Los Angeles County Nursing Home Abuse Resources

Nursing Home Elder Abuse and Neglect Resources

Los Angeles County is the largest county in the state, so it's not surprising that it has the most nursing homes.  At last count, Los Angeles had approximately 400 nursing homes, which represents nearly one-third of all skilled nursing facilities in the entire state.  In addition to the nursing homes, Los Angeles is also home to 1,471 assisted living and residential care facilities, most of which are located in the cities of  Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale, Santa Clarita, Pomona, Torrance, Pasadena, Palmdale, Inglewood, and Downey.

What type of conduct constitutes elder abuse or neglect under California law?

Under California's Welfare and Institutions Code (where the Elder Abuse Act is found), nursing home abuse and neglect is defined as "physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering, or the deprivation by a care custodian..." Frequently, abuse or neglect is suspected long after the acts have occurred. In the case of physical abuse, it is usually identified by bruising or other markings on the body, or unusual behavior on the part of the patient.  Neglect, on the other hand, is not always so readily apparent.  A victim of nursing home neglect is often discovered by any unusual medical problems such as decubitus ulcers (bed sores), dehydration, unexplained injuries or fractures, over medication, or other care-related injuries.   Here are a few examples of real cases handled by the Walton Law Firm:
  • An 82-year-old resident, who need assistance to transfer from his bed, suffers a serious hip fracture and a brain injury after falling multiple times in a nursing home.  An investigation revealed that nursing staff rarely answered the call button, forcing the resident to either soil himself in his bed, or attempt to transfer to the toilet on his own. As a matter of dignity he would attempt to walk to the bathroom, and it was during those attempts he would fall.  
  • A bed-bound 57-year-old resident of a nursing home resident developed a small pressure ulcer on his left heel that was left untreated for several weeks.  Despite acknowledging the presence of the wound, and charting that it was actively being treated, the bed sore grew to become necrotic and infected.  Once appropriate care was obtained, it was too late and the client's leg required amputation above the knee.
  • An 86-year-old nursing home resident was rushed to a nearby hospital emergency room with multiple bed sores (decubitus ulcers) all over his back and on his heels, and with severe dehydration. He also had experienced a significant weight loss in the previous month.  Within one month he died.  An investigation revealed that the nursing home repeatedly claimed the resident had "clear" skin, including a nursing home record from the day of his transfer to the hospital.
  • A 45-year-old woman who suffered from cerebral palsy patient developed a massive infection when her PEG tube dislodged and entered her abdominal cavity.  Caregivers at the nursing home where she resided failed to recognize the signs and symptoms of a misplaced tube, and fed the patient multiple times. She survived, but suffered permanent and debilitating injuries.

Contact the Walton Law Firm.  Los Angeles County elder abuse and neglect attorney Randy Walton provides free consultations in cases concerning abuse, neglect, or malpractice in the nursing home or residential care setting. He can be reached at (866) 607-1325 or by completing the online questionnaire.

Other ways to take action:

Emergencies. If you believe that someone is presently being abused or neglected it is important to act right away. If an emergency, call 911 or contact the individual's regular physician.

Ombudsman. The phone number of the Los Angeles County Ombudsman Office can be obtained by calling (800) 231-4024.

Adult Protective Services. For immediate concerns about the health or wellbeing of an elderly Los Angeles County resident, call Adult Protective Services at (800) 491-7123.

California Department of Public Health. For complaints about a skill nursing facility, contact the Los Angeles County office of the California Department of Public Health. The local office of CDPH can be reached at (800) 228-1019.

California Department of Social Services. For complaints against a residential care facility for the elderly (or assisted living), contact the local office of the California Department of Social Services. The local office of CDSS can be contacted at (323) 980-4935 (Central) and (818) 596-4334 (North L.A.).