Despite the best interests and intentions of nursing home administrators, abuse and/or neglect can occur. While nursing homes should take reasonable measures to prevent resident abuse and/or neglect from occurring, oftentimes what the nursing home does after an incident of abuse or neglect can be just as critical. Even if a nursing home could not be said to have been negligent in hiring or supervising an employee who eventually causes injury to a resident, the nursing home may be negligent or careless in the way it responds to a complaint of abuse.
Steps Nursing Homes Should Take Following a Complaint of Abuse
While no two incidents of abuse or neglect in a California nursing home are the same factually, nursing homes should nonetheless have procedures and policies in place that ensure the following steps are accomplished as quickly as possible:
- An investigation is conducted into the veracity of the complaint. The nursing home should first quickly and efficiently determine whether there is reason to believe the abuse or neglect occurred. While a thorough investigation may take days or weeks to complete, the nursing home should (at the very least) be able to determine if there is good and sufficient reason to believe abuse or neglect more likely than not occurred.
- The offending party or parties are removed from the facility. If a preliminary investigation gives the nursing home reason to believe a staff member committed an act of abuse or neglect, then that staff member should be immediately relieved of his or her duties and placed on suspension or reassigned pending the outcome of the full investigation. Nursing homes should take care that no staff member who is accused of abuse or neglect is permitted to remain in contact with other residents. Where another resident is accused of committing the abuse, the resident should be secluded or removed from situations where he or she could commit further acts of abuse.
- The incident should be reported to the proper authorities. Following these initial steps, the nursing home should report the alleged abuse or neglect to the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which is tasked with investigating reports of abuse or neglect alleged to have occurred in nursing homes and residential care facilities.
California nursing homes ought to take these steps as soon as possible: in the event that the staff member or resident injuries another resident and an investigation reveals the nursing home did not take these actions after the first alleged incident of abuse or neglect, it will become much more difficult for the nursing home to avoid liability.
Your Orange County nursing home abuse attorneys at Case Barnett Law conduct a full investigation into your claim of nursing home abuse or neglect: if there were other acts of abuse or neglect at the facility and the nursing home failed to take reasonable corrective measures following these events, this information can be very powerful and persuasive evidence in your case. Call our firm at (949) 861-2990 or contact us online if you believe you or your loved one have suffered abuse or neglect in a California nursing home.