Causes of Nursing Home Abuse in Los Angeles
Nursing home abuse is a crime that affects thousands of victims every year. Vulnerable residents can suffer serious injuries and even pass away from the abuse and neglect that they suffer at a nursing home. Understanding what causes nursing home abuse could enable you to detect this crime happening against your loved one at a long-term care facility in Los Angeles. You may even be able to prevent abuse by spotting the warning signs of a potential abuser or dangerous situation ahead of time.
Nursing Home Mismanagement
A poorly managed nursing home can invite resident neglect and abuse. Nursing home mismanagement increases the odds of resident care falling to the wayside. The skilled nursing facility may not have proper premises security or surveillance video cameras, for example, to watch for resident abuse by staff members. It may also have a dangerous lack of resident supervision, which can foster an environment where staff members feel free to mistreat their wards without fear of repercussions.
Mismanaged care facilities may not take the care that they legally should when hiring new staff members and caregivers. Poor hiring procedures, such as failing to conduct background checks on applicants, can lead to unqualified caregivers – or even known criminals and abusers with a history of complaints against them – being put in charge of residents. A poorly managed nursing home may not care about its residents or their living conditions, and this may be obvious in how employees treat them.
When choosing the right nursing home for your loved one in Los Angeles, do a lot of research. Check online for the best and worst nursing homes in your area. Look for positive reviews and customer testimonials. Avoid nursing homes with a history of safety citations, complaints, violations or negligence. Look for exceptional service and a focus on public health when scheduling nursing home tours. The quality of a nursing home and its staff can make all the difference in how its residents are treated.
Lack of Staff Member Training
Nursing home abuse and neglect can also be caused by a lack of staff member training. All nursing home employees – including caregivers, nurses, assistants, physical therapists and even the cleaning crew – should receive thorough training on how to care for and interact with elderly residents. A nursing home that does not expend the appropriate time, energy or resources on properly training its staff members opens the door to serious issues.
A poorly trained nursing home staff member may make a medication error, feed a resident food that he or she cannot have, fail to safely transfer an immobile resident from a bed to a wheelchair, fail to notice the signs of something wrong (such as a medical emergency), or fail to meet a resident’s basic needs. Nursing home neglect of a resident can be just as harmful as elder abuse. It is imperative that all staff members at a nursing home receive adequate training in how to touch, transfer, speak to and care for residents. An elder abuse attorney in Los Angeles can help you fight for your loved one’s legal rights and seek damages for mistreatment or neglect.
No amount of staff training, however, can make up for understaffing at a nursing home. A facility that cares for the elderly should be adequately staffed with a reasonable ratio of employees to residents. Unfortunately, many nursing homes attempt to cut costs by keeping their facilities understaffed. Understaffing leads to exhausted and stressed employees, which increases the risk of resident care falling through the cracks.
An overworked caregiver may not have the time, energy or physical ability to provide enough attention to each resident. This can lead to resident neglect and related issues, such as health declines, infections and bedsores in nursing home facilities. In severe situations, the stress of understaffing can cause an employee to take out his or her frustrations on an innocent resident, such as through physical abuse, financial abuse or sexual assault. Understaffing creates easily frustrated employees and puts residents at risk.
Another wrongdoing committed by a nursing home is resident isolation. Refusing to allow visitors or family members onto the premises can foster an environment where employees are not held accountable for their misconduct. Abusive staff members may feel that they can get away with crimes against the elderly since there are no outsiders to check in on loved ones or hold them accountable. Resident isolation is especially an issue in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, as many nursing homes in California closed their doors to visitors for extended periods of time.
Individual Caregiver Issues
In some cases, a nursing home does everything right, but elder abuse still takes place. An individual may have had an excellent resume and passed a proper personnel screening…only to commit abuse against a nursing home resident for his or her own personal reasons. Many individual caregiver issues can lead to elder abuse and neglect. This is never acceptable, and our California law firm is prepared to advocate fiercely for your family member.
Abuse is often connected to a misuse of power, especially when an abuser has authority over a victim – as a nursing home employee does over a vulnerable and defenseless senior citizen. Abuse may also stem from stress, financial problems, mental illness, personal problems or a history of abuse. There are many reasons a caregiver may use to justify neglecting or abusing a nursing home resident.
How to File a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can be traced back to countless factors. The best hope that you have of keeping your loved one safe is doing your research, choosing a nursing home in Los Angeles that has a history of treating its residents with the utmost care and checking in with your loved one often to look for signs of abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected at a nursing home, report it immediately to the authorities and take your loved one to a safe place.
Have your loved one write down or record a description of events in as much detail as possible. Make sure he or she receives medical care for any injuries. Then, contact a Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorney at Rose, Klein & Marias for assistance. Our lawyers in Los Angeles can review your case to determine if your family has grounds to file a lawsuit against a nursing home. If so, we can assist you with the claims process in the pursuit of justice and fair financial compensation. Contact our team online or call our office today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers.