Let a California Hospice Abuse Lawyer Pursue Compensation
Hospice is a type of medical care that helps patients with terminal illnesses live as comfortably as possible for as long as possible at the end of their lives. It is concerned with alleviating the symptoms of terminal illness rather than treating the underlying illness so that the patient may live out the remainder of his or her days with as much dignity and comfort as possible. It requires practitioners to act with an extraordinary level of care and sensitivity toward their patients. Unfortunately, however, hospice providers do not always follow the appropriate standard of care and harm their patients; others may also try to take advantage of a hospice patient during this final period of extreme vulnerability. When that happens, a California hospice abuse attorney can help.
What Is Considered Hospice Abuse?
Hospice abuse is similar to nursing home abuse in that it involves negligent or abusive behavior by those in power over individuals they are charged with caring for. Some of the most common types of hospice abuse include:
- Neglect: Neglect in the hospice setting occurs when a provider fails to follow the appropriate standard of care or makes a mistake and indirectly causes harm to the patient.
- Abuse: Abuse is intentional behavior designed to harm the victim by exploiting their weak and vulnerable state. There are several types of hospice abuse, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse. Overmedication or chemical restraint (through excessive sedation) also constitute abuse.
- Breach of contract: A breach of contract occurs when a hospice provider takes action (or fails to take action when required to do so) that is contrary to an agreement they made with the patient or the patient’s representatives. Overbilling, using unqualified personnel or facilities, or charging for services or procedures not provided are examples of these kind of breaches.
- Medical malpractice: Malpractice is a form of medical negligence that occurs when a medical professional does not provide the appropriate standard of care to a patient that another reasonable medical professional would have provided in the same or a similar situation.
- Wrongful death: Wrongful death occurs when the patient dies not as the result of his or her underlying condition but due to the negligence or abuse of medical staff, caregiver, and other person who may have exploited and abused the patient.
Like nursing home abuse, some forms of hospice abuse are easier to detect than others. Friends and family of hospice patients should monitor them closely to detect changes in their physical condition or mental state that could indicate abuse is occurring.
Examples of Hospice Abuse
- Failure to respond to the patient’s needs
- Failure to timely call emergency services
- Inflating the price of services beyond that specified in the contract
- Over- or under-medicating the patient
- Malnutrition or feeding patient a harmful diet
- Physically or sexually assaulting the patient
- Demeaning, degrading, or mocking the patient
- Unauthorized use of physical restraints
- Stealing money or personal effects from the patient
- Failing to seek the appropriate medical treatment when necessary
Compensation and Legal Remedies Available with the Help of a California Hospice Abuse Lawyer
There are a variety of legal avenues for holding hospice providers accountable for abuse. Some of the most common include personal injury claims, breach of contract claims, wrongful death claims, and claims under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. If successful, a plaintiff may recover damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, funeral and burial cost, and, in some cases, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing his or her suit.
Contact a California Hospice Abuse Attorney for More Information
If you suspect that someone you love or care about is experiencing abuse in a hospice care setting, you should act swiftly to put an end to it. To get started, please contact a California hospice abuse attorney at the Evans Law Firm by using our online form or calling us at 415-441-8669.