Standing Up For Injured And Abused Elders
It is troubling to find out that a loved one has been subjected to negligence and abuse in a nursing home. We trust these institutions to care for and protect our loved ones, not to expose them to harm.
Remember, you have legal remedies at your disposal. By filing a claim against the nursing home, you can not only help your loved one, but also hold the negligent parties accountable and protect others from suffering in the future.
I am Brian Burchett, a passionate advocate for mistreated and abused elders in San Diego and throughout Southern California. As an experienced personal injury attorney, I can help you find the answers you are looking for and provide you with the strong representation you need to prevail in this legal matter.
Nursing Home Injuries
Nursing home negligence is often the result of understaffing and inadequate training. With fewer qualified staff members on hand, it is impossible to provide adequate care.
Negligence can result in:
- Bedsores (pressure sores, decubitus ulcers)
- Undiagnosed diseases and medical conditions
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Medication errors
- Restraint injuries
In some cases, injuries are not caused by negligence, but rather willful abuse. Nursing home abuse can come in many forms, including physical, emotional and financial abuse.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
Below, I’ve provided answers to some of the questions I hear most often from clients and prospective clients.
What rights do nursing home residents have?
Residents of nursing homes and similar care facilities have the same legal protections as the rest of us when it comes to acts of physical abuse or financial exploitation. But they also have protections afforded by specific state and federal laws, including (but not limited to) the national Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 and the Older Californians Act of 1996.
In short, these laws recognize that seniors and other adults in assisted-care facilities are dependent upon others and therefore require additional protections to ensure that they are not abused or neglected and that their finances/property are not mishandled or stolen.
What are some common causes or risk factors for abuse or neglect?
As mentioned above, abuse and neglect in nursing homes is often a staffing issue – the staff is too small to meet the needs of patients, the staff is poorly trained, or both. It can also be an issue with specific employees, such as those who should have never been hired because of previous convictions for violent or financial crimes. Ultimately, nursing homes are liable for actions committed by their employees, which should provide incentive for being more careful about their hiring and firing decisions.
What are common signs and symptoms of nursing home neglect/abuse?
Spotting neglect and abuse can sometimes be difficult because a significant number of nursing home residents suffer from health issues that impact their memories and their abilities to communicate. That being said, there are still signs that could be evidence of neglect or abuse, including:
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Frequent injuries like bruises, cuts, broken bones and pressure ulcers (bed sores)
- Sudden changes in behavior and temperament that cannot be explained by a medical condition
- New and unexplained medical symptoms (which could indicate they are being given the wrong medication or the wrong dosages)
If something doesn’t seem right, you can and should seek answers and explanations. Even if your suspicions turn out to be unfounded, you are doing the right thing by advocating for your loved one.
What should I do if I suspect my loved one is being abused or neglected?
That will depend on the immediacy of the problem. If your loved one has suffered a serious injury or dangerous medical condition, your first responsibility is to seek emergency care for them. You can share your suspicions with the medical professionals and may have the option of filing a police report at that time.
In some circumstances, you can file a complaint about the nursing home with the California Department of Public Health. It is also a good idea to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.
Stopping Elder Abuse In San Diego
With more than 30 years of experience as a personal injury lawyer, I know how to hold nursing homes and other assisted living care centers accountable for the harm they have inflicted on elders.