Articles Posted in Reporting Elder Abuse

shutterstock_1741881821-300x199For residents moving into nursing home facilities, there are a lot of things they must face when they move out of their own homes. Unfortunately, one of the things that they may encounter is abuse of various types, including physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and neglect. But one aspect of the abuse faced by seniors is that a lot of it remains unknown. Some studies indicate that as many as fourteen or fifteen cases of elderly abuse go unreported. Understanding why this happens isn’t simple, but there are possible factors that help to explain this phenomenon. Read on to learn about five reasons why nursing home abuse is frequently unreported.

  1. Failure to Recognize Signs: Nursing home abuse isn’t always obvious, even to the victims. Many of the relatives and loved ones of nursing home residents aren’t familiar with the signs of abuse and thus, don’t take note of them when they occur. Even the nursing home staff may not properly identify the signs of abuse either because they erroneously associate the symptoms with the residents’ age, medical conditions, or cognitive issues, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This impacts the residents’ own perceptions of what happened to them and makes it difficult to describe the situation or in some cases, adequately recall the experience if they are suffering from emotional conditions, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or are disabled. While different forms of nursing home abuse manifest in multiple ways, there are various red flags to look out for. Watch out for the following indicators of abuse:
  • Bedsores;

shutterstock_170786774-300x164Being a victim of nursing home abuse is devastating for both the actual victim and for their family members. That is why it can helpful to the injured party to get justice when bringing an elder abuse claim against the nursing home where the abuse took place. Holding a wrongdoer accountable for their bad act(s) goes a long way in helping to right a wrong. There is also the matter of being able to recover compensation. While a victim might be hesitant to go through the sometimes emotionally exhausting experience of filing a lawsuit, (in addition to the time and money involved) it may help to know what to expect if you are able to prevail. There are a lot of concerns as to whether it is worth it to pursue litigation.  Read on for important information concerning the recoverable damages available in an elder abuse claim in California.

Statutory Damages for Nursing Home Abuse

Elder abuse is illegal under California state law. If you’re a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the nursing home and you can prevail by showing that the nursing home violated any state or federal regulation, that is relevant to elder care or committed violations under the California Patients’ Bill of Rights, then you can pursue statutory damages.

shutterstock_382311643-200x300It’s never an easy decision to place your loved one into a nursing home. And it certainly isn’t easy for an individual to make the transition from living at home to living in a new setting. However, in the sea of new faces and different furniture and walls, a few well-placed keep sakes can help an unfamiliar setting feel more like home. So, you decide to make sure that you’ve packed Mom’s favorite jewelry and picture frames when she moves into her new nursing home. Then you’re dismayed when you discover that her items have disappeared. Your mom’s things were taken from her room. Unfortunately, theft in nursing homes is a common problem. Read on to learn about information about nursing home theft and guidance on how to deal with this issue.

Common Types of Property that Go Missing in Nursing Homes

Obviously, any object can be taken from the nursing home. However, there are certain items that are more likely to be reported missing. They include the following:

The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Act) was strengthened in 1991, when California legislature added Welfare & Institutions Code §15657 to the Act. This was done to specifically address the needs of California elders and the unique struggles they face, to include elder abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

Because elders may be seen as a disadvantaged class, California elder abuse attorneys who advocate for elders who have been abused, or the families of those who have passed away, are able to charge attorney’s fees and costs to the defendant (abuser). This helps those whose loved elders were mistreated by others who intentionally acted in a reckless, malicious, fraudulent, or oppressive manner to recover damages for the elder, or the family if the elder is deceased.

As such, those who can sue for Elder Abuse in Southern California will include both the family members of the abused elder (if the elder is deceased), or the elders themselves. If the suspected victim has died as the result of abuse or neglect while residing in a California nursing home, the family has the right to file a lawsuit on behalf of their deceased elder, and the court proceedings will ensue as if the elder were still living.

In many cases, where the elder has died, and the family believes the death was caused by misconduct, negligence, or abuse by the hands of another, two cases will evolve. One case will directly address the abuse, and proceed as if the elder were still alive. The second will be a wrongful death case filed on behalf of the survivors. The cases are very different. The injury/abuse case will take into account the injuries sustained by the elder, which will then be granted to the deceased elder’s estate. The wrongful death suit will serve to compensate the family and heirs of the elder who has passed away.

If you are unsure as to whether or not you have a case for an elder abuse lawsuit, contact Chris Walton today for a free consultation. Chris is an award winning elder abuse attorney who is based in San Diego, CA. Walton Law, APC focuses their entire practice on advocacy for elders who have been abused, or those who have suffered grave personal injury. Click here to schedule a consultation.
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If you have a loved one in a long-term care nursing home, you know how difficult it can be to visit more than once or twice per week.  You are the eyes and ears of your elderly family member, but who is looking out for them when you are not around?  The Long-Term Ombudsmen of Riverside County do just that.

What Is a Long-Term Care Ombudsman?

In 1978, amendments to the Older Americans Act mandated that each state create an Ombudsman Program.  The Older Californians Act further solidified the funding and presence of the program by supporting the development of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (OSLTCO).

Nearly 70% of elder abuse victims are women, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It is worth noting that the population of elder women is much larger than the population of elderly men in the United States, however, that does not make these alarming statistics any less disturbing.

Why are women the victims of elder abuse more often than men? There are a few reasons most experts tend to agree upon.

  1. Elderly females may be seen as easier targets for physical, financial, emotional, or even sexual abuse.

In California, the family of an elder who has passed away due to nursing home neglect or abuse has the right to file a lawsuit against the perpetrators seeking damages for the pain and suffering the elder was subjected to, and the wrongful death caused by the neglect.

To prove that an elder died in a California nursing home due to neglect, experienced California elder abuse attorneys will help you complete a thorough investigation to determine whether the evidence supports the necessary elements to prove the defendant failures caused the death. The following include some of the criteria that will be analyzed:

1.Supplying the necessaries of nutrition, hydration, hygiene or medical care for an elder or dependent adult;

By law, the staff members employed by California nursing homes are required to report health changes observed in the elders residing in their facilities. Unfortunately, all too often these changes are unreported. The change in condition of a resident may not be reported for a variety of reasons, including fear that the nursing home be may fined for understaffing, or neglecting California elders residing within the facility. In other cases, a resident who has experienced a rapid deterioration in condition, may indicate that isolation, neglect, or even abuse is occurring within a facility.

Failure to report changes in condition to an elder’s doctor and family members is a violation of the law.

Changes in an elder’s condition which must be reported may include, but is not limited to:

The Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services have released “The Elder Justice Roadmap” on their website: www.hhs.org:

Supported by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Elder Justice Roadmap was developed by harnessing the expertise of hundreds of public and private stakeholders from across the country and by gathering their input. The goal of these expert summits was to identify the most critical priorities and concrete opportunities for greater public and private investment and engagement in elder abuse issues. The Elder Justice Roadmap reflects the knowledge and perspectives of these experts in the field and will be considered by the Elder Justice Coordinating Council and others in developing their own strategic plans to prevent and combat elder abuse.

“The Roadmap Project is an important milestone for elder justice,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West. “Elder abuse is a problem that has gone on too long, but the Roadmap Report released today can change this trajectory by offering comprehensive and concrete action items for all of the stakeholders dedicated to combating the multi-faceted dimensions of elder abuse and financial exploitation,” he explained. West continued, “While we have taken some important steps in the right direction, we must do more to prevent elder abuse from occurring in the first place and face it head on when it occurs.”

Understaffing nursing homes is incredibly dangerous to adults over 65 residing in long-term care facilities such as Southern California nursing homes. That’s precisely why specific laws and regulations are in place which mandate proper staffing at long-term care facilities.

Under California law, “The facility shall employ an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry out all of the functions of the facility” Health & Safety Code § 1599.1(a). Moreover, Health & Safety Code §1276.5-1276.65 mandates that nursing homes must provide a minimum of 3.2 nursing hours per patient per day.

Unfortunately, many facilities choose to ignore the California law. Even worse, the understaffing of nursing homes has been directly correlated to abuse and neglect of elders. Indeed, understaffing in California nursing homes leads to substandard care over and over again. Substandard care in nursing homes then leads to illness, injury, and too often, death.

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