Choosing the right nursing home for a loved one takes time and thorough research. However, even the best-rated nursing homes aren’t immune from abuse and neglect allegations. If you suspect or know of abuse or neglect of a resident in a nursing home, act now to protect that resident. It’s time to speak with an experienced Walnut Creek nursing home abuse attorney.
We have years of experience representing injured victims in nursing home abuse cases at Fikes Law. We’ve successfully prosecuted nursing home neglect and abuse cases against some of the largest and most notorious nursing home operators in the state.
Our philosophy is simple – we are dedicated to getting justice for our clients. Contact our office for an absolutely confidential and free case evaluation with an experienced Walnut Creek nursing home abuse lawyer at Fikes Law today.
How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help Me?
As nursing home abuse lawyers, we can help you with your matter in multiple ways.
Evaluate Your Case: we can provide you with an assessment of your case after we obtain the necessary evidence and documents to determine what options are available to you and your family and what the likelihood of success is regarding each option.
Request Medical Records: we can assist you in obtaining the nursing home records, hospital records, and other medical records and evaluate those records to determine whether you have a case of nursing home abuse, elder neglect, or wrongful death. This may include sharing the records with experts to obtain their evaluation.
Obtain Police Reports: we can assist in obtaining police reports, medical examiner reports, and other similar documents that may exist in case of nursing home abuse and wrongful death.
Investigate the History of the Nursing Home: we can investigate the history of the nursing home to help you understand whether the nursing home abuse that harmed you or your loved one is a part of a larger pattern of abuse and neglect.
File an elder neglect and abuse lawsuit: if appropriate based on the circumstances, we can file a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit. We may include allegations of fraud, patient rights violations, and negligence. That could also include seeking a Court order requiring the Facility to follow certain state and federal regulations in the future or they risk being sanctioned. During the lawsuit, we would conduct all discovery, and negotiations regarding and resolution. If necessary and justified, we would represent you and your family at trial.
Filing a Complaint: we can assist you in filing a complaint regarding your nursing home abuse case with the California Department of Public Health, The Department of Social Services, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, the Police, and other regulatory agencies.
These are just a few of the ways we at Fikes Law can help you and your family. Most importantly, we will assist you in getting justice for you, or your family based on your goals and objectives, and try to help you obtain closure in your nursing home abuse matter.
What are Potential Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Signs of nursing home abuse are often present before a patient is badly injured or harmed. Sometimes the signs are obvious. Other times they are more subtle.
It’s important to be vigilant and ask questions. If you develop a bad feeling about the nursing home, it may be time to remove your loved one from the facility.
Bed sores also called deep tissue injuries or pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin. Bed sores are a classic sign of nursing home abuse. Bed sores commonly develop or worsen when a patient is not receiving proper preventative treatment from the staff.
Frequent falls may indicate elder abuse or neglect. Falling is a well-known risk in nursing homes. If a patient frequently falls it likely indicates the patient is not receiving proper fall prevention care.
Nutrition is vital to the health and well-being of elderly patients and residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Nursing homes are required to properly assess and develop a plan to ensure their patients maintain proper nutrition. Weight loss, and sudden changes in eating patterns and appetite, are hallmarks that an elderly person’s nutrition needs are not being met at a nursing home.
Suspicious and Unexplained Injuries
Injuries of unknown origin are a red flag. In most cases, the source of an injury should be known to the nursing home staff. Even if the source of the injury is unknown, the fact an injury is observed should be documented and reported. If you are constantly observing injuries to your loved one and the nursing home is not alerting you about it, that is a potential sign of nursing home abuse and neglect.
What Are Some Potential Causes of Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the California Department of Justice, around 110,000 California residents live in approximately 1,300 licensed nursing homes. Around 150,000 live in about 7,500 licensed residential care facilities. And another estimated 150,000 people are living in unlicensed facilities. With that many people living in some assisted living facilities or nursing homes, the chances for abuse increase. But what causes these episodes of abuse? While there is never any excuse to abuse someone in a nursing home, certain factors can increase the likelihood of it happening.
One of the most significant contributors to nursing home abuse is understaffed facilities. Patient neglect is not uncommon in facilities that lack enough trained staff. Responsibilities are not fulfilled, and staff members need to prioritize specific patient needs over others. When the facility is understaffed, it can create a hostile environment. When you have bitter and stressed-out employees, they may begin to take out their frustrations on the residents.
Lack of Training
Even if a nursing home has the correct staff numbers, it doesn’t help if the team lacks the training to do its job. These staff members don’t know how to handle changing needs of residents, or they don’t know how to provide the necessary care. Lack of training can include:
- Staff members do not have the necessary educational and/or vocational training experience
- Lack of training on the nursing home’s policies
- No continued development opportunities or any further on-the-job training
- Lack of prior experience in another nursing home
- No understanding of the residents’ rights; and
- Lack of training on specific needs, illnesses, disabilities, and equipment.
Lack of training leads to a lack of care or support because the employee doesn’t know what to do. This situation leads to nursing home neglect. If the lack of action continues, the caregiver could start depriving the resident of their essential needs. This could give rise to nursing home abuse.
Not all nursing homes are run the same. When a nursing home has poor management, it can lead to all sorts of issues, including a lack of safety standards. There is also a lack of accountability in a poorly run home. When the staff is not motivated or lacks leadership, the risk of neglect and abuse increases.
Sometimes, the nursing home can do everything right. However, that one caregiver has their own agenda or is just miserable. It could be that the person is experiencing personal issues at home, or has problems with their mental health. They bring their frustrations and stress to work, and the residents get the brunt of that.
Delays in Reporting Injuries and Accidents to Family
Nursing homes are required to promptly inform a patient’s responsible party/family member about any injury or accident. Failing to report or timely report injuries and accidents to family members is a bad sign that your loved one may be the victim of abuse or neglect.
Medication administration is highly regulated in nursing homes. Mistakes should not be made. There are four general categories of medication errors including (1) providing medication at the incorrect time, (2) to the wrong patient, (3) after a doctor had discontinued the medication order, or (4) at the wrong dose. Medication errors typically occur due to understaffing, lack of adequate procedures, communication failures, and lack of supervision. Medication errors are a strong sign of elder neglect and abuse.
Common Nursing Home Abuse Injuries
Bed Sore injuries often occur due to preventative care being withheld from the patient. They can become life-threatening if they are not properly and immediately treated.
Fractures, including head and spinal injuries. These injuries are most frequently caused by falling, being dropped, or being assaulted
Infections, including skin infections urinary tract infections, and sepsis. Infections are primarily caused by the failure to maintain sanitary conditions. Sepsis can be a serious life-threatening physical condition that results from the complications of an infection. It occurs when a patient’s body attempts to fight off the infection and the response causes other medical complications. It is a significant and severe medical emergency that may result in death.
Malnutrition & Dehydration. Malnutrition is the lake of adequate nutrient intake and Dehydration is the lack of water. Signs of malnutrition and dehydration may include weight loss, and changes in skin color and energy levels, leading to the loss of strength and mobility. Malnutrition and dehydration can in turn increase a patient’s risk of developing bed sores, increase their risk of falling and developing and increase the risk of developing infections.
Poor Hygiene, including dirty hair, skin, and clothes. It may also include failing to change a patient’s diaper or properly cleaning them during diaper changes or allowing them to sit in their diaper for too long.
Skin Injuries, other than bed sores, may include open wounds, bruises, and lacerations.
Choking is a common problem in nursing homes. It often results in death or serious brain injury. Almost all choking injuries in nursing homes are preventable. Many nursing homes maintain policies and procedures to prevent choking. Unfortunately, many facilities do not properly implement these plans and many patients/residents are harmed as a result.
Criminal and Regulatory Aspects of Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Nursing homes are regulated under state and federal laws. Choosing an attorney that is knowledgeable about those regulations is essential to understanding your rights.
Elder neglect and abuse are also one of the few civil violations of the law that may also be actionable as a crime. See, California Penal Code § 368.
We have represented elder abuse clients harmed by nursing home abuse that was also prosecuted as a crime. We understand the intricacies that arise when representing nursing home abuse victims in cases where the state may also be prosecuting a criminal case against the abuser(s).
We can help you and your family through that difficult time and process while also obtaining compensation from the person or person(s) responsible for your harm.
Why Choose Fikes Law to Get You the Legal Help You Need?
Fikes law has obtained multiple six and seven-figure verdicts against nursing homes and assisted living facilities in California.
We’ve successfully prosecuted cases involving wrongful death, sexual abuse, bed sores, falls and fractures, and cases involving violations of patients’ rights including violations of the Medicaid Statutes.
We work closely and personally with our clients to obtain the best result for them given their case, and goals. If you have any questions about a nursing home abuse case, do not hesitate to contact us for a free and confidential nursing home abuse case consultation.
We look forward to hearing from you.
How to Work With a Walnut Creek Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
First, you have to contact us to discuss your case. The sooner the better. Acting fast in nursing home abuse cases is important.
Second, you should diligently obtain the information that we request and provide it to our office so we can assess your situation as quickly as possible. That may include gathering as much information as you already have together.
Third, you should continue to ask questions and be available during the process of evaluating your case.
Nursing Home Abuse FAQ
If you have more questions about nursing home abuse and neglect, you should check our nursing home abuse frequently asked questions and answers page. If you still cannot find the answer to the question you have, please contact our office to discuss your situation.
Let Fikes Law Get You the Legal Help You Need – Contact us Today
Contact our Walnut Creek nursing home lawyer today for a free and confidential case evaluation.