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SPEKTOR LAW CORPORATION

Personal Injury, Wrongful Death and Elder Abuse Law Firm

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NURSING HOME INJURY ATTORNEYS

  

Elder Abuse cases are often heart wrenching, and emotionally and physically devastating to both the victim and their family members. You often wonder how could this happen to my mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter? We understand your frustration and we will help you bring the responsible parties to justice and obtain compensation. Attorneys at Spektor Law Corporation specialize in helping victims of nursing home injuries and elder abuse. We will answer your questions and help determine if you have a case.

 

Families turn to nursing homes to give the elderly the care and attention they need, but a congressional report out on July 30, 2001 states that 1,600 US nursing homes--nearly one-third--have been cited for abuse, including injuries, sexual abuse, even death. Congressional investigators found that one in five nursing homes failed to report incidents or even make sure staffers had no history of abuse. In almost 8% of residents suffered actual harm. And in 256 homes across the country the abuse was so serious it put elderly lives in jeopardy or actually resulted in death.

 

Some 5,283 nursing homes were cited for abuse violations, according to a review of state inspection records requested by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. These homes were cited for nearly 9,000 abuse violations from January 1999 to January 2001. There were examples of residents being punched, choked or kicked by staff members of the facilities.

 

We rely on the nursing homes, long term care facilities and residential care facilities to take care of our elderly and provide compassion, necessities of life and adequate care. However, the statistics show that nursing home, long term care facility, and residential care facility abuse is on the rise, and as our elderly population increases, so will the elder abuse and neglect.

 

Nursing home neglect and abuse has often been attributed to under qualified and insufficient staff. When staff are not properly trained, or overworked because there are too few workers, the results can be deadly. Some instances of nursing home neglect and abuse are acts of frustration. Nursing home staff has been viewed as "under-valued". Most aged-care workers earn only $13 or $14 an hour, despite many having to care for 60 or 70 residents a night.

 

Elder abuse or neglect by staff in care facilities may occur because of:

· Worker burnout; workers may be overworked, working long shift hours

· Untrained staff

· Staff underpaid or not enough benefits

· Staff may be frustrated with aggressive or rebellious clients

· Staff in a hurry to leave after a long day

 

Neglect is a type of elder abuse defined as the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a worker's obligations or duties to a nursing home resident. Neglect and elder abuse in nursing homes may also include the failure to provide necessary care. Neglect typically means the refusal or failure to provide a nursing home resident with such life necessities as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety, and other essentials included in an implied or agreed-upon responsibility to a resident.

 

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse and best available estimates, between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection. (Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation in an Aging America. 2003.Washington, DC: National Research Council Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of Elder Abuse and Neglect.)

 

Estimates of the frequency of elder abuse range from 2% to 10% based on various

sampling, survey methods, and case definitions. (Lachs, Mark S., and Karl Pillemer. October 2004. "Elder Abuse, "The Lancet, Vol. 364: 1192-1263.) Data on elder abuse in domestic settings suggest that 1 in 14 incidents, excluding incidents of self-neglect, come to the attention of authorities. (Pillemer, Karl, and David Finkelhor. 1988. "The Prevalence of Elder Abuse: A Random Sample Survey," The Gerontologist, 28: 51-57.) Current estimates put the overall reporting of financial exploitation at only 1 in 25 cases, suggesting that there may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims each year. (Wasik, John F. 2000. "The Fleecing of America's Elderly," Consumers Digest, March/April.) It is estimated that for every one case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self neglect reported to authorities, about five more go unreported. (National Elder Abuse Incidence Study. 1998. Washington, DC: National Center on Elder Abuse at American Public Human Services Association).

 

More than 132,000 seniors in California are abused and neglected in nursing homes every year. Nearly 1/3 of nursing homes caring for Medi-Care/Medicaid patients have been cited for serious violations (California Attorney General's Office, 2000).

 

ELDER ABUSE ATTORNEYS

 

 

What is Elder Abuse?

 

Elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. The specificity of laws varies from state to state, but broadly defined, abuse may be:  

  • Physical Abuse -

Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need. This includes, but is not limited to slapping, hitting, beating, shoving, pushing, kicking, pinching, burning, biting, severe beatings, inappropriate restraint. 

  • Emotional and Psychological Abuse -

Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts. This includes, but is not limited to name-calling, "silent treatment", intimidating or threats; and invoking fear or mental anguish being emotionally upset or agitated.  

  • Sexual Abuse -

Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind. sexual exhibition to rape or sodomy; Inappropriate touching; Photographing in suggestive poses; Forcing to view pornography; Forcing sexual contact; Coerced nudity.

  • Exploitation -

Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder. 

  • Neglect -

Withholding appropriate attention; Intentionally failing to meet older person's physical, social, emotional needs. Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, water, shelter, clothing, medication and health care or protection for a vulnerable elder. Failure to assist with activities of daily living or help with personal hygiene. 

  • Abandonment -

The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility

for care or custody of that person.  

  • Financial Abuse -

Misuse of older family member's funds; Embezzlement; Fraud, forgery; Taking money under false pretenses; Forced property transfers. Additional examples of financial abuse include, but are not limited to, sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the nursing home resident; the inclusion of additional names on a nursing home resident's bank signature card; unauthorized withdrawal of the nursing home resident's funds using the resident's ATM card; abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents; unusual activity in bank account; unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions; substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources; discovery of a nursing home resident's signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions; sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to a nursing home resident's affairs and possessions; the provision of services that are not necessary; a nursing home resident's report of financial exploitation; Frequent expensive gifts from elder to caregiver; elder's personal belongings, papers, credit cards missing; numerous unpaid bills; a recent will when elder seems incapable of writing a will; caregiver's name added to bank account; elder unaware of monthly income; frequent checks made out to "cash" ; irregularities on tax return; elder unaware of reason for appointment with banker or attorney; caregiver's refusal to spend money on elder; signatures on checks or legal documents that do not resemble elder's signature.

 

 

What are signs of Elder Abuse?   

 

 

Behavioral Signs:

Ø  Fear; Anxiety; Agitation; Anger

Ø  Isolation, Withdrawal; Depression; Non communicative

Ø  Non-responsiveness; Resignation; Ambivalence

Ø  Contradictory statements; Implausible stories

Ø  Hesitation to talk openly; Confusion or disorientation

Ø  Unusual behavior usually attributed to dementia (for example, sucking, biting, rocking)

Ø  A nursing home resident's report of being verbally or emotionally mistreated

 

   Signs by Caregiver:

Ø  Prevents elder from speaking to or seeing visitors

Ø  Anger, indifference, aggressive behavior toward elder

Ø  History of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior, or family violence

Ø  Lack of affection towards elder

Ø  Flirtation or coyness as possible indicator of inappropriate sexual relationships

Ø  Conflicting accounts of incidents

Ø  Withholds affection

Ø  Talks of elder as a burden

 

Nursing home, long term care facility, and residential care facility residents have legal rights, including the right to:

 

Ø  Receive Medicare benefits and the right to not be evicted for the same.

Ø  Select their personal physicians

Ø  Refuse treatment

Ø  To be protected from physical and mental abuse.

Ø  Not to be tied down or restrained unless absolutely necessary

Ø  To see loved ones, friends, physicians, and other important state and federal government representatives

Ø  Of confidentiality of their medical and personnel records and files.

Ø  To receive a 30 day notice of discharge or transfer and the right to appeal against such decisions.

 

 

 

 

If you or your elderly loved one have been the victim of elder abuse call the attorneys of SPEKTOR LAW CORPORATION. We have successfully represented numerous elder abuse victims and their families and we can help you. With over 40 years combined experience handling elder abuse and personal injury cases, we have the knowledge and skills to help you through this tough time in your life. Trust us to get you or your loved one the recovery he or she deserves. 

 

We do not charge you any fees until the case is resolved and you obtain a recovery from the responsible party. This means that we handle your case on a contingency basis and you pay nothing until your case is won. 

 

Elder Abuse cases are often heart wrenching, and emotionally and physically devastating to both the victim and their family members. You often wonder how could this happen to my mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter? We understand your frustration and we will help you bring the responsible parties to justice and obtain compensation. We will answer your questions and help determine if you have a case. You may e-mail us or call us at (310) 277-0997.