Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in the South Bay
What to Do When Your Trust Has Been Betrayed
The decision to place an elderly family member in a nursing home is a difficult one to make. You want the best for your loved one, but when you can no longer provide the care and attention that he or she needs in your own home, you do your best to find a nursing home where your family member will be safe, comfortable and well-cared for. After finally making the decision to place your loved one in the facility, you have reason to be outraged upon learning that he or she has been neglected, abused or attacked at the hands of those whom you trusted to provide care.
Causes and Consequences of Nursing Home Neglect
According to the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, 20 percent of the nursing homes statewide are understaffed. When this is the case, it is almost inevitable that the residents will suffer from some degree of neglect, since the caregivers simply will not have the time to pay the necessary attention to each one. Tragically, this means that patients are frequently left alone for long periods of time, during which they may suffer from emotional isolation, may become dehydrated and malnourished, and will likely be living in sordid conditions. In the event that the resident is injured in a slip and fall accident, he or she may not receive the necessary medical treatment in time and is at risk of death.
Physical and Chemical Restraints
One solution which many of the nursing homes in the South Bay area and statewide use to compensate for understaffing or poorly trained staff is to tie the patients down to their beds. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that nursing homes in California use physical restraints at a rate that is double the nationwide rate. In addition to physical restraints, they may use chemical restraints, which is nothing more than forced drugging. The group California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) states that 25,000 California nursing home residents are being fed powerful antipsychotic drugs which essentially turn them into zombies. Side effects of these drugs can include anxiety, confusion, disorientation, memory loss, nightmares, lethargy and seizures. Worse, antipsychotic drugs are recognized as greatly increasing the chance of death among patients who suffer from dementia.
Abuse in South Bay Nursing Homes
Beyond neglect and restraints, it is also common to find that a nursing home resident has been actively abused by the caregivers or other staff of the facility. This may occur as emotional abuse, such as with name calling, insulting language or humiliating behavior. It may be physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shoving or chocking. It may even be sexual abuse ranging from molestation to rape. Abuse is widespread in nursing homes in California: CANHR states that for every case of nursing home abuse which is reported, 23.5 go unreported.
South Bay Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
The nursing home or staff thereof may face regulatory sanctions and perhaps even criminal prosecution for their wrongdoing, but if you are determined to recover financial compensation you must take legal action by filing a civil claim in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Whether the incident occurred in Manhattan Beach, Hawthorne, Torrance, El Segundo, or Redondo Beach, contact us at Layfield & Wallace, APC for a free consultation with a South Bay personal injury attorney. We understand what an emotionally difficult experience this may be for your family, and we want to provide you with the compassionate support and aggressive legal representation that you deserve in your pursuit of financial compensation and justice.