Does an Elder Abuse Attorney Help in Cases of Neglect?
An elder abuse attorney provides assistance in cases where a senior is harmed by physical abuse, emotional abuse, or financial abuse. Overt acts of abuse are devastating to seniors, but are not the only risk that the elderly face. There are also many situations when seniors may suffer greatly as a result of the neglect of caregivers.
When neglect occurs, a senior may become sick, injured, or even die. If this happens because of nursing home negligence, an Irvine elder abuse attorney can represent the victim who has been harmed or the family member of the senior who was killed.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP has extensive experience providing legal advice and assistance to seniors and their families in taking legal action when a nursing home lets them down. We not only help in abuse cases, but also provide assistance when neglect was the cause of harm.
How Neglect Harms Seniors
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that more than 500,000 seniors were victims of either abuse or neglect over the course of the year. NCEA also warns that for every one case of abuse or neglect which is reported, approximately five cases go unreported.
Abuse and neglect are both common problems, with neglect occurring frequently because nursing home staff members are untrained and underpaid. Many nursing homes are also understaffed, with few qualified professionals. The situation in assisted living facilities is even worse, with ProPublica indicating that only 14 states regulate whether administrators of assisted living centers have high school diplomas. In California, the law also requires just two workers on an overnight shift for each 200 seniors being cared for.
Whatever the reason for the neglect, the consequences for seniors can be profound. Neglect can result in actual physical damage to seniors including:
- Falls: Many seniors need to get help when using the restroom or when bathing or showering. Seniors may also need assistance staying in wheel chairs and not falling out of bed. If seniors aren’t given the help they need, this increases the chances of a fall. A fall could be deadly, or could lead to life-changing injuries like a broken hip, which are very hard to recover from.
- Sexual abuse perpetrated by other residents: Seniors may need supervision, especially when suffering from conditions like dementia. If appropriate supervision and security is not provided to protect residents, they could be victimized by the sexual abuse of another resident. The nursing home could be held accountable for this if it was the home’s failure to provide a safe living environment that led to the sexual assault.
- Dehydration and malnutrition: Some seniors need help eating or drinking. If they are not provided this assistance, they could become dehydrated or suffer from malnutrition. This can cause permanent physical damage.
- Seniors getting lost or injured: If patients with dementia are not supervised and appropriate security precautions are not taken, the senior could end up leaving the facility and becoming lost. The senior could die of exposure or could be injured after he has left the nursing home without knowing where to go.
- Bed sores or pressure sores: Bed sores or pressure sores are one of the most common signs of neglect in a nursing home setting. These sores can be painful and can sometimes become infected. If left untreated, death can occur as a result of pressure sores that seniors experience when they are bedridden or wheelchair bound and not provided the proper care.
When a senior enters into a nursing home facility, the nursing home facility becomes responsible for providing at least minimally acceptable care. The facility has to make sure a senior’s basic needs are met. If the senior and/or his family members can prove that the nursing home or on-duty staff members were unreasonably negligent, this can result in the nursing home becoming liable for losses and damages. It will also be necessary to show the negligence was the direct cause of harm and to demonstrate the extent of damage.
How an Irvine Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help
At Brown & Charbonneau, LLP, we care deeply about helping to protect the rights of seniors. If you or someone you love has been harmed in any way by abuse or by neglect on the part of a nursing home, we will help you to prove your right to compensation. We can assist you in investigating the neglect, putting together evidence, and making your case.
To learn more about how an Irvine elder abuse attorney can help in cases where neglect results in damage to a vulnerable senior, give us a call today at (866)237-8129 or contact us online.