If you have placed your family member or loved one in the care of a nursing home, quality of care should not only be an expectation – it’s a requirement. Unfortunately, thousands of elderly patients suffer at the hands of nursing home violations, which tragically compromise their emotional wellbeing, physical health, and dignity.
Remaining informed about abuse is one of the best ways to detecting a problem. Physical abuse markings, such as bruises or hand marks, are often the easiest to detect. However, emotional abuse and neglect can be more difficult to recognize.
In the case of nursing home patients, neglect usually consists of failure to provide proper medical care for their needs, both physical and mental. It can also include financial abuse, abandonment, abduction, isolation, and other treatments resulting in physical pain or emotional suffering. Whether or not the abuser claims to know he or she is causing the problem, legal action can still be taken.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the elderly population will have doubled between the years of 2000 and 2025. Our state has a larger growth rate than any other, and the population is expected to be 6.4 million seniors in the next decade.
According to the California Department of Justice, the number of Californians who will exceed the age of 84 – that is, those most likely to require nursing home care – will almost double by the year 2030 as baby boomers continue to age.
The growth stats aren’t troubling on their own, but coupled with the staggering statistics about elder abuse in the past 10 years clearly pose a problem. Roughly one fifth of California nursing homes do not meet state-mandated staffing level requirements. Further, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, twice as many of the 115,000+ patients are placed in unnecessary physical restraints as are nationally.
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s wellbeing, there are a few warning signs to look out for. Watch for unconventional medical problems, such as overmedication, bed sores, or dehydration. If your loved one falls, is physically or chemically restrained, or is being verbally abused and berated in your presence, these are definite red flags.
Watch out for rapid weight loss, unexplained bruises, sudden irritability or mood swings, withdrawal, and the use of heavy medicines in place of supervision. If your loved one’s caretaker has trouble explaining his or her condition, that’s another red flag.
The first thing you should do is believe your elderly loved one if he or she is making allegations of abuse. Stay calm, and if you have reason to suspect a medical emergency, always call 911 before doing anything else. Remain collected when confronting the nursing home administration, though you may feel emotional about the harm your loved one has suffered.
If you notice any of the above signs, don’t hesitate – even if you’re not sure whether abuse is occurring, you should always contact a skilled, experienced attorney. At Estey & Bomberger, we have years of experience dealing with personal injury and neglect. We have obtained millions of dollars in settlements throughout San Bernardino and beyond, and will always encourage you to pursue assistance wherever necessary.
There is no penalty for seeking legal assistance if the allegation turns out to be false. A San Bernardino attorney can help you put together a case and can provide more information about nursing home abuse and neglect, in addition to helping you navigate resources like Adult Protective Services. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
We serve all of San Bernardino County, including Apple Valley, Barstow, Big Bear, Chino, Fontana, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Yucaipa, Victorville and all of the Inland Empire. Give us a call at (909)693-3631 to schedule an appointment.