Nursing Home FAQs | Joel Bryant

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Nursing Home Abuse FAQs

What Rights do Residents of Nursing Homes Have?

A resident in a nursing home has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse, and any physical or chemical restraint that is imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience, rather than to treat a medical condition. Most nursing home residents have rights set forth in state and federal nursing home regulations. Nursing homes that participate in the Medicare program must follow both state and federal nursing home regulations. A failure to do so may constitute elder abuse under California’s Elder Abuse Act (Welfare & Institutions section 15600, et seq.).

What Qualifies as Neglect in the Nursing Home Setting?

Neglect of an elder person in a nursing home is defined as the failure to provide him or her with services essential to health and safety, such as food, clothing, supervision, and medical care. Depending on the case these failures may be considered neglect or abuse.

What Qualifies as Abuse in a Nursing Home Setting?

Abuse of an elderly individual in a nursing home setting can take a variety of forms, and the injuries range from mild to severe. Abuse can be anything from sexual abuse, physical abuse, and even emotional abuse. There are a large variety of negative circumstances that can occur in a nursing home, which can be defined as abuse.

Why are Neglect and Abuse Common in a Nursing Home?

Several reasons can often contribute to the abuse or neglect of nursing home residents, including poorly trained and unqualified staff, inadequate numbers of staff and reluctance of
residents to report abuse out of embarrassment or fear. Unfortunately, many living in nursing homes are unable to properly communicate instances of nursing home neglect and abuse because of their physical or mental state.

Who is most likely to commit elder abuse?

There are many factors that may result in an increased risk of a perpetrator abusing an elderly individual. Such factors include but are not limited to the following:

  • Depressed or overall saddened mood given off by the caregiver
  • Lack of assistance from other potential caregivers
  • A caregiver with a mindset that the elderly individual is purely a burden, and has no  emotional attachment to them.
  • Abuse of substances by the caregiver
  • Isolation-The elderly individual is often alone with the same caregiver
  • The relationship between the elder and caregiver previously, if any
  • A history of domestic violence in the home of the caregiver
  • The inability of a caregiver to look beyond any sort of verbal abuse that the elderly  patient may be exposing them to.
  • Unreasonable amounts of responsibility put onto the caregiver resulting in an  abundance of emotional stress
  • Lack of sufficient experience among the caregiver or training
  • Poor working conditions or environment that results in the caregiver reaching their  wits’ end.

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 an elderly patient is never easy and can sometimes be emotionally frustrating, as well as rewarding.

What groups of elders are most susceptible to nursing home abuse and/or neglect?

All elders are vulnerable to abuse and/or neglect while residing in a nursing home. However, there are certain groups of individuals that are more susceptible than others. Some of the groups that are most susceptible to abuse and/or neglect include the following:

  • Memory Loss:​ Those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory loss diseases or conditions are more prone to abuse as they are vulnerable and fail to recognize abuse as it occurs.
  • Disabilities:​ Elderly individuals who are disabled often are more prone to suffering from abuse within a nursing home facility as well. Oftentimes these individuals require a bit more work, assistance, and ultimately patience from caregivers, which in turn can make caregivers a bit frustrated. Upon becoming frustrated or irritated, a caregiver can lash out at an elderly individual in the form of physical abuse.
  • Isolation:​ Nursing home patients who do not receive regular visits from friends or loved ones are also more susceptible to abuse as they are not regularly monitored, and the perpetrators can get away with the abuse without it becoming noticed.

What Are Some Signs that a Nursing Home Resident is Being Abused?

There are many different indications that abuse or neglect may be occurring in a nursing home. The most common indicators of abuse range vary widely, as there are many different forms of abuse and neglect that go on in nursing homes. The most common forms of abuse as well as their most common signs are listed below:

Physical Abuse

Physic​al abuse is common in California nursing homes as a result of the influx of patients in recent years. The most common signs of physical abuse within a nursing home appear directly on the elder’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)

Emotional Abuse

Some forms of abuse such as physical abuse, often trigger an emotional response from the elderly individual which may present as the following:

  • An injury’s explanation that is not straightforward, or the “facts” change
  • A strained relationship between the elder and the caregiver
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Easily agitated
  • Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Uneasiness around a certain individual out of fear
  • Shrinking from physical contact
  • Efforts to flee the nursing home or certain care
  • Avoidance of assistance when it comes to bathing, changing, or showering

Sexual Abuse

Fortunately, even though sexual abuse can be well concealed, you will have a much better chance of saving your loved one from a sexually abusive environment if you know what to look out for. There are several indicators that may point to the fact that an elder is being abused. The first of these indicators being physical signs of abuse on the elder’s body which include:

  • Development of a pelvic injury
  • Problems walking or sitting
  • Contracting a sexually transmitted disease or STD
  • Torn, bloody, or stained underwear
  • Bruises on the genital area or inner thighs
  • Bleeding from the anus or genitals
  • Irritation or discomfort of the anus or genitals
  • Unusual outbursts of aggression coupled with references to someone doing “bad things” or being “nasty” to the elder
  • Unusual hostility towards male caregivers and other males in the facility

Healthcare Abuse

Another indicator that a loved one may be suffering from abuse within a nursing home has to do with their healthcare, and includes the following:

  • Multiple hospitalizations for a recurring injury
  • Multiple hospitalizations at different locations to ensure the pattern of abuse goes undetected
  • No care at all for an injury that an elder receives
  • Covering up an injury that an elder receives instead of seeking treatment
  • A delay in care for an injury an elder receives for an unexplained reason

Financial Elder Abuse

Financial abuse against an elder is sometimes hard to recognize, and can go unnoticed. If you have a loved one that is incapable of properly handling their money, it is important to recognize this and take action so that perpetrators cannot get their hands on their finances. One way to combat financial elder abuse is to become a conservator or guardian over an elder that is deemed incompetent. Here are some of the most common signs that financial elder abuse is occurring:

  • Canceled checks or bank statements that go to the perpetrator’s home
  • Large bank withdrawals or transfers between different accounts that have no explanation or reason
  • Eviction notices, evidence of unpaid bills or utilities being discontinued due to nonpayment
  • The perpetrator acts as though the elder and he/she are in a relationship, or have a friendship between them, even though they hardly know each other
  • The elderly person is receiving substandard care, even though they should be able to afford better
  • There are ATM withdrawals the elderly person did not or simply could not have made or other withdrawals
  • The elderly person is coerced into signing powers of attorney or other legal documents that they had little to no understanding of
  • The perpetrator presents an obsessive level of interest when it comes to the elder’s expenditures
  • Persons whom the elder barely knows are added to the elder’s bank accounts
  • The elder is missing belongings and/or property with no clear explanation
  • Forgeries are found on financial and legal documents, including checks
  • Financial arrangements are vague and have little to no paper trail or documentation
  • The explanations by the perpetrator in regards to the elder’s finances do not add up to be plausible or in the elder’s best interest, or the story is simply fabricated
  • The elder is completely unaware or lacking key knowledge of their current financial situation

If you have recognized any of these signs of abuse with regard to your loved one, do not hesitate to reach out to Mr. Bryant today. Your hesitation could be the difference in whether or not your loved one is safe, and their abusers are held responsible.

How can I prevent abuse against a loved one in a nursing home facility?

Extensive research should be done when considering a nursing home, but sometimes even these searches into the backgrounds of the nursing homes are not enough. For this reason, in order to ensure that a loved one is not being abused or neglected in a nursing home, it is important to remain in constant contact with the elder. It is also important to visit in person at random times to limit the possibility of apparent abuse or neglect being covered up by the care provider. During in person visits, it is imperative that visitors look for obvious signs of abuse such as the ones listed above. It is also a good idea to take into consideration the environment in which your loved one is residing in. Is the facility clean and organized? Do the staff seem genuinely happy and attentive when dealing with the patients? Finally, do the other elderly patients appear to be in good care and spirits? These are all important things to take into consideration upon visiting, as they may be small indicators of a much larger problem in the nursing home itself. Additionally, there is some publicly available data regarding nursing homes, including local court records and records at the California Department of Public Health and California Department of Social Services.

Where Should Suspected Nursing Home Abuse be Reported?

If you suspect that your family member may be the victim of nursing home abuse notify the nursing home administrator immediately. Additionally, you should contact an experienced elder abuse attorney such as Joel Bryant. The administrator is required to investigate and report it to the state agency. Mr. Bryant is committed to helping bring justice to the elderly and their families. He will also be able to assist you and your loved one navigate the legal process and the courts in order to get your loved one and other residents out of harm’s way, as well as get justice for the suffering your loved one endured.

Why Should I Hire Attorney Joel Bryant?

Nursing home neglect and abuse must be stopped, and the owners of nursing homes are responsible if a resident in their care becomes the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. If one of your loved ones was abused in a nursing home, ​contact ​Attorney Bryant and his team today. It is important for loved one’s to speak out on behalf of their elderly family members because many times, elderly individuals are unable to speak up out of fear, embarrassment, isolation, or diseases such as Alzheimer’s that leave them more vulnerable to being abused. Joel Bryant and his experienced team of ​San Diego elder abuse attorneys can help recover the compensation you deserve, and ensure that your loved one is no longer abused and that the perpetrators are held responsible for their actions. Mr. Bryant and his team have been one of the top elder abuse firms in San Diego for over 30 years and they are committed to helping you navigate the legal process and get you and your loved one the justice that is rightfully deserved. Reach out today for a free, confidential consultation to see if your loved one’s case justifies legal action. Attorney Joel Bryant is committed to helping the elderly and their families. If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse at their nursing home contact Joel Bryant today at ​(619) 239-7900​ for a free legal consultation.

What are some signs that nursing home abuse
or neglect is occurring to a resident?

  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Bed sores (decubitus ulcers)
  • Unexplainable weight loss
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, or fractures
  • Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections; vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Soiled linens or clothing
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Depression
  • Loss of resident's possessions
  • Sudden financial changes

Where should suspected nursing home abuse be reported?

If you suspect that your family member may be the victim of nursing home abuse notify the nursing home administrator immediately. The administrator is required to investigate and report it to the state agency. You should also contact the Department of Public Health (Licensing & Certification Division) or the County Long Term Care Ombudsman. Mr. Bryant is committed to helping bring justice to the elderly and their families.

Why should I hire Attorney Joel Bryant?

Attorney Joel Bryant is committed to helping the elderly and their families. If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of less than adequate care at their nursing home contact Joel Bryant today at (619) 239-7900 for a free legal consultation.

“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.”

Andrea C.

“When one of the most tragic events happened in my life, Joel Bryant and Jason Julius were there for me when I needed someone the most. They both were very professional, honest, compassionate, and supportive."

Brent R.

“Joel was amazingly accessible, by phone, email and often, in person, and still is. He is a professional with an understanding heart, and a sense of humor. I still feel very fortunate to have had him on my side.”

Michelle B.
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