California Nursing Home, Assisted Living & Home Care Abuse: Common Forms Of Mistreatment
UPDATED: September 17, 2009
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California law protects two groups of people elders and dependents. Elders are people age 65 and older and they automatically get protection in a care or custodial setting. The other group consists of people aged 18 to 64 if they are dependent meaning that there is something physically, emotionally or mentally disabling to them and they have to be dependent upon others.
Tips on recognizing and dealing with mistreatment
Dorit told us that many patients may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimers disease and may not be able to communicate. He provided the following tips on how to recognize and deal with mistreatment:
- Look for changes in health. If [an elder or dependent person] is injured or their health is failing from neglect, its important to find out if they are losing weight or if their medications are actually being ordered at their pharmacy.
- Recognize classic symptoms. Even a cursory examination of the residents body can reveal problems. Make sure that the resident or the patient looks okay and is acting according to their usual baseline of behavior. Take a look and make sure there arent any bruises, wounds or what we call decubitus ulcers (bedsores) developing.
- Be proactive. Be proactive in terms of looking for those types of things. If there are sudden unexpected changes in behavior or health such as multiple falls or wounds that dont seem to be addressed, then those are warning signs / red flags that need to be looked in terms of making sure that the resident or patient is getting proper care. If theyre not, it would be appropriate to speak with an attorney about doing an investigation.
What causes of action are available?
A great deal of Dorits practice focuses on elder care abuse. He explained what causes of action are generally available to victims:
First and foremost, nursing home abuse cases will have a claim under the California statutory law protecting those groups of people who are the victims of negligence or abuse. When it turns out that there is a pattern of neglect, even if an injury is not serious, it can still result in a serious legal case.
We also often include a traditional claim for personal injuries, and in my office, we also usually include claims under the California Consumer Legal Remedy Act where California consumers have a right to receive the fair benefit of services for which they contract. If they go to a skilled nursing or residential care facility, theyre entitled to the reasonable services for which they paid.