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Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

While most of us like to think about the holiday season as a time of joy and getting together with family members and friends, this holiday season is already looking quite different due to the risks of COVID-19 infection. For many nursing home residents, COVID-19 infections can prove fatal, and residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities may be at greater risk of getting sick in an outbreak at one of these facilities. As such, many seniors in San Bernardino County nursing homes likely will not have the same guests this year as in years prior. 

In years without a global health pandemic, the holiday season is often one of the best times for family and friends to look for signs of nursing home abuse and neglect while visiting elderly parents and loved ones. Without regular visits during the holidays, seniors could suffer the effects of nursing home abuse or neglect without having any loved ones nearby to help stop the abuse and to help get care. This holiday season, it is essential to recognize that elder abuse and neglect will not simply stop because there is a global health pandemic. It is important to understand the signs of abuse and to check on elderly relatives who could be suffering from serious injuries in San Bernardino nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

What Should You Know About Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes? 

Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many different forms in San Diego County, from physical abuse to emotional or psychological abuse. While many families know the warning signs of physical abuse or passive neglect, such as restraint marks, bruises, or bedsores, knowledge about sexual abuse in the nursing home setting is less common. Yet a recent case in El Cajon serves as a warning about nursing home sexual abuse and the serious risks that seniors face. According to a recent report from KPBS News, a 73-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by a staff member at the El Cajon nursing home, and the nursing home failed to take the necessary steps to hold the staff member accountable. 

Nursing Assistant Sexually Abuses Elderly Patient

According to the report, the nursing home sexual abuse occurred at Avocado Post Acute nursing home in El Cajon, California. The 73-year-old patient who sustained the abuse described it as “one of the most horrifying experiences of her life.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for Los Angeles County nursing home residents and for nursing home residents throughout the state of California. Older adults in nursing homes are particularly susceptible to severe COVID-19 infections, and many facilities do not have the type of infection-control measures in place that can effectively prevent the spread of the coronavirus, not to mention the fact that many of those facilities are understaffed and cannot properly serve the patients who are suffering from serious infections. 

According to a recent article in Roll Call, the pandemic and its effects on nursing home residents has led policymakers and safety advocates to seek significant changes to nursing home safety in order to prevent avoidable injuries and deaths caused by nursing home negligence.

Senior Safety Advocates Seek More Funding and Long-Term Changes for Nursing Home Safety

Nursing home residents in Orange County have a wide variety of rights under California law, which are designed to protect nursing home residents from elder abuse and neglect. Much too often, seniors in skilled nursing facilities in Southern California are still subject to poor care and intentional abuse, and many suffer serious or life-threatening injuries as a result. However, it is still important for older adults and their families to know what their rights are under California law. 

Even if the existence of nursing home residents’ rights are insufficient to prevent nursing home abuse or neglect from happening in the first place, recognizing rights and understanding when they have been violated may allow a senior or her family to take action by filing a claim against the facility or a particular healthcare provider. The following are examples of the resident rights in Orange County nursing homes.

General Residents’ Rights in California Nursing Homes

If you are considering a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Riverside County, you are likely wondering what steps you will need to go through during the claims process, and how the lawsuit will work more generally. The most important part of any nursing home abuse lawsuit is hiring an experienced nursing home abuse attorney who can help you to hold the nursing home and any other parties accountable. While each lawsuit will have its own particularities based on the facts of the case, the following are general steps that you can expect in a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

 
Meeting With a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

 
The first step in any nursing home abuse case is to meet with a nursing home abuse lawyer in order to receive case evaluations and to select an attorney for your case. When you first meet with a nursing home abuse attorney in Riverside County or elsewhere in Southern California, that lawyer will evaluate your case and will provide you with more information about what you should expect in the case and what type of compensation you might be able to expect.

The prospect of filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in San Diego County can feel daunting, especially if you are unsure about whether it makes sense to begin the process of taking action against a particular facility. The most critical thing to remember is that, if you have any suspicions about nursing home abuse or neglect, it is always a better idea to do something than to hope that your concerns are misplaced. Much too often, nursing home abuse occurs—and continues to happen—because nobody takes action to stop it. An experienced San Diego County nursing home abuse attorney can help you to understand whether you have a valid claim, and what steps you need to take in order to move forward with a lawsuit.

 
In the meantime, the following are some commonly asked questions about nursing home abuse claims, along with answers to help you get started.

 
How Does California Law Define Nursing Home Abuse?

If you are considering filing an elder abuse claim in Los Angeles County, it is important to understand how much time you have to file a lawsuit. All civil lawsuits have what is known as a “statute of limitations,” which creates a time window for filing a claim. If a plaintiff does not file his or her lawsuit within that time window, the claim can become time-barred. A time-barred claim is one that is barred from being filed because the statute of limitations ran out. In some cases, it can be possible to pause the statute of limitations, which is known as tolling. In the meantime, the following is some important information about the timeline for a nursing home abuse claim.

 
Statute of Limitations for a Negligence Claim

 
Many nursing home abuse and neglect cases are filed as negligence claims under California law. Like many other personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations in these cases is two years under Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procure. How does the statute of limitations relate to filing a claim, and when does the “clock” start ticking? In most negligence cases, including claims for injuries resulting from nursing home abuse, the clock on the statute of limitations will start to “tick” on the date of the injury, or the nursing home abuse incident.

Prior to the start of 2020, nobody was considering the ways in which a global pandemic could impact a senior’s risk of suffering injuries as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. Yet the coronavirus pandemic has, for many older adults, made things worse. According to a recent article in MarketWatch, the pandemic has meant that “many older adults have become more vulnerable” and are suffering harm that otherwise could have been prevented.

 
Whether you currently live in a nursing home in San Bernardino County or have an elderly loved one in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California, it is essential to learn more about elder abuse risks during the pandemic and what can be done to mitigate them.

 
Facilities Refusing to Allow Residents to Reenter

Although nursing homes in Orange County and throughout Southern California are largely focused on issues pertaining to COVID-19 infections and methods of preventing illness and death among residents and patients, it is important to remember that long-term care facilities still have other duties when it comes to resident safety. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in California need to provide a certain level of care to patients in order to prevent injuries from happening solely as a result of inadequate care. Many injuries in nursing homes happen because a resident tried to get out of bed herself after being unable to reach a nurse, or a resident fell because a staff member was not providing proper observation.

 
To be clear, many injuries in nursing homes do not result from bad intentions, but rather from a lack of care often due to inadequate staffing. As many staff members call in sick with COVID-19 and staff members are swamped with coronavirus mitigation duties, more residents could be at risk of a fall-related injury. The following are five things to know about falls in nursing homes.

 
Adults Aged 65 and Older Fall More Often Than You Might Think

If you have an elderly loved one in a San Diego County nursing home or in a skilled nursing facility elsewhere in California, it is important to know about liability for COVID-19 infections and what facilities are doing—or not doing, in many cases—to prevent infections. According to a recent article in Time Magazine, nursing homes across the country are seeking immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits, arguing that patients and their families cannot allege nursing home neglect as a result of the spread of coronavirus. An article in The New York Times recently explained how California nursing homes, along with facilities in places like New York and New Jersey, are being encouraged to take COVID-19 patients from hospitals, which many are doing in order to increase profits.

 
What do you need to know about nursing home claims and what it would mean if facilities were immune from lawsuits?

 
Nursing Home Neglect Claims Tied to COVID-19 Infections

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