March has been Brain Injury Awareness month, however, just because the month is coming to a close doesn’t take away from the importance of taking care of your brain – it’s the only one you have.
The brain cannot regenerate itself. When someone suffers a severe brain injury, the initial impact can be deadly. However, according to the Brain Injury Institute, if they survive, progressive degeneration of the brain can continue during the hours, days, weeks and months that follow.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports these as the most common causes of brain injury:
- 35 % from falls
- 20 % from car accidents or truck accidents
- 19% from impact with a moving object
- 11% from attacks
- Other causes include sports injuries and shaking – “shaken baby syndrome”
Once your brain is injured, your life will never be the same. Your “thinking organ” can affect the way you act, feel, perceive and respond to others, including your family. It is important to understand, that although a personmay “look fine” on the outside, the brain injury may cause changes which affect their behavior. People who have suffered a TBI may display irritability, depression, apathy, anxiety, agitation, frustration; display a confrontational attitude and/or outbursts of anger; feelings of guilt and feelings of helplessness. They may become impatient, fearful or thoughtless, and have difficulty doing their usual routine or tasks. It can be most frustrating to families and friends because a person with TBI may have little to no awareness of just how different he or she is acting.
Several posts were written this month to assist you in learning more about brain injury and the important of using protection when possible, such as bicycle helmets.
Any traumatic brain injury is potentially catastrophic. Take care of your brain everyday.
One year after a brutal beating in the Dodger Stadium parking lot left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in a coma, the former paramedic who suffered severe brain injuries now uses a wheelchair. He can respond to questions with a few simple, halting words and has short-term memory loss. He needs nearly around-the-clock care.
Dr. Mayumi Prins, an associate professor in residence at the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center studies how metabolism is affected after a brain injury. She said glucose sometimes has a tough time getting to the brain. She compared a normal brain to a Los Angeles freeway. ”There are divergent pathways but one main pathway that allows glucose to go through,” she said. “With a traumatic brain injury, there are detours and SIG-alerts.”
Tyler Sutton, 38, crashed his motorcycle in December 1992, then fell into a coma. ”I used to be No. 1 on the Oxnard High School golf team. I had three or four girlfriends,” the Camarillo man said. “Now I can’t tie a tie. I have to have Velcro on my shoes.” Formerly right-handed, he’s now left-handed. He has to keep his right foot from dragging. “Sometimes, people don’t understand.”
TBI affects all ages, all ethnic communities, and all professions, but is particularly prevalent in young children and older people where it is now the leading cause of death and disability. Among older people, falls are the primary cause of TBI, and among younger people, car crashes and sports injuries are significant contributors.
People are becoming more aware of brain trauma, but it’s important to continually educate yourself.
Read more on Traumatic Brain FAQ’s .
Our elderly deserve better care.
This morning’s LA Times reported:
“The California Department of Public Health has issued fines against three nursing homes in Los Angeles County after concluding that poor care led to deaths at each of the facilities.
The three nursing homes got the most serious citations possible under state law, according to the department.
Fountain View Subacute and Nursing Center in Los Angeles in connection with the 2010 death of a patient, who suffered a fatal brain injury after falling out of his bed.
The health department issued an fine against the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills. In 2010, a 90-year-old Alzheimer’s patient who was in a wheelchair died a week after falling down a stairwell.
And Downey Care Center in Downey was fined for failing to monitor a patient’s blood glucose level after she was released from a hospital in 2010. The woman died from a diabetic coma.”
Read the story on the LATimes website
According to American Psychological Association countless older adults are victims of physical, psychological, or other forms of abuse and neglect. In general, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.
By learning to recognize signs of abuse and reporting suspected cases, you can make a difference in the lives of elderly and dependent Californians. Visit the Elder Abuse page at Bill Daniels Law for helpful information.
Three Senators introduced the Elder Protection and Abuse Prevention Act, a bill to implement a comprehensive network of elder abuse prevention and response measures.
“A spreading epidemic of seniors who are abused or exploited by family or caregivers must be stopped,” said Blumenthal. “Rigorous screening and reporting to detect and deter abuse, physical or financial, is necessary to help remedy seniors who may be too fearful or embarrassed to report it themselves. This measure would require tough national standards for screening and reporting so wrongdoers can be stopped and prosecuted. There is no excuse for one in ten seniors continuing to suffer the physical injury, emotional anguish and anxiety, and financial hardship, costing upwards of $3 billion every year.”
“Our nation’s seniors deserve the peace of mind of knowing that they are protected from physical and emotional abuse and financial exploitation,” said Whitehouse. “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill, which would strengthen and improve State programs to better prevent and address elder abuse.”
Read more about this bill on the Senate website.
People with certain disorders might be more vulnerable to violence, says American Academy of Neurology, as reported in US News.
Neurologists should screen their patients for abuse by family members, caregivers or other people, the American Academy of Neurology says in a new position statement.
Certain neurologic disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or stroke, may raise the risk for abuse and neglect, the academy said.
More than 90 percent of all injuries caused by intimate partner violence occur to the head, face or neck and can result in traumatic brain injury, according to the statement.
Read the full article on US News
They’re weak, physically or mentally disabled or both, and often at the mercy of people they depend on the most: relatives and caretakers.
They’re the nation’s fast-growing elderly population, and many are prime targets for abuse — physical, financial, sexual or emotional.
Concern among the elderly and their advocates is mounting as the number of seniors soars and more of them live longer.
Read the rest of this article in USA Today.
By learning to recognize signs of abuse and reporting suspected cases, you can make a difference in the lives of elderly and dependent Californians. Get your copy of A Citizens Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse
Evidence of widespread prevalence of elder identity theft represents a new wrinkle in society’s battle against this digital age crime.
Security firm ID Analytics looked at billions of credit applications and other related data recently to find people using the same Social Security number and last name, but different first names, with an eye toward determining the prevalence of child ID theft. More than 2 million elderly adults are sharing an SSN with their adult children.
Read more on : msnbc.msn.com
In California, failure to follow state or federal regulations in providing elder care can trigger a negligence per se jury instruction. Meaning, at trial, the burden shifts to the nursing home to show why it wasn’t negligent. Norman v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc. (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 1233.
This is a powerful concept in elder abuse. Normally, the injured party has the burden of showing that the defendant was negligent for causing their harm.
What Norman doesn’t do is relieve the injured party from having to show that negligence caused injury and what the injuries were, what lawyers call “causation” and “damages.” Still, if you have an elder abuse case you are handling, or a senior in a nursing home where you suspect the care might be substandard, the regulations can help you focus your thoughts.
The Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse relies upon many different laws in its criminal and civil prosecutions involving both Medi-Cal fraud and elder abuse.
Click here to visit the State of California DOJ, Office of the Attorney General for links to download the Statutes.
• The United States Census Bureau projected in 2000 that California’s elderly population will have doubled by 2025 to 6.4 million – a larger growth rate than any other state.
• The California State Department of Finance claims that the number of California residents age 85 and older – those who are most likely to need nursing homes — will nearly double by the year 2030, when the bulk of baby boomers will come of age.
• In 2005, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development reported that one-fifth of California’s nursing facilities did not meet state-mandated requirements for staffing levels.
• In 2006, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that twice as many of California’s 115,000 plus residents are placed in physical restraints as are nationally.
• From 2001 to 2005, the California Department of Health Care Services, found that two-thirds of all reported deficiencies caused or could have caused significant harm to one of more residents in nursing homes. More than half of all complaints in nursing homes are related to poor quality of care. Eighteen percent of substantiated complaints were related to mistreatment or abuse.
By learning to recognize signs of abuse and reporting suspected cases, you can make a difference in the lives of elderly and dependent Californians. Click here for the Citizen’s Guide to Preventing & Reporting Elder Abuse