https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/09/20.08.25-002-300x145.jpgMany California employees are starting to return from furloughs and remote work which was used to comply with state regulations and mitigate risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes may elderly and pregnant workers who are at higher risk for severe complications if they become infected with Coronavirus. Employers are prohibited by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from keeping these at-risk employees from working if they want to; this may lead to discrimination claims.

Discrimination claims also arise from violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities or who have elevated risk for serious cases of COVID-19. It is important for employees as well as employers to know California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) mandates that any employer with five or more workers make reasonable accommodations if appropriate; however, many employers and employees alike fail to understand what that means.

EEOC Accommodation Guidance

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/09/20.08.25-300x197.jpgSitting in gridlocked or being stop-and-go on freeways for hours is never a Southern Californian’s idea of fun; people try to avoid it whenever possible. For motorcyclists, that often includes moving between vehicles and splitting lanes. However, the practice often results in accidents, leading to injuries and/or fatalities. In fact, more than 400 motorcyclists lost their lives on California streets in the span of just a year according to the Governors Highway Safety Program. Motorists who strike a lane-splitting rider often argue the motorcyclist’s behavior was negligent and they, in fact, caused the collision; however, it’s not always the motorcyclist’s fault. A skilled Southern California personal injury attorney can often make the case the rider was not the cause of the collision.

Lane-Splitting Defined

Lane-splitting involves a motorcyclist riding between vehicles in different rows of traffic using their same lane. No state besides California specifically allows it. Proponents argue lane-splitting benefits riders in many ways, such as:

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/08/20.08.21-002-300x200.jpgFamily members of an elderly loved one shoulder a lot of responsibilities if the need for nursing home care arises. First, they are tasked with the burden of selecting the right facility to care for a loved one. Then, because nursing homes can’t always be trusted to do the right thing, they also need to play the role of watchdog to ensure the resident gets the proper care they deserve. One of the best ways to do this is know what abuse and neglect look like, trust your instincts, and speak up immediately.

How to Monitor Nursing Homes and Care

There is no substitute for first-hand observation, but there are other ways to hold nursing homes accountable and prevent even abuse and neglect that present no visible symptoms.

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/08/20.08.21-300x200.jpgPlacing a beloved family member in a nursing home or long-term care facility is never easy; it requires a lot of trust to leave their care up to the staff and the facility you’ve chosen. You rightfully expect staff and the nursing home to have the highest standards and provide the best, most compassionate care possible – that includes protecting them from neglect or abuse and addressing any lapses in proper care quickly and thoroughly.

Unfortunately, this often does not happen; in 2017, law enforcement were not alerted in over a quarter of serious nursing home abuse cases despite state and federal laws that mandate police notification. In fact, a pattern of behavior to cover up these abuses has surfaced; this means it’s important to be on the lookout for ways nursing homes could be trying to cover their tracks.

Failure to Comply with Reporting Laws

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/07/shutterstock_616951802-20.07.21-300x200.jpgThe decision to entrust a loved one’s care to a nursing home or long-term care facility is never easy. Selecting the facility can be just as overwhelming as the initial decision itself. California has approximately 1,230 licensed long-term care nursing facilities that provide care for more than 400,000 patients each year – it’s no wonder selecting a single, high-quality facility can seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack. However, the federal government has provided a tool that can make it easier to avoid facilities that may create an unsafe environment for your loved one.

Nursing Home Compare Site

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) helps set standards across the nation for long-term care facilities and administer Medicaid and Medicaid payments. They host a website called Nursing Home Compare, which provides data that can help families research facilities and find out information to help them decide on the right place for themselves or their loved one. Currently, nursing homes receive an overall rating, which is determined by combining the results of three categories:

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/07/shutterstock_1422187700-20.07.14-300x200.jpgIn 2018, 52 million Americans aged 65 and older accounted for 16 percent of the country’s population. The size of this group, set to nearly double in the next 40 years, accounts for the high demand of nursing home and long-term care needs in the United States. As people make the difficult decisions about the care of elderly loved ones, it’s reasonable to expect any facility tasked with caring for a family member to exhibit the highest levels of professionalism, compassion, and respect for them at all times.

Unfortunately, far too often this is not the case. Understaffing, lack of proper training, and insufficient supervision of staff members, nurses, nursing assistants, and health aides all contribute to the abuse of these vulnerable patients. It can be difficult to spot emotional or psychological abuse of a patient – unlike physical abuse that results in bruises or broken bones, they often don’t present obvious signs that something is going wrong.

The difficulty is even greater with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in family members being allowed little or no in-person contact with nursing home residents to visit and observe them for signs of abuse. However, it’s still possible to understand common types of emotional abuse and look for signs it may be occurring, even if the victim won’t admit outright that they are being abused.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, nursing home residents are among the hardest hit demographic and make up a large portion of the fatalities nationwide. Though the virus is undoubtedly deadly, especially for elderly individuals and those with compromised immunity, the concentration of deaths in nursing homes is concerning. Adding to that concern is the fact nursing homes are currently permitted to self-inspect as a result of the pandemic. The lack of oversight presents numerous issues we’ll explore more.

Independent Inspections Suspended

At the outset of the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) decided to temporarily stop regular inspections at over 15,300 nursing home facilities nationwide to focus instead on the coronavirus threat. Instead, routine inspections were developed and implemented as a way to safeguard the residents. Unfortunately, when the government halted its own inspections, it authorized nursing home facilities to self-inspect.

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/06/20.05.25-300x300.jpgWhen COVID-19 began to spread, it was a largely unknown foe. Hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities were all struggling to find ways to stop the spread, protect patients and employees alike, and understand more about the virus. Now, lobbyists for California’s healthcare providers have asked Governor Newsom to use emergency powers and grant them civil and criminal immunity for their handling of the pandemic. This raises a number of interesting points and issues as it relates to transparency at California nursing homes and concerns of abuse or neglect during the pandemic.

Immunity Request

Not only are hospitals, doctors, nurses, and healthcare plans asking for immunity, California Assisted Living Association and LeadingAge California have joined in the request for an Executive Order to make facilities, plans, doctors, and healthcare employees immune from administrative sanction, criminal liability, or “civil liability or claim for any injury, death, or loss” stemming from care provided during the state of emergency. The protection from liability, however, will “not excuse willful misconduct.”

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Nursing homes have been a hotbed for the spread of coronavirus during the current pandemic, putting not only elderly residents but employees at these facilities in danger as well. In California, interim regulations have been put in place granting these employees the right to be protected at work if their job exposes them to Covid-19 or other airborne infectious diseases. Here is an overview of the current rights of protection for employees in California’s skilled nursing and long-term care facilities (Facilities).

Cal/OSHA Requirements

Currently, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (better known as Cal/OSHA) protects employees by setting and enforcing standards to keep workers safe on the job. Under the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard, requirements are set to protect employees from diseases, including Covid-19, transmitted by aerosols. The ATD standard applies to Facilities. At these Facilities, the requirements for employee protection vary depending on whether the employer does or does not transfer suspected and confirmed Covid-19 positive patients to hospitals for airborne infection isolation.

COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has put a stop to the regular structure of our lives. We no longer are able to move about freely and often find ourselves having not spoken to another person for hours at a time. This isolation that has been imposed upon us is what our elderly loved ones feel on a daily basis living in their homes as they age. One way we have all tried to combat this symptom of aging is to place our elderly loved ones into a nursing home. Often times this is out of necessity due to medical concerns, but it also allows for them to have human interaction on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, with COVID-19 spreading throughout our world, we have had to place great restrictions on nursing home visitations. Therefore, while so many of us would go visit our loved ones at their nursing homes on a daily or weekly basis to ensure their treatment and medical concerns were being met, we now are literally locked out of their care. In addition, the nursing homes are experiencing a shortage of workers due to illness and fatigue leaving us to wonder if our loved ones are being properly cared for. Understaffing is a growing problem in the United States and has been for a long time. With the new novel Coronavirus, the rate of understaffing is at an all-time high.

While we understand the need for the lockdown in the facilities to try to ensure the virus does not enter these facilities where many patients have compromised immune systems, the distance is hard for all involved. There are some things that you can still do to see your elderly loved one and ensure their proper care is continuing.

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