Whether you have a loved one who currently resides in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility, or if a former neighbor or co-worker lives in a nursing facility and you visit regularly, it is important to know how to spot signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Yet simply being able to identify possible symptoms of elder abuse is only the first step. If you do not have any familiarity with the legal system or the health care system in San Diego County, it can be difficult to know what to do once you have concerns about elder abuse. This is particularly true if you do not know the senior well and want to help, but you do not know where to turn.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the California Institute on Aging provides information about identifying and reporting elder abuse and neglect, and we want to discuss some of those steps and options with you below.
When You are Worried About an Emergency Situation
First, if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect in a San Diego County facility or elsewhere in the state of California, the next step you should take depends upon whether you are concerned about a possible emergency situation. If you believe you see signs of an emergency—where an elderly adult needs immediate assistance—then you should call 911 or the local police department.
When Danger is Not Immediate, But You are Concerned About Elder Abuse or Neglect
If the potential danger is not immediate but you have suspicions that a senior has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, then it is important to report it. However, if you do not believe it is an emergency situation, then it may not make sense to call 911 or the local police. Instead, the ACL and the California Institute on Aging recommend that you contact the Adult Protective Services (APS) in your specific area.
The California Department of Social Services provides specific contact information for APS in each county within the state, as well as the physical address of APS in that county. If the senior is located in San Diego County, the 24-hour abuse hotline phone number is 1-800-339-4661 or 1-800-510-2020. Each county’s APS has a specific number to call to reach someone at a 24-hour hotline where you can report suspicions of abuse.
What You Should Expect When You Contact Adult Protective Services
What should you expect when you contact a 24-hour hotline and speak to someone at Adult Protective Services? The Administration for Community Living emphasizes that, when you call, you should be prepared to provide as much of the following information as possible:
- Senior’s name;
- Senior’s current physical address;
- Contact information for the senior and the nursing home;
- Specific details about why you suspect nursing home abuse;
- Whether the senior has any known medical problems;
- Whether the senior has any family support or other social support systems within or outside the facility; and
- Whether you have witnessed any acts of abusive behavior, including physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.
Seek Advice from a San Diego Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
An experienced and compassionate San Diego nursing home abuse attorney at our firm can help you with your concerns, and can answer any questions you have about elder abuse and neglect in California. Contact the Walton Law Firm today.
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