Nursing Home Abuse Often Uninvestigated In California

Nobody wants to find out that their loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home, especially if such treatment resulted in the resident being seriously injured or dying. Yet tragically, nursing home abuse occurs across the country at a rampant pace. The National Center on Elder Abuse has reported that about 90 percent of U.S. nursing homes don’t have the staff to provide a decent quality of care. As a result, many senior citizens who should be living their final years in peace and comfort are instead being hurt and abused by those who should be caring for them.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, there were between 11,000 and 29,000 nursing home residents ages 65 and older in California as of 2011. Nearly eight percent of nursing home surveys indicated a “deficiency for actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to these residents.

Southern California resident’s death goes ignored for seven years

ABC Local said that in many cases, California public health investigators haven’t investigated accusations of nursing home abuse throughout the state. Reportedly, hundreds of complaints were ignored by the Department of Health. When a 95-year-old resident of a Pomona assisted living facility fell and died seven years ago, her family waited in vain for answers. A nursing director who worked at the residence claimed that the woman had black eyes and bruises across her face from someone who had been working at the facility. Finally, years after her death, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has opened a homicide investigation.

It’s unacceptable that there are nursing home workers who deliberately harm those under their care. Neglect is another common type of abuse that can result in long-term emotional and physical harm. For example, patients who are ignored or mistreated can develop bed sores, which are common nursing home wounds resulting from bedridden patients not being moved often enough. The Mayo Clinic says that untreated bed sores can result in deadly infections, such as cellulitis and sepsis.

Up to one third of nursing homes in the country have received citations for staff abuse, according to ABC News. These incidences include staff members physically, verbally and even sexually assaulting residents. Many have also suffered from improper hygiene, malnutrition and dehydration.

One way to prevent a loved one from becoming a victim of nursing home abuse is to regularly visit the family member, says HelpGuide. Staff who know they’re being monitored are more likely to treat the resident better. Some warning signs to look out for when visiting a loved one include:

  • Unhygienic living conditions.
  • Untreated bed sores and unexplained bruises and other injuries.
  • Weight loss or apparent dehydration.
  • Change in mood, anxiety, tension between patient and caregivers.

Nursing home residents who suffer from abuse have a higher chance of dying than those who are not being abused or neglected, so it’s vital to frequently check up on a loved one to be sure he or she is receiving proper care.

When to get help from an attorney

It can be devastating to find out a loved one suffered while under a caregiver’s treatment, and even more upsetting when nothing was done to stop the abuse or prevent others from being hurt. If you have a family member who was injured or died as a result of nursing home negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away to discuss your options.

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