AB 40 resolves a previous conflict between state and federal laws in which elder abuse in nursing homes as reported to the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman was prevented from being reported to local law enforcement due to strict federal rules of confidentiality. Although the federal rules were intended to protect nursing home residents from retaliation by management, the effect was to stifle reporting. Nursing home employees are required by law to report elder abuse to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. AB 40 requires that once the Ombudsman receives a report that physical abuse has occurred or is even suspected, the Ombudsman must report it within two hours if serious bodily harm has resulted and within twenty-four hours if the injury is minor. The bill, introduced in 2011 by State Assembly member Mariko Yamada was approved by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2012.
According to UC Irvine gerontologist Kerry Burnight, patients with dementia are sometimes resistant to care and are at greater risk of nursing home abuse. Those with cognitive deficiencies may also be viewed as “inferior”. There are 28,000 residents in long-term care in Orange County and each month there are 800 reports of elder abuse. Burnight sees elder abuse across all socio-economic levels and ethnicities. “We see elder abuse in multimillion-dollar homes in Newport and in the most expensive facilities,” Burnight said.
If you are concerned that you or a family member or friend has suffered nursing home abuse, financial abuse or physical abuse by a caregiver, seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in cases of elder abuse.
The Evans Law Firm represents victims of elder abuse in California. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or elder abuse, contact The Evans Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation at 415-441-8669 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.