Recent government reports have shown that the conditions in many of California's nursing homes leave much to be desired. Nursing home residents suffer from severe neglect not to mention lack of attention. Task forces that conducted random inspections of Los Angeles area nursing homes also found falsification of patient records and medication mix-ups. When you visit your loved one at a Long Beach nursing home, there are warning signs of abuse and neglect for which family members should look out. If you find that your loved one has been suffering signs of nursing home abuse, consulting a Long Beach nursing home attorney will be a necessary step towards obtaining justice. The following information includes how to spot signs of neglect.
Signs of Neglect
All Long Beach nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide a level of care and attention that will keep their residents healthy and comfortable. When a facility does not have a large enough staff or adequate supervision, there is the potential for neglect to occur. When visiting your loved one, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the facility clean? Infections can spread through a facility that lacks cleanliness. Soiled materials should be cleaned immediately. Towels and clothes should not be placed on the floor.
- Is the room tidy? When rooms are dirty, it may be a sign that the residents are not receiving enough individual attention.
- Is the staff paying attention to your loved one's personal hygiene? Are proper baths being given? Are his or her clothes properly laundered? Being dirty may not necessarily result in an injury, illness or infection, but it is symptomatic of neglect that is potentially dangerous.
- Are the medications being administered properly? Unusual doses of medications may be a sign that your loved one is not given the medical care he or she needs. Also, when your loved one is being given anti-psychotic medications unnecessarily, it could be a sign of chemical restraint.
- Has your loved one lost a significant amount of weight? Dehydration and malnutrition are serious issues that can lead to illness or death. Care facilities must not only provide adequate nutrition, but also ensure that the meals and drinks are being provided in a timely manner.
Signs of Abuse
There are many forms of abuse that must be reported to the authorities right away. If you notice any of the following signs of abuse, do not hesitate to contact the authorities:
- Unexplained injuries. Whenever a resident falls down or suffers an injury, it should be on their medical records and you should be contacted. When a resident has unexplained bruises or broken bones, it may be a sign of abuse and an attempt to cover it up.
- Restraints and overmedication. Some facilities may wrongfully restrain their residents through physical restraints or through over medication. Drug-induced sedation and physical confinement are serious forms of abuse that can have fatal consequences.
- Lost belongings. It is common for residents to have items and belongings stolen from their room. In the most severe cases of financial abuse, an elderly person may have their checks stolen or their wills changed.
- Severe changes in personality. Emotional abuse is more difficult to detect than physical abuse. The scars of belittling, threatening, insulting and berating are internal. Victims may become isolated, quiet or quick to aggression. These sudden changes in personality should be taken seriously. Something tragic may have occurred or your loved one may be suffering from regular mistreatment.
Know Your Rights
Under California law, all concerns over physical abuse must be reported to law enforcement. Concerned loved ones can also contact:
- The Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services agency. They have a link on their official site to report abuse.
- The Licensing and Certification Program of the California Department of Health Services.
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman's Office. Officials with the local Ombudsman Programs can offer assistance on the legal options available.
- California Attorney General Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse
The experienced Long Beach nursing home abuse lawyers at our law firm are passionate about representing the rights of nursing home residents, victims and their families. We believe that nursing homes have a legal and moral obligation to provide quality care to their residents. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Long Beach, please contact us for a free and comprehensive consultation.