As people get older, they may become more dependent on others in their lives to help them. For instance, a daughter may need to run errands and get groceries for her aging mother, or a nursing home resident might heavily rely on the home’s staff to provide appropriate medical attention and help with day-to-day activities.
In elder abuse cases where a caretaker, family member or staff member does not take the necessary steps to ensure an older person’s safety and health (both mental and physical), negligence can be a contributing factor and can lead to serious charges and penalties under California law.
Negligence can be deliberate or accidental, but in either instance, the negligent party is acting in a way that does not benefit the victim and may even cause significant harm. When determining whether a caretaker was negligent, it is important to first consider the duty of care that the accused abuser owed to the victim. Anyone in a position of caregiving or assistance has a responsibility to act in their patient’s best interest and to be responsible and proactive in taking care of that individual.
For example, a nurse in an assisted living home has a responsibility to take care of the residents under his or her watch by bringing them food and drink, giving them basic medical care, administering medicine as needed and much more. If the nurse fails to uphold those responsibilities in any way, he or she can be considered negligent. This could include forgetting to bring a resident water and/or drinks during the day, or deliberately withholding medical care when a resident needs it. Each action is on the extreme end of the spectrum, but both cause harm to the resident and violate the nurse’s responsibility to take care of the resident.
Deliberate Medical Negligence
Receiving prompt, accurate medical care and attention is critical for many older people in maintaining their qualities of living and their health status. When this care is withheld for whatever reason, it can cause serious illness or even death.
A huge part of this medical care is daily medications. Many older people have pills they need to take every day at specific times to keep them going and to control any medical conditions, age-related or otherwise. If people who need medication do not receive it, there could be an issue of neglect or abuse. Administering medication properly is part of the responsibility placed on a caretaker, but if a caretaker repeatedly forgets to provide medication, even if it is done accidentally, this puts the older dependent at risk. Even worse is when the caretaker refuses to provide medication on purpose — such acts can certainly be deemed neglect and abuse.
At the Evans Law Firm, Inc., we work to protect victims of elder abuse from further negligence and mistreatment, and help them bring their abusers to justice. Our San Mateo County elder abuse lawyers are well-versed in California law and know how to prove negligence and misconduct when it occurs. For more information or to discuss your case, contact us online at www.evanslaw.com or by phone at 415-441-8669 today.