California Underreported Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Whether you have an elderly loved one in a Riverside County nursing home or in a skilled nursing facility elsewhere in Southern California, it is critical to be aware of signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect. While family members and friends should not have to be the ones to spot warning signs of abuse or neglect, they are often the only ones who do. This kind of problem, highlighting the negligence of various facilities, is often particularly notable in situations in which seniors at nursing homes ultimately require emergency treatment at a hospital due to neglect at the nursing home. 

Indeed, according to a recent article in Reuters, a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicated that “California did not ensure that nursing facilities reported potential abuse or neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries transferred from nursing facilities to hospital emergency rooms.”

Nursing Homes are Supposed to Report Abuse and Neglect

When seniors at nursing homes in California suffer injuries—especially harm that requires treatment in an emergency department—those nursing homes are supposed to report “incidents of potential abuse or neglect” affecting Medicaid beneficiaries. Further, nursing homes are supposed to “ensure regular training of staff on state and federal requirements,” yet the HHS report suggests that California nursing homes are not fulfilling these requirements, and the state of California may not be properly managing its responsibilities with regard to these requirements, which are necessary for facilities to receive Medicaid funding.

The HHS report assessed 118 incidents in which nursing home residents were transferred from skilled nursing facilities to emergency departments. The authors “determined that eight of the incidents were the result of potential abuse or neglect and should have been reported to the state, but that only two actually were.” Further, two of the incidents were never reported at all, and four were reported late.

In addition to those eight incidents, the report also cites 29 additional incidents for which “the documentation provided by the nursing facilities did not contain enough information to determine whether they were the result of abuse or neglect.” Of the total 118 incidents, there were a total of 16 specific nursing home abuse allegations, but California only investigated half of those allegations, according to the report.

Recognizing Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

How can you know if an elderly loved one may need medical attention due to abuse or neglect? The National Council on Aging (NCOA) cites the following as common signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse or neglect:

  • Dehydration;
  • Unexplained weight loss;
  • Missing daily living aids, like glasses;
  • Unexplained injuries of any type, including bruises and cuts;
  • Bedsores;
  • Unsanitary living conditions;
  • Poor hygiene;
  • Unattended medical needs;
  • Increased fear or anxiety;
  • Changes in behavior; and/or
  • Withdrawal from normal activities.

Contact a Riverside County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If you are worried about an elderly loved one’s safety or well-being at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Southern California, you should seek advice from a Riverside County nursing home abuse lawyer. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help.


See Related Blog Posts:

Are San Bernardino County Nursing Homes Safe After Covid?

What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in Orange County?

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