Nursing home abuse and neglect in Orange County is more common than many people think, and some studies estimate that it impacts 10% or more of older adults. Indeed, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one out of every 10 people aged 60 and older suffers some type of abuse each year, and some studies suggest that only about one out of every 24 cases of elder abuse is actually reported, which could mean that the rates of abuse and neglect are significantly higher than what we already know. Some signs of abuse or neglect may be more obvious than others, such as physical bruises or cuts or reports made by seniors who have experienced abuse. Yet as an article in U.S. News & World Report intimates, it is always important to think about signs and symptoms of abuse that may not be as obvious or transparent. Often, the way to learn about some of these issues is to ask questions. Our Orange County nursing home neglect lawyers can tell you more.
When Nursing Home Abuse is Not Transparent
The article in U.S. News & World Report emphasizes that, more often than you might anticipate, “there are harsh secrets in nursing homes” that frequently include “resident neglect or abuse.” As that piece underscores, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened safety and health issues that were already present in many nursing homes in California and across the country as those facilities failed to implement effective infection control measures or to address the effects of isolation and emotional neglect. Yet often, these kinds of issues will only be known to prospective residents or to current residents’ family members if they ask.
The following are issues that may not be obvious but that can point to problems with abuse and neglect:
- Significant staffing shortages;
- High turnover rate for staff;
- Insufficient number of caregivers for residents;
- Lack of enough registered nurses, especially at off-hours (such as overnight);
- Unclear information about who (or what corporation) owns the nursing home;
- Gaps in COVID-19 vaccination rates; and
- Problems with hospital transfers for residents.
Importance of Speaking Up and Asking Questions at Nursing Homes
How can you learn about problems that may not be transparent or may not be part of reports? “You may need to bring up issues yourself and research proactively,” according to the article, to get a full picture of safety and health issues at a nursing home.
As the article in U.S. News & World Report intimates, it is important to be aware of obvious issues at nursing homes as well as those that may be less obvious or transparent, such as those cited above. While nursing home abuse or neglect can occur at nearly any facility, you may be able to determine the likely safety of a particular nursing home or assisted living facility by asking important questions, including questions about facility ownership, off-hours staffing, and employment rates, as we have mentioned here.
Contact an Orange County Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney
When you have an elderly loved one who lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is essential to be vigilant. While some signs of elder abuse or neglect might seem obvious, there are others that may not be as clear. You should be aware of both obvious and less transparent signs of nursing home abuse, and you should seek help if you have any questions or concerns. One of the experienced Orange County nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at our firm can speak with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.
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