Nearly half of all nursing home residents across the country have experienced abuse, and nearly all (95%) have been neglected or witnessed another patient being neglected, according to a recent report.1 Currently, more than 10,000 complaints and incidents of elder abuse and neglect are currently open in Los Angeles County alone.2
State and county enforcement officials are hoping proposed changes will improve enforcement programs and patient welfare within the county. California currently provides LA County with $26.9 million each year to conduct elderly abuse and neglect investigations. However, the county says that to do the job right, it needs at least twice as much money and an additional 150 employees.3
Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal would increase LA County funding amounts and give more responsibility to state employees. Under the proposal, the state would handle the investigations of abuse, neglect or inadequate care complaints and the county would focus their efforts on yearly inspections of nursing homes, hospice care centers and acute care facilities. Officials hope the shift in responsibilities will help address the current backlog, as more than 2,700 of the 10,000 complaints have been sitting open for more than two years.
When nursing facility oversight falls short, procedures and patient care policies may not be updated and adhered to, there may not be enough staff to properly care for all residents and training procedures may not be up to standard. Each of these issues creates a recipe for disaster for patients and employees.
California Elder Abuse Laws (PC 368(c))
California law says that anyone who causes or allows an elderly person or dependent adult to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering is guilty of elder abuse. California Penal Code Section 368(c) requires that caregivers and custodians provide a standard of care to all dependent or elderly adults. If that standard of care is willfully not met, the caregiver can also be charged with elder abuse.
The punishment for misdemeanor elder abuse is up to 364 days in county jail and a fine of up to $6,000. A felony charge of elder abuse carries a sentence of two, three or four years in state prison.
Call the Experienced Elder Abuse Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you have been charged with elder abuse or neglect, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney immediately. Our skilled attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients facing elder abuse and criminal negligence charges. We will analyze the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible in your case.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich elder abuse attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Library/Data/#nursinghomes ]↩
2. [http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-nursing-home-complaints-20150428-story.html ]↩