North Bay Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Abuse or neglect in the nursing home or long-term care setting is a growing problem in the United States and Northern California has not been spared. Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has dedicated a portion of our law practice to the representation of individuals and families whose loved one has been abused or neglect in the nursing home, residential care, assisted living, or home–health environment.
What is elder abuse or neglect?
Under California law, it can be many things. In the case of physical abuse, it is fairly obvious. Any assault and/or battery, in any form, upon someone over 64 years of age is elder abuse. Elder “neglect,” on the other hand, is not so easy to define. In California, neglect of an elder or dependent adult is defined as the negligent failure of any person having care or custody of that person to exercise a degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would provide.
In a nursing home or assisted living setting, an elder or dependent adult can be neglected in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, the failure to prepare and follow a care-plan (or to update the care-plan), a failure to keep the resident free from safety hazards, the failure to nourish with food and water, the failure to provide appropriate care, and the failure to treat with dignity and/or respect.
While abuse and neglect can arise in a variety of settings and situations, most cases are the result of poor care or understaffing, which result in the following injuries or illnesses:
Falls Causing Fractures or Head Injuries- A fall inside of a nursing home in and of itself is not evidence of neglect. But the conduct of the facility before or after the fall can be the basis for liability.
Was the person a fall risk and were assessments performed?
Was a care plan made to address the risk, and were the recommendations followed?
Was the care plan updated to address any new risks?
After a fall, was there a proper assessment performed?
Was appropriate medical attention sought in a timely manner?
These are but a few of the questions that need to be answered to determine whether a nursing home fall is the basis for liability, but Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has handled numerous cases where No was the answer to one or more of the preceding questions.
Bed Sores or Pressure Ulcers – Also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers should never get so bad inside a nursing home that they are graded as a Stage III or IV. Any risks for bed sores should be assessed as it arises, and a proper care plan should address that risk. It is a rare person that acquires a Stage IV pressure ulcer absent some type of negligence. Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has handled numerous cases related to bed sores and is well-acquainted with medicine that surrounds these painful skin issues.
Wandering or Elopement – More and more nursing facilities hold themselves as home for the “memory impaired,” marketing to the growing population of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Special care needs to be taken with this patient population, who frequently possess decent physical health but poor mental health. Wandering and elopement are a constant concern, and facilities are required to protect this vulnerable population from hazards, including themselves.
Malnutrition or Dehydration – Nursing homes have a duty to make sure its residents are adequately nourished, which means a health sustaining diet, and sufficient hydration. For many, this requires diligence. Just a few days of a failure to provide adequate nutrition can have disastrous consequences, including death. Any illness or death thought to be the result of malnutrition or dehydration should be thoroughly investigated.
Physical or Sexual Abuse – Physical abuse can come in several forms, and from several sources. Sexual abuse by a caregiver or another resident is no longer a rare event, and should never occur, especially in a care facility that is offering professional care. Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has represented numerous victims of physical or sexual abuse in a long-term care facility.
If you suspect abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home, please call Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC today for your free case evaluation.
We will fight for YOU!
Please CLICK HERE to view our blog post specific to Nursing Home Abuse cases.