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Jun 3, 2016 by |

San Francisco Elder Abuse Attorney: Nursing Home Abuse


Understanding The Nursing Care System

It’s generally understood that nursing homes are meant to provide care and comfort to elderly citizens no longer able to live by themselves. We hope and believe that our loved ones are ministered to by a sizeable, well-trained staff and that they are able to socialize and spend time with others from their area and generation. While we may hear about cases where nursing home residents are poorly treated, few people spend enough time or do enough research to fully understand the conditions in their loved one’s home, let alone to understand the nursing home industry, or the wide spectrum of care levels that fall under the misleading name of “nursing homes.” Our San Francisco Elder Abuse Attorneys have compiled a list of what you should know about the nursing home system before making a decision for your loved ones.

Retirement Community

This is probably what falls most closely in line with what many people imagine for their elderly loved ones. They tend to be pricey, but represent a best-case scenario for seniors. They are generally well-staffed and well-kept, but they are not equipped to handle residents with serious or chronic medical conditions, memory loss or dementia, or serious impairment to mobility. Many seniors may transition from a retirement community to a nursing home or skilled nursing facility if their condition changes.

Nursing Home

These facilities are more focused on treatment of medical issues, although the staff tends to consist of caretakers rather than nurses, and many people are concerned about the quality and duration of care that they provide. There have been many cases of nursing homes that charge for more time and treatment than they actually administer, and sometimes conditions such as pneumonia or bedsores have developed even when caretakers claim that they have been monitoring their residents. Nursing homes tend to receive a large portion of their revenue by billing Medicare and Medicaid, and there are some reports that nursing homes are starting to admit a larger population of younger, mentally ill and disabled people, in order to essentially provide costly long-term housing with minimal medical treatment.

Skilled Nursing Facility

Skilled nursing facilities are often seen as an end-of-life care option, and generally focus on palliative treatment, pain management, and stabilizing seriously ill residents. It can be very costly to the elderly and their families, as well as sometimes being perceived as needlessly prolonging residents with a low quality of life. For this reason, some families are turning to hospice instead, both to save money and to ensure that loved ones have a peaceful end of life experience.

Nursing Facilities in California

One of the largest groups of Nursing Facilities in California belongs to Schlomo Rechnitz, whose facilities have a reputation as having a disproportionately large amount of complaints and incidents. Generally, these revolve around understaffing and under-training the caretakers at the facility, resulting in an environment of neglect, accidents, and sometimes a major incident. Courtney Cargill, a non-senior mentally ill resident with a history of self-harm, was allowed to leave the facility unattended and proceeded to immolate herself, with staff not taking action to find her until the subsequent day.

Nursing homes are not the appropriate setting for dealing with serious mental illness, drug addiction, or other similar issues, nor are caretakers trained or equipped to deal with the problems that arise from this population. The challenges of caring for seniors is significant enough, and the standard of care for both populations is likely to drop when caretakers are out of their depth.

Contact Us

Evans Law Firm is a San Francisco Elder Abuse Attorney’s firm, and has a history of handling nursing home abuse cases for residents and their families. Our San Francisco Elder Abuse Attorneys are acquainted with the complicated California Nursing Home regulatory and statutory environment, as well as the factors affecting care, comfort, and cost for residents. If you believe that you or a loved one may have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact us for a free initial consultation at (415) 441-8669, or online at

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