The California Department of Public Health has fined three Los Angeles County nursing homes a total of $235,000 over the alleged poor quality of care the facilities provided to residents. The Downey Care Center, Fountain View Subacute and Nursing Center, and the Motion Picture and Television Hospital were issued Class “AA” citations, the most serious violations under California law, over patient deaths which occurred at each facility in 2010. According to Dr. Ron Chapman, Director of the California Department of Public Health, the fines were levied after an investigation revealed each patient death resulted from inadequate nursing home care.
The Downey Care Center must pay $80,000 for failing to properly monitor a resident’s blood sugar levels after she returned from the hospital. Because the center purportedly failed to provide appropriate care, the resident fell into a diabetic coma and died.
The Fountain View Subacute and Nursing Center located in the City of Los Angeles received a $75,000 fine for allegedly failing to properly supervise a patient with a record of falling. The nursing home resident died from a brain injury he incurred when he fell out of bed. Additionally, staff at the nursing home could not say how long the man laid helpless on the floor before his injury was discovered.
The Department of Public Health fined the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills $80,000. The fine stems from an incident during which an Alzheimer’s patient reportedly fell down a flight of stairs while strapped into her wheelchair. The nursing home resident died from her injuries one week after her fall. Unfortunately, the resident also fell down the same flight of stairs in the past.
In California, there are approximately 1,300 licensed resident care facilities. When a licensed nursing home fails to comply with applicable state and federal laws designed to ensure residents are properly cared for, the State of California has the ability to impose monetary penalties. The amount of a fine depends on the severity of the resident care facility’s violation. A nursing home may be fined anywhere between $100 and $100,000 depending on the violation.
Nursing home abuse occurs when the elderly or infirm are injured or die as a result of mistreatment or negligence in a facility tasked with their care. Although most elder abuse cases result from negligence, they may also be the result of physical abuse, sexual abuse, a failure to provide adequate medical care, withholding food, incorrectly or over-medicating, and emotional distress. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is frequently the result of improperly trained or unqualified staff.
Signs of elder abuse can be tough to detect. A nursing home resident may experience a loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, dehydration or depression. Residents may also exhibit bruises, broken bones, scratches, bed sores, unexplained accidents, and complain of missing personal items. In order to safeguard the rights of the elderly, it is important to take all complaints of nursing home abuse and neglect seriously. If you suspect a nursing home resident is being neglected or abused, contact a qualified California elder abuse attorney to discuss your concerns.