Choosing the right facility for your loved one can be a stressful and difficult process. After spending your money and time securing a safe and clean residence for your loved one, you shouldn't have to worry if he or she is being mistreated. Sadly, abuse and neglect at nursing homes are becoming all too common and an unfortunate reality. To help determine the types of dangers our seniors are exposed to in these facilities, the Operation Guardians multi-agency task force performed surprise inspections of nursing homes throughout California. On January 19, 2012, inspectors visited the Windsor Redding Care Center in Redding. Many of their observations are extremely troubling.
Findings at the Windsor Redding Care Center
Listed among the reports that were made public, the Operation Guardians inspectors observed:
- The smell of feces and urine permeated the facility.
- One patient needed wound management with Hydrocolloid dressings for pressure ulcers on her left and right buttocks. There was no tracking documentation for her injuries.
- A number of the residents did not require 24-hour skilled nursing medical care, yet there was no plan in place to discharge them.
- The facility barely had the minimum number of licenses workers. The report specifically points out that having just the minimum number of workers is not typically enough to provide adequate care.
- One patient was prescribed a number of powerful psychotropic medications without adequate justification. She was diagnosed with dementia though there was no supporting documentation regarding how that diagnosis was done. During the inspection, she was poorly responsive, sedated and moaning. This behavior is likely the result of the antipsychotic drug, benzodiazepine tranquilizer and anticonvulsant she was given.
- Another patient acquired a coccyx pressure sore while staying at the facility. There was no classification of the wound in the resident's chart, and there was no apparent plan to address the issue.
- One resident suffered a serious injury in a falling accident less than a week after admission. She was hospitalized for a brain hemorrhage and suffered a broken hip. Her serious injuries were not reported to the state as required by law.
What is Adequate Care?
Despite the many serious issues listed above, the Windsor Redding Care Center was found adequate by the inspectors. You can imagine what types of facilities are found inadequate by investigators. Some facilities allow physical abuse to occur. Residents are physically, emotionally, financially or even sexually abused. In other facilities, residents are in constant fear of having their personal belongings stolen or their finances being compromised. Other residents are prescribed dangerous drugs without giving consent. Some facilities simply do not have adequate staff to supervise residents while they eat, shower or walk. Victims of abuse or neglect can suffer serious injuries. Tragically, these incidents are underreported or go unreported. In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that for every one case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect reported to the authorities, about five more go unreported.
Protecting Victims' Rights
Your loved one does not have to become a statistic. You can be proactive by visit the facility whenever you get the chance. Try to visit at different hours and introduce yourself to the staff. Make your presence known. While at the facility, inquire about your loved one's health. Ask him or her about how they are doing and if they have any concerns. Look for bruises, injuries or missing items. Notice if their room is unclean or if they seem malnourished.
The experienced California nursing home abuse attorneys at our law practice have a long and successful track record of fighting for the rights of nursing home abuse victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected at a nursing home, please remember that you have legal rights. Please contact us for a free and comprehensive consultation.
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