Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Having family members in a nursing home can be challenging for a family. We trust that those responsible for our elders in nursing homes uphold a diligent standard of care, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. 

Uncovering nursing home abuse involves close communication with your loved ones. You and your family must determine whether or not the effects are, in fact, due to abuse or neglect. 

If you or a loved one did not receive proper care in a nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse attorney today to understand your rights. Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys can provide you with the legal advice you need to help the elder in your life. Contact Cutter Law today for a free consultation so that we can help you fight for justice. 

Black and white photo of wheel chair and walker in nursing home

Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect

Elder abuse may look like these warning signs: 

  • Poor hygiene 
  • Dismissal of resident 
  • Bar from readmission after a hospital visit
  • Bedsores
  • Broken bones
  • Falls
  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Unusual changes in behavior
  • Emotional distance or unavailability
  • Frequent illness
  • Open wounds
  • Emotional trauma 

 In California, elder abuse or neglect also encompasses: 

  • Financial isolation 
  • Mistreatment 
  • Psychological abuse 
  • Emotional abuse or distress
  • Abandonment 

Families of elders should always be aware of these kinds of abuse and their warning signs when entrusting them to the care of a nursing home. 

How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse in Sacramento?

Nursing home residents in Sacramento have reported a decrease in abuse due to pandemic short staffing. Despite this, abuse continues to plague nursing facilities. A recent study revealed that nearly a quarter of all nursing home residents have suffered physical abuse in a nursing home. Moreover, due to many residents’ impairments, for every one reported case of nursing home neglect, 24 remained unreported. 

One research review reported disturbing failures to aid elder abuse victims. According to the report, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman in Sacramento responded to a report of elder abuse and interviewed the victim, who would not acknowledge the abuse. The Ombudsman is supposed to resolve nursing home abuse of residents with the state, but in this case, she did not. A few months later, the victim was deceased with disturbing facial wounds. 

Given that as of 2019, California has the United States’ highest population of adults aged 65 and older, this unsettling problem is likely more common than many realize. In California alone, nursing home residents complain of abuse, gross neglect, or exploitation three times the national average. In Sacramento, that equates to nearly 3,000 (known) cases of elder abuse. Indeed, the government of California sued a chain of senior living facilities — one located in Sacramento — that threatened the wellbeing of tens of thousands of residents nationwide. Furthermore, according to a 2002-2004 study, 71% of nursing home abuse complaints and elder abuse cases originated in less than 25% of nursing home residences. 

Barbara Lovenstein was a resident at the Eskaton Care Center Greenhaven and a victim of neglect. Despite explicit directions from medical professionals, the nursing home staff continued to over-administer her medication, weakening her immune system, and ultimately killing her. Understaffing and staff misinterpretation of residents’ distress often results in this case’s fatal error: misapplication of medication. In Barbara’s case, the jury returned a $42.5 million verdict. 

Brookdale Senior Living in Sacramento discharged, without notice, a heavily diseased 80-year-old resident. Almost immediately after this, he ended up in the hospital. By California statute, patients must be given 30 days’ notice before discharge. At the same nursing home, a 78-year-old patient recovering from pneumonia was also improperly discharged – with his catheter still inside him. 

Brookdale’s deliberate overreporting of staffed nursing hours has inflated its ratings and prestige to consumers. This is a common tactic used by nursing homes to take advantage of nursing home candidates. 

Owner Akop Atoyan of ANG Health Care Inc., Excel Home Healthcare Inc., and Excel Hospice Inc. in Sacramento illegally directed Medicare referrals in exchange for kickbacks and other gratuities. Nursing homes have an incentive to view residents as fungible assets, nurturing an environment of neglect and abuse. 

Elder abuse is not limited to nursing homes. Disturbingly, the National Council on Aging found that family members perpetrate elder abuse more often than the staff of nursing homes. 

One scholarly study showed that Sacramento had the third-largest number of completed elder abuse investigations of any county in California. Whether cases were found conclusive, inconclusive, or unfounded varied widely between counties. 

Irregularities by Adult Protective Services likely explain this variation. Caseworkers at this agency evaluate instances of elder abuse rather than the actual value of the complaints across counties, making unclear whether or not elder abuse claims in Sacramento can be investigated adequately. This makes retaining a lawyer crucial in these cases.

Nursing Homes in Sacramento

Instances of abuse have come to light in these Sacramento nursing homes: 

  • Carlton Senior Living Sacramento Enhanced 
  • Brookdale Senior Living – multiple residents with severe conditions discharged without sufficient reason 
  • Pioneer House – patient Gloria Single was “patient dumped” (discharged unfoundedly from her nursing home to a hospital, then barred readmission to the home upon hospital release) 
  • University Post-Acute Rehab 
  • Norwood Pines Alzheimer Center – refused readmission of a resident from a hospital in favor of other, less care-intensive, and more “lucrative” patients (for instance, in most cases, a patient on Medicare is better financially for a long-term care facility than one on Medicaid) 
  • Gramacy Court – had uncertified nursing assistants, many with criminal backgrounds, including battery and assault with a deadly weapon 
  • Florin Health Care Center 
  • ACC Care Center 
  • Saint Claire’s Nursing Center 
  • Asbury Park Nursing & Rehab 
  • Emerald Gardens – understaffing led a resident to develop a bedsore, which required several surgeries to remediate 
  • Windsor Care Center of Sacramento 
  • McKinley Park Care Center 
  • Arden Rehab & Health Center 
  • College Oak Nursing & Rehabilitation Center 

Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Perpetrators

Instead of individual perpetrators or nursing home staff, nursing homes are usually the defendants in nursing home cases. Even so, some individuals are also charged, as in the following cases in the Sacramento area: 

  • Oluwatoyin Mudashiru – a caregiver arrested for negligence in the death of a resident 
  • Gregory Harms – a nurse who committed sexual abuse against an anesthetized victim 
  • Esther Ezebunwa – the operator of a Sacramento nurse registry utilized by nurse facilities and whose registered caregivers were uncertified; many had criminal backgrounds, including battery and assault with a deadly weapon 
  • Sabrina Kohler & Joseph Dorishev – caregivers stole money from and abused an elderly patient; among other things, they starved him, denied him water, and left him in his own feces

How Can I Report Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Sacramento?

If you are a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, advise nursing home staff immediately. Notify your family as well. You may contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsmen in Sacramento at 1-916-376-8910. Demand to see a doctor as well; they may be able to mediate more readily. 

If you are in a home with an abusive caretaker or family members, contact local law enforcement. Moreover, you may file online a complaint with the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse (BMFEA). You may also contact the Eldercare Locator hotline (a governmental service) at 1-800-677-1116 or Adult Protective Services in Sacramento at 916-874-9377 for assistance. 

Loved ones of elders may report nursing home abuse or neglect via: 

  • Administration at the nursing home – leadership may not be apprised of an abusive individual(s) and can help resolve in certain instances 
  • Local law enforcement, including filing a complaint on behalf of your loved one with BMFEA 
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman – in Sacramento, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman can be reached at 1-916-376-8910 
  • Physicians or other medical personnel 

In addition to these, nursing home employees who wish to report nursing home abuse or otherwise substandard care may contact the California Department of Justice at 1-800-952-5225. Whistleblowers may receive compensation should their information substantially affect a future settlement.

When Is a Nursing Home Legally Responsible for Elderly Abuse or Neglect?

Federal nursing home and elderly abuse laws establish a standard of care. California nursing homes are bound to this standard. When it is breached, as in the case of elderly abuse or neglect, nursing homes must be held responsible. 

This standard hinges upon the care that, all things equal, a reasonable person would have practiced. Essentially, the question is, “Given the same set of circumstances, would a similar person in the same position provide or fail to provide similar treatment?” If not, and harm resulted, the victim may have a valid elderly abuse or neglect case.

How Can I Hold the Perpetrating Staff Member Accountable?

Nursing homes cannot always be held accountable for elder abuse or neglect; sometimes, only staff are responsible. (This is especially true in sexual abuse cases). Faculty may intentionally harm a resident or negligently fail in their duties. You may file criminal or civil charges, the latter allowing you to recover damages from the perpetrator.

When Do I Have to File a Claim for Nursing Home Abuse in Sacramento?

Claims of nursing home neglect or abuse fall into the legal category of negligence claims. This kind of claim has a statute of limitations – in other words, a deadline to file – of two years. But nursing home neglect and abuse are unique, as they may exist as a pattern and collection of behaviors over time. This can make it difficult to establish precisely when a crime occurred or began occurring. 

Legislators passed the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act to give victims of nursing home abuse more of a window to pursue justice. Cases brought under this act have a three-year statute of limitations. The law under which you file the claim depends on your situation’s particular details.

How Can a Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help Me?

It can be daunting to navigate nursing home neglect and elder abuse. Often, the victim cannot communicate their harm to others or determine whether or not someone has violated their rights. Loved ones may be unsure of the warning signs. Some claims of abuse, especially sexual, financial, or isolative, can be difficult to support without the assistance of a nursing home abuse lawyer. 

Nonetheless, the legal team at Cutter Law has extensive experience successfully pursuing nursing home neglect and elder abuse claims on clients’ behalf. Our lawyers can aid you in conducting a detailed investigation of your claim and building a body of evidence to substantiate it. We have years of experience helping our clients through recovery, paying personal attention to detail in each case. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can guide you through the legal process.

Sacramento Office

Cutter Law P.C.
401 Watt Avenue Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95864
916-290-9400
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Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

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