NURSING HOME ABUSE
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. The Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara has dedicated a portion of our law practice to the representation of individuals and families whose loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, residential care, assisted living, or home–health environment.
If you or a loved one were hurt or injured in an elder-care setting, there is a good chance we can help.
Our law firm works on a contingency basis, which means that we bear the cost of cases that we pursue and we are not paid a fee or reimbursed costs unless we obtain compensation for you and your loved one. Please explore our website or learn more about what we do and what options are available to you by contacting us immediately at (855) 247-3190 or in our Santa Rosa Office at 707 571-8600 or our San Rafael Office at (415) 492-4507. If you should call after hours you will be connected to one of our operators who will instantly connect you to one of our highly skilled and experienced nursing home abuse attorneys.
We represent victims or their families in cases of abuse or neglect by hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, and home health care agencies and other care providers.
The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA) protects elders (persons at least 65 years of age) and dependent adults from mistreatment and abuse by encouraging attorneys to sue on their behalf. Prior to EADACPA, negligent operators and wrongdoers were able to avoid responsibility for their negligent and callous acts by stonewalling and delaying claims until elderly victims died. Under that scenario, such lawsuits lost most of their value and attorneys were discouraged from filing. Under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Civil Protection Act, this loophole has been eliminated and holds negligent, greedy owners and operators of facilities catering to the elderly fully responsible even for those who die as a result of very bad care.
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 a variety of different injuries.
- One of the biggest causes of injuries in elder care facilities involves 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 and some of the following questions should be asked:
- 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 The Law Offices Of Michael A. Fiumara has handled numerous cases where the answer was, “no.”
OTHER EXAMPLES OF NEGLECT AND ABUSE TO LOOK FOR:
- 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. The Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara has handled cases related to bed sores and is well-acquainted with the cause and medical treatment for this painful skin condition.
- Wandering or Elopement – More and more nursing facilities hold themselves out to be a safe place 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 relatively good 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 and adequate staffing. 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. The Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara has represented numerous victims of physical or sexual abuse in a long-term care facility.
SOME OTHER ELDER ABUSE SIGNS
If your elderly loved one has been neglected or abused, you may notice some of the following symptoms or problems:
- Medications not being administered or administered improperly.
- Soiled clothing or bed linens.
- Unsanitary living conditions.
If your elderly loved one has been abused in a sexual manner, he/she may suffer from or show some of the following symptoms:
- Bruises around the breasts/genital regions.
- Bloody undergarments.
- Venereal disease.
- Bleeding around the genital or anal area.
Sexually abused senior citizens may be subject to despicable and shocking abuse. For example, they could have been forced to watch pornographic material or have their photos taken against their will. Some elders are forced to undress or made to watch sex acts performed by their caregivers. The list is long and it takes a very watchful eye to catch some of these symptoms because they may go unnoticed for a long time.
Financial exploitation is actually the most common form of nonphysical abuse of the elderly and an unscrupulous caregiver may do any of the following:
- Misuse of your elderly loved ones checks, accounts or credit cards.
- Steal money, steal checks or steal personal belongings including jewelry and other small valuable items.
- Forge signatures on financial documents including loans.
- Authorize withdrawals or transfer of monies from ATM’s and other sources.
- Steal the elder’s identity for fraudulent purposes and the like.
If you suspect abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home or any elder care facility in the North Bay, please call The Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara today for your free case evaluation.
We will fight for YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONE!
Please call us at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or all our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with one of our Santa Rosa personal injury attorneys. “The right attorney makes all the difference.”