Placing a loved one in a senior care facility is never an easy decision. When you select a nursing home or other care center, you place trust in the hands of the institution and the people who work there. You trust that they will take good care of a loved one who can no longer care for him or herself. Our Oakland nursing home abuse law firm is here to help when this trust is violated. We also understand that neglect can be as dangerous as physical or emotional abuse and we work with families to seek justice when nursing home neglect has serious, even tragic, consequences.
Alzheimer’s Patient Dies of Heatstroke After Wandering Away from Concord Assisted Care Center
The Oakland Tribune recently provided an update on a tragic case of elder care neglect that shocked many in our Northern California community this fall. Eighty-six year old Yolanda Membreno suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and was being cared for at Julia’s Home, a residential assisted care center. On September 30, she wandered away from the facility. She was later found dead at a park, located only a little more than a block from the center. According to a recently completed autopsy report, Membreno died as a result of heat stroke. Her family reports that, aside from the dementia related issues, she had been in good health. The Tribune noted that current law requires care facilities to alert the state when a resident leaves and may be in danger, but they are not required to contact police. Membreno’s family is working with police to pursue possible criminal charges against those who operate the facility.
Neglect as a Form of Elder Abuse Under California Law
California law addresses the problem of elder abuse in the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. Section 15610.07 of the state’s Welfare and Institutions Code specifies that neglect is a form of elder abuse. This is expanded upon by 15610.57 which defines neglect to include the failure to provide the care that a reasonable person would provide in a similar position. The section further provides examples of failures that constitute neglect including failing to provide needed nutrition, physical and mental health care, and assistance with personal hygiene. Additionally, the law includes failing to protect against health and safety hazards as a form of elder neglect.
It is important to remember that elder abuse can occur in any setting, including a private home where the elderly individual is being cared for by a family member as well as a nursing home or other care facility. In nursing home and other care center settings, neglect often stems from inadequate staffing. This can include having too few staff members and also having staff members that are not properly trained or qualified to provide certain forms of care. Neglect can lead to malnutrition or dehydration; injuries, such as bedsores; falls; and, exacerbated health conditions that could be treated with adequate care. Additionally, when individuals suffer from cognitive impairment, neglect can lead to residents wandering away and suffering injury or even, as in the case of Yolanda Membreno, death.
Protecting Loved Ones From Elder Abuse & Nursing Home Neglect
Family members should take care when choosing a elder care facility and should also continue to monitor the care provided by the center. For those who suspect abuse or neglect, the California Department of Aging provides an online resource sheet on reporting elder abuse. Additionally, family members should reach out to an experienced elder law attorney. As an Oakland elder care lawyer, Attorney Brod can help family members put a stop to mistreatment and seek justice when neglect or abuse leads to injury or death. Call to arrange a free consultation.
See Related Blog Posts:
A Joint Effort – Criminal and Civil Liability for Nursing Home Abuse
California Class Action Lawyer on Patient Suit Against Nursing Home Group
(Photo by C & More)