As our parents, grandparents, and family members age, they often require increasingly intensive, hands-on care. Nursing homes, rehabilitative centers, and other assisted living facilities promise a safe environment in which our loved ones can receive the care they need. These facilities don’t always fulfill these promises, though, which is where a Hayward nursing home abuse lawyer can help you and your family.
Every person in a nursing home or residential care facility deserves to live a happy, fulfilling, and safe life. When mistreatment like abuse or neglect violates their rights, we are standing by to help. Our attorneys meet with victims and families in Hayward and the surrounding community in Alameda County for completely free, confidential, and no-obligation informational meetings.
To schedule your free consultation, please contact our office.
The State of Nursing Home Abuse in California—Facts and Statistics
Of the 55 million people aged 65 or over who live in the U.S., 25% live in just three states, one of which is California. But while our state has one of the largest numbers of older residents, this age group still only represents 15% of our total population—less than the nationwide average of 16.8%.
Let’s take a closer look at facts and statistics about nursing homes and the abuse that happens in them, as collected by the State of California Department of Justice:
- Approximately 1,300 licensed nursing homes care for 110,000 live-in residents.
- Around 7,500 licensed residential care facilities for the elderly provide care for 150,000 live-in residents.
- An estimated 150,000 elderly residents live in unlicensed facilities.
- Unwarranted and unnecessary sedation of residents is not uncommon.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rates of abuse are especially high in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In the year preceding, June 2022, two out of every three staff reported having committed an act of abuse.
Not sure how abuse of the elderly is so widespread, yet you haven’t heard of anything from your own loved ones? As the National Coalition on Aging (NCOA) details, only one out of every 24 cases of nursing home abuse is ever reported.
The 4 Most Common Types of Abuse in Nursing Home Facilities
The abuse that occurs in nursing homes, assisted living, and rehabilitative facilities can be broken down into four main categories. These are physical, emotional, financial, and sexual:
Physical abuse involves inflicting physical pain or injury on an elderly person, patient, or resident. This can involve:
- Physical restraint
- Inappropriate physical punishment
While emotional abuse might not leave behind physical scars, it can be devastating for the mental and emotional well-being of residents. Also known as psychological or verbal abuse, this type of mistreatment may include:
- Calling names
- Cursing at residents
- Berating or mocking
- Humiliating or shaming patients
- Creating feelings of guilt
- Withholding affection or attention
Individuals over the age of 65 are at an increased risk for financial scams, theft, and monetary abuse. While there are many factors that influence a person’s individual risk factors, age-related issues like dementia or worsening cognitive functioning can put nursing home residents in a financially vulnerable position. Financial exploitation can include:
- Forging checks
- Stealing items of value
- Fraudulently accessing bank accounts
- Using debit or credit cards without permission
- Stealing retirement or disability benefits
According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, “sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact by one person upon another.” Acts of sexual abuse or violence often involve a significant power imbalance, such as the kind that generally exists between vulnerable nursing home residents and abusive staff members. This may include:
- Unwanted touching, especially of the breasts or genitals
- Rape (including rape involving oral or anal sex)
- Forced viewing of pornographic material
- Forced viewing of sexual acts
- Forced nudity
Identifying Neglect Among Nursing Home Residents
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, abuse and neglect have different meanings. While abuse is the act of inflicting intentional harm or injury, neglect is the failure to provide necessary care or meet essential needs.
Examples of neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities can include:
- Failing to provide nutritional meals or adequate water
- Leaving a resident in soiled clothing or bed linens
- Leaving a patient with mobility issues in a bed or chair without help for long stretches of time
- Forgetting to administer medications on a regular or timely basis
- Not changing bed sheets or clothing when needed
- Not calling a doctor or ambulance for a patient in medical distress
Harm doesn’t have to be intentional to hurt. If someone you love or care about has been neglected by their nursing home, they may have grounds to take legal action. A Hayward nursing home abuse attorney from Varlack Legal Services is standing by to help.
The Lowest-Rated Nursing Homes in Hayward, California
The Medicare Find & Compare Tool allows consumers to review ratings and reviews for Medicare-certified facilities. The following nursing homes have earned a one- or two-star rating:
- SerenEthos Care Center, LLC
- Bay Point Healthcare Center
- Hayward Convalescent Hospital
It’s important to note that abuse can take place anywhere and at any time, even in the highest-rated nursing facilities.
Signs of Abuse in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
You may be your parent’s, grandparent’s, aunt’s, uncle’s, or other family member’s best line of defense against abuse and mistreatment at the hands of staff members. We strongly recommend that you not only drop by on a regular basis but also do so unexpectedly and at different times of the day and week.
When you do so, you’ll be in a better position to notice when things seem off or different than normal. You’ll also be able to observe how different staff interact with residents, including your family member.
Whenever you visit, look for some of the following warning signs that can signal abuse or neglect:
- Dirty or unsanitary living conditions
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Unwillingness to talk
- Depression or anxiety
- Lack of interest in favorite activities or hobbies
- Repeated falls
- New injuries
- Bruises or cuts
- Pressure injuries (also called decubitus ulcers or bedsores)
These are all signs that a nursing home resident is being abused, neglected, or otherwise mistreated.
How To Report Elder Abuse in California
If you suspect that a nursing home resident is being abused, neglected, or mistreated, you should make a report as soon as possible. You do not need to have evidence of abuse to file a report—it’s up to the investigating agency to conduct an investigation looking for proof.
To report nursing home abuse in California, you can call:
- The Statewide CRISISline at 1-800-231-4024
- Alameda County Long-term Care Ombudsman at 1-510-638-6878
- Adult Protective Services (APS) at 1-510-577-3500 or 1-866-225-5277
- Alameda County Social Service’s Adult Abuse Hotline at 1-510-577-3500
Don’t ignore any concerns, worries, or gut feelings you have about a family member’s or friend’s care. Making a report or complaint could be the action that puts an end to the mistreatment they’ve been suffering.
After you’ve made your report, we encourage you to schedule a completely free informational meeting with Varlack Legal Services. When you do, we’ll guide you through the legal options at your loved one’s disposal.
Identifying the Causes of Abuse and Neglect in Hayward Nursing Homes
There is never an excuse for the mistreatment, abuse, or neglect of residents in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities. Our goal in identifying the most common causes of abuse in nursing homes is not to excuse this behavior but rather to highlight the ongoing areas of deficiency.
As a law firm made up of attorneys who have dedicated their careers to advocating for victims, we are familiar with some of the most common contributing factors to elder abuse, including:
- Staffing shortages (high patient-staff ratio)
- Untrained or unqualified staff
- Poor supervision and accountability
- Low staff pay
- Personal issues with caregiver
If your loved one has been abused by those entrusted with their care, identifying the causal factors (including facility negligence) will be key to successfully recovering compensation on their behalf.
Help & Compensation After Abuse in an Assisted Living Facility
No one deserves to be hurt, harmed, injured, neglected, ignored, mistreated, or abused. Unfortunately, elder abuse is a far from uncommon experience. People aged 65 and older are among the most vulnerable populations in the United States, and not only do they deserve to be protected, but they also deserve to be fully and fairly compensated when they’re not.
At Varlack Legal Services, we specialize in complex injury cases, including those involving nursing home abuse and neglect. It’s our job to take a stand when someone has been injured, and it’s a job that we take seriously.
Victims of abuse may be entitled to the following types of damages:
No one tells you how expensive it is to be hurt by someone else’s negligence. That’s why nursing home abuse claims and lawsuits often seek compensation for financial losses, which are covered by economic damages. These may include:
- Related medical bills
- Transportation costs to and from appointments
- Moving costs
- Property damage or loss of property
The most severe harm often falls outside exact financial losses. That’s why you can also recover compensation for noneconomic damages, which compensate you for all the other ways that your life has been negatively affected, such as:
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
The aftermath of serious neglect or abuse can be long-lasting, and our lawyers do everything within their power to ensure that we lift as much of that burden as possible off the shoulders of victims.
Who Can I Hold Responsible for Abuse of a Family Member?
You’re loved one deserved better. At Varlack Legal Services, we can help you hold all liable parties responsible for the harm they suffered, including:
- Staff members
How Long Does My Family Have To File an Elder Abuse Claim?
In California, the statute of limitations for nursing home abuse claims is two years. That means you have two years from the date of injury to take action.
But while you might have two years to meet with a lawyer, begin building a case, and file your claim, your loved one is hurting—and they need help now. And because of the age demographic who are primarily victimized by nursing home abuse, many don’t have two years to wait.
Getting started sooner rather than later means that you’ll have a better chance of securing all necessary evidence and building the strongest possible case for your loved one, with the goal of helping their remaining years be as happy, healthy, and safe as possible.
Find the Hayward Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer You Need at Varlack Legal Services
If you’re looking for reputable, knowledgeable, and compassionate legal representation, you’ve found it in Varlack Legal Services. We are a team of experienced attorneys who prioritize our clients and their needs above all else.
You can count on us to provide client-focused legal representation. We are industry leaders in our community, providing access to essential legal services in an effective and accessible setting.
To get matched with a Hayward nursing home abuse lawyer, contact us via our easy online form or by phone. We’ll schedule you for a free meeting at your earliest convenience.