Nursing homes exist to provide care for our loved ones when they are too ill or too old to care for themselves. It’s never an easy decision to admit an elderly or vulnerable family member to such a facility, and families do so with the hope that their loved one will be safe and well cared for. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and elder abuse is more common than one would think, according to statistics from the National Center on Elder Abuse.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, you should have a lawyer on your side who specializes in nursing home abuse. A Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm might be able to help. Call us today at (800) 201-3999 for a no-obligation review of your case.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
According to the National Institute on Aging, abuse in nursing homes can take many different forms, including:
- Emotional abuse. This can include intimidation, humiliation, mocking, and other unkind treatment toward your elderly loved one by nursing home staff. Your loved one might start to show anger, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or other unusual behaviors.
- Physical abuse. These signs are often the easiest to spot—especially when there are unexplained bruises, cuts, or broken bones.
- Sexual abuse. Signs that your loved one has been sexually abused include sexually transmitted disease, bleeding around the genitals, bloody underclothing, and bruises, or other injuries around the breast or genital areas.
- Financial exploitation. Signs include missing checks or new credit card accounts opened in your loved one’s name, as well as lost personal property, unauthorized withdrawals of funds, money transfers, and identity theft.
- Neglect. If your loved one is sleeping on soiled bed linens or is living in unsanitary conditions, this could be a sign that nursing home staff are being negligent. Bedsores and unexpected weight loss are also red flags.
For a free legal consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer serving Los Angeles, call 800-201-3999
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, WIC § 15630, holds California nursing homes to a high standard of care. It states that a nursing home that is caring for your loved one but whose negligence contributes to causing harm can be held legally responsible for injuries. This can include nursing home staff and nursing home administrators.
If you complain to the nursing home administrators but are unsatisfied with their actions—or lack thereof—you can file a complaint of suspected nursing home abuse with the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health.
This agency is responsible for ensuring that nursing homes meet state requirements. You can also contact the ombudsman in your county, which is a government-appointed official who might be able to help resolve your concerns.
You can also obtain legal representation by contacting a Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we can review the details of your case with a free evaluation. Call us to learn more about your family and your loved one’s rights.
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Proving a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Nursing home abuse cases can be difficult to prove because the victim may be unable to speak for themselves if they are mentally or physically incapacitated. It is up to the family of elder abuse victims to bring offenders to justice, but they will have to provide evidence to substantiate their claim.
Sometimes injuries happen in nursing homes because there is not enough staff to provide proper care for patients. Understaffing can lead to neglect when employees feel overworked. Working at a nursing home is difficult work, and staff members are often undertrained. There can also be a high turnover among staff. But it is still up to the facility to conduct the appropriate criminal and background checks on applicants to try to keep from hiring people who will be prone to abuse patients.
Nursing home abuse cases are also highly emotional for both victim and family members, which is another reason to consider hiring a lawyer when dealing with this situation.
Other steps you can take if you suspect nursing home abuse include the following:
- Talk to your loved one, if possible, and try to get details on the way staff at the nursing home treats them on a daily basis. Try to find out if there is one particular staff member who is abusive.
- Get copies of your loved one’s medical records.
- Talk to caregivers about any injuries or other signs of abuse or neglect. Find out what they have to say about it. Get names and contact information from any staff who might have witnessed the abuse.
- If there are physical injuries, be sure to take pictures. If your loved one is living in an unsanitary environment, document this with pictures as well.
- Arrange for your loved one to be screened by a physician to document injuries.
- Consider moving your loved one to a different facility while you make a case against the current nursing home.
- Contact the appropriate authorities, including the police and district attorney.
- File a complaint with the state.
After you complete these steps, you can call the office of a Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer to review your case. They can discuss potential legal options to help your loved one and prevent further abuse.
Getting the Help of a Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
According to the World Health Organization, the number of people aged 60 years and older will more than double by the year 2050 when compared to the senior population in 2015. This is just one of the reasons why it is so crucial to resolve issues with elder care now before many more people experience nursing home abuse.
When a loved one is in a nursing home, they may not be able to speak up or do anything about the physical abuse they are experiencing. It is up to family members to put an end to the abuse. If your loved one is injured because of nursing home abuse, you and your loved one may be eligible for compensation for those injuries. Contact a Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, at (800) 201-3999. A member of our team will conduct a free, no-obligation review of your case. Call today.