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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Saturday, January 28, 2017

What steps should you take if you suspect elder abuse?

When you place your loved on in a care facility, you expect the people charged with the care of your loved one to provide the best possible care. The last thing you expect is for them to neglect your loved one or expose them to serious danger. Unfortunately, for a great number of California senior citizens, neglect has become the standard of care, as reports of elder abuse continue to rise.

Most recently, Centinela Skilled Nursing &Wellness Centre in Inglewood has placed a resident in significant danger from neglect. The resident, who is going by the name Reva for the sake of anonymity, was placed at Centinela for rehabilitation after spending six weeks in a related hospital for severe infections throughout her body. After several days at Centinela, where she appeared to be healing well, Reva took a turn for the worse. Her husband and children showed up for a visit after Reva complained to her husband that she wasn’t feeling like herself and was experiencing vomiting and diarrhea.

When her family arrived, they found Reva in a wheelchair shaking and mumbling gibberish, her eyes rolling back in her head. Two days earlier, Reva was doing well and in good spirits. When her husband called the on-duty nurse in to see what was happening, the nurse seemed nervous and replied that her vital signs were normal. The family called 9-1-1 after attempts to get the on-call doctor’s approval for an ambulance failed.

Chain of Negligence

Centinela is owned by billionaire Schlomo Rechnitz, who owns over 80 nursing homes in California, many of which have come under fire for health code violations resulting in patient injury and death. Rechnitz’s facilities have been under investigation across California for multiple counts of elder abuse. The California Attorney General has filed lawsuits against these facilities and has tried to block Rechnitz from purchasing additional nursing homes in bankruptcy proceedings. At present, Rechnitz controls 1 in every 14 nursing home beds in California.

Do Your Due Diligence

If you are considering placing your loved one in a nursing facility, do your due diligence and check the ownership of the facilities you are considering. You can also review ratings with Medicare to see where the facility stands on health and safety.

If you already have a loved one living in a nursing home and you suspect that something might be amiss, there are some things you can do to protect your loved one and ensure others are not hurt.

  1. If danger is immediate, call 9-1-1.
  2. If danger is not immediate, contact the Adult Protective Services for your county to report the suspected abuse.
  3. Keep a record of your interactions with your loved one and facility personnel, noting any peculiar behavior on the part of any of the parties or other warning signs.

Do you suspect elder abuse?

If you suspect that your elderly loved on is being abused in a nursing home environment, it is critical to ensure your loved one can be taken out of the situation immediately. Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning can help you assess the situation and provide you with competent advice on what your next steps should be. Call today at 925-224-1185 to schedule a consultation.


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