Elderly adults in San Diego County nursing homes and at facilities elsewhere in Southern California frequently are subjected to abuse and neglect. Yet as a recent study underscores, many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect go unreported, and the most common reason for the lack of reporting might be a fear of retaliation. Seniors in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities and their families should be able to trust that all employees at the facility have their best interests in mind and that the facility is properly staffed to prevent injuries resulting from neglect. However, abuse and neglect injuries are much more common than many people think, and facilities do not always move quickly, if they move at all, to terminate employees who have caused harm.
What do you need to know about the recent study and its implications for addressing nursing home abuse in Southern California? Our San Diego nursing home abuse lawyers can tell you more.
Nursing Home Residents Fear Retaliation and Avoid Reporting Abuse
According to an article in USA Today, a study conducted by the Long Term Care Community Coalition (a nonprofit advocacy group for nursing home residents) showed that “fear of retaliation from staff is a major barrier to nursing home residents asking for their needs or complaining of abuse or neglect.” The study surveyed nursing home residents throughout the United States to determine that fear of retaliation is a major problem when it comes to accurate reporting of and accountability for abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
When nursing home residents do not report abuse or neglect, it is not investigated, and there is no possibility of the facility being cited for a safety or health violation. In addition, if a nursing home staff member engaged in any kind of intentional act of elder abuse or neglect, failing to report an incident can result in that employee continuing to abuse residents at the facility.
What is Retaliation, and What is the Answer to the Problem?
Retaliation against residents at a nursing home can take different forms. Most residents who reported incidents of retaliation after reporting incidents of abuse or neglect indicated that “staff became aggressive.” Abuse might also worsen and may begin to take other forms, as well.
Given that nursing home staff often have to assist residents with activities of daily living — including, for example, showering and bathing, dressing, using the toilet, and eating — there is significant fear among residents that reporting abuse will “backfire,” according to the USA Today article. It is thus often critical for friends and family members to know the signs of abuse and to make reports when they see any worrying signs or symptoms.
Contact a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney in San Diego County Today
When you have any concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety or well-being in a nursing home or assisted living facility in Southern California, it is important to seek help. Even if you are unsure or do not feel like you have definitive proof of abuse or neglect, an experienced San Diego County nursing home abuse lawyer can talk with you and can give you more information. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about the services we provide to older adults and their families in Southern California.
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