Can You Sue A Nursing Home for Neglect in California?
Observed Annually Every June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Exposes the Problems Many Seniors Face in Nursing Homes and Private Residences
As individuals in a society with strong civil rights, we must consider and implement more restrictive measures to prevent the number of nursing home elder abuse and neglect cases in California from continuing to grow. To commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Adamson Ahdoot would like to answer some questions about these deplorable acts. Not only that, but we also want to raise awareness about the recurring problems that plague certain senior care facilities. And, of course, we intend to help all those victims who have been subjected to certain abuses at care centers to obtain justice.
There are many questions that we face when we search for a nursing care facility for our loved one: What is life like in a nursing home? Can relatives visit them often? Are they safe places for older people? How to report nursing home abuse? In this blog, you will find all the answers related to elderly mistreatment, how to prevent elder abuse in nursing homes, and the legal options available.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)
In order to increase public awareness of elder abuse, the World Health Organization established a special day in 2006. The goal of this event, which takes place on June 15 every year, is to spread consciousness about the issues that many individuals over 60 confront. It is also a chance to provide proposals on how to decrease the number of elder abuse victims.
In its 16th anniversary year, more and more organizations and companies, such as Adamson Ahdoot, are raising their voices to warn about the escalation of elder abuse. However, despite efforts to reduce the rate of victims, many nursing home workers continue to engage in misconduct. A recent study finds the number of seniors will have doubled by 2030 compared to the population recorded in 2017 in California. If we don’t put effort into changing harmful behaviors in nursing homes, what’s in store for our grandparents and parents? How will we fare in the future?
Elder Abuse: When Does It Happen and Why?
Anyone over the age of 60 is considered part of the elderly population and can therefore attend a nursing home. However, any disabled individual is also eligible at any time.
What is a nursing home? Currently, there are an estimated 26,500 facilities for the elderly in the United States, with more than 1.5 million residents. According to the National Institute on Aging, these facilities provide a wide range of health and personal care services to adults. Also called skilled nursing facilities, data show that the number of seniors attending these centers is increasing each year.
What is elder abuse? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines elder abuse as “any deliberate, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” Sadly, each year, many senior citizens are experiencing mistreatment in nursing homes and private residences.
How many types of abuse occur in nursing homes? There are seven possible cases of elder mistreatment, the most common being psychological and physical abuse and financial exploitation. Neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment or isolation, or abduction are other types of abuse.
What causes elder abuse? The reasons for elder abuse may vary, but they all have a common denominator. The perpetrators take advantage of the vulnerability of older people to profit from their abuse. Some of the reasons include lack of staff and inadequate training, low wages, personal problems of the caregiver, or greed.
Nursing Home Elder Abuse and Neglect Rates in California
Currently, available data show a disturbing trend in the number of vulnerable seniors experiencing some form of abuse. Even though the actual information is not complete, either because public agencies do not follow up adequately or because victims do not report it, elder abuse is a very serious problem in the United States. Especially when it comes to nursing home neglect in California.
- One in six people over the age of 60 experience some form of abuse.
- 15.7% of the adult population is exposed to maltreatment.
- 96% of all cases go unreported.
- One in 24 cases of abuse and neglect is reported to the police.
- Of the 52 million older adults, the United States has five million annual victims.
- Elderly women are more likely to be abused.
- California has the most senior care facilities in the country, with more than 93,000 locations. More specifically, they have 7,400 homes for older adults with 185,000 residents.
- Some 33.4% of nursing home residents have experienced mental abuse.
- The percentage of people over the age of 65 is 14% in California.
- The Golden State has more than twice as many reports (13%) of elder abuse as the national average (5%).
- 11% of all elder abuse cases in the United States occur in California. More than 175,000 complaints are filed each year.
- 28% of individuals living in nursing homes have admitted to experiencing some type of neglect. 26% said they had been victims of financial exploitation.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
For those who are victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, California has extensive resources and options to report it. If you are the victim or a family member of an older adult, it is important to know the basic procedures for bringing the abuser to justice. However, in serious cases, it is recommended that you call 911. Law enforcement can respond quickly to any potential harm that may endanger the victim’s safety.
As for government agencies that look out for the safety of the elderly, California’s Adult Protective Services (APS) is the best option for reporting abuse. Each county has an APS that investigates the case. Likewise, each senior care facility has an ombudsman who is the abuse coordinator in a nursing home. Finally, another valuable option may be the Department of Health Care Services.
Another agency that may be able to intervene in cases of abusers infringing on the vulnerability of seniors is the California Department of Social Services.
How to Prevent Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
Understanding what is considered negligence in a nursing home and knowing how to read the early signs is the key to protecting the elderly. To avoid having to take action when neglect is occurring, it is advisable to follow certain preventive tips.
Investigate if the Nursing Home or Assisted Living facility has Felony Charges
Before transferring to a senior center, it is advisable to thoroughly investigate both the facility and its staff. If the nursing home has previous cases of mistreatment of the elderly or has experienced situations in which the well-being of the patients was not good, it may be an indicator of possible danger. On the other hand, if any of the workers have previous complaints, such as psychological or physical abuse, it is also a bad sign.
Keep Family as Close as Possible
Receiving regular visits from family members and being in constant contact by phone or e-mail can be decisive. Interacting with the family may keep the potential abuser from noticing your vulnerability.
Don’t Exclude Yourself Socially
Social exclusion can be a determining factor, either voluntarily or by the aggressor’s action. Staying integrated into society is crucial to remain active and not be an easy target. Experts recommend meeting friends, participating in community events, or communicating regularly with other residents.
Know the Signs of Elder Abuse
How to prevent elder abuse in nursing homes? To avoid maltreatment, it is necessary to know the clear warning signs that often lead to abuse. Many times, these risk factors can be mistaken for aging. That is why it is important to pay attention to all kinds of unusual signs related to nursing home neglect in California: poor hygiene, behavioral changes, easily startled, signs of missing or overdosed medications, lack of sleep, apathy, etc.
Know Who to Report Abuse to in a Nursing Home
As noted above, there are several options for investigating nursing home neglect in California. The APS and the ombudsman are the most common avenues for effectively addressing these cases.
Find a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
In addition to contacting government entities to file abuse reports, it is also a priority to contact a lawyer who specializes in this field. The aggressiveness and violence of some workers’ abuse can put pressure on the elderly, attacking their vulnerability, and getting the victim to sign papers to acquire their house, car, or other property.
Some Adamson Ahdoot victims have confirmed to us that they feared for their property. It is normal not to know how to avoid the nursing home taking your house. However, if you talk to an experienced nursing home neglect attorney, you can make sure that the abuser is held accountable for their actions. Your legal representative will take care of all the proof and evidence so that you get the compensation you deserve.
Choose Adamson Ahdoot as Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
The rate of nursing home neglect in California is disproportionately high in comparison to other states. If you or a family member has been a victim of abuse in a senior living facility, we can help. Mistreatment in care centers has been on the rise over the years, so it is important to know how to protect yourself in the event it occurs.
With more than 100 years of combined legal experience, our team can help you protect your civil rights and bring the perpetrator to justice. We will ensure that you receive the sensitive and empathetic treatment you deserve, and we guarantee that you will receive a satisfactory settlement.
Contact one of our paralegal team members for more information about your case. Call (800) 310-1606 today for a free, no-obligation initial appointment. Let us give you a hand, we can help.
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