What would you do if you found out the nursing home your family member was living in was providing him/her with substandard care or abusing them? Would you know how to react to the news?
The sad reality is that many families are being presented with such news more frequently than we would like. According to the National Council on Aging, it is estimated that one in 10 Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse. In fact, as many as five million elders are abused each year in the U.S. A few months back, San Diego 7 News reported that in San Diego County alone, more than 9,000 cases of elder abuse are reported annually.
While some of these individuals are still living at home, many are residing in an assisted-living facility such as a nursing home.
When you have a close friend or relative living in a nursing home who is dependent upon the staff to care for them, it is important to recognize the signs of elder abuse so that you can report it and the appropriate form of action can be taken to address the problem. Unfortunately, not all signs of abuse and neglect are obvious which can make it even more difficult for family members to identify when their loved one isn’t being treated properly. It is for this reason that families are encouraged to utilize all the resources that are available to them that can help identify a home that might not be a safe place for their loved one to live in.
For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has an online tool that can be used to identify facilities in a specific zip code or city that have had one or more cases of abuse or neglect occur there. In fact, the CMS flagged a few nursing homes near the San Diego area for abuse and neglect and recognized others for their below average rating.
All of the facilities that were flagged also had poor ratings on the Nursing Home Compare system. This system uses information and data to rate nursing homes located all across the U.S. Some of the things that are rated independently and affect a facility’s overall rating include health inspections, quality measures, and staffing levels.
Tip: If you are thinking of relocating a family member to a nursing home in San Diego or a neighboring city, visit the CMS website to learn more about the facilities in these areas and find out if they have been flagged for abuse or neglect. Although a facility that has been flagged doesn’t necessarily mean your loved one is going to be mistreated, these are usually the homes where incidents are more likely to occur.
What legal recourse can I take after finding out my relative is the victim of nursing home abuse?
When a family moves their aging relative into a nursing home in San Diego, CA, the last thing they expect is for harm to be inflicted upon them. But with homes becoming more and more understaffed and some hiring workers who are not qualified to care for aging individuals, the chances of a resident being abused increases. If your relative lives in San Diego and you believe he/she is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, the first thing you should do is contact a San Diego, CA nursing home abuse attorney.
The truth is, many individuals are uncertain as to how they should handle a situation involving their loved one who has been mistreated by a nursing home worker. While some assume that filing a complaint with the facility administration is going to resolve the problem, there is actually much more that can be done to ensure justice is served and those who inflicted the harm are punished. Each state has specific criminal and civil laws that can be utilized to bring abusers to justice.
For example, if your loved one suffered an injury as a result of being physically abused or neglected, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the home in an effort to collect damages. Some of the damages you may be able to recover for your loved one include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Mental anguish
Therefore, if you think your loved one was physically or emotionally harmed by a nursing home employee in San Diego, CA, The Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth is here to help you understand what your legal rights are as a relative.
You can reach The Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth at:
Phone: (619) 691-8942
Mission Valley Office
1761 Hotel Court, Suite 250
San Diego, CA 92108
Scripps Ranch Office
11704 Petenwell Road
San Diego, CA 92131
Chula Vista Office
815 Third Ave., Ste. 115
Chula Vista, CA 91911