The media never lacks with stories of nursing home residents who have suffered abuse. Types of abuse can range from physical, sexual, or psychological; yet it is not uncommon to find that a victim has suffered a combination of these mistreatment. There are cases wherein residents have been neglected to the point that they suffered physical injury, became gravely ill, or died. Such events are heartbreaking not only for the surviving victims but for the victims' families that entrusted the care of their loved ones to these facilities.
If you or a family member have been a victim of nursing home abuse call our law firm today. Speaking with our compassionate Sacramento & Elk Grove-based nursing home abuse lawyer will help begin the recovery process.
Nursing Home Abuse
Reports from both a state agency and a federal agency have reported the following statistics about California nursing home residents:
- The state reported in 2005 that some 20 percent of California's nursing facilities failed to meet required staffing levels;
- The federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid services reported in 2006 that California residents were twice as likely to be physically restrained as the average resident nationally.
These are obviously troubling. The fact that a nursing home, or its staff, abused or failed to protect a resident is certainly grounds for holding the facility legally liable for the injuries they have caused or allowed to happen. California and the federal government both have extensive laws and regulations in place to protect nursing home residents, and violations which play a part in a resident's injury or death are evidence of negligence that supports holding the facility and/or staff liable.
Laws That Protect Nursing Home Residents in California
California has enacted the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, which provides for costs, attorneys' fees, and punitive damages when the facts support them. In addition, the California Department of Social Services has issued extensive regulations of residential care facilities for the elderly. These cover many details of nursing home operation, including the physical environment and accommodations, background checks, assessment of residents, the residents' fundamental services and rights, what resident records must be kept, and dealing with health-related conditions.
These regulations are extremely detailed. For example, section 87459 specifies that the facility must assess each resident's need for personal assistance and care by assessing the resident's ability as to, among other things:
- Dressing and grooming;
- Vision, speech, hearing;
- Dietary limitations;
- Walking and the ability to transfer from one place to another;
Extensive regulations set out what the facility must do to ensure that patients diagnosed with dementia are safeguarded and given proper care.
Under Federal Law
The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) applies to all nursing homes that receive funds from Medicare or Medicaid. Like California's law, it establishes certain rights of residents and specifies standards of care in many areas (restraint use, bedsores, nutrition, etc.). Despite the fact that the NHRA does not establish a separate ground for suing the facility, an experienced Sacramento nursing home abuse attorney like John M. O'Brien or Grant Zehnder can show the NHRA violation as an instance of the facility's negligence.
Injuries to Watch For
Nursing home abuse and neglect can cause virtually any type of physical and psychological injury. The most common injuries that result from negligence tend to be:
- Fractures and/or muscle injuries;
- Bedsores (pressure sores);
- Malnutrition and dehydration;
- Fear, anxiety, loss of confidence, and other emotional/psychological damage;
- Exacerbation of the resident's existing diseases and/or injuries.
Since residents tend to already be in poor health, death may be the end result of virtually any serious injury.
Get Legal Help in The Sacramento Area
Nursing home neglect and abuse cases are always difficult, both because the resident and family are emotionally distraught, and because it takes time, careful preparation, and the ability to deal with all the defenses and denials that the nursing home facility and its insurers and lawyers are likely to throw at you. O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm is top-rated by our legal peers and clients alike. We are large and strong enough to stand up for you against the defendants, but we always treat our clients with the concern and respect they deserve. We are deeply committed to fighting for you and your loved one and to doing our part to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Put 25 years of experience on your side; call our office today to speak with our Sacramento & Elk Grove based nursing home abuse lawyer about your elder abuse case.
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After being inefficiently represented, we were relieved to find a professional, versed, and friendly attorney. John M. O'Brien made sure that in our settlement we obtained the money deserved.
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