As many of our loved one's age, it becomes difficult for them to live full, healthy lives on their own or while staying with family. Some diseases require levels of care that we are unable to provide while living at home. Because of this, helping relocate our parents and grandparents into nursing homes or other senior care centers is often the best thing we can do to ensure their continued health and well-being.
Although it is the right decision for many families to place loved ones in nursing homes, it is important that we remain diligent in monitoring their level of care. Nursing home abuse, unfortunately, is a rampant problem in many licensed and unlicensed facilities across California. It is important to recognize the signs of abuse and to know what to do in suspected cases of abuse.
If you suspect a loved one is subject to abuse, don't wait – utilize resources available to you, including speaking with professional and experienced nursing home abuse attorneys, to ensure that your loved ones are receiving the appropriate level of care from their residential facility.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Elder abuse in nursing homes can take several forms.
In its most insidious guise, nursing home abuse can include:
- deliberate physical abuse, such as staff members hitting residents, causing them to fall, or withholding food or water;
- deliberate mental abuse, like psychologically tormenting residents or telling lies in order to get a rise out of them;
- financial abuse or monetary exploitation, where workers at residential facilities blackmail or otherwise manipulate patients in their care in order to receive money or valuable personal items in their possession; and
- sexual abuse of residents.
However, for actions to amount to elder abuse or nursing home abuse, they do not need to be deliberate or malicious.
In fact, many nursing home cases simply stem from neglect. Nursing homes are often understaffed, with care providers who are unqualified, poorly trained, and overworked. This can lead to issues like bedsores, unsanitary conditions, and patients who are left alone for far too long. The law also considers elopement and wandering off to a restricted area, or even off the premises, to be abuse.
The intentions and reasons don't matter – if a resident in a nursing home is not receiving the proper level of care facility, they are being subject to abuse.
What To Do if you Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect a loved one is being abused in a nursing home, there are a number of steps you can take.
If you believe there is a serious, or life-threatening situation, call 911 immediately. Local law enforcement will be able to act quickly to ensure the health and security of everyone involved.
In other cases, try to talk to your loved one in one private to find out what is happening. While bruises are often a sign of physical abuse, it could also be the case that grandma tripped over her cat while she was alone in her room.
If you believe your concerns should be escalated, you can file a report with your local Department of Public Health Licensing and Certification Division or your local Department of Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman. These offices provide assistance in ensuring that an investigation is conducted into the nursing home.
Working with a private nursing home abuse attorney who is experienced with personal injury law, can help you pursue a claim so your loved one can receive proper compensation and, more importantly, the proper level of care.
When you Should Consider Hiring a Lawyer
When it comes to nursing home abuse, it's never too soon to speak with an experienced attorney. Because we offer free consultations on legal matters, there's no risk to you in getting the ball running. A far worst-case scenario would be to wait and let matters escalate.
Your nursing home abuse attorney can help you investigate what's actually going on. By looking at the full picture, we can make an educated assessment as to the best course of action moving forward and, importantly, put an end to any abusive practices that are going on.
In times of abuse, in addition to putting a stop to the behavior, we can help seek monetary compensation for your loved one, either through settlement negotiations or a lawsuit. While a settlement can't roll back the clock, it can go a long way to ensuring that, moving forward, your family will be protected.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys at The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman can act as guides through this difficult and stressful time, working with you each step of the way. If you suspect that a loved one in a nursing home is being abused, don't hesitate to contact us or call (707) 575-7141 today.
Our team is ready to confidentially review your case for free.