Alameda County is home to a large population of senior citizens, many of whom may require extra care and medical attention — sometimes even more than their families can provide in their homes. In these cases, nursing homes can greatly benefit seniors who need the additional attention or day-to-day care. But lately, there have been an increasing number of stories in the news and cases in court involving physical and financial elder abuse occurring in nursing homes. Before deciding which nursing home facility to entrust care of your loved one, nursing home abuse attorneys recommend educating yourself about the dangers and realities of nursing home abuse.
What Leads to Nursing Home Abuse?
A significant portion of nursing home abuse that occurs is not a result of maliciousness (although this does unfortunately happen), but rather neglect. Lack of sufficient staffing or lack of training for staff members is a primary cause of this neglect and can result in poor or improper care for residents. Senior citizens who reside in nursing homes have the right to receive a certain number of hours of care from registered nurses, according to state and federal requirements. However, some facilities cut back on these hours in an effort to cut costs.
Such cutbacks leave senior citizens with less attention and care, usually at the hands of tired and overworked nurses and staff members who cannot adequately perform their jobs. In some facilities, nurses’ aides are doing the work that should be done by registered nurses, in violation of regulations. These practices place residents in danger of not receiving proper medical care and attention, as well as at risk for bedsores, decubitus ulcers, pressure sores and other injuries that stem from neglect and improper care — all of which constitutes nursing home abuse.
Along with neglect, abandonment and assault are other, more malicious types of nursing home abuse that continue to threaten senior citizen residents. Abandoning a nursing home resident can be as simple as leaving him or her alone in a room for hours on end with no company or visitors. Humans need interaction with other people in order to keep their minds and spirits going. This is especially important for older people who may not get to see their families or friends often. Abandonment can go so far as to a facility denying outside visitors to a resident or leaving residents in the facility altogether for long periods of time.
Assault is fairly self-explanatory and can cause permanent damage to older people who are frailer and find it harder to heal. Physical assault can manifest in broken bones and facial injuries such as black eyes or scratches, bruises, etc. Verbal assault can also occur and may be happening without much evidence. Another resident or a staff member could be hurling insults and talking down to a senior citizen resident who is powerless to stop the bullying and abuse.
What are Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
- Unexplained illnesses or injuries
- Distress, distance and agitation
- Change in demeanor or personality
- Dramatic weight loss due to malnutrition
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Sudden or unexplained death
Let Evans Law Firm, Inc. Help
Senior citizens in nursing homes have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to receive proper care free from poor treatment, abuse and neglect. If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. for a free and confidential consultation by calling 415.441.8669 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.