Glendale Assisted Living Abuse Lawyer
Schedule Free Consultation
Serving the San Fernando Valley & Los Angeles
Do you have a loved one who has been neglected, taken advantage of, or suffered harm in an assisted living facility? Or do you have suspicions that such abuse has taken place? When a fragile, defenseless, and dependent relative has been victimized by the facility which has been paid to provide for his or her care, family members may need to turn to an experienced legal professional for help.
Contact our assisted living facility abuse lawyers at Berberian Ain LLP at (818) 808-0048 to schedule a free consultation about your elder abuse and neglect concerns today.
What is an Assisted Living Facility?
Also known as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs), assisted living facilities are non-medical housing facilities which provide a group living environment, room and board, supervision, and assistance with all activities related to daily living for seniors who cannot or choose to not live independently. They differ from nursing homes in that they are meant for people who are unable to live by themselves but who do not need 24-hour nursing care, so they are not required to have nurses, certified nursing assistants, or doctors on staff.
Oftentimes, assisted living facilities are loosely regulated and/or monitored. While nursing homes are regulated on a federal level, an assisted living facility’s regulations are set by individual state laws, which vary from state to state. This can lead to a lack of transparency and accountability. California is among the bottom 50% of all states when it comes to transparency in assisted living facilities, which creates a very distressing blindspot for all types of transgressions.
Assisted Living Facility Abuse & Neglect
Elder abuse consists of any actions or omissions that harm or cause a risk of harm to the elderly. These actions can be committed by family, private caregivers, residential care facility staff, or any person that is tasked with their care. Since assisted living facilities are less regulated than nursing homes, any form of neglect or abuse may fall under the radar of governmental agencies established to monitor them. For example, if abuse occurs in a nursing home, federal law requires the home to notify law enforcement within a specific time frame. This law now applies in California for assisted living facilities, and recent statistics from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) show that 26 of 48 state Medicaid agencies lacked the systems and resources to track the number of assisted living abuse incidents, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Lack of proper monitoring means that, far too often, assisted living facilities are admitting or retaining residents for whom they are not equipped to properly care for. This often leads to neglect, especially among elders who require more supervision than others, such as those who are physically more susceptible to ulcers, falls, or bed sores. Cognitive disorders can also be improperly tended to, which can have severe consequences. There have been cases where facilities fail to secure dangerous chemicals that were later consumed by residents with dementia. This form of neglect can have deadly consequences.
The bottom line is, even though the state of California has certain retention policies that dictate whether or not an assisted living facility has the experience and resources needed to adequately care for each resident they admit, there’s not enough regulation to prevent negligent and haphazard interpretations of these guidelines.
Furthermore, residents of assisted living facilities generally require less care than those in nursing homes, which not only fuels the misconception that seniors in these facilities are far more independent and capable of looking out for their own well-being than they actually are, but also leads to many of these facilities being either understaffed or prone to hiring under qualified personnel. All of this gives the facility even more leeway for all types of abuse and negligence.
These are common forms of mistreatment that may be committed by facility staff as well other residents or visitors:
- Neglect (malnutrition, dehydration, injuries such as rashes and sores, unsanitary conditions)
- Physical abuse (slapping, punching, kicking)
- Emotional or psychological abuse (verbal abuse, harassment, bullying, etc.)
- Financial exploitation
- Sexual abuse
- Medication errors
These facilities may also be guilty of failing to respond to the resident’s individual needs or requests, failing to respond to queries or other communication of family members, neglecting proper facility upkeep, poor administration, and other forms of negligence or misconduct. It’s important to maintain regular communication with a loved one so as to keep an eye on potential indicators of abuse, that way you can report it and act quickly. Here are some common signs:
- Bruises, bleeding, cuts, lacerations
- Bedsores or rashes
- Cigarette burns, or burns in shapes of objects
- Sprains, fractures, or dislocations
- Sudden weight loss
- Unusual depression, anxiety, or emotional withdrawal
- Silence around caretakers or strained relationships with other residents
- Disheveled appearance, soiled clothing, or inappropriate attire for climate
- Changes in the elder’s will, power of attorney, or financial status
Why Be Vigilant?
According to recent reports, there are 36,000 licensed assisted living facilities in the U.S., tripling in number over the past 20 years and outnumbering nursing homes by a ratio of around 2 to 1. It’s a booming industry with an enticing concept–for seniors to grow old as independently and gracefully as possible–but at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that it is an industry, and as with any consumer driven industry, the pretty picture advertised on the brochure is oftentimes only the best case scenario.
The issue with the assisted living facility business model is that it’s only optimally beneficial for seniors who need a very minimal amount of help and can take full advantage of its community-driven social activities, perks, and resources. But for residents who need more looking after, such as seniors who have trouble walking or who experience other mild physical or cognitive issues, such as memory loss or dementia, these facilities often fall short. Coupled with weak monitoring and accountability, understaffing, and irresponsible admittance of residents who have more severe conditions, this creates ripe ground for inadequate care, at best, and negligence, abuse, and preventable death, at worst.
To report abuse or neglect in an assisted living facility in California, call the elder abuse hotline at 1-877-4R SENIORS (1-877-477-3646) or visit the Adult Protective Services website here. If you currently have a loved one in an assisted living facility, or are shopping around for one, it’s important to check that facility’s inspection reports, complaints, and other records, which can be found on this searchable website overseen by the California Department of Social Services.
Let a Skilled Elder Abuse Attorney Help
Complaints against assisted living facilities are on the rise in courtrooms around the country. If you’re in need of an assisted living attorney in Glendale, we’re here to help. At Berberian Ain LLP we are passionate about protecting the elderly and righting the wrongs they endure at the hands of others, and our assisted living abuse lawyers have the experience and dedication necessary to seek the justice you and your family deserve. Our priority is to provide personalized service and tenacious legal follow-through to your claims. We listen and we care.
“If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need a trusted team of Attorneys, I highly recommend Berberian Ain! I was referred to them when I needed help. I can honestly say they made a frustrating situation into a seamless, professional process. They fought for my rights with honesty, integrity, justice and persistence and ultimately helped me bring closure to my situation. I am extremely grateful for the outcome and the credit goes to this fantastic team!” -Winnonar S.
We’re Here to Help. Contact Us Today!
Your case may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but there are others who have been in similar situations and found a way forward. Our team can help you make the next steps. Contact Berberian Ain LLP today to schedule a free initial consultation with our lawyers. You can also call us at 818-808-0048.