La Puente Elder Abuse Lawyer
As the head of the family enters their golden years, many will rely on nursing homes or hospice care. While you may still remember when they were physically and mentally strong, you may have to face the sad reality that with age, they suddenly become dependent upon the care and compassion of others.
Many of our seniors will have to enter nursing homes and other care facilities. When this difficult decision has been made, we expect the caretakers to maintain a high level of dignity and care toward our elders. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and abuse is a tragic reality that some may have to face.
Nursing homes are required by law to provide a dignified level of care to their patients. Failure to meet the needs of the patients is abuse and should be reported to law enforcement and the associated government agencies immediately. Speaking to an attorney about the abuse is also highly recommended.
In an effort to cut costs or increase profits, many elder care facilities have been caught violating health and safety standards and hiring people without the proper training or education to reduce employee costs.
In fact, the California Attorney General’s office recently doubled the size of its elder abuse division after a study found that:
- Only one nursing home in LA County was in full compliance for health and safety standards.
- Only eighteen homes in the San Francisco area were in compliance.
- None of the nursing homes in the Santa Barbara area were in compliance with these regulations.
Four Categories Of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can be described as any type of abuse occurring against any person 65 years old or older. This unfortunate type of abuse is categorized into four main types of abuse.
Physical abuse includes any action that willfully inflicts bodily harm on the individual, including but is not limited to:
- Slapping, biting, hitting, kicking, or otherwise injuring the elderly person
- Physically restraining the individual
- Causing dehydration, malnutrition or starvation by withholding food or water
- Sexual abuse of any kind
- Not administering medications properly or withholding prescribed medications altogether
Signs of physical abuse can include:
- Welts, lacerations, burn marks, rope marks, bruises, black eyes
- Bone fractures or breaks, including skull fractures
- Open cuts, wounds, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of healing
- Sprains or dislocations
- Internal injuries/bleeding
- Broken glasses or frames, physical signs of being subjected to punishment and signs of being restrained
- Laboratory findings of medication overdose or under administering of prescribed drugs
- An elder’s report of being hit, slapped, kicked, or mistreated
- Sudden change in behavior in elderly person
- The caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see the elder alone
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area
- Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
- An elder’s report of being sexually assaulted or raped
Neglect can include many scenarios and is not limited to the following:
- Allowing bed sores to occur because of not turning individual
- Not keeping the individual clean
- Starvation, malnutrition or dehydration
- Creating conditions that are dangerous for the individual
Signs of neglect can include:
- Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores or poor personal hygiene
- Unattended or untreated health problems
- Hazardous or unsafe living condition/arrangements (no heat, improper wiring or no running water)
- Unsanitary/unclean living conditions (soiled bedding, fecal/urine smell, inadequate clothing, dirt, fleas, lice on person)
- An elder’s report of being mistreated
Emotional abuse can come in several forms, including:
- Intimidation of being hurt or mistreated
- Isolation from others out of neglect or as punishment
- Ridicule or verbal abuse
Signs of emotional abuse can include:
- Being agitated or emotionally upset
- Being extremely withdrawn, non communicative or non responsive
- Unusual behavior usually attributed to dementia (rocking, biting, sucking)
- An elder’s report of being verbally or emotionally mistreated
Financial abuse can include many different situations, but are most commonly associated with:
- Theft of money or personal property for personal gain
- Forgery or fraud, including identity theft, or the signing of legal documents
- Mismanagement of finances
Signs of financial abuse can include:
- Sudden changes in bank balance or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a caregiver
- The inclusion of additional names on an elder’s bank signature card
- Unauthorized withdrawal of funds using the elder’s ATM card
- Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents
- Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
- Bills unpaid or substandard care being provided despite the availability of adequate financial resources
- Evidence of an elder’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions
- Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder’s affairs and possessions
- Unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family
- The provision of services that are not necessary
- An elder’s report of financial exploitation
California nursing homes are required to provide the following to all of their residents:
- A standard of care for each resident that allows them to live in a safe environment that encourages them to have the highest quality of life possible within their specific limitations
- Services and activities that enhance quality of life and maintain a healthy psycho-social balance. Programs should be in place to adjust to the changing needs of each patient
- A written care plan should be done on each patient so that all of their specific needs are met. This written plan should be followed daily and reevaluated every couple of months to ensure health and happiness
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in La Puente, CA
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or is currently being abused, you must do the following:
- Ask your loved one what is going on. Any information that you receive from them should be documented with a time and date. Remember, many elderly people suffer intimidation at the hands of their abuser. If they deny abuse, yet you still see physical signs, you must act to protect their interests.
- Photograph any evidence that has led you to believe that abuse is taking place. This includes bruising, bed sores, and dry and cracked lips, which are a sign of dehydration.
- Contact law enforcement. You need to file a police report that abuse is taking place. Any type of abuse is illegal and a police report should be made to ensure that the authorities get involved.
- Follow through with your police report by contacting government agencies that are in charge of elder abuse cases. The police will most likely provide you with the information on whom to contact.
- Contact an attorney. Elder abuse is a very serious and tragic issue and your attorney can aggressively represent your loved one to ensure that the abuse is stopped, the criminals are held accountable, and compensation is issued.
At the La Puente Law Offices of Brent A. Duque, we maintain a staff of a highly professional, knowledgeable, aggressive and successful elder abuse attorneys who represent injured people through our offices that stretch across Southern California. Time limitations apply to any injury claim you might have, so for purposes of investigating a possible case and possibly preserving evidence, it’s best for you to contact us immediately after an injury or case of neglect.
Contact our Los Angeles County Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.