Central Coast Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Serving San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey

The first wave of post-WW II baby boomers have joined the ranks of our nation’s seniors. We are an aging population, which offers new challenges in elder care. As the elderly demographic increases, more and more families are faced with the task of caring for their aging loved ones. In previous generations, there was often an adult in the home who would provide care for the elderly; but that is no longer the case. Social norms and economic realities are such that most adults work outside of the home, which creates the necessity of finding ways to care for a growing vulnerable population. For many families, nursing home care is the only practical solution. However, you must keep in mind some of the risks associated with placing a loved one in a nursing home. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect happens and often nothing is done about it. Your loved ones should not suffer in their living conditions, so don’t hesitate to call a San Luis Obispo elder abuse lawyer if you suspect neglect.

It can be a difficult decision to make, but when an older person is no longer able to live independently, the only alternative may be to turn to professional care providers in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities in San Luis Obispo. There is a wide range in the quality of the available facilities, and families struggle to find one that can be relied upon to provide the best available care for their loved ones. But many facilities that care for the elderly have problems. Elder care is expensive, and it is not uncommon for these facilities to cut corners in the name of profits. Many are understaffed, and some fail to screen their employees for criminal background. As a result, neglect and abuse of residents is far from being the exception.

Federal Law Specifies Standards of Nursing Home Care

Federal law has attempted to address the problem in the form of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), which applies to all nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds. The Act specifies the rights of nursing home residents and establishes minimum standards of care, including patient nutrition, the use of restraints, and the prevention and treatment of bed sores. However, it has by no means eliminated the problem of neglect and abuse, and does not provide a provision for suing a facility.

Nevertheless, if violations have occurred and your loved one has suffered as a result, in the hands of a good San Luis Obispo elder abuse lawyer, the violations become an important part of documenting a persuasive case to recover compensatory and punitive damages. Nursing facilities have a legal responsibility to provide their patients with quality care, and they can be held accountable if they fail in this duty.

How Common is Neglect and Abuse in Nursing Homes?

The statistics may shock you, but they are important to know:

  • According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 91 percent of nursing homes do not have sufficient staff to provide proper care for their patients.
  • 36 percent of nursing homes have been in violation of elder abuse laws.
  • A survey of nursing home caregivers found that more than half of the nursing home staff that responded admitted to having mistreated older patients at some time during the prior year.  Types of mistreatment included mental abuse, physical violence, and neglect.
  • The actual number of incidents of elder abuse is certainly much greater than even these disturbing numbers suggest. Only one in every fourteen cases of abuse is ever reported to the appropriate authorities, according to one study. Another similar study estimated that figure at only one in every twenty-four cases.
  • Advancing age increases the risk to patients. The Elder Maltreatment Alliance states that nursing home residents age 80 years and above are at two to three times the risk for abuse.

How Elder Abuse Affects Victims

Abuse has a severe effects on the health and well-being of victims. According to the NCEA, elderly victims of abuse suffer triple the risk of death, serious psychological disturbance, and reduced feelings of self-efficacy, and more  bone and joint problems, digestive chronic pain, hypertension, and heart problems.

How to Spot Problems in a Nursing Home

If you have had to place a member of your family in a nursing home, you owe it to your loved one to be vigilant about the quality of care. Pop in unannounced, and question staff if anything seems out of order. Examine the home for cleanliness and security, and the staff for signs of overwork or stress. Watch for these signs in the patient:

  • Weight loss
  • Bed sores
  • Hunger or thirst
  • Bruises or welts
  • Rashes
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Fearfulness

Legal Help in Central California

If you suspect that a relative or friend is being abused, call the law offices of attorney Jude Basile in San Luis Obispo. A top-ranked personal injury attorney serving Central California for 35 years, Jude has the passion, commitment and legal expertise to help you and your family end the abuse and recover compensation. The Basile Law Firm caters to clients all over Central California, in areas including San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Monterey. Call today for a free interview to learn about the patient’s rights and how to protect those rights.