In the news today is an article from the BBC about a nursing home nurse who was found guilty of assaulting an 80-year-old patient who suffers from dementia. According to the article (found here), the perpetrator “twisted the hand” of the resident, causing the resident to scream and cry. The assault was witnesses who reported the offense, leading to the prosecution and deportation of the caregiver.
But that was in Britain. Do we have such abuse in Southern California nursing homes? The answer is a resounding yes. Is it an epidemic? No, but there is enough of it to raise concerns. Our firm currently represents a San Diego nursing home resident who suffers from dementia, and who, while resisting care (something people with memory impairment diseases sometimes do), was punched in the face by a caregiver. Immediately after the battery, there was an attempt to cover up the abuse, but thankfully witnesses stepped forward just as they did in the case in Britain.
We advise family members and caregivers to be aware of sudden changes in condition of the patient, and to look for unusual marks or bruising that might indicate abuse. Sadly, many cases go unreported because either the resident cannot complain because of advanced disease, or will not, because of fear of retribution. If an assault and/or battery is suspected, the authorities must be contacted right away.
The elder abuse and neglect lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP provide free consultations to individuals and families who believe a loved one has been abuse or neglected in the nursing home or assisted living setting.