Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Families with elderly persons and persons with disabilities on our North Coast and throughout California often find themselves unable to care for their loved ones and in need of private for-profit nursing homes and assisted living centers for care. Although some care centers do an excellent job of placing the needs of their residents over profit, there are a significant number of facilities in Humboldt County, Del Norte County, Trinity County, Shasta County and Mendocino County that have a history and practice of physically and financially abusing elderly and dependent adults in our communities. We have taken the lead in protecting our seniors and disabled persons from abuse and are committed to helping families achieve justice if their loved ones are neglected or abused.

Nursing home neglect and abuse takes many forms and causes multiple injuries, including:
  • Decubitus ulcers, known as bed sores or pressure ulcers due to inadequacies in repositioning, nutrition, hydration and basic cleanliness;
  • Urinary Tract Infections caused by Failure Monitor, Failure to Assist with Hydration and Failure to Assist Residents with
  • Weight loss and hunger
  • Infections and Harm to Dignity by Failure to Bathe
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Falls and Fractures- Caused by Improper Transfers and Failure to Monitor
  • Financial Abuse
  • Medication Injuries due to inadequate or improper medications caused by the failures to properly label, store, monitor, dispense, and administer medications
  • Delayed Care due to failure to provide necessary assessments, evaluations, and treatments, including failures to notify other health care providers or arrange for prompt transfers to acute care hospitals when conditions so warranted
  • Inadequate Mouth and Skin Care
  • Loss of Motion and use of limbs due to inadequate exercise, and regularly failing to provide ordered restorative therapy, range of motion exercises, and/or other forms of therapy and treatment;
  • General Neglect caused by failure to timely respond to "call lights" as required by law, which often resulted in residents waiting excessive periods of time for help, to be taken to or from the bathroom, to have soiled sheets replaced, or to be put to bed;
  • Harm to Dignity caused by treating residents in an undignified, rude, and threatening manner
It is well known, and has been expressly noted by the California Legislature, through Welfare & Institutions Code §15600(a)-(d), that the dependent adult segment of the population is particularly subject to various forms of abuse and neglect. Physical infirmity or mental impairments often place dependent adults in a dependent and vulnerable position. At the same time, such infirmity and impairments leave dependent adults incapable of asking for help and protection.

Despite state requirements for adequate staffing for nursing homes, a number of nursing homes intentionally and deliberately developed plans to wrongfully and unreasonably increase their business profits at the expense of residents. Integral to these plans is the practice and pattern of staffing their California facilities with an insufficient number of care personnel, many of whom are not properly trained and qualified and admitting patients for whom the subject facilities are unable to provide adequate care. These "understaffing" plans, which are designed and established to reduce labor costs and to increase profits, result in the physical abuse and neglect of many of the residents. This puts our most vulnerable population at risk.

If your loved one is neglected or abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you should work with an attorney experienced in the field of elder and dependent adult abuse. The attorneys at the Janssen Malloy LLP have handled a number of complex cases in this area and are passionate about protecting the vulnerable members of our communities from those that are willing to put profits over people. If you believe your loved one has been neglected or abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact us for a free consultation.  

EXAMPLES OF RECENT CASES

Failure to Supervise Resident Causing Bed Sores and Fractured Hip– Settlement in Excess of One Million Dollars
Our elder abuse litigation team obtained a large confidential settlement for a family who lost their wife and mother due to a nursing home’s inadequate staffing. Our investigation uncovered a situation where the nursing home failed to respond to call lights from a resident who could not get to the bathroom without assistance and supervision. The nursing home resident developed bed sores and a urinary tract infection due to inadequate monitoring. The resident became desperate to go to the bathroom one night and attempted to get up on her own after the nursing home failed to respond to her call light. She left her bed undetected because the staff forgot to attach the mobility alarm. The resident fell and fractured her hip, but the nursing home staff simply put her back in bed.   The next morning, the nursing home staff failed to call an ambulance for the injured resident due to the costs and the family was forced to drive her to the hospital themselves. Review of the nursing home’s charts indicated that the residents were not being bathed regularly and were suffering from malnutrition and dehydration due to inadequate staffing. Despite the nursing home’s awareness that it lacked adequate staffing to care for its residents, it continued to accept new residents to increase its profits.   Our attorneys brought suit under the provisions of California Welfare & Institutions Code §15610.35, California’s Elder Abuse statute.
Failure to Monitor Wandering Resident – Large Confidential Wrongful Death Settlement
Our dependant adult abuse litigation team successfully obtained a large confidential settlement from a nursing home on behalf of the daughter of a mentally disabled man who was knowingly permitted to wander alone from the facility into a cold rainy night to die of exposure outside the facility. The confidential settlement  included recovery for the pre-death pain and suffering of the decedent, attorney’s fees, and other damages in order to properly compensate the heir for what her father had endured.
Improper Transfer Causing Wrongful Death - Large Confidential Settlement.
Our elder abuse litigation team represented the surviving sister of a young disabled woman who was dropped during a bed transfer by nursing home staff members who failed to take proper precautions and failed to use proper equipment. Our attorneys demonstrated that the nursing home staff was improperly trained to perform the transfer and had an inadequate number of staff to perform the transfer safely. The recovery included compensation for pain and suffering, wrongful death and recovery of attorneys fees for the surviving sister.
Failure to Administer Medication Causing Amputation and Wrongful Death - Large Confidential Settlement.
Our nursing home litigation team obtained a large confidential settlement for plaintiffs in Shasta County and Humboldt County for the loss of their father based upon neglect in a residential care facility. Our investigation uncovered the fact that a doctor’s office prescribed an antibiotic for the resident but the nursing home failed to inform the family that he had developed an ulcer and failed to tell the family that he had been prescribed antibiotics. Nobody at the care facility noted that the antibiotics were not delivered or that the antibiotics were not being given for four days. Left untreated, the resident's condition worsened and the smell from the large black ulcer on his left heel became overpowering. The family observed the odor from the ulcer and that their father’s legs were filled with fluid and therefore demanded that he be transported to the emergency room. He  was delivered to the hospital and found to have proteus in the wound on his left heel and proteus in his bloodstream, apparently seeded from the wound on his left heel. As a result of the care home’s neglect, he had his left leg amputated below the knee as a result of the untreated necrotic ulcer on his left heel. Soon thereafter, he passed away as a result of his weakened condition.
Class Action Litigation- Understaffing of Nursing Homes
In an effort to stop the understaffing that leads to neglect and abuse of nursing home residents in California, our nursing home litigation team filed a state-wide class action lawsuit against a private nursing home chain that has failed to comply with the minimum staffing requirements.   After a lengthy trial, the jury returned a verdict of $677 million, the largest verdict in the United States in 2010.    Vinnie Lavender v. Skilled  Healthcare Group, Inc., Humboldt County Superior Court Case No. DR 060264.
If you believe your loved one has been neglected or abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you should work with attorneys experienced in the field of elder and dependent adult abuse and contact us for a free consultation.