Today there are more than 700 for-profit nursing homes in Southern California and an even greater number of residential care facilities for the elderly, including assisted living facilities, memory care, and board and care homes. On any given day, more than 50,000 Southern California seniors and dependent adults are being cared for in these facilities, and on too many occasions these residents are becoming the victims neglect or physical abuse while residing at the very place that is supposed to provide them care and safety. Our San Diego nursing home negligence lawyers are here to help.
The lawyers at the Southern California Nursing Home Law Group have represented hundreds of individuals and families, from every Southern California county, in cases of neglect or abuse of a loved one. We are a few of a handful of lawyers who specialize in these cases, and we know how these nursing facilities work, we know California law, and more often than not we know the lawyers the nursing home industry hires to defend these homes.
If you want to talk to a lawyer about a case of neglect, abuse, or malpractice in the nursing home or assisted living setting, please call us today. There is never a fee to discuss a matter, and you will get an honest appraisal of your case.
In our two decades of representing individuals and families who have been victims of nursing home abuse and neglect we have pretty much seen it all, from sexual abuse, fractures that go untreated, and wounds that become necrotic (and even maggot infested). But from the hundreds of cases we have been involved in, there are several broad categories of neglect or abuse have emerged.Falls Causing Injury
By law, every resident who is admitted into a skilled nursing facility must be assessed for a variety of risk factors, and one of those is falls. A fall risk assessment should accurately evaluate the resident’s ability to ambulate, the resident’s cognitive function and safety awareness, continency, and the other factors that might indicate that the resident is at risk for falling. The risk assessment should determine whether the resident is a low, moderate, or high risk for suffering falls.
Once the assessment is completed, the nursing home must implement a plan of care that mitigates the fall risk, including such things as lowering the bed, placing a mat on the floor, or using a bed or tab alarm.
The fall cases our San Diego nursing home negligence lawyers see the most are those that arise out of negligent monitoring by nursing home staff. That is, caregivers fail to follow the very precautions set forth in the care plan to address the fall risk. These falls can be devastating, and frequently result in hip or femur fractures, head or brain injuries, and fractures of neck.
We acknowledge that sometimes injurious falls occur in nursing facilities that could not be prevented. But those falls should be rare.Bed Sores (Decubitus Ulcers)
The skin wound a bedbound patient can develop in a nursing facility is identified by a variety of names. We tend to call them “bed sores,” but you will also hear them called pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers, skin ulcers, skin wounds, and deep tissue injuries. Whatever they’re called, these wounds can devastate the quality of life for a nursing home patient because they are very painful, difficult to heal, and can become infected with serious complications, including death.
Like the fall risk assessment discussed above, nursing home residents must also be evaluated for their risk of skin breakdown and interventions must be taken, such as turning the patient on a regular basis, and elevating the heels with a pillow. Once a wound is discovered, it must be diligently treated, often by a wound-care professional, to prevent it from worsening.
The nursing home negligence attorneys in San Diego have handled dozens of bed sore cases against nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including many cases involving Stage IV sores. We understand the medicine involved in treating these wounds, and the standards of care required to prevent them.Malnutrition / Dehydration
The most fundamental task for a nursing facility is to adequately nourish its residents with the food and liquids needed to maintain good health. Like falls and wound prevention, a nursing home resident’s food and intake requirements should be set forth in the patient’s carefully prepare plan of care. On too many occasions, the plan of care is not followed, and the resident suffers the consequences of inadequate nourishment, which manifests itself as malnutrition and/or dehydration.
Malnutrition and dehydration can arise in a variety of ways. Usually, there is a change in health condition of a resident that goes unnoticed by staff. That change in condition requires an adjustment in meal planning that simply does not occur, leaving the patient vulnerable. We have had several cases where meals and liquids were left at the resident’s bedside table in a manner where the resident is unable to reach the plate or the glass, only to have the meal taken away uneaten. The bottom line is that no resident of a skilled nursing facility or residential care facility for the elderly should experience malnutrition or dehydration while under skilled, professional care.
If malnutrition or dehydration are an issue with your loved one, then you many need to discuss your case with a negligence attorney focusing on San Diego nursing homes.Physical or Sexual Abuse
Though not as common as “neglect,” cases of physical or sexual abuse are by far the most egregious cases of nursing home injury. This type of abuse hardly requires description, but the physical or sexual abuse of a senior in the nursing or assisted living setting is most often committed by a fellow resident, often someone in cognitive decline or with memory impairment. Other, but more rare cases, involve physical abuse by staff members or individuals from outside the community.
However the abuse occurs, it is a requirement of the nursing home operators to keep the residents safe from any kind of abuse. If it is a fellow resident or an employee, they should be aware of those propensities. If it is someone from the outside, the nursing facility should have protective systems in place to prevent intruders, and know who is coming and going into resident rooms.Untimely Transfer to Hospital / Failure to Obtain Medical Care
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities undoubtedly house an incredibly vulnerable population of patients. Many have preexisting health conditions; others are in good health but of advanced age. Because of these vulnerabilities, the health of these individuals can take a serious turn for the worse without warning.
When a nursing home resident experiences a dramatic change in condition, the nursing home must obtain appropriate medical care, which usually starts with calling the assigned physician, but many times requires a call to 911 for a transport to a hospital.
Here at Southern California Nursing Home Law Group we have handled many cases where the liability arose from the facilities failure to obtain appropriate medical care when the situation called for it. We see this frequently in the assisted living setting, where the staff is less trained, has little medical training, and where there is a financial disincentive to transfer the patient to the hospital. In any setting, the failure of caregivers to obtain appropriate medical care can be devastating, frequently leading to fatalities.
There are a wide number of ways an individual under nursing care can be abused and neglected, and our San Diego nursing home negligence lawyer has pretty much seen them all. Anytime there is an unexpected illness, injury, or death it may have been preceded by negligent care, which should be investigated. If you suspect that a loved one was harmed by poor care, we would be glad to speak with you about your situation. We proudly serve all Southern California counties, and there is never a fee to discuss a case. Please call anytime at (866) 607-1325
The attorneys at Southern California Nursing Home Law Group are some of the most experienced in the state at using the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Welf. and Inst. Code section 15600, et sec.) for the benefit of elders and dependent adults under 24-hour care. They have brought hundreds of cases alleging neglect and abuse of an elder or dependent adult against some of the state's largest nursing home chains, and some of the smallest assisted living facility homes. It doesn't matter where the neglect happens, only if it happens.
Consultations about cases, whether online or over the phone, are always free.