Sadly, many residents of California nursing homes experience some form of physical abuse during their time in a nursing home. Physical abuse is defined by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) as being the use of force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment. This means that all types of things constitute physical abuse including slapping, shaking, hitting, pushing and use of restraints.
Bruises on the body and other injuries which cannot be explained are often warning signs that physical abuse is taking place. Another red flag is a nursing home’s refusal to allow visitors to see the patient. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are unable to verbally tell others when they are being abused and this is exactly why this particular group of patients is often the target of abuse as the abusers are simply confident they will get away with the abuse.
Physical abuse can also include some types of neglect such as malnutrition, dehydration and health problems which go untreated. The NCEA states that when nursing home patients are provided with unsafe, hazardous and unsanitary or dirty living conditions, neglect is taking place and that is against the law in California as well as the rest of the United States.
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is being physically abused while living in a nursing home, our experienced California nursing home abuse attorneys can help you. We will advise you to contact your local Adult Protective Services office so that a formal complaint can be made. We have experience handling California nursing home abuse cases and will conduct a thorough investigation to find out exactly what has happened and who is responsible for physically abusing the person you love.
In the state of California, you are required to report elder abuse when you learn it has taken place. Therefore you should contact the police so that a report is file and and follow-up investigation is done. Your attorney can guide you in the right direction so that you do everything necessary to protect your loved one and to get the compensation you both deserve. You may discover that other patients have also been physically abused. If this is the case, it is possible to join forces with these patients and their families as a part of a class action lawsuit. You may even wish to consider moving your loved one to another facility that does not have any record of being abusive to its residents.
Why Physical Abuse Takes Place in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes are supposed to provide their residents with a safe environment and with loving care. Unfortunately, physical abuse runs rampant in nursing homes in our state. When a resident of a nursing is injured due to physical abuse, those injuries can be very serious because most elderly people are fragile and not in the best of health.
There are many reasons why physical abuse takes place in nursing homes. One of the main reasons it occurs is because many nursing homes are under-staffed. When physical abuse is happening at a facility that is under-staffed, the abuse often goes unnoticed. The failure of nursing home administrative staff to properly conduct thorough background checks on employees is another reason why physical abuse takes place. And, when the administrative staff fails to provide the proper ratio of staff to patients, the staff often feels angry and resentful wherein they take their ill-feelings out on the patients they are responsible for caring for.
None of these reasons are excuses for physical abuse as every licensed nursing home is responsible for providing its residents with a safe place to live. When nursing home abuse takes place, a crime is being committed. The owner of the nursing facility can be held responsible if one of its residents is the victim of physical abuse. It is possible that a wrongful death claim could be brought by the family if their loved one died as a result of the physical abuse they were subjected to.
Physical abuse is sometimes hidden at nursing homes. For instance, a staff member may tell the administration or family that the visible injuries a patient has is from a fall or some other type of an accident in an attempt to cover up abuse that is taking place.
Warning Signs That May Indicated Abuse is Taking Place in a Nursing Home
There are many warning signs to be watchful for that can indicate that your loved one is being physically abused while living in a nursing home. These warning signs include:
- Bruises or other unexplained injuries
- A change in behavior such as agitation, anger, anxiety or withdrawal
- The elder trying to convey they’ve been abused
- Wounds such as cuts, welts and scrapes that are not explained or documented
- Staff not allowing you to see your loved one
- Ripped clothing
- Reluctance to speak when staff members are present
- Wanting to be left alone and refusing to take part in activities
- Fear of being touched
- Incidents requiring emergency treatment or hospitalization
- Heavy medication or sedation
The nursing home abuse attorneys working at Hogan Injury work hard to help victims and their families. We will take the time to speak with you about the suspected abuse and then advise you on what course of action should be taken. We do not require any payment from you unless we win or settle your case so do not allow the issue of money to stop you from seeking the legal assistance you need. We have the expertise and resources necessary to help you win your case so that you and your loved one get the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve and are entitled to.