How To Report Elder Abuse In A Nursing Home In California
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How To Report Elder Abuse In A Nursing Home In California

senior woman nursing homeElder abuse can take many forms – physical, mental, financial, or neglect. If you suspect abuse, it helps to document the signs with photographs and by writing descriptions of behavioral changes. Assemble written statements from the victim and any witnesses, if possible. There are many different agencies that handle California nursing home abuse cases.

The following are ways in which you can report elder abuse in a California nursing home:

Emergency personnel and local law enforcement

If a situation is serious or life-threatening, or if a crime is in progress, dial 9-1-1 to connect with local law enforcement and emergency responders right away. Often, a filed police report can greatly assist with the processing of your case through another agency if you decide to go that route as well.

Raise your concerns with the healthcare team

California law requires mandatory reporting of known or suspected elder abuse. As “mandated reporters,” hospital staff, long-term care administrators, family doctors, nurses, mental healthcare professionals, medical examiners, and social workers must fill out Form SOC 341 with their concerns and contact Adult Protective Services.

Hotlines vary, depending on location:

  • LA County Adult Protective Services Elder Abuse Hotline: (877) 477‐3646
  • Orange County Elder & Dependent Abuse Reporting: (800) 451‐5155
  • San Bernardino Adult Protective Services: (877) 565‐2020
  • Riverside County Adult Protective Services: (800) 491‐7123
  • Ventura County Adult Protective Services: (805) 654‐3200

Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services, a division of the LA County Aging & Independence Services, is the principal public agency responsible for investigating elder abuse reports and treating victims with a range of services. APS investigates claims of elder abuse occurring in private homes, hospitals, clinics, adult day care, long-term care facilities, and social centers. You may contact the LA County Adult Protective Services at 1-800-510-2020. There is also an after-hours crisis line available at 800-231-4024.

Contact your local long-term care ombudsman

Long-term care ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home or assisted living residents. They can help you find the right long-term care facility for a relative, but they can also ensure that your loved one enjoys quality of care once they are settled somewhere. The State Ombudsman Program investigates:

  • Violations of human rights or dignity
  • Physical, verbal, and mental abuse
  • Neglect, poor quality of care, and refusal of service
  • Unreasonable confinement
  • Improper transfer or discharge
  • Inappropriate use of chemicals or restraints
  • Any other concern about quality of life

They also have access to a database of other formal complaints collected since 1996, so you can find out if problems are systemic in your loved one’s facility.

LA County Elder Abuse Hotline, District Attorney’s Office

The District Attorney has an Elder Abuse Unit as part of the Family Protection Division. Run by a team of skilled lawyers, the DA’s office prosecutes crimes against seniors and is prepared to address the needs of elderly victims. They train police, public safety workers, and financial employees on how to protect the elderly. To connect with the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Hotline, dial 1-877-4-R-SENIORS (1-877-477-3646).

Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office

Some city attorneys are lawyers in private practice that handle government matters. Other city attorneys prosecute local crimes. The City Attorney’s Office runs a Family Violence Prosecution Unit to handle a variety of cases, including physical and sexual elder abuse.

Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse

The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse offers a nationally recognized approach to law enforcement. Their investigation and prosecution of elder abuse, neglect, and poor quality of care in long-term facilities is designed as a safeguard for California’s elderly population. You may call or visit  www.ag.ca.gov/bmfea.

Seniors Against Investment Fraud

If you fear nursing home staff is embezzling money from your loved one, you may contact the California Department of Business Oversight’s Seniors Against Investment Fraud (SAIF). This program was established in 2001 to track common scams targeting old people. Call 1-866-275-2677 to report a financial elder abuse issue.

Call the Ellis Personal Injury Law Firm

Of course, you can always contact a legal team experienced in elder abuse cases. The Ellis Personal Injury Law Firm is ready to assist clients in the investigation of abuse taking place in nursing homes. We not only investigate the facts surrounding your claim, but we also line up experts willing to testify on your behalf. All legal services are free of charge unless we agree to take on your case and we win money on your behalf. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling a Los Angeles elder abuse lawyer at 1-800-INJURED.

Additional “how to report nursing home abuse” resources:

  1. Longterm Ombudsman – About, http://ltcombudsman.org/about/about-ombudsman
  2. A Place For Mom – Identifying Elder Abuse, http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/for-professionals/2-26-16-identifying-elder-abuse/
  3. LA County DA’s Office – Elder Abuse, http://da.lacounty.gov/seniors
  4. LA City Attorney’s Office – Elder Abuse, http://www.lacityattorney.org/elder-abuse
  5. California Dept. Business Oversight – Financial Abuse, http://www.dbo.ca.gov/Consumers/education_outreach/saif/default.asp
  6. The Consumer Voice – State Resources, http://theconsumervoice.org/get_help/state_resources/ca
  7. California Mandatory Reporting – Requirements, http://www.valleycareipa.com/assets/files/California%20Mandated%20Reporting%20Requirements%20for%20Abuse.pdf
  8. California Dept. Justice – Citizen’s Guide To Preventing & Reporting Elder Abuse,  http://ag.ca.gov/bmfea/pdfs/citizens_guide.pdf