FAQS About Nursing Home, Dependent Care and Psychiatric Facility Neglect and Abuse
California nursing home and dependent care facility regulations prohibit providers from depriving or withholding care from patients necessary to maintain "physical, mental and psychosocial well being." They must provide proper medications, fluids, nutrition, counseling services, physical therapies, and other care as necessary to meet this standards. [California Nursing Home and Dependent Care and Health Care Facilities Regulations]
Sometimes, signs of neglect or abuse are obvious, sometimes they are not so obvious or difficult to prove because as people age, or as an illness progresses it can be hard to differentiate between natural decline and deterioration from neglect. If dementia or other disorders that cause confusion exist, it can even be hard to determine if physical abuse has taken place because patients may not remember things, make false accusations, or injure themselves.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, you need a skilled attorney that can uncover the facts to help you determine if problems or injuries are the result of someone elses' actions. [Elder Abuse Attorney Information]
Does abuse have to be physical to be considered a problem?
No. Abuse can be physical, mental, or emotional. Some forms of abuse are not so easy to see and even harder to prove. For example, caregivers and facilities that intimidate their residents or patients with threats or withholding food or privileges to get them to "behave" may be guilty or mental or emotional cruelty or abuse.
Mental and emotional abuse should be taken seriously because it can cause residents/patients to be afraid to ask for help, water, or food, which can lead to serious medical problems.
What are some examples of nursing home and dependent care facility abuse?
A simple definition of abuse is, "the systematic pattern of behaviors in a relationship that are used to gain and/or maintain power and control over another." Examples of abuse include:
- Unfairly isolating patients or withholding care, fluids, or nutrition to control or punish patients;
- Staff verbally insults or threatens residents/patients with words or gestures, or other means of intimidation into submission;
- Staff degrades or emotionally manipulates residents/patients by demeaning them or destroying self-esteem;
- Any type of hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, etc.;
- Any type of sexual contact with a resident/patient is physical abuse and is illegal.
When a nursing home resident is mentally abused, the nursing home may be liable for negligence if they did not properly investigate, train, or oversee caregivers.
What are signs of nursing home neglect?
Signs of neglect in nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and all other types of dependent and health care institutions include:
- Dehydration, weight loss or malnutrition
- Bed sores and/or hair loss on the back of the head
- Contractures (shortening of muscles can be caused by inactivity or lack of proper physical therapy)
- Constant complaints about care or being abused;
- Patient/resident has unexplained bruises or injuries;
- Patient/resident is lost or allowed to wander without proper supervision;
- Suspicious injuries or deaths, especially when multiple events occur under the care of a particular staff member; and
- Overall condition of the facility is run down or understaffed.
Free Consultation With an Experienced California Abuse and Wrongful Death Attorney
If someone you love has suffered an injury or a wrongful death as a result of neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other dependent or health care facility, we can help.
California statues of limitations restricts the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit, so it is important that you contact us as soon as possible. For a free initial consultation and case evaluation with one of our trial lawyers, contact us today. There is no obligation and we work on a contingency fee basis; you do not pay us unless and and until you get paid.
Call our Beverly Hills, CA office at (310) 275-9131 or our office in Santa Barbara at (805) 962-0099.
- Southwest Healthcare System - Federal and State Actions
- Health Facilities Consumer Information System (HFCIS)
- Breach of Confidential Patient Medical Information
- Hospital Administered Penalties
- Nursing Home AA Citations
- Nursing Home Patient Rights
- Nursing Home Compare
- Hospital Compare
- How to File a Nursing Home Complaint