Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
For many aging individuals, there comes a point where living independently is no longer a safe option. Some individuals suffer physically to the point that they cannot care for themselves and others suffer from a cognitive decline that makes it unsafe to live alone. In many cases, individuals suffer both physically and cognitively and need to be in the care of trained nursing staff to live healthy, safe lives. For 1.3 million Americans, nursing homes provide this care.Trusting the Care of Your Loved one to Someone Else
Grown children and other relatives of elderly individuals with declining faculties often have to face the difficult decision of moving their loved ones into nursing homes. Many people struggle with this choice because moving a loved one into a nursing home means trusting his or her care to strangers. Although nursing homes are meant to attend all of their residents’ needs in clean, secure environments, many fall short of this responsibility. In some nursing homes, residents’ needs are neglected, and in others, outright abuse occurs.Suffering Within a Nursing Home
When nursing home abuse occurs, the victim can suffer immensely. His or her physical and mental health, financial stability, and overall well being can suffer, putting him or her at risk of suffering a worsened condition and a lowered quality of life. If you think your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect in his or her nursing home, you can file a nursing home abuse claim to seek compensation for his or her damages. In fact, you should do this. Not only would taking a stand for your loved one rectify his or her suffering, but it will also likely cause the nursing home to make changes to how it operates, sparing current and future residents from harm. Be an advocate for your loved one who may not be able to advocate for him- or herself. As an experienced Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyer, I am here to work with you to seek justice on your loved one’s behalf.Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. The most common of these is neglect, which is the failure of an individual’s caregiver to attend to all of the individual’s needs. This can take the form of failing to give the individual nutritious food, enough water, the medication he or she needs, or even failing to provide him or her the mental and social stimulation necessary to live a healthy day-to-day life. Keeping an individual in a dirty, cluttered, or unsafe environment is also a form of neglect.
Physical abuse is the physical harm of an individual. Hitting, punching, kicking, and shoving a nursing home resident are all forms of physical abuse. Intentionally keeping an individual from receiving the medical care he or she needs is also a form of physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is the belittling of an individual to diminish his or her self worth, often done in an attempt to assert control over him or her. It is closely tied to psychological abuse, which is the systematic use of statements to make the individual doubt his or her own credibility. An example of psychological abuse is gaslighting, which is the contradiction of any statement the victim makes and the discrediting of his or her memories or reality. For example, a resident who tells her caregiver that she experienced physical abuse from another member of the staff might be told that she actually had not been abused and that her memory is false. An example of emotional abuse is repeatedly telling a victim that he or she is not lovable and that he or she does not deserve love.
Financial abuse is the use of a victim to gain a financial advantage. Examples of financial abuse that can occur in nursing homes include stealing from victims or scamming them into giving away their personal information or participating in predatory practices.
Sexual abuse is defined as any non-consensual sexual contact between two individuals. Touching a resident in a sexual way, asking him or her overtly sexual questions or making sexual statements, or exposing oneself to the victim in a sexually provocative way are all forms of sexual abuse.
Nursing home abuse can dramatically impact an individual’s quality of life. Physical abuse can leave a victim injured or cause existing medical conditions to worsen. Financial abuse can put an individual’s future access to the care he or she needs in jeopardy. All forms of abuse can cause an individual to suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
If you recognize any of the following changes in your loved one, discuss them with his or her caregiver. In some cases, they can be attributed to a change in medication or the progress of his or her medical condition. In others, they are due to mistreatment.Watch for these Warning Signs
- Sudden weight loss;
- A change in personality. Often, abused individuals become more withdrawn, irritable, or despondent;
- Bruises, cuts, and other physical injuries;
- A change in appetite;
- Worsened physical health; and
- Worsened hygiene.
Nursing home abuse and neglect often occur because staff members are overworked and cannot attend to all of their residents’ needs. Mistreatment can also occur when staff members are not sufficiently trained to care for their residents’ specific needs. This does not excuse abuse when it occurs, but it is something you should keep in mind when touring prospective facilities for your loved one and visiting him or her.What to Do if you Suspect your Loved One is Suffering from Nursing Home Abuse
Document everything. Take note of what you observe, when you see it, and any other relevant factors, such as whether you discussed your observation with a staff member or if multiple residents seemed to be affected by the condition you observed. Building a substantial body of evidence is critical to supporting your claim. This is one of the reasons why it is essential that you visit your loved one regularly – you cannot keep an eye out for his or her safety if you are not a regular presence in his or her life.
Talk to Your Loved One Frequently
Talk to your loved one frequently as well. Ask about the care he or she receives and if there is anything he or she is not happy with. Note this as well.
Voice Your Concerns to Staff
Speak with the staff members at the nursing home about the issues you observe. This, too, should be documented to support your claim. Speak with the individuals who provide hands-on care to your loved one as well as their supervisors.
Make an Appointment to see a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Bring your notes to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss filing a claim with the California Department of Public Health. This is the state agency that licenses all nursing home and hospital facilities and certifies that the individuals who staff them are qualified to perform their jobs. If your lawyer determines that abuse or neglect has occurred and you have grounds for a claim, this is the agency with which you will file your claim. You might also need to contact the California Licensing and Certification Division with your claim.
The following video provides eight tips for preventing elder abuse.Seeking Compensation for Damages Caused by Nursing Home Abuse
Your lawyer can determine the extent of the effect the abuse had on your loved one and the right legal action to take to seek compensation for his or her damages. Your loved one might need rehabilitative medical care to correct the physical harm suffered as well as psychological counseling to overcome the emotional trauma of psychological, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. If your loved one also lost money through financial exploitation, this may also be considered as part of your claim.Litigating a Case or Settling Out of Court
In many cases, these issues are settled outside of court, but you may need to bring your case to the courtroom to reach a resolution. This is why you should be sure to work with a lawyer who has experience with litigating nursing home abuse cases. Ask your lawyer whether he or she has this type of experience and discuss the possibility of having to bring your case to court. No case’s results are guaranteed, so be prepared to take any necessary action to resolve yours.Work with an Experienced Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
I care about your loved one’s well being as much as you do. Nursing home abuse and neglect are never acceptable, no matter why they occur. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from abuse in his or her nursing home or if you have seen the abuse or its effects first hand, you need to be an advocate for your loved one and start working with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible to start investigating the issue and developing a nursing home abuse claim.Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a California nursing home abuse lawyer. If you or your loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, please call me at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400 for free and friendly advice.
I’ve worked hard to seek compensation for California nursing home abuse victims since 1982. Let me stand by your side to get your loved one the compensation he or she deserves.
See our Past Verdicts and Settlements.
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 5.8.19]
- Emotional Abuse in the Nursing Home
- Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes
- How a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You
- How to Pick the Right Nursing Home for Your Loved Ones
- How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse
- Nursing Home Abuse: Statistics in California & Nationwide
- Nursing Home Neglect: Signs and Symptoms
- Physical Abuse in the Nursing Home
- Who to Contact if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
- Wrongful Death after Nursing Home Abuse