Nursing Home Abuse

Elder Abuse and Neglect in California’s Nursing Homes: Spotting the Signs

by Staff Blogger | November 20th, 2023

Elderly nursing home residents are susceptible to abuse and neglect due to their frailty, dependence on caregivers, and potential cognitive impairments, making it challenging for families to know when their loved ones are facing harm.

Yet elder abuse in nursing homes is more common than many might assume. In 2021, California’s Long-Term Ombudsman Program reported 7,056 complaints of abuse, gross neglect, or exploitation in nursing facilities.  These actions can include physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse or neglect by nursing home staff, administration, or other residents. Recognizing the types of neglect and abuse and their signs can help you protect your family member’s rights and safety.

If you fear that your elderly loved one may be suffering in silence, our compassionate California nursing home abuse lawyers may be able to support you, help gather necessary evidence, and guide you through the process of seeking compensation.

Understanding the Different Forms of Elder Abuse

Many people might assume that nursing home abuse solely involves physical harm, but elder mistreatment also includes emotional, financial, and sexual abuse. Neglect, too, is a form of abuse, distinguished by a lack of adequate care rather than direct harm to the resident.

  • Physical abuse. This occurs when someone inflicts physical pain or injury on a resident. It could be a caregiver hitting, slapping, or using force, leading to bruises, fractures, or burns.
  • Emotional abuse. This involves causing emotional distress or harm. It can arise from verbal assaults, threats, or humiliation by facility workers. For instance, nursing home staff may belittle or isolate the resident from others.
  • Sexual abuse. This refers to any unwelcome or non-consensual sexual interaction with a resident. The wrongdoers can be facility staff or fellow residents. Abuse may leave physical signs or injuries and typically inflict emotional distress on the victim.
  • Financial abuse. This concerns the illicit use or mismanagement of an elder’s assets. It involves a caregiver stealing money, misusing a power of attorney, or deceiving the elderly person into unfavorable agreements.
  • Neglect. Neglect is a disregard for the well-being of residents, often committed by overwhelmed, poorly trained, or uncaring nursing home staff. It includes failing to administer essential medications, leaving the resident in unsanitary conditions, or not providing necessities like food and water.

Recognizing Physical Signs of Elder Abuse

Abuse and neglect can leave several physical signs on the victim’s body, indicating mistreatment. When visiting your family member in a nursing home, look for the following markers of elder abuse:

  • Unexplained injuries. These may appear as unexplained bruises, broken bones, or burns that don’t match the provided account. These signs could point to episodes of physical harm, accidental falls, or neglect.
  • Signs of malnutrition or dehydration. Weight loss, frailty, dry skin, or cognitive issues may suggest that your loved one isn’t receiving the required nutrition or hydration, often due to neglect or intentional withholding.
  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers are skin wounds that can become life-threatening, often resulting from prolonged immobility. They may suggest neglect, especially if your family member is bedridden or wheelchair-bound and is not being moved or turned.

Identifying Emotional and Psychological Signs

Not all signs of elder abuse are physically evident; emotional and psychological impacts can be just as revealing and harmful. Watch for the following shifts in mood or behavior that might suggest maltreatment or neglect:

  • Changes in behavior. A noticeable change, whether abrupt or progressive, in typical behavior or mood, like avoiding social engagements, can signal emotional abuse or neglect.
  • Emotional distress. Visible signs of distress like frequent crying, mood swings, or uncharacteristic bouts of anger might indicate underlying abuse or maltreatment.
  • Fear and anxiety around certain individuals. When your loved one seems apprehensive, nervous, or agitated in the presence of certain caregivers, it might indicate mistreatment from those people.
  • Regression or childlike behavior. Reverting to earlier behaviors, like thumb-sucking or rocking, can indicate trauma or psychological abuse.
  • Avoidance of eye contact or appearing withdrawn. These signs can result from a deep sense of shame, fear, or humiliation due to consistent emotional torment.

Legal Obligations for Nursing Home Facilities

In California, nursing homes are legally obligated to provide residents with a secure and nurturing environment. Failure to uphold these duties can result in severe legal consequences for the facility.

If you suspect abuse or neglect, you can take action on behalf of your loved one. First, report your concern to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). You can file online or by phone, mail, or fax. 

Adhere to the guidelines the CDPH sets when filing your report, ensuring you detail all relevant information about the incident or sustained neglect. Once reported, an investigation usually ensues. If your claims are substantiated, the care facility may be subjected to fines, penalties, or even closure.

Additionally, partnering with an attorney specializing in nursing home abuse can assist in navigating the CDPH claim process or initiating a personal injury lawsuit against those accountable. Taking this route can help secure compensation for your loved one, covering medical expenses and intangible damages such as emotional trauma and pain.

Protect Your Elderly Loved One in a California Nursing Home

Elder abuse demands prompt attention and intervention. If you observe indications of mistreatment or neglect concerning your loved one, consult the seasoned attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers.

We are dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of our elderly community and ensuring that negligent nursing home personnel, administrators, and healthcare professionals are held accountable for their actions.

Let us help you advocate for your loved one’s welfare and legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential case review.

Is Nursing Home Abuse Always Physical?

by Staff Blogger | May 18th, 2020

is nursing home abuse always physicalThe word abuse usually conjures thoughts of a person being physically assaulted, but there are several forms of abuse that don’t include physical contact, including neglect and emotional, financial, and verbal abuse. Though anyone can suffer these types of abuse, it is especially terrible when it happens to the most vulnerable among us. Elder abuse is an unfortunate and common part of life for older Americans. The National Institute on Aging says that hundreds of thousands of people over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited each year in the U.S. Though elder abuse is a serious threat, it’s also a preventable one. By raising awareness of the problem, we can make environments like nursing homes and assisted-living facilities safer for people in their golden years.

Examples of Non-Physical Abuse

Elderly people can be subjected to many forms of non-physical abuse, including…
  • Emotional and psychological abuse: This occurs when someone says anything threatening or shaming toward an elderly person. Examples include yelling and screaming; use of profanity or insulting nicknames; mocking or criticizing their appearance, interests, and opinions; undermining or dismissing their concerns; excluding them from activities; and preventing them from seeing their visitors.
  • Neglect and abandonment: Failing to provide elderly people the care they need and deserve is also a form of abuse. Neglect can include not giving elderly people the nutrition, grooming and hygiene assistance, or medicine they need, as well as leaving them alone for long stretches of time.
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse is common among elderly people. In a nursing home setting, it might be perpetrated by staff or even other residents.
  • Financial abuse and exploitation: Taking advantage of elderly people through financial exploitation is another common form of elderly abuse. This could involve anything from theft to financial scams to healthcare fraud. Other examples include cashing a resident’s checks without permission, forging a resident’s signature, or coercing a resident to sign documents such as a contract, will, or to grant power of attorney.
All these forms of abuse have dramatic effects on elderly people. Simply ignoring the needs of an elderly person can impact their physical and mental health dramatically. So, how do you know if a loved is being mistreated?

How to Identify Elder Abuse

If your loved one is elderly, and you’re concerned about their well-being, you should look out for a few of the most common signs of elder abuse.
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Erratic mood swings
  • Withdrawal from activities and loved ones
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Unexplained bed sores
  • Sudden changes in your loved one’s will or other financial-related documents
  • Personal belongings going missing
  • Absence of services or amenities that have been paid for or should be included in nursing home fees
When you notice these signs of abuse, it should trigger alarm bells. Your loved one might be hesitant to talk openly about their experiences. When abuse occurs in a nursing home setting, they might fear retaliation from nursing home staff or other residents.

How to Talk to Your Loved One About Abuse

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, create a safe space to speak to them. You want to make sure that the discussion involves only the two of you or includes only people that your loved one feels comfortable with. Let your loved one know that their situation doesn’t need to be this way. Tell them that you can help and that the mistreatment can end. If your loved one doesn’t want to talk about their mistreatment, simply let them know that you are available should they change their mind. Whether or not your loved one voices concerns, you might still want to act on their behalf. We regularly hear from people who have loved ones in potentially unsafe nursing homes and simply don’t know where to turn next. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know how these cases typically unfold, and it’s important for you to know that abuse will not stop on its own. It might seem like an impossible situation, but help is available.

Where to Turn if Your Loved One Is Being Abused

For immediate assistance reporting a nursing home or assisted-living facility, find your local adult protective services agency. The National Center on Elder Abuse is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about elder abuse prevention. Negligent nursing homes should be held accountable. Many people with mistreated loved ones look to the legal system for justice. Filing a nursing home abuse or injury claim gives the abused and their loved ones the opportunity to demand compensation for the damages they’ve suffered. When you take legal action against a nursing home, you aren’t just demanding payment for the harm your loved one has suffered; you’re also making sure that they’ll have costs of future care covered. These claims are a chance to hold negligent facilities accountable for the harm suffered by their residents. By taking a stand, you might also prevent other elderly people from being mistreated at a negligent nursing home or assisted-living facility.

If You Want Help, Contact Berg Injury Lawyers

We are committed to holding negligent nursing homes responsible. Whether you believe your loved one was subjected to physical, emotional, verbal, or any other form of abuse, know that you have options available. Let our California nursing home abuse attorneys hear your story, so we can assess your case at no cost. We have years of experience handling elder abuse and nursing home abuse cases, and we know how important these claims can be for families. Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free consultation.

How to Pick a Safe Nursing Home

by Staff Blogger | February 5th, 2020

If you’re considering how to pick a safe nursing home, then you or someone you love likely needs specialized care. Choosing the right facility is a big decision, and you’re right to be taking it seriously.

What to Consider When Searching a Nursing Home

Just like any other important decision in life, choosing a nursing home requires forethought and research. Our free guide covers the many factors you’ll need to consider when creating your shortlist of potential candidates. Once you have that field narrowed, you can dig into what each offers and compare that with your requirements. There are qualities you should look for in an ideal nursing home and warning signs that could signal inadequate care. Our guide provides a list of both, so you’ll be prepared to recognize a facility that is as safe as possible. How to Pick a Safe Nursing Home

Signs that a Nursing Home Isn’t Up to Par

Some nursing homes are staffed by people who aren’t good at their jobs. Staff members can not only overlook the needs of their residents, but also abuse or neglect them. Warning signs that a loved has been improperly cared for include:
  • Poor hygiene
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Bruises, cuts, or fractures
  • Drastic changes in mood or personality
  • A noticeable fear of staff members or other residents
When you notice these signs in your loved one at their nursing home, you should act immediately by contacting a nursing home abuse attorney. Your lawyer will help you plan the next steps to get your loved one proper care and begin the process of seeking compensation for what they’ve suffered.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers with Any Questions

The safety of your loved one is obviously your biggest concern. To make sure a nursing home is one you can trust, you’ll need to do some research and identify warning signs of a dangerous nursing home. The more thorough you are when making your decision, the better the chance you’ll find a facility that is right for you and your loved one. Unfortunately, some people only realize how poor a nursing home’s care is after a loved one suffers an injury. If this sounds familiar and you’re considering taking legal action, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney immediately. We hope our tips help you pick a safe nursing home. If you or your loved one suffers from emotional or physical abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you should know that you have options. Contact the California nursing home abuse attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

by Staff Blogger | November 11th, 2019

Whether it’s due to their advanced age or health problems that can’t be managed without dedicated care, making the decision to move your loved one into a nursing home can be extremely difficult for both them and for you. They may be reluctant to give up their freedom and independence, while you may be worried about the level of care and attention they’ll receive. Sadly, the latter is a valid concern for many families when their loved ones move into nursing facilities—especially when those facilities value profits over resident safety and health. Elder abuse and neglect are more common than you might think, especially in nursing homes. Furthermore, they’re often underreported. An alert issued by the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services in August 2017 indicated than more than a quarter of serious nursing home abuse cases aren’t reported to police. Many victims are either unable to report the abuse they suffer, or they’re intimidated into remaining silent by their abusers.

What Are The Most Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Although nursing home residents can be abused or neglected in many different ways, there are a few common types that are often seen among victims:

Common types of abuse

  • Physical abuse—Just as the phrase implies, physical abuse involves residents being physically harmed by nursing home staff members or even other residents. It can include physical contact such as hitting, shoving, biting, slapping, shaking, burning, the use of physical restraints, and even forced feeding. Signs of physical abuse may include bruising, bleeding, open wounds, broken bones, burns, and more.
  • Sexual abuse—Nursing home residents also may be at risk of sexual abuse, including unwanted touching, sexual assault, and rape. Signs of sexual assault include unexplained sexually transmitted diseases, bruises on or around the genitals, bleeding, and torn, soiled, or stained underwear and clothing.
  • Emotional and psychological abuse—Residents don’t have to be physically touched or harmed to be abused. Types of emotional and psychological abuse include residents being yelled at, insulted, threatened, humiliated, or made to feel unwanted. When nursing homes residents are emotionally abused, they may become withdrawn, anxious, depressed, or even develop dementia-like symptoms.
  • Financial abuse—Whether it’s personal property that’s stored in their rooms, or personal assets stored in bank accounts, stock portfolios, or real estate investments, nursing home residents may have their possessions taken from them by staff. Examples include petty theft of personal possessions, using residents’ debit and credit cards, forging residents’ signatures, or forcing residents to sign unwanted contracts.

Common types of neglect

  • Lack of access to basic requirements—Nursing home residents should have easy and convenient access to water, food, clothing, shelter, medication, hygiene products, baths, and a bed. When any of those requirements are restricted or taken away, it can result in serious physical and mental health problems, including malnutrition, dehydration, worsening of health problems, contraction of illnesses, and more.
  • Abandonment—Many nursing home residents depend on caretakers for most, if not all, of their daily tasks. When the staff members or caretakers who are in charge of their wellbeing leave them on their own, whether it’s in the nursing home, hospital, or a public place, they are considered victims of abandonment, which can be life threatening—especially for residents who require close monitoring and frequent medication dosages.

Suspect Your Loved One is Being Abused or Neglected? Call Today.

When it comes to detecting nursing home abuse and neglect, it’s important to trust your instincts and to check on your loved one frequently. Abuse and neglect aren’t always obvious, but there can be tell-tale signs when residents aren’t being treated properly while living in nursing homes. If you suspect abuse or neglect, contact the team at Berg Injury Lawyers right away. A California nursing home abuse lawyer can collect evidence that proves your loved one’s rights were violated by the nursing home, as well as determine how much money your family is owed for what you’ve been through. Potential compensation can include everything from lost assets and medical bills to relocation costs and compensation for pain and suffering. The sooner you contact a lawyer about your loved one’s mistreatment at their nursing home, the better. It’s our goal to help victims of negligence get successful resolution, and that means doing everything in our power to help you get the resources you need to put this difficult time behind you. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. We’re available to speak with you about your claim 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Your Family Deserves Compensation After Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

by Staff Blogger | September 30th, 2019

Making the decision to move your loved one into a nursing home can be a difficult one. You may be worried about their health and well-being when in the care of others, while they may be worried about their loss of privacy and independence. Most nursing homes take good care of their residents, but not all value residents’ health and happiness. When nursing homes are driven by profit rather than care and compassion, residents often suffer. That’s because those nursing homes may hire undertrained and underqualified employees to handle many essential tasks that directly affect residents’ day-to-day lives. In addition, they may understaff to save money, putting more stress on individual employees and making it more difficult for them to provide adequate care and attention to residents. Nursing homes are only as effective as their staff members, and when management and owners cut costs, residents often feel the brunt of those decisions. That can lead to serious issues such as abuse, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. Residents who are neglected may be left alone for long periods of time, or they may not receive food, medication, and baths as frequently as they should. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we want all families with loved ones living in California nursing homes to know that they have rights if their loved ones are mistreated. When you call us, our California nursing home abuse lawyers will investigate the facility’s mistreatment of your loved one, and we’ll hold them accountable to help you get full compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

by Staff Blogger | July 29th, 2019

There are many signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect. They can range from unexplained bruises and social withdrawal, to weight loss and a sudden worsening of health. If you notice potential signs of abuse or neglect in your loved one, it’s important to contact an experienced California nursing home abuse lawyer right away. At Berg Injury Lawyers, it’s our goal to help abused and neglected victims and their loved ones get the compensation they deserve when nursing homes violate their rights. However, nursing homes are well protected when it comes to compensation claims, and it’s often their word against the people who were harmed. That can make it difficult for residents and their families to defend their rights. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help level the playing field. Our law firm knows California’s nursing home laws and the rights that all patients have when they live in care facilities. When you contact us, we’ll investigate the facts concerning your loved one’s potential abuse or neglect, and we’ll collect evidence that proves it happened. When a nursing home can’t deny that your loved one was harmed in their care, we’ll negotiate to get your family maximum compensation for what you’ve gone through. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your loved one.

3 Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

by Staff Blogger | May 20th, 2019

When your loved one moves into a nursing home, you expect them to get compassionate and personalized care and attention. But because some nursing home owners and administrators value profits over resident safety and well-being, residents may be subject to poor quality care that can even become abusive and neglectful. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California nursing home abuse attorneys have no tolerance for nursing homes and nursing home staff members who allow abuse and neglect to occur to innocent residents. It’s our goal to help residents and their families get maximum compensation when that happens, but we also know that it can sometimes be difficult for family members to determine if their loved ones are being mistreated in nursing home facilities. If you notice any of these common signs of abuse or neglect in your loved one, contact us immediately:
  1. Unexplained cuts and bruises—Abuse can often be physical, and staff members may hit or strike residents, leaving them with signs of trauma on their bodies.
  2. Sudden fear and withdrawal—Abuse can also be emotional. Residents who are emotionally abused via threats and humiliation may become depressed, anxious, fearful, and withdrawn.
  3. Weight loss and worsening of health—When residents are neglected, they may not get proper nutrition, and their access to medications and doctor appointments may be restricted or denied.
Don’t wait another minute if you suspect your loved one is being harmed in a nursing home facility. Call today for a free consultation to find out how we may be able to help you.

3 Reasons to Get a Lawyer if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

by Staff Blogger | January 21st, 2019

As anyone with a loved one living in a nursing home knows, the facilities are often expensive and may be difficult to get into. For many people, those facts create a false sense of security and confidence in their loved ones’ care. Unfortunately, many nursing homes put profits at the top of their priority lists—not providing top-quality care to residents. To achieve that, nursing homes may be purposely understaffed, forgo effective training regimens, or hire inexperienced workers to take care of residents. Any of those negligent hiring practices can result in poor resident care—and sometimes, it can even result in abuse and neglect. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California nursing home abuse attorneys fight for the rights of both victims and their families after nursing home mistreatment occurs. If you believe there’s a chance that your loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home, it’s our goal to help in the following ways:
  1. We can look for evidence that abuse or neglect occurred—Nursing homes almost always deny that mistreatment occurred, but we know what evidence to look for and collect to leave no doubt about what happened.
  2. We can investigate how your loved one suffered as a result of the abuse or neglect—If your loved one’s health declined after being abused or neglected, we can collect evidence that links his or her mistreatment to new health problems and complications.
  3. We can negotiate to get you maximum compensation—By calculating how much the abuse or neglect incidents will cost your family, we can fight to get you and your loved one the money you deserve.
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, don’t wait to get experienced legal help. Call us today for a free consultation.

How Does Nursing Home Negligence Lead to Abuse and Neglect?

by Staff Blogger | September 17th, 2018

The owners and administrators of nursing homes in California and throughout the country have a big responsibility. They’re in charge of making sure millions of residents get the medical care and day-to-day living assistance they need around the clock. Nursing homes are big business, and it can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for residents to live in them. The profits that nursing home owners and administrators make off of residents and their families isn’t always enough, however. To maximize profits, some nursing homes take the following shortcuts:
  • Negligent hiring practices—People who work with residents who are elderly and suffering from serious illnesses should be thoroughly vetted and have spotless backgrounds. But some nursing homes hire people with records of criminal activities, violence, theft, and more in an effort to save time and money. Those hiring practices put residents at risk.
  • Understaffing—There should be plenty of staff members available to handle all manner of needs and requests from residents at nursing homes. However, payroll costs can be significant to nursing home owners and administrators, and that can lead to some intentional understaffing, making it more difficult for residents to get the attention they need.
  • Inadequate training—Caring for nursing home residents requires patience and plenty of hands-on training. But training programs can be expensive. Some nursing homes have little to no formal training for employees, which means residents’ well-being and lives may be in the hands of unqualified staff members.
If you suspect that your loved one was harmed in a nursing home, call the California nursing home abuse attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

What Types of Compensation Are Available for Nursing Home Abuse Victims?

by Staff Blogger | June 18th, 2018

When residents of nursing homes are abused or neglected, their rights, their dignity, and their trust are violated. In addition, they may face serious physical and mental complications, including abuse-related injuries, worsening of health conditions, and psychological problems like depression and anxiety. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California nursing home abuse attorneys have seen the devastation that occurs when nursing home providers, healthcare professionals, and staff members are negligent or intentionally abusive. It’s our goal to not only bring the issue to light, but to also help victims and their families get maximum compensation for what they’ve experienced. The types of compensation that nursing home victims and their families often receive at the conclusion of their claims include:
  • Medical expenses—Many nursing home residents have health conditions that require medication, rehabilitation, or frequent monitoring and intervention to treat and stabilize. When residents are abused or neglected, their conditions may rapidly worsen, and they may require more intensive care, which can be expensive. We fight to help residents and their families get money to cover additional medical bills related to improper care.
  • Pain and suffering—It’s hard to put a price tag on the suffering that’s caused when nursing home employees abuse or neglect patients, but it’s also an act that needs to be considered and compensated when claims are filed. If your loved one experienced pain, anguish, and reduced quality of life, we’ll make sure their experience is considered if we file a claim on their behalf.
Nursing homes are often well protected from legal action, and it takes an experienced and dedicated legal team to tip the scales in the favor of victims and their families. Call today for a free consultation to find out how we may be able to help.