Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer in Santa Barbara
Skilled and reliable nursing home litigation in Santa Barbara, CA
Few personal injury cases are as horrifying as those involving mistreatment of the vulnerable elderly by caregivers entrusted with their welfare. At Patterson Law, we fight tirelessly for justice in personal injury cases arising from nursing home abuse and neglect in Santa Barbara and vicinity.
Signs of nursing home abuse and neglect
Family members and physicians are the people most likely to notice signs of abuse and neglect by nursing homes or caregivers. These include:
- Physical signs of abuse — If an elder is being physically abused, there will likely be bruising and swelling. Bruising on the wrists is a sign of restraints being applied. Physical strains can result from rough handling in moving a patient in and out of bed or a wheelchair.
- Physical signs of neglect — Neglected elders will often lose weight and appear listless due to hunger and dehydration. Elders who are left alone for too long may develop bed sores, painful pressure ulcers that can lead to deadly infections. Poor hygiene and lingering illnesses are often indicators of inattention and lax care.
- Emotional signs — You may observe a personality change in your elder loved one. Agitation, nervousness or social withdrawal are often signs of abuse. If you find your loved one wandering unattended, you should be concerned, especially if there is a danger of falling.
- Environmental red flags — Odors and dirty conditions in the facility may indicate poor hygiene for its residents. If you see other residents who are not being cared for, your own loved one also may not be getting proper care.
Of course, the worst sign of abuse and neglect is the sudden, inexplicable death of an elder. When this tragedy happens in a nursing home, next-of-kin may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
What to do if you suspect elder abuse
Take immediate action if you suspect a loved one is suffering abuse or neglect in a nursing home. You should immediately notify the nursing home administrator, who is required by law to make an investigation and report it to the state. Contact your loved one’s physician and ask to review the medical file. You should also contact a Santa Barbara nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. Getting a lawyer involved sends a strong signal to the facility that you demand a high standard of care for your loved one.
Signs of financial abuse and what to do if you suspect it
Nursing home residents are also vulnerable to having their money or property taken or used illegally. Caregivers may use threats, intimidation or undue influence to obtain cash and valuables. They may also commit other financial improprieties, such as:
- Diverting residents’ funds to unauthorized purposes
- Cashing checks without authorization
- Forging signatures
- Deceiving residents into signing documents
- Withdrawing money from residents’ accounts through an ATM
- Stealing possessions
- Making personal use of residents’ assets, such as an automobile
If you believe an elderly person is being financially abused, you should consider:
- Sitting down with your elder loved one and discussing your concerns
- Contacting adult protective services
- Contacting law enforcement
- Getting the advice of an elder abuse attorney in Santa Barbara
One effective safeguard against financial abuse is a power of attorney, allowing you to take charge of your loved one’s assets and protect them.
Contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Santa Barbara
Patterson Law combines the experience of a large firm with the personal attention of a small firm. We primarily serve Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, though we work with clients from Los Angeles and San Francisco as well. Initial consultations are free. Call us at 888-479-4589 or contact us online.