Adult Residential Care Facility Abuse Lawyer CA | Joel Bryant

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Abuse at Adult Residential Care Facilities

Adult residential care facilities (ARFs) provide long-term care to developmentally disabled adults. Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin prior to a person turning 18, may impact day-to-day functioning, and typically continue for the remainder of the person’s life. The adults in these facilities will generally have a form of cognitive or physical disability, or a combination of both that greatly inhibits their ability to properly care for themselves. They are generally vulnerable due to their disabilities and dependent on the staff to provide them with proper care and keep them safe. Unfortunately these vulnerabilities can make the residents in these care facilities more susceptible to becoming a victim of abuse or neglect.

Importantly, ​the California Elder Abuse Act (also known as the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act) protects and provides legal remedies not only for elders, but also for dependent adults, including those residing in ARFs. Accordingly, Attorney Bryant and his knowledgeable legal team pursue legal claims for dependent adult abuse in these cases and offer the same legal remedies they would have in elder abuse cases.

How can instances of abuse and neglect within an adult residential care facility occur?

All patients of residential care facilities are susceptible to abuse and neglect regardless of their condition, although certain factors may result in an increased risk of a residential care facility neglecting or abusing an individual. Such factors include but are not limited to the following:

  • Understaffing​ – To increase profits, the adult residential facility management hires an  insufficient number of persons, or inexperienced persons, to safely monitor and care for its vulnerable residents
  • Lack of Training​ – To increase profits, management hires  inexperienced staff (who are cheaper) and fails to provide proper training to its staff because training takes times and money
  • Failure to perform background checks ​- To save money, management hires staff without doing thorough background checks. As a result, some workers with shady backgrounds are hired and put in charge of caring for the residents at the care facility.
  • Need Heads in the Beds ​- Adult residential care facilities make more money when all the beds in their facility are full. Unfortunately, when they have available beds, some adult residential facilities knowingly accept residents who they are not able to properly care for.

It is important to ensure that the individuals providing a loved one with care are truly passionate about what they do and feel rightfully compensated for their work. It is also important to support care providers and be sure that they have adequate breaks. After all, taking care of adult residential facility residents is not easy and can sometimes as frustrating as it is rewarding.

Reasons an adult residential care facility may lose their license

Adult residential care facilities have a huge responsibility when it comes to the care of their residents. Thus, there are many reasons an adult residential care facility may lose their license, should they fail to provide the proper care to residents. The following are a number of ways in which a residential care facility could potentially lose their license, be held legally accountable for their failure to provide adequate care, and/or prevent abuse and neglect against a resident:

  • Failure to provide adequate care and supervision
  • Failure to obtain emergent medical care when necessary
  • Failure to properly administer medications
  • Improper storage of toxic/dangerous substances
  • Lack of food/hydration
  • Lack of a disaster plan in place
  • Sexual assault
  • Municipal code violations
  • Unsafe physical premises
  • Physical Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Violation of personal rights

Abuse and Neglect in an Adult Residential Facility

Many forms of abuse and neglect can occur within an adult residential facility, largely due to the fact that the vulnerable adults  often fail to recognize that they have become a victim of such abuse or neglect. As a result, abuse and neglect can go on without any consequences. This is why it is important to know the signs and report them should they appear. Some of the most common forms of abuse or neglect that occur in adult residential facilities include the following, and all of them warrant legal action of some kind.

Physical Abuse

Sadly, physical abuse is one of the most common instances of harm brought upon residents in California’s adult residential facilities. This is largely due to the fact that the residents have cognitive and/or physical disabilities that impair them from being able to recognize and defend themselves from the abuse. Because of this, the physical abuse the victim is suffering can continue on without consequence to the perpetrator. Care facilities need to be held accountable for their employees’ misconduct and failure to provide their residents with a safe living environment. The following are considered forms of physical abuse:

  • Hitting/Punching/Slapping/Striking/Beating
  • Bruising/Wounding/Welts/Scaring (especially if appearing on both sides of the body, symmetrically)
  • Pushing/Shoving/Shaking
  • Kicking
  • Scratching
  • Biting
  • Excessively Restraining/Confining
  • Sexual Assault and/or Battery
  • Denial of Food and/or Water
  • Overly Medicating (such as a drug overdose that involves hospitalization)
  • Under Medicating (recognized by more left of a medicinal prescription than there should be)
  • Withholding Necessary Medical Care
  • Broken Eye Glasses/Frames (indicating strikes or blows to the face, or falls from shoving)

There are many different indications that physical abuse may be occurring in an adult residential care facility.The most common indicators appear directly on the individual’s body and include the following unexplained injuries:

  • Bruising, (especially on or around the arms and hands)
  • Dislocated Joints
  • Sprains
  • Broken Bones
  • Hair or Tooth Loss
  • Burns (from cigarettes or appliances)

Dehydration and Malnutrition

Other issues ARF residents can fall victim to are dehydration and malnutrition. Sadly, the majority of individuals in facilities lack the cognitive and physical development to either recognize their hunger/thirst, or obtain food and drink to fulfill their needs. The disabilities often render them unable to properly care for themselves in this way, and instead these adults as well as their families rely on the care facilities to properly provide adequate nutrition and hydration to these individuals. When a residential facility fails to do this, they need to be held responsible both legally and financially for the pain and suffering they have caused to their dependent, vulnerable residents.

Falls

When a resident falls, the impacts may be minor but in some cases can be very severe. This is due to a variety of factors including weakened muscles and slower reflexes due to motor impairments that prevent the resident from falling in a safer manner or avoiding a fall. When a resident falls, they cannot protect vulnerable parts of their body, increasing the chance that they fracture something during the accident. This can lead to a serious and sometimes even fatal injury. Common injuries from a fall include but are not limited to the following:

  • Fracture/break of bones ​including the ankle, wrist, upper arm (humerus), leg (femur), hip, spine (vertebrae), and pelvis. Beyond suffering pain, a hip fracture results in a loss of physical function, decreased social engagement, increased dependence, and worse quality of life.
  • Internal bleeding​ can also result from breaking a bone due to a fall, in which case a fall can quickly become deadly.
  • Head injuries​ ranging from concussion to subdural hematoma to coma to other serious brain damage. When a resident on blood thinners hits their head, they are at increased risk of brain damage and should get medical help immediately.
  • Emotional trauma​ can also result from a fall, making a resident more scared to move around and participate in activities, increasing their risk of falling again as their muscles and bones weaken more from not being used as frequently.

If a resident falls in a care facility and suffers serious injuries as a result of neglect, the facility should be held responsible. The ARF also needs to recognize the failure on their end and seek medical assistance for the resident, and improve conditions in the facility so that future accidents are avoided.

Contact a knowledgeable attorney today

If you believe that a loved one has become a victim of abuse or neglect under the care of an adult residential facility, do not hesitate to reach out to California elder abuse attorney Joel Bryant today. He and his team of knowledgeable legal experts will assist you and your loved one in navigating the legal process to ensure that justice is won. Contact Attorney Bryant today for a free consultation to understand whether you may have a case. Your call could not only save your loved one, but others that are in harm’s way. With over 30 years of experience, Attorney Bryant and his team are committed to providing the best legal care in these delicate situations. It is of great importance that the most vulnerable members of our society are protected, so do not hesitate to reach out.

“Joel and his team were the help I needed to approach the nursing home that didn’t take good care of my grandmother. With Joel’s help, my grandmother was fairly compensated for the injuries she suffered as a result of the nursing home’s neglect and abuse.”

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