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Corporations and large entities often control and operate hundreds of specialized facilities. Mobile dependent care services and traditional assisted care facilities are growing every year. The increasing population who require part or full-time assistance from elder care professionals also brings the unfortunate fact of elder abuse and neglect.

California laws provide civil and criminal penalties to help prevent acts of abuse and neglect against the vulnerable elderly populace. An elder abuse attorney is often the first point of contact for family members who think their parent has suffered elder abuse or neglect.

California Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA)

The California Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act is the civil law which gives the public legal protection from those who bring harm to the elderly. This law defines the acts prohibited and punishable through financial penalties and lawsuit to prevent the worst instances of elder abuse. The elder protection act gives those victims recourse through the courts to file a lawsuit and seek money damages for themselves and loved ones who have suffered abuse.

The law protects both elder adults who are over the age of 65 and also dependent adults. An experienced San Diego civil law attorney who is familiar with this ever-changing law can help make whole a family who has suffered pain and loss as a result of abuse and neglect.

Lawsuits under this law give families the ability to recover monetary damages for medical care needed as a result of neglect and harm caused to their loved one. Claims can also be made for long-term nursing and medication, legal fees, and other life essentials.

What is an Elder Abuse Claim?

Any elder or dependent adult who has suffered physical or emotional harm can bring a claim of elder abuse under this law. The unfortunate reality is that most elder abuse claims stem from large-scale nursing care and dependent adult care centers. Large corporations own most of these facilities. Corporate officers who give poor and inadequate guidance to their employees are so often the root cause of many claims. Decisions at the top driven by profit-seeking and lack of care give rise to the worst instances of elder abuse and harm. The variety of harm that the elderly suffer at these facilities is astounding and heartbreaking.

Nursing Home Abuse

Even nursing homes that are staffed with well-trained individuals the number of negligence and elder abuse cases in California increases every year. Simple things like checking on patients frequently and ensuring their medication needs are being met are so commonly overlooked. Otherwise small injuries like bedsores and cuts can be left unattended which lead to serious infection and complications.

Malnutrition and dehydration are also horrible effects of neglect and poor planning on the part of nursing home providers. Acute care centers are sometimes a middle ground between residential care facilities and skilled nursing facilities. The acute care center has a mix of patients with very dynamic needs, both physical and emotional. A lack of understanding by staff that is not trained in properly caring for the elderly can cause much greater harm to the elderly who have little defense against serious infection. Pneumonia and other complications from surgery or long illnesses can be one of many problems that an elder abuse lawyer can help with.

Elder Care Negligence

Some of the common injuries that the elderly suffer are not a result of simple accident. Understaffing or negligence can lead to falls and bone injuries, wandering off of patients and exposure to dangerous environments. These types of injuries should never occur in an elder care facility, and it is why the elder abuse statutes exist.

The list of symptoms that are a sign of neglect and elder abuse areunfortunately long. Some of the injuries that arise in a civil action against acute care centers and nursing homes include:

  • Patients being left in a soiled and unsanitary condition for hours
  • A dirty living environment
  • Bad personal hygiene
  • Inattention of staff to requests for visits to personal rooms

Skilled Nursing Facility Abuse

Some of the more vulnerable patients who require around the clock attention need skilled nursing facilities to meet their needs. Improper care or negligence is all too common even at respected care facilities. Often these skilled nursing facilities are overburdened with patients referred from nursing homes. Homes that are incapable or unwilling to care for the patients in need of medical attention seek to refer the elderly away from their centers. Nursing facilities that provide skilled and acute care can have the same problems of improper care and oversight as any medical facility. Significant injury and even death can come as a result of poor management of patients and resources.

Mental Abuse of Elders

Mental abuse can be very difficult to detect because most people are not trained to understand signs of mental abuse. Attributing bouts of depression and anxiety to medication or illness can often mask patterns of abuse at the hands of caregivers and nurses. Elder abuse involving mental anguish, anxiety, and verbal abuse can be very damaging to mental health.

Elderly parents or patients who seem to deflect questions about the mental care they receive or are easily agitated can be showing sign of mental abuse. Long-term care centers throughout the State have faced steep penalties and lawsuits as a result of caregiver’s neglectful and uncaring attitudes towards senior citizens. The same signs of depression and withdraw that can arise in any victim of abuse will manifest in the elderly.

Elder Abuse Through Financial Exploitation

The Elder Adult Protection Act (EADACPA) extends legal protections for cases of financial abuse and exploitation. There are unfortunately many elderly who have suffered financial scams from strangers but also those entrusted as their caregivers.

Family members should always seek to be involved in significant financial decisions if the mental ability has declined. Many warning signs of financial abuse can be found by looking at common items such as unpaid bills and sudden money transfers that can’t be explained. Overcharging for services or subscriptions that are unnecessary are more signs that an individual is a victim of financial exploitation.

Healthcare Fraud & Elder Abuse

The State of California and Federal Government has recovered billions of dollars for fraudulent payments made for unnecessary and non-existent healthcare. Most of these sums have been paid for medical treatment for the elderly in skilled nursing and long-term nursing home centers. Many nursing homes have patients who have Medicare or other supplemental insurance that provides significant care for times when advanced medical care is needed.

Many of these centers, unfortunately, exploit their own elderly members. Elderly patients who are improperly cared for a neglected are sent to nursing facilities to accumulate fees. Some of the more egregious cases involve referring patients to skilled nursing facilities when there is no medical need at all.

The exploitation of the elderly and the insurance available to them is increasing every year. The impact on the individuals and their families can be traumatic, with relief coming only when a lawsuit is filed against the nursing home owners.

Contact our experienced San Diego elder abuse attorneys today to see if filing a lawsuit is the right option for you. We can be reached at (858) 281-4605.

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