Elder Abuse and Neglect
At Nettesheim Law we believe that the elders in our society should be revered and protected. We believe that seniors have the right to respect and dignity as they age, no matter how vulnerable they may be. Our attorneys are committed to vindicating the rights of elders and to preventing elder abuse by providing compassionate legal representation for seniors and their families.
Abuse in Residential Long-Term Care Facilities
Our loved ones—grandparents, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters—may currently be living in, or may one day need to live in, a residential long-term care facility such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. Watching those who cared for us age and become unable to care for themselves can be difficult and emotional. When mental illness or serious physical disabilities begin to require more care than we know how to provide, we must make the difficult decision to trust others to care for our loved ones. Sadly, that trust is too frequently violated.
A significant number of elder abuse cases arise out of abuse or neglect of seniors who are living in assisted living facilities, residential care facilities and nursing homes (skilled nursing facilities) and even hospitals. These seniors are at particular risk because they are often isolated from family members. When family members are present, they often fail to recognize signs of elder abuse because they do not suspect it or know what to look for, or because a facility hides the signs of abuse. Even when family members do recognize abuse, they are often afraid of retaliation against their loved one if they complain or seek help. At Nettesheim Law, it is our goal to use the legal system to help prevent this abuse and to raise awareness by educating elders and their families.
If you believe you or a loved one has fallen victim to elder abuse, it may be necessary to consult with a nursing home abuse attorney in Los Angeles.
Understanding, Recognizing, and Preventing Elder Abuse
It is critical that family members understand what elder abuse is and how to recognize the signs so that they can protect their loved ones and ensure that care facilities are treating residents professionally and compassionately, with dignity and respect.
Elder abuse is the physical, emotional, sexual, financial mistreatment or neglect of our elders. Seniors who stay in nursing homes or other residential facilities commonly suffer from illnesses which are physically and mentally limiting, making them substantially dependent upon facility staff to take care of their basic needs such as eating, dressing, bathing, and taking medications. When facility staff fail to do so adequately, or when they intentionally abuse or mistreat elders, residents are often helpless and unable to defend themselves.
Common types of elder abuse include:
- Neglect: failing to properly feed, bathe, dress, or provide needed medications to elderly residents, failing to answer their call lights or to respond to requests for help, over-medicating, failing to provide water or hydration, failing to turn and reposition or to sit an elder up in bed or assist them to the bathroom
- Physical Abuse: hitting, slapping, pulling hair, or any assault or rough physical treatment—this frequently occurs when bathing or dressing elderly residents and is commonly the result of frustrated, overworked, or unqualified staff
- Verbal Abuse: telling elderly residents to "shut up" when they speak up about needs or mistreatment, name calling, threats of retaliation, any speech that is demeaning or belittling or berating or humiliating or does less than respect the elder's dignity and individuality
One of the best ways to prevent abuse is to visit your loved ones often, and at different times of day. Frequent visits lessen isolation and allow family members to evaluate whether their grandparents or parents are being cared for properly. Frequent visits on different days or times each week will let the facility staff know that you care, that you are watchful, and that they need to take care of your loved one at all times.
Common signs of abuse or nursing home negligence of which family members should take note include:
- Bruises, cuts, and scratches
- Broken bones
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities
- Bed sores
- Unattended hygiene or medical needs
- Weight loss
- Strained or tense relationships with staff and caregivers
- Frequent infections
- Excessive use of medications to control behavior
At Nettesheim Law, we have experience handling a wide variety of elder abuse cases and can help you identify whether your family member has been abused or neglected and what you can do to protect them and to punish the wrongdoing. If you are concerned about a loved one and would like to talk to an elder abuse attorney in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, call us today at 805-804-5315 or reach us via our online contact form. We offer free initial consultations and, in appropriate cases, contingency fee arrangements, ensuring that you will not owe any attorneys' fees unless we successfully help you recover.