Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

christian-langballe-78684-copy-300x200When most people think of elder abuse, they think of physical abuse. While physical abuse of elders is common, financial elder abuse is actually the most common and is steadily on the rise. In California, there are laws against all types of elder abuse, including financial elder abuse. If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse, contact the attorneys at Willoughby Brod today to help your loved ones seek justice and obtain the compensation they deserve.

What is Financial Elder Abuse?

Financial elder abuse, also known as senior fraud, is when an elderly individual’s money, assets or property are mismanaged, stolen, or obtained by coercive and fraudulent means. A person who is found to have committed elder abuse can be charged with a felony, which can result in two to four years of state prison time, or a misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in county jail and thousands of dollars in fines, depending on the person’s background and history.

jeremy-wong-298986-copy-300x200Physical abuse of elders in nursing homes that results in bruises, scratches, burns, or other visible injuries is easy to spot, but there are a number of other injuries that the elderly can suffer in nursing homes that can easily go unnoticed. In California, elder abuse is illegal and can result in both civil and criminal charges. Below is a list of more subtle signs of elder abuse and how you can spot them in your loved ones. If you believe your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, call the personal injury attorneys at The Brod Law Firm today to find out how we can help.

Elder Neglect

Elder neglect constitutes nearly half of reported elder abuse cases. Whether intentional or unintentional, elder neglect occurs when nursing home staff fails to care for residents as the law mandates. This can include failure to regularly change the resident’s bed sheets, failure to assist the resident in maintaining their personal hygiene, failure to fix maintenance problems in the residents’ rooms, failure to provide meals to the residents, or a variety of other failures to comply with their duties of care as nursing home staff.

jeremy-wong-298986-copy-300x200Title 22 specifies the standards according to which California nursing homes must adhere. Many of the standards aim to preserve the patient’s level of health and independence, even when it means more work for the nursing home staff. For example, it stipulates that patients must get enough exercise to preserve their mobility.  In practice, this means that nursing home staff should provide walking assistance to patients who can walk with assistance rather than transporting them in wheelchairs. Likewise, it prohibits feeding tubes for patients who are capable of oral feeding, even if they require assistance with feeding. In general, it requires nursing homes to provide patients with the kind of health maintenance care that it would be difficult for them to get outside the nursing home. Therefore, when a nursing home unjustly evicts a patient, and the patient loses the state of health that she had been able to maintain while living at the nursing home, it could be a case of elder abuse. This issue is at the center of a lawsuit currently being argued in California courts.

Details of the Case

A nursing home in Sacramento, California sent a patient to the hospital for a psychological evaluation after she reportedly began behaving aggressively at dinner and throwing table utensils. Physicians at the hospital examined the patient and determined that she was fit to return to the nursing home; in fact, they did not find anything wrong with her. They sent her back to the nursing home, but it refused to re-admit her. According to California law, nursing homes are required to reserve a patient’s bed for seven days when a patient is hospitalized. Likewise, the nursing home did not give her advance notice before she went to the hospital that they would not let her back in when she returned, which is also a violation of the rules.

jeremy-wong-298986-copy-300x200San Diego has become well-known around the country for being a safe and family-friendly city. The area has been enjoying a decreasing crime rate in recent years. However, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan says the work is not finished. Stephen’s office is focusing on reducing incidents of elder abuse, recognizing it when it happens, properly investigating it, and prosecuting it when necessary.

San Diego County’s “Blueprint”

In March, the county D.A.’s office launched an initiative against elder abuse, which has been on the rise in the previous five years. The D.A.’s office has compiled information and tools that they are referring to as a “blueprint” designed to help key professionals identify elder abuse and effectively question those affected by it, including seniors who may be suffering from dementia.

cristian-newman-63291-199x300Another wrongful death lawsuit has been brought against Brius Healthcare Services for the negligent care provided at its Granada Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. The suit alleges that an elderly patient, Jeanette Sharp, died after the staff at Granada allowed a significant amount of fecal matter to build up in her colon. According to reports, physicians removed up to four liters of fecal matter, some of which was spilling into the patient’s abdominal cavity and had reach the exit of Sharp’s stomach. By the time the patient received surgical intervention on April 4, 2017, the situation was dire. Sharp passed away the same day of the procedure.

Granada Staff Allegedly Provided Negligent Care

The lawsuit filed against Brius Healthcare Services states that the staff at Granada failed to monitor Sharp’s bowel movements. Sharp had dementia and was likely unable to self-monitor. Over an extended period of time without bowel movements, the fecal matter accumulated and filled Sharp’s digestive system.

cristian-newman-63291-199x300The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in four people over the age of 65 years falls each year. Of these falls, one in five leads to a serious injury like a traumatic brain injury or a broken bone. In fact, falling is the most common cause of concussions and more serious traumatic brain injuries. Following these falls, 2.8 million seniors are treated in emergency rooms for injuries and more than 800,000 of these seniors are hospitalized.

Many falls are related to medical conditions and age-related changes. However, they are not always innocent accidents. Seniors face a greater risk of falling when they are the victims of neglect and abuse. If your loved one has suffered one or more falls and you believe it is because of abuse or neglect, contact our experienced San Francisco elder neglect and abuse attorneys at Brod Law Firm immediately. We will thoroughly review your loved one’s situation to advise you on how to get them into a safer situation and their right to seek compensation for their injuries.

Falls Have Tragic Consequences

dan-gold-272398-copy-300x169There are a few habits elderly individuals keep up as long as they can. One of these is heading to the salon or barber to have their hair cut. Many elderly men and women rely on this routine not only to maintain their hygiene and preferred style, but also to maintain their social connections. Many individuals have gone to the same salon or shop for years. Now, with California’s new law, the salon professionals working with these men and women will be in a better position to notice signs of elder abuse and neglect.

California AB 326

In late September, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 326, which requires the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) to develop and adopt a course that covers physical and sexual abuse awareness for all of their licensees by July 1, 2019. Under the new law, physical and sexual abuse includes domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and elder abuse. This information must be taught in schools approved by the BBC just like other health and safety courses that cover hazardous substances and basic labor laws. This new requirement will impact approximately 550,000 professionals, including barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, manicurists, and more.

alexandru-tugui-185047-copy-300x200Recent surveillance camera footage is a difficult reminder of how careful elderly individuals need to be when in public. The Burbank, California police have released a video of a young woman waiting behind an elderly woman who was in an electric scooter at a store. Once the elderly woman stood to grab an item off the shelf and was distracted, the younger woman quickly grabbed the purse off the scooter and walked away. The footage shows her leaving the store and then driving away in a white, four-door sedan that appeared to be a Lexus GS.

Police later recovered the elderly woman’s purse near Buena Vista and Vanowen streets, however her ID, money, credit cards, and other items were gone. The credit cards were used later at a Target and Lowes. The Burbank police are still looking for the suspect who could be charged with elder abuse and grand theft.

Elderly Individuals Must Remain Vigilant

christian-langballe-78684-copy-300x200An audit conducted by Daniel Levinson, Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that elder abuse and neglect is a significant concern for Medicare beneficiaries and that the Medicare program currently has inadequate procedures to ensure abuse or neglect are identified and reported in accordance with legal requirements.

If you have a loved one living in a nursing home and you believe that he or she is being neglected or abused, contact an experienced San Francisco elder abuse attorney at Brod Law Firm right away. While Medicare mandates that all suspected abuse or neglect of elderly or patients be reported to the police immediately by the facility’s staff, this is often not the case. Many episodes of abuse or neglect go unnoticed and unreported, leaving your and other people’s loved ones in danger.

The Medicare Audit

keilidh-ewan-189124-copy-300x200Certain medical issues become more common with age. It is common for seniors’ eyesight and hearing to decline. These issues can become so severe as to make elderly individuals legally blind or deaf, which can put them at a significant disadvantage when it comes to handling their own financial affairs. When they are not able to hear or see well, seniors may heavily rely on others to help them with simple matters like maintaining their checkbooks, to more complex matters like protecting their retirement assets and buying or selling real estate. While at such a disadvantage, family members, friends, neighbors, and others can take advantage and financially abuse these seniors.

If you believe an elderly parent or loved one is being taken advantage of because they cannot hear or see well to manage their own affairs, contact our experienced San Francisco elder abuse lawyers from Brod Law Firm at (800) 427-7020.

Hearing Loss in Seniors