.  Following a three-hour preliminary hearing, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ernest W. Sawtelle found sufficient evidence that Cata be tried on felony charges of elder abuse and involuntary manslaughter.

The manslaughter charge is believed to be a first for state prosecutors in an elder-abuse case, filed by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse. In addition to the felony counts, the case against Cata moves forward with two special allegations that the elderly victim suffered great bodily injury, and that neglect and abuse caused her death.

Full Article and Source:
Sacramento caregiver to stand trial in death of 88-year-old