San Diego nursing home neglect attorneys know that when it comes to mistreatment and abuse of those at long-term care facilities, it is a constant challenge to get those affected to come forward. For many reasons–including their own disabilities–many at these facilities are unable or unlikely to explain when they have been affected by negligent care. For that reason, it is crucial that outside observers provide necessary oversight to ensure problems are addressed.
Unfortunately, a new report released by the Department of Public Health raises huge red flags regarding the care provided at many of the largest institutions for the developmentally disabled across the state. The stark details laid out in the report are yet another reminder of the crucial role that friends and family play in identifying mistreatment among those who are often unable to stand up to their abusers themselves.
The latest inspection report was focused on the state’s largest institution for the developmentally disabled, Sonoma Developmental Center. More than 500 residents with a range of mental challenges–like cerebral palsy–live at the facility. But are they getting the basic care they need? The latest report issues a resounding “No.” The full report can be found here.
Words are not minced as the report explains, “Individuals have been abused, neglected, and otherwise mistreated and the facility has not taken steps to protect individuals and prevent reoccurrence.”
On top of that, the Department of Public Health explained that many unnecessary and dangerous restraints were used on many residents. Those restraints are sometimes physical and sometimes chemical (drugs used to lull residents into a stupor). The report makes clear that these tactics are unacceptable as “individual freedoms have been denied or restricted without justification.”
Those of us working on San Diego elder abuse and neglect of those with mental disabilities know that the claims laid out in this report are far from isolated. Sadly, in an attempt to cut corners and maximize profits, many facilities and individual caregivers resort to various practices that both worsen the quality of life of the residents in their care and risk their suffering harmful accidents.
Part of the problem is not only the poor care, but the abysmal internal investigations conducted by the facility to identify and correct the problems. The report summarized by noting that “the facility failed to ensure evidence that all alleged violations and injuries of unknown origin were thoroughly investigated.”
Many suspicious incidents have been swept under the rug.
Hopefully this report will spur necessary changes at the Sonoma Developmental Center and all similar locations. According to the story by California Watch, if the facility does not make immediate changes, it may lose the public funds it needs to operate. Specifically, without upgrades to it patient care and abuse investigation programs the federal funds will be lost in the amount of $160 million–about half of its annual budget.
To receive help throughout our area, please get in touch with the San Marcos injury lawyers at the Walton Law Firm. We will with those in all nearby areas, including Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, Poway, San Diego, and Vista.
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