Elder Neglect in San Jose and the Bay Area
If You Suspect Elder Neglect, Speak With an Elder Neglect Lawyer From our Firm
At Needham Kepner & Fish LLP, we assist clients in obtaining compensation for the damages caused by negligent caregivers, long-term care facilities and nursing homes. Neglect in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities may result in catastrophic injury and even death. That is why it is urgent that you seek legal representation if you suspect that you or your loved one are suffering from neglect or abuse.
Speak with an elder neglect lawyer from our firm to discuss your situation in a free, confidential consultation. We can answer questions and concerns you may have, and help you understand your potential legal options.
How Our Elder Neglect Lawyers Can Help
First, during a free consultation, an elder neglect lawyer will listen to your situation and answer any questions you may have. Then, he or she can help you to understand your legal options, if any.
Your attorney can investigate your situation for signs of elder neglect and/or abuse. If you have a viable claim, your attorney will gather and evaluate crucial evidence, helping you build a solid case against the responsible party. Then, your attorney may be able to help you hold the nursing home or assisted-living facility accountable.
When you retain the services of our dedicated elder neglect lawyers, you gain access to extensive knowledge, resources and skill in elder neglect and abuse. We have extensive experience and success advocating for elder abuse and neglect victims throughout California.
Types of Elder Neglect
Elder neglect can occur in many forms. Below, our nursing home neglect lawyers explain a few common types of neglect:
Falls in Nursing Homes and Assisted-Living Facilities
When an elderly person is physically unable to stand up or walk on his or her own, he or she becomes dependent on caregivers to help. Most falls in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are preventable. One or more falls may be a sign of elder neglect.
Long term care facilities should have protocols in place to reduce the risk of falls, such as:
- Continually assessing each resident’s risk for falling
- Monitoring at-risk residents
- Providing fall-prevention equipment to at-risk residents
- Installing alarms to alert staff when at-risk residents need assistance
- Training staff in fall-prevention techniques
- Ensuring the facility is adequately staffed to monitor residents
Dehydration refers to excessive loss of water from the body. It can result in serious health issues, especially for older adults. It may relate to:
- Kidney and urinary tract problems
- Blood clots
Certain individuals may be more susceptible to dehydration due to:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Mobility issues, making it difficult to obtain water without assistance
- Dietary restrictions
- Illness or medical conditions that cause vomiting, diarrhea or increased urination
- Medications that cause dehydration
- Refusal to regularly intake fluids
Nursing home and assisted-living facilities should have hydration programs for at-risk individuals. This type of program helps to ensure that at-risk residents receive:
- Help with fluid intake
- Fluid intake and output monitoring and recording
- Monitoring for dehydration symptoms
Unfortunately, dehydration often occurs as a direct result of elder neglect. Failing to recognize and monitor an at-risk resident for dehydration may be neglect and a sign of elder abuse. For example, this situation may occur if there is:
- Inadequate staffing
- Inadequate training and education about dehydration
- Failure to monitor and record fluid intake and output
- Reliance on liquid supplements to meet nutritional and hydration needs
A diet lacking adequate vitamins, proteins and minerals may lead to malnutrition. Malnutrition can be detrimental and even deadly to seniors. Without proper monitoring, a person in a long-term care setting can become easily malnourished.
Many factors may cause malnutrition, including, but not limited to:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dietary restrictions
- Mobility issues, making it difficult to obtain food without assistance
- Medications that cause lack of appetite
There are several factors used to assess the risk of someone becoming malnourished, including:
- Advanced age
- Cognitive decline
- Poor dental health
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty chewing
Similar to dehydration, malnutrition contributes to the development and progression of other serious health issues. A few examples include:
- Weakening of the immune system
- Poor organ health
Malnutrition can also result in it taking longer for an individual to heal from illnesses and injuries. There are also more risks when surgery is performed and hospital stays are generally longer and more expensive.
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, are ulcers that form on areas of the skin that are under pressure. Bedsores can take months or even years to heal, and may lead to infection and require surgery to help the healing process. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, risk factors for bedsores include:
- Being unconscious
- Inability to sense pain
- Circulation problems
- Poor nutrition
Bedsores become a real risk when an individual does not or cannot change positions on his or her own. When this happens, the nursing home or assisted-living staff must change his or her position at regular intervals. When this is neglected, bedsores may form.
Medication is a necessity for elderly individuals. This becomes problematic when an individual is unable to remember to take it or becomes physically unable to take it on his or her own. When this happens, caregivers are responsible for giving them their prescription drugs. If caregivers are negligent administering medication, serious problems may arise.
The law requires that nurses and other caregivers must provide adequate healthcare services to their patients when they take on that role. When elders are neglected and/or abused by care providers, the following medication errors can occur:
- Medication administered without consent
- Incorrect dosage
- Incorrect medications
If you suspect your loved one has a lack of proper care in a long-term care facility or a nursing home, and that lack of proper care has resulted in medication errors, consider taking legal action. Our elder abuse attorneys are here to help you understand your potential legal options.
When there is a lack of supervision or security in a nursing home or assisted-living facility, it creates an unsafe environment for the residents. For example, residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia need constant supervision. These facilities should have alarms that notify staff when at-risk individuals exit their rooms or the facility.
An uncontrolled environment is unsafe and requires caregivers to be alert and attentive at all times. When proper supervision is not provided, it can result in injuries or death for a resident who goes wandering in or out of the facility.
More Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
A few more signs of nursing home neglect may include:
- Poor hygiene
- Dirty clothes
- Dirty bedding
- Other unsanitary conditions
- Lack of staff at the facility
- Long delays in answering call lights
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
Contact the Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP
If you or your loved one are suffering from elder neglect and/or elder abuse in San Jose or the Bay Area, consider taking legal action. We are here to answer your questions and help you to understand your potential legal options. Call us at (408) 956-6949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.