ARE YOU OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE A VICTIM OF NURSING HOME ABUSE?
We can help. Our Santa Cruz personal injury law firm is experienced and successful in nursing home abuse.
Nursing home neglect and abuse is one of the most insidious legal problems facing 21st Century America. Elder abuse and abuse of dependent adults in nursing homes throughout California is widespread and significant, yet the court system is only beginning to address this problem.
The number of elderly and dependent adults who reside in nursing homes has increased dramatically as life expectancies increase, medical care improves, and families are often disbursed throughout the country. Elders and dependent adults are among the most vulnerable members of our society and are susceptible through institutional neglect and abuse when a nursing home prefers increasing profits over providing adequate patient care.
The rights of nursing home patients were significantly increased with the enactment of the Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EDACPA) in 1992. This California law was created to help protect the interests and lives of the elderly when they are subjected to institutional neglect and abuse.
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WE WIN FOR OUR CLIENTS
$350,000 settlement – The nursing home’s neglect resulted in multiple falls and fractured bones to this man, which the family contended hastened his death.
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Some nursing homes consider profits more important than care.
In nursing home chains or facilities where profits are more important than patient care, staff is often poorly trained, overworked, and there is a high turnover of employees. Such facilities often do not meet the minimum state requirements for staffing, and the direct result of an untrained and understaffed nursing home is that patient neglect and abuse occurs.
The litany of abuse which unfortunately occurs in some nursing homes is varied and tragic. Patients commonly suffer serious pressure sores (decubitus ulcers) which can become infected, immobilize a patient for weeks, months or even years, and sometimes result in death.
Without enough staffing and supervision, nursing home patients can suffer serious, avoidable falls, which can result not only in fractures, but a vulnerable patient can also suffer an early death.
In chronically understaffed facilities, patients are often not helped to the bathroom, provided needed assistance, or left neglected in bed. There have been cases of residents who were virtually starved or dehydrated to death. Many times patients will be over-medicated in order to make them “less of a problem” to the staff. Sometimes over-medication, or on occasion under-medication, can also lead to death.
In California, elder abuse can occur in either skilled nursing facilities or residential care facilities. Each of these types of nursing homes are governed by very different regulations and provide very different types of services.
The California Department of Health Services licenses, regulates and monitors skilled nursing facilities, while the California Department of Social Services does the same for residential care facilities. The National Council for Aging Care also attempts to advocate for patients who are being neglected and abused in nursing homes. Unfortunately, these governmental entities are woefully understaffed and under funded compared to the resources of the nursing home industry.
SS&F has the expertise you need.
The attorneys at SS&F in Santa Cruz, CA have a long history of representing nursing home patients and their families in lawsuits against California nursing homes where there has been serious neglect and abuse resulting in long term health consequences to the patients, as well as wrongful death. These are complex lawsuits, which often involve thousands of pages of medical records, policies and procedures. Experts in the field of nursing home administration, nursing care, and physicians in a variety of specialties are needed to successfully hold the nursing home accountable for its neglect or abuse.
If the case is properly prepared and litigated, often times a lawsuit against a nursing home chain can be part of a legal process which can bring about substantive and positive change in the nursing home. The lawsuit can obviously provide monetary compensation and damages to the patient or family as a result of a nursing home’s neglect. Under California nursing home law, if a nursing home has acted recklessly, the nursing home will be required to pay the client’s attorney’s fees as well.
Elderly Americans who are often referred to as America’s “greatest generation” deserve to live their twilight years in nursing homes, which properly care for and support them. When instead a nursing home neglects and abuses our parents, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters, California law provides both compensation and a mechanism to punish the responsible nursing home.