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Monterey Personal Injury Lawyer > Nursing Home Abuse

Do you have a family member in a Monterey or Santa Cruz nursing home? Understandably, you may be concerned with the care and treatment your loved ones receive in the facility. Doing thorough research before choosing a facility is crucial. However, even the best-rated nursing homes in California are not immune from reports of negligence and abuse.

If you suspect your loved one is suffering due to the actions of another party, you need to speak with the lawyers at Allen Law Firm as soon as possible. Contact us today.

Nursing home neglect and abuse is a severe problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s hard to determine the extent of elder abuse because it’s underreported. The number of nonfatal injuries is limited to elderly persons treated in emergency departments. That total doesn’t include anyone treated by other providers or someone who doesn’t seek treatment. Many people do not report abuse out of fear of retribution.

California’s Law On Nursing Home Abuse Or Neglect

California’s law provides protections for the elderly and dependent adults against abuse and neglect.

Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.07 defines “abuse of an elder or dependent adult.”  very broadly to mean:

“(1) Physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering;

(2) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering; or

(3) Financial abuse, as defined in Section 15610.30 .”

1An “Elder” is any person residing in California who is 65 or older. (Welfare and Institutions Code 15610.27)
2A “Dependent Adult” means (a) a person, regardless of whether the person lives independently, between the ages of 18 and 64 years who resides in this state and who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights, including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities, or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age, or (b) any person between the ages of 18 and 64 years who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility, as defined in Sections 1250 , 1250.2 , and 1250.3 of the Health and Safety Code .  (Welfare and Institutions Code 15610.23).

Section 15610.57(a) defines “neglect” to mean:

(1) The negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or a dependent adult to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.

(2) The negligent failure of an elder or dependent adult to exercise that degree of self-care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.

“Neglect” is further defined in section 15610.57(b) to include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter.

(2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs.  No person shall be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that he or she voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in lieu of medical treatment.

(3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.

(4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.

(5) Failure of an elder or dependent adult to satisfy the needs specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, for himself or herself as a result of poor cognitive functioning, mental limitation, substance abuse, or chronic poor health.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home residents could be victims of several different types of nursing home abuse. The most common types are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. Family members should take any nursing home negligence or abuse in Monterey or Santa Cruz seriously. If you suspect something is wrong, contact our Monterey and Santa Cruz nursing home abuse, attorneys.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can take many forms and often involves:

  • Punching,
  • Shoving,
  • Burning,
  • Pinching,
  • Hitting, or
  • Kicking.

The inappropriate use of restraints, force-feeding, and improper administration of drugs also count as physical abuse. Any force that results in impairment, physical pain, or injury can be considered physical abuse.

Emotional or Psychological Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse involves how someone talks and interacts with a resident. This abuse is the intentional infliction of pain, anguish, distress, or fear through verbal or nonverbal acts. It can include:

  • Insults,
  • Verbal assaults,
  • Intimidation,
  • Name-calling,
  • Isolation, and
  • Harassment.

Someone who yells or uses threats isolates a resident from their favorite activities, or ridicules them would be guilty of emotional abuse.

Sexual Abuse

While no one wants to think about their loved one being sexually abused in a nursing home facility, it happens. Sexual abuse doesn’t necessarily only mean rape. Any sexual contact with a nursing home resident without their consent is sexual abuse. Even forcing a resident to watch a pornographic movie or watching others perform sex acts is sexual abuse.

Financial Abuse

When someone accesses a nursing home resident’s financial accounts, assets, or property without authorization, it could be financial abuse. This type of abuse typically occurs with someone whom your family member trusts. Caregivers may forge a close relationship to gain access to the person’s accounts. Examples include:

  • Cashing a check,
  • Taking money out of the ATM,
  • Stealing money from their wallet, and
  • Forcing them to sign a financial document against their will.

Check your family member’s accounts and verify all estate documents are in order. Some scammers build such a strong bond with an older adult that the criminal can convince this person to change their will.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Family members must be vigilant when visiting a loved one in a nursing home facility. Looking out for potential signs can help identify nursing home neglect and abuse and prevent future problems. Some signs to watch out for:

  • Broken bones, sprains, bedsores, bruises, burns, dislocated joints, etc.;
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding;
  • STDs or genital infections;
  • Stained or torn underwear;
  • Poor explanation from the facility for the injuries;
  • Psychological changes such as sudden mood swings, looking frightened, isolation, and withdrawal from activities;
  • Depression;
  • Dehydration or malnourishment;
  • Poor hygiene;
  • Dirty room, wastebaskets not emptied, and food trays left behind; and
  • Skipped medications.

The more signs you notice, the greater chance your family member is a victim of abuse. Holding the facility responsible for nursing home negligence is essential. Reporting potential nursing home neglect or abuse is imperative as it can help other families and prevent future victims.

What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence

If you suspect nursing home negligence, it’s crucial to get help for your loved one. If you suspect your family member’s life or welfare is at risk, you should contact 911 immediately. You should also call our Monterey nursing home abuse attorneys as soon as possible.

Pursuing a claim for nursing home abuse is complex. It would be best if you did not try to sue a nursing home facility independently. You don’t have an unlimited amount of time to pursue a claim either. The statute of limitations for filing a claim may vary depending on the exact nature of the abuse or the identity of the facility where the abuse or neglect occurs.  It is best if you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible once you suspect that abuse has occurred.

Contact the Monterey Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Allen Law Firm

No one wants to imagine their loved one suffering nursing home neglect or abuse at the hands of the facility that is supposed to protect them. When you suspect there is a problem and you aren’t getting the answers you need from the nursing home, contact the Monterey nursing home abuse lawyers at Allen Law Firm.

We have over two decades of experience representing injured Monterey and Santa Cruz victims, including nursing home residents. You need a lawyer who is familiar with insurance companies and legal defense lawyers in this area. We are part of the local community and want all Monterey and Santa Cruz nursing homes to treat their patients with the respect they deserve.

Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you uncover the truth and keep your family member from suffering any further harm. We will work tirelessly to help you hold the facility liable for any nursing home negligence.

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