Laguna Niguel Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If you are worried that your loved one is being neglected or abused at an assisted living facility, please contact the Laguna Niguel Nursing Home Lawyers of Bisnar Chase.
We will bring justice to your loved one by holding nursing home staff accountable for their wrongdoings. For over 40 years, our personal injury law firm has retained a 96% success rate in winning elder abuse cases.
When you call today, you will earn a free consultation with a top-legal expert. Do not let your loved one continue to live in a hostile environment that inflicts pain and suffering upon them. Contact the law firm of Bisnar Chase at 949-203-3814 to obtain more information about your legal rights and options.
Nursing Home Staffing and California Law
When a nursing home attempts to cut costs by under-staffing the facility, it is the residents who suffer. It is not only dangerous to have too few qualified staff working at a nursing home, but it is also illegal.
According to the California Health and Safety Code Section 1599.1: “(a) The facility shall employ an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry out all of the functions of the facility.” The facility will need adequate staff to:
- Provide food of the quality and quantity to meet the patients' needs in accordance with physicians' orders
- Provide an activity program staffed and equipped to meet the needs and interests of each patient and to encourage self-care and resumption of normal activities
- Keep the facility “clean, sanitary, and in good repair at all times.”
Under California Health and Safety Codes, nursing homes are required to provide 3.2 nursing hours per patient per day. In other words, a facility with 10 residents must have 32 hours of direct caregivers every day. That 3.2 to one ratio does not include staff members who are not caregivers such as maintenance and janitorial staff. It does, however, include registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and certified nursing assistants.
It is important to remember that a nursing home should go above and beyond the legally mandated minimum requirements. Having 3.2 hours of professional caregivers per resident is the absolute minimum amount of staffing allowed. To provide adequate care, a nursing home should have more staff than required by law.
The Importance of Adequate Staffing
It stands to reason that the more staff you have on hand, the greater the chances of each patient receiving adequate care. It is tragically common in understaffed facilities for patients to suffer from neglect or even abuse. Individuals are more likely to become dehydrated, malnourished, unkempt and uncared for in facilities that do not have sufficient staffing. Understaffed facilities also mean that the staff on hand is probably overworked. In such cases, they may be more agitated, on edge and prone towards being short or mean to the residents. Victims of this type of emotional abuse may become depressed or withdrawn. When a worker is pushed to the brink, there is a greater chance of physical abuse occurring as well.
The Prevalence of Under-staffing in Laguna Niguel
According to statistics provided by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), in one year, 1,285 nursing homes were cited for “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to residents. GAO statistics also show that California leads all states in the number of citations issued to nursing homes. Under-staffing and lack of training are the most common factors linked to nursing home abuse and neglect.
How Can I Tell that My Loved One is Being Abused?
There is a multitude of signs that can indicate that your family member is in a hostile living environment. Indicators of the abuse or neglect can be shown physically, emotionally or psychologically. Unfortunately, statistics do not accurately represent the number of elders who have abused due to residents fearing staff retaliation. If you believe that your loved one is being abused at a senior care facility report the incident right away.
Physical signs of elder abuse: Studies have reported that over 24.3% of senior citizens experience physical abuse while in an elderly home. The most common signs that can signal physical abuse are bruises, broken bones, cuts or pressure marks. Pressure marks around the wrists are clear indicators of elder abuse especially if your loved one has never exhibited hostile behavior. Pressure marks can possibly mean that your loved one is being restrained to their bed. Chemical restraint is also a widely common form of elder abuse in nursing homes. Chemical restraint is used as a form of control for abusers which involves sedating the patient to a point where they cannot move. It is illegal for a senior care facility to use chemical restraints unless the resident has a medical professional stating that sedation is necessary for an elderly resident.
Emotional signs of senior resident abuse: When a family leaves their loved one in someone else's care they are trusting that their loved one is in a healthy, stable environment. Unfortunately, though, at times that may not be the case. There has been an estimated amount of 435,000 cases of emotional abuse amongst senior living residents. Most of the elder emotional abuse victims are women. If you have observed your loved one displaying symptoms such as changes in sleep patterns, depression, refraining from making eye contact, scared, experiencing mood swings or appear quieter than usual immediately bring this to the attention of the nursing home management for further investigation.
Is Neglect Considered Abuse For a Laguna Niguel Claim?
Elder abuse and elder neglect are two categories that go hand and hand. Some may even argue that neglect is a form of abuse. When your loved one is not receiving the proper care they need to maintain their health and well-being this is considered neglect.
Different types of neglect include:
Poor personal hygiene: If your family member has not been showered or their sheets smell or appear soiled, there is a high possibility that your loved one is being neglected. Basic procedures such as brushing of the teeth, showering, changing into clean clothes and changing out dirty sheets should be completed on a day-to-day basis by the nursing home staff.
Lack of everyday necessities: A staff member that is not providing enough food or enough nutritious food to the senior resident is not properly caring for your loved one. In fact, they are putting your loved one's health on the line. Water deprivation is also a form of nursing home neglect. When an elderly resident is not provided with enough water this can worsen any medical conditions they have such as diabetes.
Insufficient amount of socialization: When an elderly resident is confined to a space for a long period of time this can lead to serious issues with depression and even strike suicidal thoughts. Research has proven that socialization is important for older people so they can maintain a healthy standard of cognitive abilities. Senior residents who do not socialize daily experience a 70% decline in cognitive abilities.
What should I Do If I Find Out My Loved One is Being Abused?
Before you make an informed decision to follow through with legal representation for your loved one that is suffering from abuse in a nursing home it is highly recommended to follow the below suggestions.
Notify someone in authority immediately: If you believe that your loved one is in immediate danger call the police as soon as possible. If you have a suspicion that your loved one is being abused inform adult protective services. You can also report elder abuse online. You will know that your report was issued as soon as you have been contacted and are assigned a case manager. The case manager will then investigate the situation and conclude whether abused had occurred. If evidence concludes that abuse was present, the case will then be handed to law enforcement.
Pursue your legal options: A skilled Laguna Niguel nursing home lawyer can review the records of a care facility to prove that they have been under-staffing their facility. California law clearly states what is the legally mandated number of workers a nursing home should employ and facilities that fail to meet that minimum requirement should be held accountable for their actions. The Orange County personal injury attorneys of Bisnar Chase make it a priority to provide you with the best legal advice. Our team of experts know how to speak and have gone up against the toughest insurance companies. Contact our law offices today for a free case-analysis.
Since 1978, the Laguna Niguel Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers of Bisnar Chase have been defending senior citizens who have suffered at the hands of abusive staff members and unsanitary living conditions. Our Laguna Niguel elder abuse attorneys have won an estimated amount of $500 million dollars in compensation for injury victims.
If you worry that your loved one has been neglected or abused at a nursing home, please do not hesitate to act quickly. Our law firm has a multitude of experience representing clients for catastrophic injuries they have obtained in car accidents, medical malpractice and even have fought for compensation for families who have experienced a wrongful death.
Please call us at 949-203-3814 today for a free consultation and to find out how we can help you.