elderly woman in nursing home

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: What to Do If Your Loved One Is a Victim

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Taking action for nursing home abuse can be an uphill battle, but when your dear friend or close relative is a victim of mistreatment at a long-term care facility, you cannot simply look away and do nothing. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you seek justice and hold the facility accountable. Here are a few things you need to know about nursing home abuse and neglect.

Know the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Your loved one might not tell you about the mistreatment out of fear of retaliation, or because their physical or mental/intellectual condition might make processing, remembering details, and reporting what happened a challenge. These factors make your relative or friend particularly vulnerable to abuse or neglect.

Here are some of the common signs of possible neglect or abuse by a long-term care facility:

  • Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers. The nursing home should reposition each resident regularly to prevent the development of bedsores.
  • Broken bones
  • Dehydration.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Indications of worsening stress, like fear, anxiety, restlessness, and irritability.
  • Any unexplained injuries, like burns, cuts, or bruises.
  • Injuries from falls. The facility should implement fall prevention measures as appropriate with each resident, tailored to the resident’s specific needs.

These signs are but a few of the many indications you might notice or want to look for with your loved one. Sometimes, your instincts might tell you that something is wrong. You do not want to make unfounded accusations, but you might want to investigate further, even in response to a hunch. 

Gathering Evidence of Mistreatment

If you do find that neglect or abuse has happened, you need to document the impact the mistreatment has had on your friend or relative. You can take photos of physical injuries, infections, and bedsores with your cell phone. Be sure to make a note of who took the photograph and the date and time of the picture.

Eyewitnesses, like fellow residents and visitors, can provide testimony of what happened to your relative. Write down the names and contact information of potential witnesses. 

If you work with a lawyer on your claim against the nursing home, the attorney can request records early in the process and notify the facility not to destroy records or other evidence of the events.

Legal Action Against a Nursing Home for Mistreatment

The California Department of Social Services, California Department of Public Health, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) accept and investigate reports of nursing home abuse and neglect, but their primary function is to penalize the institution for rule violations. If you want to hold the facility accountable for the harm it did to your loved one and go after compensation, you will need to seek those outcomes separately from the government agencies.

You do not have to go through this challenging situation on your own. A Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer can investigate the long-term care facility and help you pursue compensation for your loved one for the harm they suffered. Get in touch with our office today for help with your case.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.