California has a robust licensing system for its 1,200+ long-term care facilities, each of which is inspected every five years to ensure resident safety. If you are managing care for a loved one who needs assistance or skilled care due to age or debilitating conditions, you can do your part by being vigilant for signs of abuse and neglect.
Sometimes neglect is not intentional if a facility is short-staffed but there are signs you can look for that may point to chronic problems. One of the most telling is a facility’s cleanliness. You should not be overwhelmed with the smell of urine or feces each time you visit and your loved one should be properly bathed and comfortable. Contact a skilled nursing home abuse attorney to share your story if you observe unsanitary living conditions in any San Diego nursing home.
The Breadth of the Nursing Home Industry in San Diego
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 13 percent of adults older than 85 live in residential care facilities. In California, about 400,000 people live in them, and the average stay is two years and four months.
Because the aging population is considered more vulnerable than younger adults, California law provides mandates for reporting neglect and abuse and remedies, including financial compensation under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA). Anyone who suspects neglect should contact the Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse at 1-800-722-0432 or ask an attorney to assist in reporting to other agencies.
Unsanitary living conditions are considered neglect. A local attorney can assist in reporting unsanitary conditions, and pursue compensation for residents or their personal representatives.
What are Unsanitary Living Conditions in Nursing Homes?
Neglect generally means failing to provide life’s necessities, such as food, water, clothes, and proper shelter. It also includes failure to provide personal hygiene and a safe and sanitary environment for residents. Some signs of unsanitary conditions include:
- A resident with an unclean appearance, dirty hair, clothes, and nails
- Bed linens that are soiled and not changed often enough, leading to bedsores
- The presence of ants, roaches, or other bugs, rats, or a mice infestation
- Incontinent residents who are not changed regularly, even while interacting with others
- A kitchen area laden with old grease and grime that causes food to lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration
- Trash is piled up
Any unsanitary condition puts vulnerable adults at significant risk of harm. A loved one living in an unsanitary nursing home may be entitled to financial compensation under California law.
Plaintiff Must Prove Defendant’s Negligence
The elements of an elder neglect case based on unsanitary conditions in San Diego involves the plaintiff proving that the defendant was negligent in the resident’s care. The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty to provide sanitary conditions and knew the resident did not have the capability to provide it.
The plaintiff must also show that the defendant withheld the proper care knowing it was likely to cause harm to the resident, which would be an act of oppression, fraud, or malice. Alternately, the plaintiff can plead that the defendant was reckless by consciously disregarding the unsanitary situation, which was likely to cause harm to the resident. To gather evidence of neglect, document the resident’s living conditions and the harm caused by them. A lawyer can discuss how to document a situation to be used as evidence of negligence.
Reach Out to a San Diego Attorney About Unsanitary Living Conditions in a Nursing Home
No vulnerable senior or dependent adult should have to live in squalor, and unsanitary nursing homes should be held accountable. If you have observed this neglect, an attorney can help you report and document it and file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the neglected resident.
The senior population is growing and people are living longer, which makes elder care facilities big business. But they should not operate at the expense of an older person’s dignity and health. If you are concerned for a loved one because of unsanitary living conditions in a San Diego nursing home, we may be able to assist you. Call today.