There were over 3.2 million Americans living in nursing homes in 2008. California houses 7% of these residents in over 1,200 certified facilities. Many of these facilities are owned and operated by multi-million dollar companies managing thousands of nursing home beds. If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the individual staff member or facility responsible for the negligent care. However, dealing with the healthcare system in Pasadena can be very complicated, particularly if it is a federally funded institution. For this reason, it may be important to speak to a Pasadena nursing home abuse lawyer for guidance on how best to approach this sensitive matter. Read on to learn more about how a dedicated injury attorney could potentially make a difference in your case today.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Elder abuse is particularly devastating because those who suffer from it are loved ones who are unable to take care of themselves. The following statistics provide insight into just how widespread the problem is in the United States:
- In a study of 2,000 interviews of nursing home residents, 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected
- Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards that had potential to cause harm or that had caused actual harm to a resident during the two years 1999-2001.
- Over 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating (e.g. physical violence, mental abuse, neglect) older patients within the prior year in one study. Two-thirds of those incidents involved neglect.
- Roughly 7 % of all complaints regarding institutional facilities reported too long-term care ombudsmen were complaints of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
Know that a compassionate Pasadena nursing home abuse lawyer can offer their assistance to those who have experienced neglect through aggressive representation in court.
Nursing Home Resident Rights
California law requires all healthcare facilities to be licensed, regulated, inspected, and/or certified. Healthcare facilities and nursing homes that participate in federally managed or sponsored programs like Medicare and Medi-Cal programs must meet additional standards. Employees of these organizations are generally required to be certified by the California Department of Public Health Licensing and Certification Program. Certification programs cover nurse assistants, home health aides, hemodialysis technicians, and the licensing of nursing home administrators. All of these requirements create standards of care.
Despite these protective laws governing how nursing homes operate, nursing home neglect and abuse occur frequently. When it does, families are devastated. A skilled Pasadena nursing home abuse lawyer will understand these emotions and help families through these difficult times. Abuse and neglect occur because someone or some institution failed to follow the required standards of care.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, each of which can be dangerous and damaging in its own unique way. No matter what type of abuse an elder is suffering, it is unacceptable. Elders and their families have a right to expect that when someone is placed in a nursing home, they will be properly cared for.
Physical and Sexual
Physical abuse involves biting, scratching, pushing, hitting or intentionally causing an elder to fall. It can also include threatening a resident with a weapon or improperly restraining a resident by use of materials such as arm clamps to keep a patient in a bed or a chair for an extended period of time. Sexual abuse involves any type of sexual interaction that is performed against an elder’s will. Many times, even if the elder gave consent, staff members can be held liable for sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse occurs when an elder is threatened or has been subjected to controlling behavior. Emotional abuse can include humiliating, embarrassing, or belittling the elder, whether it is done privately or in front of other residents. Isolating the resident, limiting access to the telephone or visitation, and damaging the elder’s personal property can also be considered emotional abuse.
Financial abuse refers to a staff member improperly using the elderly’s financial resources for personal gain. This can include stealing checks, manipulating the elder into providing the access number for their bank card, and forgery.
Some Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
When you visit your loved one in a nursing home, it is always wise to remain vigilant by looking for signs of abuse and neglect. Some of these signs which should result in contact with a Pasadena nursing home neglect lawyer include:
- Unexplained signs of injury such as welts, bruises, or scars
- Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
- Medication anomalies (evidence that medication is not being taken regularly)
- Report of drug overdose
- Broken frames or eyeglasses
- Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
- Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
- Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
- Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
- Being left dirty or unbathed
- Observed condescending, threatening, belittling, or controlling caregiver
- Bruises around breasts or genitals
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
- Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes
If you suspect your family member is a victim of abuse, our Pasadena nursing home neglect attorneys want to help. We offer a free consultation to help you assess your situation.
Wrongful Death Claims in California
California lawmakers have enacted laws that create special penalties for nursing home facilities that create conditions that lead to the death of a resident. These laws allow families of patients who die as a result of negligent care in a nursing home to sue for damages for the pain and suffering experienced by the victim before death. These damages are in addition to the limits of a wrongful death claim.
How a Pasadena Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, speak to a compassionate Pasadena nursing home abuse lawyer today who can help you with your case. While filing a lawsuit will not be able to save a loved one from the pain and suffering they have already endured, compensation may help with the cost of their recovery, and legal action may prevent others from suffering such neglect or abuse in the future. Reach out to a dedicated Pasadena nursing home abuse lawyer today for your initial consultation.