Watching Over The Vulnerable Who Cannot Advocate For Themselves
Neglect, Abuse And Falsified Records Caught On Film
Arrests Based on Camera Footage
More than 400,000 Californians are cared for in approximately 1230 licensed long-term care facilities in the State of California. Two thirds of those residents rely on Medi-Cal to pay for their care with an annual total cost to the State of $3.8 billion. Increasingly individual care facilities and nursing home chains are run as for-profit businesses. A for-profit business model means that profits come before care, and often results in understaffing and other cost-cutting measures. Patients lose out in that equation, and the incidents of reported abuse and neglect as a result of understaffing or lack of supervision continue to climb. In addition, COVID-19 forced isolation rules have meant families cannot visit and check in on loved ones as in the past. Signs of abuse or neglect can thus go undetected, until it is too late. Many families are relying on in-room surveillance cameras and other methods to protect institutionalized loved ones and, as discussed below, incidents of abuse and neglect can be caught on camera and the perpetrators prosecuted. If you have a loved one who has suffered injury due to neglect in a nursing home here in Santa Clara County or elsewhere in California, call Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669, and we can help.
Protecting Seniors With Surveillance Cameras
In one recently reported case, eight employees of a skilled nursing facility were arrested for alleged patient neglect after a law enforcement agency used hidden cameras to monitor care in a home that had been previously cited for patient neglect. According to police, the investigation revealed that staff routinely failed to properly transfer the residents in and out of bed, putting residents at risk of injury. Video footage also revealed that one aide allegedly failed to provide the range of motion therapy required to keep patients from muscular atrophy. Two nurses also allegedly failed to administer insulin, provide skin and wound treatment, and failed to check one resident’s vital signs, according to police. In addition, police stated that the resident’s medical records indicated that employees falsified records to conceal the resident’s neglect and endangerment. Two Licensed Practical Nurses and one Certified Nurse Aide were charged with Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (class E felony). Five other Certified Nurse Aides were charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person (class A misdemeanor), with a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
Standing Up For Injured Patients
The reported case shows just how effective hidden cameras can be in capturing neglect and abuse, particularly during these times when personal visits to institutionalized seniors is still too dangerous. All those responsible for the abuse or neglect of seniors should be held accountable for their actions. Responsible parties include the owners and administrators of nursing homes, nursing supervisors and aides, home health care agencies and hospice programs, staff and individual at-home caregivers. In addition to installing a surveillance camera in a loved one’s room, there are other steps you can take to protect them. On the California Department of Public Health website you can run a check on the citation history of any licensed facility and see the nature of any complaints and citations issued. You can also check the license itself and make sure the home is qualified to care for your loved one; only certain licenses permit admission of dementia patients, for example, and if a home is admitting dementia patients even though the home is not licensed to do so, that is against the law. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also maintain a database of compliance issues and reports on homes receiving Medicare and Medicaid assistance and you can view the latest reported information on a home there. That information will include the resident to staff ratio for the facility which is an important index of the level of care provided to residents at any given facility.
Whenever you detect a problem do something about it. Ingrid M. Evans and the Evans Law Firm represent victims of nursing home abuse here in Santa Clara County and throughout California. Call Ingrid today at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Ingrid a will pursue all available remedies for injured seniors including recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing your lawsuit.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.