According to a new report from the California Senate Office and Oversight Outcomes, there are some serious flaws in the way the state of California detects and monitors the elder abuse cases that is overseas. In Orange County alone, the elder abuse cases have tripled since 1994.
Elder abuse can be any violation against the elderly that is physical, verbal, emotional, or economic. California’s aging population is expected to have explosive growth in the next twenty years and California must do a better job of protecting the most vulnerable of our citizens.
One local case was in Laguna Hills that ended in the death of an elderly woman who was mistakenly given morphine and then choked on her food. She later died at a local hospital and the facility was fined $75,000. Another nursing home in Tustin was fined $50,000 when the staff failed to assess a man’s ability to eat and he later choked to death as well.
Additionally, three other nursing home patients were killed when the nursing home director had drugged the patients with powerful anti-psychotic drugs to control them. Heavy workloads and limited staff are commonplace in nursing homes and drugging patients is on the rise according to recent reports. If you or someone you love is a victim of elder abuse, a personal injury attorney can assist you with the investigation and if necessary a lawsuit to stop the abuse, correct the problem and get financial compensation for the harm caused. C all Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, or see our personal injury site at www.thecaliforniainjurylawyer.com.
These offenses seem unbelievable and fortunately, most violations are relatively minor compared to these offenses. In fact, around 30% of the nation’s nursing homes have some sort of deficiency and about 1 in 20 actually have abuse. But how can you make sure your loved ones are being cared for? One controversial solution is the use of web or video cameras.
The residential homes that have cameras actually have greater family support and less theft and claims of abuse. Some staff actually welcome cameras to prove their side in false allegation claims. However, one family set up a video camera in their loved one’s room and was horrified when they viewed the film.
Maria Arellano’s family began noticing bruises on her body in early 2006 and when the staff did nothing after the complaints, the family installed a video camera. An aid was caught pulling Ms. Arellano’s hair, bending her neck, fingers and wrists and treating her violently in the shower chair. In addition, the same staff member was found to have repeatedly slapped this stroke victim. Obviously, this woman could not defend herself. Just last month the Arellano family was awarded $7.75 million for elder abuse in the Fillmore Convalescent Hospital in Southern California
How can you protect a loved one from a bad nursing home? A little comparison research into nursing facilities within your county before you need it will ensure a better experience for your entire family.
A good starting point is www.medicare.gov/. On the Medicare site, you can search nursing homes by name, city, zip, state or geographical region. In addition, you can compare several homes, side by side, for any violation and staffing numbers. Finally, once you decided on a home you may access detailed health and fire inspection reports on these facilities.
Additionally, you can visit the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform’s website at www.canhr.org/ for a listing of nursing homes with the Department of Health violations.
James Ballidis is a personal attorney in Newport Beach, California. Call us at 1 866 981-5596 for a free consultation.