It’s a family’s worst nightmare — to learn that they’ve entrusted the care of a loved one to an institution that has caused serious harm. Nursing home neglect and abuse remains a prevalent problem in society, despite national efforts to curb mistreatment of our most vulnerable citizens. Abuse goes beyond physical mistreatment and commonly involves financial abuse, emotional abuse, abandonment and neglect.
For more than 20 years, The Salamati Law Firm has successfully represented victims in nursing home neglect lawsuits, helping Los Angeles families demand justice for injuries and financial losses.
Elder abuse statistics
According to the National Council on Aging:
- An estimated 500 million elders are abused each year.
- 1 in 10 Americans over age 60 have experienced elder abuse, not including financial abuse.
- Nursing home neglect and abuse accounts for 10% of all cases; the rest are family members.
- Abused elders have a 300% higher risk of death.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse:
- Only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities.
- Abuse accounted for 7% of all complaints regarding institutional facilities reported to the Ombudsmen.
- A study of 2,000 nursing home residents found that 44% had been abused and 95% witnessed neglect.
Types of nursing home abuse
Physical abuse cases are easiest to define, identify and prosecute. The Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging defines abuse as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish or deprivation by a person, including a caregiver, of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.”
Slapping, bludgeoning and pushing all fall under the umbrella of physical abuse. Sexual abuse can take many forms, from requiring a resident to unnecessarily disrobe to rape.
The National Council on Aging identifies seven types of mistreatment in nursing home facilities:
- Physical abuse – the infliction of pain, sometimes resulting in serious injury.
- Sexual abuse – inappropriate touching or sexual activity with a victim who is unable to understand, who feels threatened, or who is abused by force.
- Emotional abuse – verbal assaults, threats, harassment, or intimidation.
- Confinement – physical restraint or isolation for no medical reason.
- Passive neglect – failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care or a sanitary environment.
- Willful deprivation – withholding medication, medical care, shelter, food, or assistance.
- Financial exploitation – withholding or misusing another person’s financial resources.
Identifying nursing home neglect
Many cases of elder neglect require a bit of detective work by family members, as most cases go unreported by residents. Elderly victims of abuse may be unaware or unsure of the abuse taking place.
Signs of nursing home neglect or abuse may include:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Unsanitary conditions or unclean clothes
- Agitation, withdrawal, or fearful behaviors
- Frequent crying or complaining
Even if you lack concrete evidence that demonstrates neglect has taken place in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you are entitled to a free legal evaluation. Our attorneys can determine if you have grounds for litigation against the caretakers or facility because of negligence and personal injury.
Examples of elder neglect injuries
The definition of neglect is often uniquely defined from person to person. Typically, nursing home neglect involves failure to provide adequate food, medication, hygiene, shelter, clothing, and medical care – either as an act of willful cruelty and coercion, or due to negligence and sheer incompetence.
The majority of our cases involve evidence such as:
- Bedsores and ulcers
- Pressure wounds and bruises
- Deep cuts and lacerations
- Falls with fractures
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Infection or illness
Identifying nursing home abuse
Victims of physical or emotional abuse may not report the incidents to family and friends because they feel scared or threatened by the perpetrators.
Warning signs of elder abuse:
- Physical symptoms like bruises, lacerations, broken bones, cuts, abrasions, burns
- Emotional changes like withdrawal from normal activities, changes in alertness or argumentativeness
- Sudden, unexplained changes in financial situation
Examples of nursing home abuse injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Infections, bedsores and ulcers
- Unexpected falls resulting in injuries like broken bones and sprains, head injuries and bruises
- Medication errors or overdoses
- Untimely or unexplained death
Reporting elder abuse
When you suspect a loved one has been abused, your first step should be a phone call to Adult Protective Services of Los Angeles County. You do not need proof to express your concerns. You should then call your local ombudsman’s crisis line at 1-800-231-4024.
Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit
Filing an elder abuse lawsuit is another way to punish institutions for wrongdoing and seek just compensation. Nursing home facilities may be found liable for harmful actions such as:
- Inadequate employee screening
- Understaffing or undertraining
- Breach of regulatory obligations
- Medication errors
- Failure of oversight
While every case is unique, it is not unusual to see these claims settle outside court for sums in the hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of dollars.
The Salamati Law Firm aggressively pursues maximum compensation for your loved one’s suffering to hold nursing homes accountable and help your family move on from the harm that’s been done. Call 1-800-957-9898 for a free, no-obligation assessment of your case from an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Los Angeles.