Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are obligated to provide care and support for elderly individuals. However, some owners and operators of nursing homes in California are negligent. Since elders rely heavily on their caretakers they can be easy abuse victims.
The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be difficult. If you discover nursing home abuse it can be devastating to you and your family. No nursing home resident should face abuse. Whether it is emotional or physical, mistreatment to the elderly is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, many cases of nursing home abuse go unreported. Statistics indicate that one in ten elders may experience some type of neglect or exploitation. It is essential that you contact an elder abuse lawyer if your loved one experiences elder abuse.
Lawyer for Nursing Home Neglect in Los Angeles, CA
Nursing home abuse is a sad reality in the California area. The elderly are one of society’s most common vulnerable targets for mistreatment and neglect. Elderly abuse can stem from spouses, family members, personal acquaintances, or professionals in positions of trust.
Yarian & Associates, APC has a team of practiced nursing home abuse attorneys. We have handled many nursing home abuse and other related cases. Our attorneys have secured millions of dollars in settlements for our personal injury clients. Yarian & Associates, APC accepts clients in the greater Los Angeles County and Tulare County area and adjoining cities such as Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Glendale, and Visalia.
The attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC want to help you protect your rights. Call (844) 291-1911 or submit an online contact form today.
Overview of Nursing Home Abuse in California
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Nursing home abuse is a prevalent risk across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report of nursing home abuse statistics including:
- From 1991 – 2001, almost one-third of all nursing home facilities were cited for violations of federal standards that could cause harm, or that did harm elderly residents of those facilities;
- Nearly 10% of those home had violations that posed a risk of serious injury or death, or that did cause deaths of elderly residents;
- More than 40% of nursing home residents have reported abuse, and more than 90% report that they or another resident of the facility have been neglected;
- Research from 2010 indicates that up to half of all nursing home attendants have admitted to abusing or neglecting elderly patients;
More than half of all Certified Nursing Assistants (CAN’s) in elder care facilities have admitted verbally abusing, yelling, or using foul language with elderly residents of care facilities
Physical Abuse of the Elderly
Physical elder abuse is the non-accidental use of physical force against an elderly individual. It may result in pain or impairment, or even death. Signs of physical abuse can be subtle or overt. Physical abuse can range from improper use of drugs to the unnecessary use of physical restraints.
Some common subtle abuse can be consistent grabbing, pinching, pushing or arm-twisting. More overt abuse can be punching and kicking. Sexual abuse can also occur in a nursing home. Either type can leave the victim with lasting damaging effects.
If an elderly resident has sores or bruising around their wrists and ankles, they may have been physically restrained. Negligent nursing homes sometimes use physical or chemical restraint for residents with severe dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Lastly, elder abuse can include malnutrition and dehydration. Nursing homes are required to have a dietician and chef that tailor to their resident’s needs. Often, however, nursing homes are understaffed without enough supplies for everyone.
A negligent nursing home may fail to monitor a resident’s daily eating and drinking. In some abusive elder abuse cases, food is withheld as a punishment. Regardless of the situation, this kind of abuse is unacceptable.
Signs that physical abuse may be happening include:
- Malnutrition, dehydration, and sudden weight loss
- Unexplained injuries and recurring injuries
- Medical staff refused to leave a patient alone with the family
- Physical signs of restraint such as bruises and abrasions
- Bed Sores
Nursing Home Falls
Falls account for nearly 30 percent of injury deaths among senior citizens. Even seemingly mild falls can result in permanent injury or death. A fall is nearly always the result of negligence or understaffing. An unattended fallen resident can face great emotional and physical damages.
When a resident moves into a nursing home, the facility is required to design a care plan that includes a fall risk assessment. A fall risk assessment is to see what assistance the resident may need to safely move around. A facility that does not plan ahead for a fall is being negligent.
Often, falls in nursing homes are caused by the facility’s carelessness. Structural factors can impact fall risks such as poor lighting, wet floors, poorly fitted wheelchairs or improper bed height. A nursing home that fails to maintain their premises is also being negligent.
Most falls can be prevented, with or without the use of restraints such as bed rails. Restraints are typically a last resort. Supervision and care by staff should be enough to prevent any future falls. Studies have shown that limiting a person’s mobility can contribute to fall-related injuries.
Walking and physical conditioning programs, lowered bed heights, raised toilet seats and avoiding clutter can all help prevent falls. Additionally, facilities should ensure there is adequate staff available to assist residents with getting around.
Bedsores in Long-Term Care Facilities
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are all too common in nursing homes. The vast majority of bedsores are the result of inattentive care that could have been prevented. Bedsores can be incredibly painful. They can cause disability and greatly increases the resident’s risk of complications like sepsis or gangrene.
Some very basic preventive measures have been proven to protect residents from this type of injury. Residents should be turned at regular intervals to keep them clean and dry. Any resident should be well hydrated and properly nourished. Lastly, a resident should be able to utilize the latest technological advances in cushions and mattresses.
Emotional Abuse of the Elderly
Most nursing home residents are unidentified victims of emotional elder abuse. Such abuse may include verbal abuse or passive behaviors such as ignoring or isolating the elderly resident. Any kind of emotional abuse can leave elderly residents in states of pain, distress, anxiety or fear.
Some elderly patients have cognitive disorders that create an increased dependency on caretakers. A high-quality staff must entail emotional and physical support. If a patient with a cognitive disorder is ignored, it can trigger coinciding physical symptoms.
Left unchecked, emotional abuse can create lasting mental and physical effects to the resident’s overall health. Signs of elder emotional abuse can include:
- Avoids eye contact
- Sudden mood swings
- Prevented from acting or making their own decisions
- Not allowed to join in social interactions
- May be prevented from seeing other people or calling other people
- Low self-esteem
- Doesn’t speak openly
- May display a desire to hurt their own self or another
- Often seems hopeless, disturbed, or scared
Financial Abuse of the Elderly
Financial exploitation is another common form of elder abuse. Abusers may use their position of authority to extort money. While it is often perpetrated by family members or others known to the victim, it also comes at the hands of professional caregivers.
Elderly care facility residents have reported financial abuse in the form of coercion to revise wills, trusts, or deeds to compensate caregivers. An elderly resident may be robbed of personal property or be forced to withdraw cash or take loans for proceeds made by caregivers.
The most common types of financial exploitation include:
- Embezzlement or theft
- Home repair and contractor scams
- Forgery of signature
- Deceiving or forcing the changing of deeds, wills, and power of attorney
- Internet and telemarketing scams
- Exploitation of investments
- Coerced transfer of property and assets
- Improper use of power of attorney
- Use of funds without knowledge or permission
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics – Visit the website for Nursing Home Abuse (NHA.org), whose mission is to gives information regarding nursing home abuse, lawsuits, neglect, and national laws. Read about nursing home abuse stories, and nursing home abuse facts in modern news.
Elderly Abuse Statistics and Data – Visit the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), a national resource center dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment. See research from the NCEA Research Advisory Group that details elderly population, prevalence, risk factors, and types of abuse. See how to report a nursing home to the state, what are some California nursing home violation, and a link to the elder abuse complaint form.
Elder Abuse – Visit the California Department of Justice for Elder Abuse and the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse (BMFEA) on statistics for elderly abuse. Read more on California’s preventive programs, state nursing home inspections, and how the bureau prosecutes elder abuse.
Talk to an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to nursing home abuse or neglect, contact an experienced elder abuse attorney to discuss your situation. The personal injury attorneys at Yarian & Associates, APC attend to each case with care and passion for defending victims.
Families and victims of nursing home neglect should not be burdened with legalities. Let Yarian & Associates, APC guide you through these complex issues. You and your family may be due to compensation. Our attorneys, with two collective decades of personal injury experience, practice throughout the California Central District Court and surrounding areas including Long Beach, Los Angeles, Visalia, Glendale, and Pasadena.
Our personal injury attorneys will not charge for their services unless and until they successfully settle or prosecute your case. Call (844) 291-1911 today to schedule a free consultation.
This article was last updated on June 20th, 2018.