Local voices praise new health laws

January 03, 2013

IN THE NEWS: The Orange County Register reviewed 2013′s new health laws and interviewed UC Irvine gerontologist Kerry Burnight about AB40, which requires nursing homes to reported suspected cases of elder abuse to local law enforcement agencies.

AB40 resolves a longstanding conflict between state and federal laws related to elder-abuse reports, according to the office of Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, the Northern California Democrat who authored the bill. The law took effect Jan. 1.

Burnight said it’s unknown how often elder abuse occurs within nursing homes. In Orange County, 28,000 older adults live in long-term care facilities. In private residences, 800 elder abuse complaints are made each month, she said.

“Dementia is the greatest risk factor of elder abuse,” Burnight said. “It’s really important to listen to older adults; even with dementia, if they express fear or concern, to dig into it more.”

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