How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in CA
No family expects a nursing home to commit acts as heinous as the abuse, assault or neglect of its elderly residents. Sadly, statistics estimate that at least 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 experience some form of elder abuse in a given year. If you suspect that someone is abusing your loved one while in a nursing home or long-term care facility in California, here’s how to report this crime and seek justice.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse? What Are the Signs?
First, you need to learn how to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. There are several types of nursing home abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse and financial abuse. Each type of abuse has different signs. For example, common signs of physical elder abuse include unusual bruises, frequent injuries or trips to the hospital, broken bones, dislocations, burns, bedsores, and malnourishment.
Signs of emotional, mental or verbal abuse include behavioral changes, depression, anxiety, feelings of guilt or shame, withdrawal from society, and suicidal thoughts or tendencies. Sexual abuse at a nursing home in California can result in the same signs as emotional abuse, as well as physical issues like sexually transmitted diseases. Financial abuse often results in financial harm for the victim through the form of scams, fraud or deceit.
Call 911 in an Emergency
If you have reason to suspect that your loved one is suffering any form of elder abuse, you may need to involve the police right away. Call 911 if the situation is an emergency, such as if you think your loved one is in imminent danger of bodily harm from a caregiver or nursing home staff member. Get your loved one to a safe location immediately. In a nonemergency, you can still report the crime of elder abuse to local law enforcement to press charges against the perpetrator by calling your county’s nonemergency police number.
Tell Your Loved One’s Primary Care Doctor
Take the elder abuse victim to see his or her primary care doctor right away. A doctor can help determine what happened based on the type and severity of the injuries if your loved one is unable or unwilling to speak about what happened. A doctor can also improve your loved one’s chances of healing and survival with immediate medical care.
Notify the Nursing Home or Adult Protective Services
If the abuse took place at the adult’s home or in a hospital, such as abuse by a caregiver, live-in aide or nurse, notify Adult Protective Services (APS). Call (833) 401-0832 and enter your five-digit zip code to be connected to the location in your county. You can report elder abuse at this number 24/7. If the abuse took place at a nursing home or similar facility, notify a manager at the nursing home and contact your local ombudsman program.
Report it to the Ombudsman Program
A long-term care ombudsman program exists through the California Department of Aging. It offers a statewide CRISISline 24/7 at (800) 231-4024. You can call this number to report abuse against your loved one, a violation of residents’ rights, low quality of care or the improper discharge of a resident at a nursing home in California.
File a Complaint With the California Department of Public Health
If the abuse occurred at a licensed residential care facility, adult day program or assisted living facility, report it to the California Department of Social Services by calling (844) 538-8766. At a licensed nursing home or rehabilitation center, contact the California Department of Public Health in your county to file a report, instead. There are multiple ways to file with CDPH: online or by phone, fax or email.
Contact an Attorney to Discuss a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
Finally, when you’re ready to pursue justice in the form of a lawsuit against the person or party that abused, neglected or mistreated your loved one, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. A lawyer will help you and your family collect evidence of this tort, file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, and demand maximum financial compensation for the unspeakable crimes committed against your loved one.