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How to Spot Elder Abuse in California Nursing Homes

A nursing home should be a haven of care and comfort for its patients. When elder abuse is suspected, victims and their families should consult an elder abuse attorney to protect the victim’s rights. Further reporting to the authorities may be appropriate.

Categories of Elder Abuse

The State of California defines elder abuse within the categories of both civil and criminal violations. In both categories, the plaintiff can be an adult aged 65 and above or an adult who is considered a dependent adult who endures pain, harm or suffering at the hands of a caregiver in a secondary nursing facility, rehabilitation facility or residential care home.

The categories of CIVIL elder abuse in nursing homes may include:

  • Physical:  Broken bones including hips, knees and shoulders, brain injury, severe bruising
  • Neglect: Failure to provide basic needs, hygiene, proximity to call buttons or failure to provide safe conditions that result in worsening health, illness or declining medical status

When a caregiver fails to give the requisite services to prevent a resident’s or patient’s suffering, that negligence falls under civil elder abuse. A caregiver’s negligence that results in the patient/resident enduring unacceptable pain or suffering, or permitting a situation that threatens the patient’s or resident’s health can also fall under civil negligence or it may rise to the level of criminal negligence.

Protecting Loved Ones from Elder Abuse Requires Vigilance

Recently, a study named California as the lowest-ranked state in terms of offering the best protections for elders. This finding highlights the greater need for awareness on the part of victims and their families to be more vigilant when dealing with elder abuse. Vigilance can include taking legal action by consulting an attorney to file a civil case and where appropriate, reporting suspected abuse to the County Department of Health Services.

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