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About 88,000 seniors lived in California nursing homes as of 2018. Sadly, many of these seniors are at serious risk for abuse and neglect. In fact, recent studies show that at least one in 10 community-dwelling older adults in the U.S. fell prey to some form of elder abuse each year. 

If you believe someone you love is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to contact the Monterey nursing home abuse attorneys at Siva Injury Law for a case evaluation. At Silva Injury Law, our Monterey nursing home abuse attorneys hold caregivers, nursing homes, and resident facilities accountable for their wrongdoing. We know this is a frightening experience and are dedicated to guiding you through the legal process.

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What Is Elder Abuse in a Nursing Home or Care Facility Setting?

According to the CDC, elder abuse is “an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” California law explicitly defines elder abuse or the abuse of a dependent adult as any of the following actions:

  • Financial abuse,
  • Physical abuse,
  • Psychological abuse,
  • Sexual abuse,
  • Neglect,
  • Abandonment,
  • Isolation,
  • Abduction, or
  • The deprivation of goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.

In all these cases, nursing home abuse typically occurs at the hands of a caregiver or a person working for the nursing home that the elder trusts.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Elder abuse is not always easy to spot. If you are concerned that a nursing home is abusing or neglecting a loved one, the following markers may signal hostile or harmful activity. They include, but are not limited to: 

  • A painful reaction to touch, bruises, skin tears, and broken bones;
  • Behavior changes such as confusion or disorientation, agitation, and anger;
  • A sense of fear or hesitancy to speak openly;
  • Caregiver avoidance;
  • Defensiveness and depression;
  • Caregivers who administer too much or not enough medication;
  • Being forced to stay inside a room;
  • Unreasonable use of physical restraints;
  • Being socially isolated or being unnecessarily restricted from activities;
  • A caregiver’s indifference or anger toward an elder;
  • Inadequate staffing;
  • Suspicious financial transactions;
  • Missing possessions; and
  • Unexpected changes to estate planning documents or property deeds.

These are just a few of the many signs that may indicate elder abuse. If you have reason to believe a nursing home caregiver abused a loved one, call Silva Injury Law as soon as possible for a consultation. We can talk with you about your worries, answer all your questions, and help you successfully chart the best course of action for your loved one. Consulting with an experienced attorney will help to ensure you and your loved one receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect is another form of abuse. It can include medical, physical, and psychological mistreatment. While many of the signs of neglect often occur alongside the signs of abuse listed above, additional concerns to look out for include:

  • Dehydration,
  • Recurring falls,
  • Malnutrition,
  • A caregiver’s failure to assist with personal hygiene,
  • Unsanitary and unclean conditions,
  • An elder’s unexplained weight loss,
  • Poor access to medical providers,
  • Lack of care for existing medical problems, and
  • Failure to take measures to protect an elder from health and safety hazards.

Any abrupt physical, mental, or emotional change may also signal abuse or neglect. If you notice changes in a loved one, ask questions straightaway because your loved one may have difficulty communicating the maltreatment. If your loved one expresses any indication that they have been abused or neglected, call Silva Injury Law and speak with an experienced Monterey nursing home lawyer immediately.

What Are California’s Nursing Home Abuse Laws?

California Penal Code 368 is a criminal code that protects against the physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of victims 65 years of age or older and dependent adults (18+). Numerous other California laws protect California’s older population from abuse by defining and criminalizing neglectful and abusive behavior.

California law allows victims of elder abuse to collect civil penalties. For instance, Civil Code 3345 addresses actions brought by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of senior citizens or persons with disabilities in cases where an abuser’s actions amount to unfair, deceptive acts or practices. Other civil penalties for elder abuse in California fall under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA). The Act designates which organizations—for example, adult protective services agencies, long-term care ombudspersons, and local law enforcement agencies—it charges with investigating reports of elder abuse. The EADACPA also outlines the parties responsible for taking necessary actions to protect older adults and remedy any problems. 

Under the EADACPA, mandated reporters are required to report suspected incidents of elder abuse to appropriate authorities. Mandated reporters include: 

  • Eldercare guardians,
  • Healthcare workers,
  • The staff of public and private care facilities,
  • Employees of adult protective service agencies, 
  • Law enforcement officers, and
  • Clergy members.

Mandated reporters must report actual or suspected elder abuse to local law enforcement and ombudspersons within two days. For elder abuse involving serious bodily injuries, reporters must contact law enforcement and an ombudsperson within 24 hours. Reports may also be filled out online.

Failure to report elder abuse is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail, or both. If unreported abuse results in death or severe disability, punishment can be as severe as a $5,000 fine, one year in jail, or both.

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Call The Monterey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today

It is essential to act quickly when nursing home abuse or neglect harms a loved one. At Silva Injury Law, our knowledgeable Monterey nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have extensive experience handling nursing home abuse cases and can help you file a legal claim. Our five-star rating shows we are committed to providing our clients with compassionate legal counseling and aggressive representation. In fact, our clients tell us they feel like family from the minute they walk through our office door. Contact us today to request a consultation.

 

Our experienced legal team also handles other types of injury cases, including: