Santa Clara, California

Welcome to the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi’s elder abuse and neglect website for the city of Santa Clara. Our team of experts and attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of the elderly, particularly those who have been victims of abuse and neglect in a long-term care facility.

Santa Clara is located in the County of Santa Clara and was given its name after the Spanish mission that was built in 1777. Santa Clara is the 9th most populated city in the San Francisco Bay Area with a population of 116, 468, according to the 2010 United States Census. There are 2 assisted living facilities and 2 nursing home facilities in Santa Clara.

In order to provide proper quality of care to older adult residents in nursing home facilities, communication is key.  Unfortunately, very little social interaction occurs between nursing home residents and staff even though they are frequently in each other’s company.  In fact, interaction occurs for only 10.7% of the time nursing aides spend in the nursing home and communication is generally neutral and task-oriented rather than positive and personal.  With studies that prove that effective communication contributes to a higher quality of life, a decrease in depression rates, and lower frequencies of verbal and physical aggression by nursing home residents, it is unfortunate that long-term care staff do not take advantage of this opportunity.

Nursing home staff commonly use an over-accommodating tone when communicating with nursing home residents, which includes high pitch, exaggerated intonation, simplified grammar, and slow speech.  Stereotypes regarding the competencies of residents with dementia further exaggerate this communication style.  Residents are often talked to rather than talked with because they are not perceived as interaction partners.  Although well intentioned, this practice of speech degrades self-confidence among nursing home residents and hastens long-term mental and physical decline due to little high-quality interactions.

Several recent studies have proven the benefits of intervention strategies to enhance communication between nursing home staff and residents with dementia.  A communication training program advised nursing home staff participants to adopt new, facilitating rather than directing, roles and utilized new communication skills that matched the level and individual needs of the older individual they were talking to.  Nursing home staff utilized short instructions, positive speech, and biographical statements because they are relatively easy to teach and do not require a lot of time.  This approach not only empowered the nursing home residents being talked to, optimizing their well-being and level of cognitive functioning, it also enhanced communication skills.  Additionally, the intervention resulted in an increase in the quantity and quality of communication.  Verbal interactions between nursing home staff and residents increased after training.  Communication style also became more positive, social, and personal.

Many nursing home residents who suffer from degenerative memory loss and problems with learning and communication often feel frustrated with their cognitive impairments and resort to agitated and problem behaviors.  Staff should be trained to understand the causes of these behaviors and learn strategies for adequately responding to them by using more appropriate combination techniques.  This will result in better quantity and quality of communication between residents and staff, as well as improved well-being among nursing home residents.

If you or someone you care about has been abused or neglected in a nursing home or assisted living facility, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.