The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult one. While many of us would rather care for our elderly family members ourselves, many factors can combine to make it impossible to do so.
Your aging loved one may need medical attention you’re unable to provide or equipment your home doesn’t have. Additionally, providing continuous care for another person is exhausting. Even if you don’t have a job or other obligations, you may simply not have the skills, physical strength or training necessary to care for an elderly adult.
For most families, that leaves only one option: choosing an assisted living facility.
When you must put your parent or other loved one in a nursing home, you’re placing a great deal of trust in the facility and its staff. Unfortunately, some California facilities are not deserving of that trust.
In many cases, victims may be afraid of retaliation for reporting the abuse. In many cases, it’s up to the resident’s family or friends to notice that something isn’t right. Unfortunately, by that time, the victim may have suffered severe injury or even death.
Nursing home abuse can be intentional or negligent. In either case, the result is harm to the patient. It can be difficult to spot the abuse before your loved one comes to some sort of harm.
If you find signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed with guilt, grief and anger.
If your elderly loved one has been neglected or abused, he or she may need medical care, and will almost certainly need a new nursing facility. Your expenses can add up quickly, and the stress of trying to find a new nursing home on short notice is burdensome.
Whether one or more staff members were neglectful or intentionally abusive, the facility itself should be held accountable for allowing the abuse or neglect. Nursing homes are required to have proper training and procedures in place to ensure their residents receive adequate care. Some signs of negligent care include:
• Poor hygiene
• Weight loss
• Dental problems or gum disease
• Unexplained injuries, even seemingly minor ones
• Personality changes, particularly depression or increased withdrawal
• Signs of discomfort or fear when staff members or a particular staff member are present
• Unusual financial decisions, especially large unexplained withdrawals of money
When an elderly nursing home resident is abused in some way, is the nursing care facility legally liable? They may be. A care facility may be liable for legal damages if they:
• Lack adequate training programs for staff
• Fail to properly supervise staff members
• Deny residents their basic rights
• Allow abuse of their residents
In some cases, a single staff member perpetrates the abuse. This may be the case when the individual caregiver:
• Utilizes unnecessary physical restraints
• Neglects residents’ medical or personal hygiene needs
• Intentionally abuses residents
• Denies residents’ rights
Unfortunately, elder abuse in nursing homes is not a rare occurrence. Fortunately for victims, the Federal Nursing Home Care Reform Act, enacted in 1987, created a set of minimum standards regarding the care—and rights—of people living in nursing care facilities. These nationwide standards can help abuse victims and their families to hold the organization accountable when they discover an unacceptable level of care.
In order to have a strong legal claim for damages, you’ll need to demonstrate what abuse occurred, what harm it caused your loved one, and why there is reason to believe the nursing home was negligent in its duty of care.
The law limits the time you have to file a claim, so it’s wise to get legal help as soon as possible after you discover the abuse.
We help victims of elder abuse and their families.
If you’re facing the heartbreak of knowing your loved one was abused in a long-term care facility, let us help you explore your legal options.
Whether a staff member intentionally harmed your loved one or the facility allowed their standard of care to fall below a reasonable level, you and your family could be entitled to compensation. In many cases, compensation is available for the damage caused by the substandard care your family member received.
Long-term care institutions can (and should) be held legally responsible for harm their negligence has caused.
Let our experienced nursing home neglect lawyers investigate your case and advocate for your loved one.
Call us at 916-303-2800 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. We’ll be your loved one’s voice in the California court system.