Ehline Law Blog about Elderly Abuse
Dec 24, 2019
Beating of 86 Year Old at Nursing Home: Part of a Wider Epidemic
New Jersey Case Just one of Thousands Annually An 86 year old New Jersey woman was severely abused in her nursing home. According to her son, his mother was assaulted. He posted shocking photos of a bruised woman injured after her time at the Westfield Center Nursing Care center. ABC13 reported on the disturbing incident. This most recent case is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg. The owners and employees of such senior assisted living homes have a tremendous power over their residents. This is in addition to their massive responsibility. Due to the distance of many families, it is often the aides at the assisted living facility that have the main control over their patients' day to day life. This usually includes quality care and attention needed for our seniors. However, in other cases these aides and nurses use their powers to abuse the patients. This is often in the cases of neglect, theft, and even outright abuse, as we see in this case. Unfortunately, such incidents happen far more than we as a society care to admit. Our most vulnerable are at the whims of potentially abusive handlers. The Legal Options for the Family Now that the story has made the national news, the family has a litany of legal options. This can include against the assaulter as well as the home itself. As a matter of fact, there are a variety of criminal and civil statutes likely broken in this case. However, what about a family that does not have massive media attention on their case? What about a parent or grandparent harmed by a terrible monster at a nursing home. If the senior in your life complains about bedsores, unexplained bruises, missing money, or more, it could be a sign of elder abuse. Your first call should be to a legal expert to see your options. This may include both civil and criminal options. Your first priority should be justice. We are here to help. The experts at the Ehline Law Firm APLC are the most trusted elder abuse attorneys in Southern California, as our testimonials attest. As a former Marine, our head attorney Michael Ehline has a particular obligation to our nation's seniors, many of whom are veterans. Contact us for more info or a free consultation. We don't ask for a cent unless we recover for you. Our word is our bond. Let us be your shield in your trying time.
Jan 30, 2019
Editorial on Gullibility of Seniors to Scams
Personal injury lawyer winks as she signs a gullible client. Gullibility is defined as: "... a failure of social intelligence in which a person is easily tricked or manipulated into an ill advised course of action." (read more.) As will be shown, elders trust even dishonest people. The Most Recent Studies on the Elderly Brain Easier to Scam Old Folks Two studies show that the aging brain is not able to process scams or misleading information. Professor Shelley Taylor of the University of California, Los Angeles conducted one of the studies. The study data showed that a section of the brain known as the anterior insula makes the elderly are more susceptible to becoming victims of scams. Seniors are Less Likely to Doubt or Process Visually Deceptive Information This study data and a survey carried out earlier in the year by the University of Iowa researchers was telling. It showed that aging of the Ventromedial prefrontal cortex leads to a lesser ability to process both skepticism and doubt in visual information. The Study Itself The study conducted by Professor Taylor involved 119 elderly residents of a senior living home, who ranged between the ages of 55 and 84. So here, subjects saw photographs of natural or trustworthy faces. Next, they saw pictures of faces that were non-trustworthy. These were pictures of people smiling without the eyes lit-up, shifty gazes, and facial hair. Consequently, the participants were asked to rate the level of trustworthiness. These same photographs were handed to a group of 24 staff members and students, who were between the ages of 20 and 42. Both groups had equal ratings reported for the real or neutral faces; the difference was evident with the elderly participants when assessing the untrustworthy photos. So here, the elders were incapable of seeing the visual clues in the untrustworthy photos. Consequently, the research expanded into MRI machine monitoring. Also, the study included 23 senior citizens and 24 staff and students, who saw the same photos. As a result, testing led to the discovery that the anterior insula in the younger group became very active. Conversely, the anterior insula of elderly participants was barely active. The “Gut Reaction” Part of the Brain The “gut reaction,” part of the brain alarms you of the ill-at-ease feelings and stress people feel about difficult decisions, ideas, places, and people. UCLA researchers believe the lack of activity in the anterior insula causes the elderly not to notice behaviors or signals with scams. Yet, younger people have no problem picking up on these red flags. Also, this study adds to published data by University of Iowa researchers in August of 2012. This study compared the ability to categorize information that was misleading in people that were elderly or who had damage from injuries to the Ventromedial prefrontal cortex, (vmPFC). This organ is a softball-sized section of the brain. It remains located above the eyes. And it controls emotions and behaviors. And these are related to the ability to feel doubt and skepticism. Plus, it is related to your impulse control. And during this study, there were 18 patients with damage to the vmPFC and 21 patients with brain injury, but good vmPFC’s. But 21 patients had healthy brains. Patients saw advertisements deemed misleading by the Federal Trade Commission. Remarkably, elders were twice as likely to fall for the misleading ads. And this remained true even if the ads included a disclaimer about the validity of the information. Also, the National Institute for Justice conducted a study in 2009. Of particular concern, that study showed around 12% of those over 60 were financially scammed. In 2011 Met Life Inc.'s report rated the annual loss of exploited elderly citizens around 2.9 billion dollars. This Is Not News to Most Experienced Nursing Abuse Lawyers As an elder abuse and nursing abuse lawyer, I did not need a study like this to tell me what has been evident in my law office practice for years now on end. Also, most of my colleagues agree. In fact, recent cases of elder financial abuse (click here) already prove that shady characters target seniors. The problem is that many of the abusers are people with a special duty of care and trust over their elder wards. Because it is so easy to scam the elder, society as a whole must remain vigilant. And that laws already on the books need aggressive enforcement. To learn more about protecting them, contact Ehline Law Firm at 633 West 5th Street #2890 Los Angeles, CA 90071. (213) 596-9642. Sources: https://www.examiner.com/article/elderly-brains-can-t-process-scams-misleading-information-two-studies-show https://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2012/12/why-senior-citizens-may-be-overly-trusting/
Jan 23, 2019
Big Cities and Elder Abuse Concerns
Nurse hits woman Nationwide, and specifically in cities like New York City, and nursing and adult care abuse remains common. Often it's in the form of emotional mistreatment, physical harm, or financial scams. But civil advocates called elder abuse attorneys fight for aging people. In particular, they can file elder absue cases in civil court (learn more). There are also City Attorneys and Prosecutors who prosecute the worst abuses. But the need far outweighs the public resources available to fight it. What are Some Facts About the Abuse? After Hurricane Sandy, it only took a short time, before Jeanne Zieff, a Staten Island, the social worker began seeing the fallout. Before Thanksgiving, Zieff counseled an 88-year old woman, who had recently received an $8,000 FEMA check for storm damage. Sadly, her live in adult daughter and adult grandchildren made her give them the FEMA check. In another example, Zieff says that an elderly grandmother loaned her granddaughter a room in her house. Important here is that the young woman's basement apartment had flooded. So she needed a favor. But she refused to leave the home and caused a lot of mischief. What is the New York Elder Abuse Program? Five non-profit agencies run city-funded elder abuse programs. Zieff is the elder abuse program coordinator for the Community Agency for Senior Citizens. Zieff said she discussed the situation with the 88-year-old woman and explained she has the right to say “no.” She did a lot of role-playing with the woman so she would remain strong in asserting herself. And she told the abused woman, if anyone asks her for any more money, to call her first. The Staten Island social worker then visited the elderly woman's home, where she said the interlopers were not happy to see her. Also, she told the woman’s daughter that the FEMA check was made out to her mother, not her. And she also told the younger woman that her mother use the money however she wants. Over Working The Civil Servant But according to Zeiff, whether there is stormy weather or not, her and several coworkers work on at least 30 cases of elder abuse every month. She said that their program is the only program on Staten Island that is dedicated to assisting abused senior citizens. The social workers run into cases of physical neglect, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, domestic violence, along with verbal and emotional mistreatment. Even with the groups and agencies uniting to raise awareness of the increasing elder abuse problem and developing strategies to battle it, they are at risk. The funding for these programs was recently subject to cuts, even though they were once assumed to be included in the city budget. They are now faced with yearly campaigns to renew their contracts. One agency director said this means operating for months at a time, without the help of city money. We have all heard the stories of attorneys being forced to hire their court reporters, and the shortened work weeks of the public employees of Los Angeles County, and the State of California. It is no different in the State of NY either, says nursing abuse lawyer, Michael P. Ehline, Esq. Under Funding of Senior Centers The director of public policy for the Council of Senior Centers and Services, Bobbie Sackman, said that the programs now receive a total of $800,000 a year in discretionary City Council funding, for approximately 300 senior centers in five boroughs. They are severely under-resourced when looking at the size of the area that must be covered and the intensity of the cases, Sackman said. The Under-Reported Crisis Social workers are operating with small staffs and modest funding while facing rising caseloads. The social workers are conducting intensive casework. And in some instances, it means listening for hours in counseling sessions. Also, they are making daily home visits, accompanying clients to court hearings, to the bank and staying in touch with other agencies. One of the agencies includes the Adult Protective Services or NYPD. They also hold outreach sessions for senior centers, first responders, police precincts, religious organizations, hospitals, bank tellers and others to provide education in the signs of elder abuse and how to get help or make referrals. Elderly Abuse a Public Epidemic? The professionally trained workforce remains eyes and ears for the city’s elder abuse problem. So they can work with the emotional and practical side skillfully. Plus, they can help provide support and other needed help. The director of elder abuse and police relations unit at the Carter Burden Center for the Aging on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Ken Onaitis, said one coworker and he covers half of Manhattan. He said they manage between 40 and 50 ongoing cases. Plus he said they take on approximately 15 new cases every month. Those who work with senior citizens claim that Elder abuse is a hidden public health crisis. They say there is no class or ethnic group that is immune to this type of abuse. Unreported Cases Zieff says that this is one of the most under-reported crimes. He asserted that approximately ninety percent of the time it is the senior’s children who commit the crime. She said when it is your child committing the crime; it involves many issues. She said the first is denial and then the older adult does not want to tell their child is stealing from them. There is the feeling of embarrassment, and the urge to protect them. In New York state in 2010, there was a study conducted on the prevalence of elder abuse carried out in part by the city’s Department for the Aging. They determined that for every elder abuse case known to the elder abuse service system, there are as many as 24 cases that go unreported. In New York City, approximately nine percent of the residents are age 60 or older, which equals about 120,000 seniors, who experience some form of elder abuse, within a year. The study found that older seniors suffered a higher rate of elder abuse at approximately 14%. Likely To Increase The number of abuse incidents is likely to rise, with the aging population living longer and the baby boomers joining the ranks of seniors. In the city, there are almost a million New Yorkers, which is approximately 12% of the population, who are 65 or older, with nearly 900,000 that will join that age bracket, within the next decade, from the 2010 census data. Seniors - Children as Perpetrators? According to experts the most common form of mistreatment is financial exploitation. And theft like this has only increased with lack of civility, a less mighty dollar, and greed. Philanthropist Brooke Astor was in the headlines in 2009. This happened when her son was convicted of financial elder abuse. It was alleged that her some stole her $200 million fortune. So in that case, there was theft. But he also failed to provide her with adequate medical or general care. Elder abuse workers claim they often see seniors whose children are taking their monthly social security checks or are making extra money while using the parent’s ATM card. Evelyn Laureano, executive director of the Neighborhood Self-Help by Older Persons Project (SHOPP), in the Bronx, a city-funded elder abuse program, said seniors that often come forward to seek help. But many are not doing it not because of the abuse, but rather due to a symptom of it. For example, let's take a utility shut off notice or an impending eviction. Caseworkers are trained to look for certain markers. For example, why can't a senior receiving $1,200 a month pay their $500 monthly rental payment? The elder program employees see a range of elder abuse cases and say it is as complicated as “any family and as diverse as New York, itself.” They stated that “typical” examples could vary by the borough, as well. Historically, people have been attracted to Manhattan, from all over the country, Onatis says. And many have settled independently as adults. Many were single all their lives, with few friends or family outside of the area. These seniors will often find a roommate to help cut expenses. And when the situation turns bad, the roommate will not leave, he said. Beware the “New Best Friend” Another situation is the “new best friend,” which is a person who will initially offer care, but then either absconds with money or becomes abusive. This remains a common dynamic with gullible seniors. An example is where the senior believes the abuser is the only thing keeping them from going to a nursing home or is dependent on the abuser for some care, according to case managers. Educating Victims to Refuse to go along with Mistreatment Laureano said that often the alleged abusers are the adult children of the senior, who have a dependent relationship on their elderly parents. Scenarios include things like a recently divorced son, or a relative with a substance abuse problem. Few elder, single income mom's, dad's or close family members will refuse shelter for an unemployed, homeless relative in need. Other examples of mental illness exist. For example, an adult child that completes a short-term stay in a psychiatric hospital. But they are later discharged to their mother's care. However, the mother is 89 years old. Laureano said that in such cases, fragile seniors often seek protection from the child’s violent temper. The Various Examples are Sad Domestic violence is another issue, which involves a partner, and takes all forms. One example is Bronx resident Carolyn Vonwhervin, who had been married to her husband for 41 years. As she described it, his behavior changed, for the worse two years ago. Her husband for all these years was “very kind,” she said. But as he aged, he began shouting accusations, and using profanity. The tirades worsened. Vonwhervin said it would come out of the blue and she had no idea why. One day her husband became frustrated. So in that case, he punched her in her stomach after he could not find something he was looking for. Carolyn Vonwhervin said she felt like a lost person, and that nothing like this had ever happened to her before. Vonwhervin found SHOPP’s elder abuse Violence Intervention and Prevention program. He does so through referrals where the social worker and program director Nereida Muñiz, assisted her in developing a safety plan. The plan was a borrowed strategy from domestic violence programs. And this also included having an idea of where to go if her husband became violent and called 911. Muñiz accompanied Vonwhervin to family court to obtain an order of protection and discussed finding safe housing. And later, Vonwhervin’s husband received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, prostate cancer, and dementia. Once medicated, his demeanor calmed down. So she was able to return home to care for him. But she needed the help of a home health aide, until his death. Eslyn Rawlings, age 71, is another person that Muñiz recently began working with, who called 911. Rawlings said she had a bad day with her husband and is now receiving help for verbal and emotional abuse that she says went on for over 30 years. Her husband has not commented on the violence. And this was the first time Rawlings has mentioned her marriage problems. But she was delighted to get help. She said that the “Lord” provided someone to listen to her. Now she no longer feels alone. Elder Isolation and Why it Hurts So Bad? According to Zieff, the words of these women, the abuse is very isolating. Social workers in these programs use supportive counseling and listen, but place a priority on physical safety; they say they work from what they refer to as “strengths perspective.” Onaitis said clients are asked to talk about the good things in their lives. Also, they are interrogated as to any problems they have experienced. How would they handle the situation now, as opposed to how they handled these cases in the past is the test. They work on self-esteem building, not just calling the police removing the abuser. So then they can come right back in the door, he said. A large part of what these agencies provide is practical assistance. Social worker Muñiz stated in the Bronx; she has been able to have senior’s bank accounts restored by the bank when they have reviewed the ATM camera footage. Often they have seen it was not the account holder, who is an old customer making the withdrawals. Public and Private Helpers? There is a citywide push to combat and the prevention of elder abuse. Several non-profit and government organizations in 2009, formed the New York City Elder Abuse Center. This is a network that responds and works in partnership in complex elder abuse cases, with expertise. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office, in 2010 restructured its elder abuse unit, which now says it prosecutes approximately 700 elder abuse cases every year. The district attorney’s offices in both Brooklyn and the Bronx also have elder abuse task forces. The City Council members for the first time were able to choose elder abuse as a topic to make educational pamphlets that they distribute to constituents. The information in the brochures provided an informative tone on what elder abuse is, where they could call for help and included the five city-funded agencies in the brochure. Council Member Jessica Lappin said they want people to realize that elder abuse is more common than they think. She needs for them to have the strength to report it when it happens to them or someone they may know. Lappin has chaired the Council’s Aging Committee, since 2010. Agency and Community Commitment According to Sackman, the formation of a “community watch,” which observes, identifies and reports potential cases of elder abuse, and more public awareness is essential in battling elder abuse in the city. She, along with others have requested that the City Council make funding elder abuse programs automatic, rather than being subject to annual contracts. Sackman said, is it fair to question the commitment and the money should be in place already. Lappin said that there is no real opposition to the base-lining of funding. Also, she would like to see the Council restore the base-lined status funding. Conflicting Priorities She said that everyone realizes the importance of these programs. But conflicting priorities remain. For example, we need to balance budgets. Basically, fiscal reality remains. She said, since 2009, the city’s Department for the Aging has seen significant budget cuts. And the cuts fell on senior citizen centers, and other programs like Meals on Wheels. Lappin admitted that it took the hurricane to highlight the importance of these services. And he said that Meals on Wheels volunteers carried food up many flights of stairs to seniors. These are those who were not generally on their routes. But last year, baseline funding was restored to senior centers. But she believes it is too early to determine what will happen with this year’s budget. She said especially with the hurricane, which will have a significant impact on the overall budget. Zieff continues her work, currently and stated that they were hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. She says they believe they are going to see more exploitation of the elderly and people will be moving in with each other; she said she shudders to think what will occur with that happening. Los Angeles has a history of taxing and spending with a lot of waste and corruption. We have seen businesses leaving our state in droves. Social service expenses have even forced a reduction in public court services. So filing fees have risen, and court reporters are no longer automatically provided to record official proceedings. One can see there are many parallels to what is happening in New York. Other Sources /elder-abuse-gullibility-seniors-scams/
Jan 22, 2019
Mom, Dad, Aging and Financial Protection
A Preventable Shame Senior abuse or elder mistreatment. A lot of stuff coming out of NY and California lately in the senior citizen abuse realm. Here is one about a lawyer and client conspiring to steal for a senior. New York socialite Anthony D. Marshall defrauded and stole from his elderly mother. Her name was Brooke Astor, a philanthropist. Astor won the “swindle trial.” [1. Read More.] Detailed reports materialized showing that Marshall conspired with attorney Francis Morrissey. In fact, they illegally amended Brooke Astor’s will in his favor. Sadly, they stole millions without consent. Even valuable paintings were taken off her Park Avenue home's walls. During this time, she suffered. The evidence revealed a pattern of greed, neglect, misfeasance, nonfeasance, and malfeasance. Incidentally, in California, financial abuse of seniors is often mentioned in the news[2. financial abuse], including financial exploitation of the elderly. [3. elder financial abuse] This is not limited to New York by any means. California Family Member Financial Abuse Another story mentioned in Consumer Reports is that of Elise Brooks. She is a 72-year-old. Sadly, she sold her mobile home and moved in with her daughter and granddaughter in Monterey, California. Allegedly she did not want to handle her finances any longer. So she had her daughter and granddaughter take over her finances. Some elders do this with their attorneys as well. In any event, her daughter, Lisa Karen MacAdams, and granddaughter Christi Schoenbachler, financially ruined Brooks. In fact, they siphoned off all of her money. [4. People v. Schoenbachler] They drained her of an annuity, worth approximately $90,000, her jewelry and furniture, if this wasn’t enough, then they dumped her in a nursing facility. Mother and daughter were both convicted of grand theft and financial abuse, which are both felonies, later they were also convicted of two counts of misdemeanor elder abuse. During the summer, the California court of appeal stayed one of Schoenbachler's misdemeanor charges. Ventura, California Superior Court Judge Colleen Toy White said financial abuse is the “ultimate betrayal.” [5. Ultimate Betrayal is Abuse] These cases are among the worst types there are. Examples of Other Scams New scams by strangers involving the elderly include scenarios like sending an e-mail telling them they won a free vacation, or Somali scams[6. Somali E-Mail Scams], including but not limited to: Fraudulent sweepstake phone calls Investments and grandparent scams What is far worse and not as commonly heard about is the deception by neighbors, friends, employees, and relatives. The people most entrusted to provide protection and care for seniors. This kind of abuse can be emotional. Also, it remains financially devastating to the senior. [7. The devastation to Elders and Economy] Experts say that this kind of behavior, will likely increase due to the stalled economy and a large number of aging population. And this remains a mostly unreported crime. And seniors may not even recognize what is happening to them. Also, they could be ashamed and embarrassed. So this keeps them from speaking out. Remember that elders are far more gullible and susceptible to this type of abuse (Source.) In New York, in 2011 a randomized telephone survey [<<< See PDF here] was released, in which seniors mentioned being financially exploited, more frequently than any other kind of abuse. Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Loewy was the lead prosecutor on the Marshall/ Astor case. She says that almost every time she lectures on financial abuse, people approach her with their own story. (Read more.) Classic Elder Abuse Scenarios Classically in elder abuse cases, the predator will isolate the older adult, to create an environment, where they are in fear of the abuser, or love with the abuse. Unlicensed home contractors Kids selling candy to keep kids off or drugs and gangs Internet prizes Bank scams All these scams are occurring more than ever. Crimes involving people like lawyers, nurses, and even doctors, who are in close contact with the seniors, are also on the rise. Many cases we have dealt with involve a friend, or family member ripping off the relative! Prevention and Protection Consult with an Elder Abuse Attorney: Make sure and get legal advice from a lawyer, when an elder or dependent adult under your care exhibits signs of dementia or abuse. An attorney can direct you as to the steps you may need to take to protect vulnerable seniors or children. Hire Licensed Professionals: Hiring a probate lawyer, setting up a court-ordered conservatorship, is a wise choice. Hiring an estate planning attorney can help with writing your will, plus be able to write power of attorney documents, which have trusts limiting the amount of access to your money that relatives have. And of course, have the judge sign off when the elder has a conservatorship. The main thing is to set these up before you start to lose control of your mental faculties. Documents: Before giving anyone power of attorney, it should be carefully thought out. This person is legally your fiduciary. This representative is responsible for acting in your best interests. But they could do anything with your money, without you knowing about it. It is not always the wisest choice to permit someone closest to you to have this power. Seeking a Professional In some cases, you could be safer having someone that is more disconnected and who is financially secure. Power of attorney documents, which have limits, can be done without extra cost, experts say, which assigns a relative or friend to monitor the person who is named with a power of attorney. The joint power of attorneys requires two signatures on every check. Such an agreement like that can be drawn up. Mandate periodic reports when assigning a relative or friend to monitor the person. Another method is spliting the authority. You can give one person the power to handle financial matters, with the other person in control of health decisions. It is essential for your lawyer to hold the papers physically. That way, you can prevent anyone from prematurely presenting them to your bank or investment company to acquire access to your funds. Daily Account Arrangements: Daily accounts, which are where pension benefits, Social Security checks, and other deposits payments like tax refunds should be established. Famous Cases in the News Actor Mickey Rooney made news in July of 2012, in a battle against his stepson Christopher Aber age 52 and his wife Christina Aber age 42 for emotional, verbal and financial abuse of Rooney. Rooney alleged his stepson and wife deprived him of his medication, isolated him, by stopping him from leaving the house. This occurred over an alleged ten year period. Court documents filed by attorney Bruce S. Ross and attorney Vivian L. Thoreen on behalf of Rooney alleged the Abers was liable for leaving the 90-year-old actor powerless over his assets and personal life. At one point Aber got ATM debit/credit cards in the name of Densmore, Rooney’s company and then used them regularly for his benefit. The filed petition said Rooney was unaware of credit/debit cards. Earlier in March of 2011, Rooney testified in front of Congress, saying he had felt trapped, frightened and helpless. And that was a terrible feeling for a man. Rooney’s current wife is the mother of Aber and is denying the actor's claims of elder abuse by her son. The Theft A year prior, Rooney had attorney Michael Augustine appointed to be a permanent conservator of his estate and also placed a restraining order against both Christopher and Christina Aber. Aber had stolen her identification cards, passport, insurance cards, Screen Actors Guild membership, and Identification cards. Security: Security is essential, and you should ensure a background check is done on any caregiver you or the family of a senior considering hiring. Never assume that a placement agency will conduct a thorough background check. In doing this, you need to make sure that it is a national check, rather than a state or a local one. six-year, where the law allows, consider installing a security camera monitoring system. Annual estimates show that 6 million elderly citizens are faced with abuse. According to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA) figures in 2005, there were between one and two million elderly (over the age of 65) mistreated, injured or exploited by caregivers they depended on. The organization estimates that for every one case of elder abuse reported, and five cases go unreported. Mail: Never leave mail in unsecured mailboxes. Also, shred any documents with identifying information. Take pictures of your valuables and jewelry. Lock these photos and small valuables up in separate places. Doing this makes the insurance claims process easier as well. Check pawn shops if items are stolen or missing. Protecting Older Relatives It is essential to safeguard older relatives, ensure they can go out when needed. Elder abuse remains associated with physical and social isolation. Unplanned, regular visits help identify undue influencers. Also, seniors need to have outings. Seniors should regularly visit friends, clergy, neighbors, and volunteers. February 12, 2013, in Florida, began the South Shore Coalition for Mental Health and Aging annual seminar. The 12th will start the first of the series in the symposium to discuss the critical issues of elder abuse to family members, caregivers, and other professionals. The coalition and the NCEA hope to bring public awareness to the growing problem of elder abuse that they say often overlooked. The Statistics The Bureau of Justice Statistics backs up their concern, showing that the number of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation as of 2010 revealed at least 10 percent of senior citizens had suffered some form of abuse. Their statistics also show that the majority of elderly abuse victims are female senior citizens. Setting Rules: The family with an older adult, should have a meeting and determine who will be looking after the physical and financial interests of the senior. Hire an attorney if most care will be handled by one relative or sibling. Pay legal counsel to draft a “personal care agreement.” This agreement will detail the amount the caregiver will receive for services. According to Starnes a CFP, it is reasonable that a family member providing care should be paid. Caregivers can now stay out of trouble because they know their limitations. Limited Accounts: Demented elders should use a blocked bank account. This account can have a spending limit put on it, of a few hundred dollars. Also, banks should investigate checks written for higher amounts. The NCEA estimates five million elders are financially exploited annually. Many go unreported out of shame, or because it is a family member. In that case, the senior citizen does not want anyone to get in trouble. Availability: Make yourself available to accompany the senior to meetings with doctors, and financial advisors, who can help in putting in place plans for the relative’s protection. Elders feel uncomfortable discussing their frailties. Praising the senior for the job they have done will help open communications. Observations and Warning Signs Be alert to the elderly person who has a new “best friend,” if they do not seem ever to be available or able to come to the telephone. Be suspicious if the senior does not seem to want to have contact with others unless their caregiver is present or becomes socially isolated. Gwendolyn Swank worked all her life in Lincoln County, Maine. A six-year neighbor had manipulated and stole from her. So she lost her nest egg of over $300,000 in assets. Also gone were her monthly security checks. When it was all said and done, Swank had .37 cents remaining in her bank account. A Betrayal of Trust In 2004 Swanks neighbor Rodney Chapman became the older woman’s best friend. The now 85-year-old said she worked hard to put away a “good portfolio.” After all, she needed something to depend on in her old age. Also, she never believed Chapman would take her for a “ride.” Swank was the manager of a mobile home park, where Chapman and his family were her neighbors when he fell behind in his payments. This lapse started in 2004 when she let him work off some of the debt mowing lawns and doing repairs. The terrible state that Chapman left his longtime neighbor in after spending most of her life working as a financial bookkeeper. Chapman is behind on payments to credit card companies, her landlord, Central Maine Power Company, and the IRS for the money withdrawn from stocks and IRA accounts. Swank at 85 went back to work at a local business, the first part of this year to help pay off the debt she is in, including the $60,000 for taxes from the withdrawal of money from stocks and IRAs. Lincoln County District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau, said Swanks’ case differs from many other cases, where a family member is usually the abuser. This is the family member that borrows money and never has any intention of paying it back to the older adult. Swank remained deceived, terrified and isolated. The Scam Swank had concerns over a 1999 drug bust near her home. Chapman lied for years, saying he had Texas Rangers law enforcement connections and connections with a judge. He said that they could help to rid the area of the drug activity. But he needed money for transportation, lodging, and disposal of the drug dealer’s bodies. Swank said she believed the stories; even know knowing how they sound. Chapman staged fights outside, pounded on her trailer, and would not let her use her telephone. He took her phone with him, restricted Swank's use of her car and restricted her visitors, telling her it was for her safety. In another instance, Chapman talked Swank into a business venture, where she would be the bookkeeper. He convinced her to purchase an auto repair and recovery business. Swank paid for the tools, a welder, and expensive trailer to haul cars. Sadly, the business never forked over a dime. And now she remains unsure the business ever existed. Lincoln County elder abuse case specialist Detective Robert McFetridge, said Swank's case became known to him when he received phone calls from people concerned about her situation. Furthermore: Also the detective said one of the calls was from a business where Swank’s checks were bouncing. But Detective McFetridge said that Swank was not ready to talk about the situation. Of special interest, the end came when Swank gave Chapman a deadline to return some of the money, and it passed. So after that, she told the deputy. Chapman admitted to his crimes after his arrest. And Detective McFetridge believes others participated in Swank's financial exploitation. Maine Legal Services represented Swank. The attorney was Dennis Culley. Dennis won a civil judgment of $1.3 million on June 12th. Also, Chapman got five years of jail time for his crimes. But he has little or no ability to pay Swank's civil court judgment. Other Red Flags: If another designated makes the payments, look for unpaid bills. Newly authorized signers on the senior’s bank account. Signatures are unfamiliar on checks and other documents. Are canceled checks and bank statements sent to the seniors home? Changes in banks or lawyers. Generous gifts or reimbursements to caregivers or friends. Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, transfers between accounts, or missing property. Changes in spending patterns or purchases of items that are not for the senior or ones they do not need. Variations in any of the senior's documents, such as a power of attorney or will. But it could be changed in beneficiaries the senior cannot comprehend or explain. Extreme interest in the seniors finances by a relative, caregiver, or friend. Lack of personal care, like having clean clothing and grooming items. Example: Scenario: You hire a lawyer to help you with your abuse case, and when the case settles, the attorney attempts to recover their hotel bills from their vacation. So you felt too indebted to the lawyer. And you remain intimidated that you won't get your settlement check unless you agree. Solution: Place disputed amounts into a trust. Demand immediately payment. Require a full accounting. Also, a California State Bar complaint may be in order for, particularly egregious cases. Scenario: You ask a friend, or roommate to deposit some money into the bank for you. And you trusted this person when you were not feeling well, but it was necessary, so you could pay your rent and gave him or her your cash to deposit. But later, you learn only half of the money was collected. So when you ask for the deposit slip, the roommate says they needed the money for gas, etc., and she ignores your demand(s) or changes the subject. Courts in Washington D.C. are reportedly seeing more elderly abuse cases. Elder abuse studies identify different types of abuse. Common abuse includes neglect, financial exploitation, and even violent beatings. One in 14 cases of abuse is reported. In Practical Terms... According to Washington D.C. Superior Court’s Probate Division Judge John Campbell, overseeing cases for incapacitated adults or adults in need of guardianship, there are more elder abuse cases than ever before. Also, Judge Campbell believes this is because people are living longer. However, since they remain frail, have diseases and dementia they become targets. Solution: The first thing you should do is contact the bank or financial institution and close the account. But you need to do is communicate with the police, and the city, or county attorney. You can even call the State Attorney General, as well as an elderly abuse lawyer. Finding More Information and Help Of special interest, Adult Protective Services County APS agencies investigate reports of abuse of elders and dependent adults. Mostly, these are seniors who live in private homes, hotels, hospitals and health clinics. So here, the abuser is not a professional staff member. (The Licensing & Certification program of the California Department of Health Services handles cases of abuse by a member of a hospital or health clinic.) https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/financial0113.htm https://ehlinelaw.com/Elder-Abuse-Attorneys.htm Also, the National Center on Elder Abuse has links to state directories of helplines, elder abuse prevention resources, and hotlines in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Further Information AARP’s Scams and Fraud the latest information on fraud and scams against older adults. AARP Money Management Program this is a service that assists seniors and individuals with disabilities with limited resources by pairing them up with trained money management volunteers. The service helps older persons who are in control of their finances to pay bills, balance checkbooks. It also focuses on individuals deemed incapable of dealing with their funds. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia offer some type of program. National Adult Protective Services Association this provides a national map, which has links to abuse reporting hotlines listed in each state. Better Business Bureau Scam Stopper info found here on common scams and the instructions on how to report scams. It is also possible to sign up for scam alerts on the website. National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers geriatric care managers and professionals can assist in all areas of the senior citizen's lives. This includes managing medical appointments, monitoring in-home care workers, identifying potential exploitation risks, in some cases, they can pay bills and handle paperwork, along with other services. American Association of Daily Money Managers can help seniors with bill paying, insurance paperwork, banking, and organizing records to file income tax returns and other tasks. They have members nationwide to assist the elderly. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans this organization receives and investigates consumer fraud complaints with credit cards, bank loans, mortgages, and other financial fraud. National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys has a search for lawyers who specialize in elder law, including a durable power of attorney, estate planning, conservatorship, elder abuse, and other legal services. Telephone 703-942-571. https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Mickey-Rooney-Elder-Abuse-Los-Angeles-Superior-Court-Christopher-Christina-Aber-161824925.html https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/09/15/mickey-rooney-conservator-file-2nd-elder-abuse-claim-against-his-kin/ https://www.today.com/id/41879042/site/todayshow/ns/today-entertainment/t/mickey-rooney-tells-congress-about-his-abuse/#.USujpVdv9nY
Jan 20, 2019
A Guide to Choosing a Safe Nursing Home
Caring nurse holding a kind elderly lady's hands in bed. Nursing homes are long-term care and living facilities for the elderly and disabled. Often these people are your parents. And they can be provided care by a trained and experienced staff member of the care facility. This care is an option for the older individual. This is a person who cannot live alone any longer. Often they require assistance with daily care. There are over 1.6 million Americans currently living as residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Nursing homes number more than 16,000 in the United States. In addition, some have as few as 30 residents, while others have hundreds of residents. Selecting a Nursing Home—the Guidelines When faced with placing a loved one in a nursing home, there are some guidelines that while simple may prevent putting them in a long-term care facility where there is the possibility of nursing home abuse in Long Beach, California. The first step is to visit several nursing homes Pay close attention to the residents; do they have a clean appearance? Are their clothes clean and neat? Furthermore, are they active, talking and moving about, or are they in their rooms in bed? Are there enough nursing home employees to see to the needs of the residents and provide adequate care, or do they lack in nursing home staff? Is the nursing home within your budget? The other steps to take and things to look for should include: Whether the residents seem drowsy from possible sedation? Look into how home keep residents physically restrained and why. Does it seem like a valid reason? Check into the type of care the nursing home will provide for your loved one. Ensure your loved one will receive the type of care that they require. Investigate if there have been any complaints reported to the police or the health department about the care of residents or nursing home abuse, at any of the nursing homes you are considering. Taking these steps, along with other precautions when selecting a place for your loved one, can help ensure they will be a resident of a nursing home where they receive the proper care. The idea is that they not become subjected to nursing home abuse of any form. Nursing Home Neglect In Long Beach, California nursing home neglect involves caregivers not providing the proper care of the elderly residents in the facility or fails to protect them from harm. Caregivers are charged with providing care that the resident does not harm themselves. Because due to diminished mental capacity or physical limitations they can get injured by another resident of the nursing home for example. Nursing home residents may suffer bodily harm, mental abuse or sexual assault by a staff member too. Also, they can become financially exploited. Hygiene and Nursing Home Attendants Personal hygiene is essential for the nursing home resident, and it plays a role in the prevention of nursing home abuse. In Long Beach, California there are guidelines and procedures set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid outlining good hygiene practices for nursing home attendants and staff. In cases where these guidelines for good hygiene are ignored, it is usually due to carelessness or laziness. Lack of cleanliness for nursing home residents puts them at risk for both health issues and elderly abuse since they are dependent on the attendants. Hygienic Practices In a California nursing home, hand hygiene and other hygienic practices are essential for the residents and the staff. Many of these nursing homes have been cited, due to complaints about their hygienic practices to the Health Department. When health inspectors investigated these complaints, they found there is not adequate staffing, which causes part of the problem in the charges. Furthermore, the other part of the problem is that the homes do not follow the sanitary standards. Nursing Home Abuse Resolution If you are still unable to mitigate the potential of an inadequate care provider for those on their last leg in life, it is time for step two. Step number two, when nursing home abuse or neglect have affected a loved one, it is time to call Ehline Law Firm. These California advocates should be consulted to protect the rights of your family member.
Jan 14, 2019
The Growing Problem of Nursing Home Abuse
Elder abuse concept with a senior woman in a wheelchair crying and covering her ears as a middle age nurse or other health care worker is yelling at her. Nursing home abuse is a growing problem. To illustrate this, at least two recent studies show how prevalent this treatment of elderly adults is. Nursing home abuse is an increasing problem. One of the studies included both elderly citizens and nursing home staff. Even some nursing home staff members had seen elderly abuse by other staff members. Attorneys help even the odds in all cases, and sometimes that is the only thing that exposes the harm to the court and regulatory systems. What Are Some Recent Case Studies? The National Center for the Protection of Older People at the University College Dublin found in their research that over one in four employees had witnessed psychological abuse. This kind of ill-treatment includes treatment such as shouting, swearing or insulting the elderly resident at a nursing home. And this is heinous enough, but to make elderly nursing home abuse even worse, one in eight employees had witnessed physical abuse of residents. So this involves pushing, shoving, pinching, grabbing or unnecessary restraint of residents. Theft by Caretakers This was an in-depth study, including over 1300 nurses and healthcare assistants from 64 nursing homes. The data from the research showed that physical and mental abuse was not the only crimes. There is also the fact that 1.2 percent of staff members have been seen by other employees taking valuables from residents. Gullibility of Seniors Many a nursing abuse law firm argued in court that elders are susceptible to being scammed. At least one recent study that was conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, supports this argument. It focused on the brain of the elderly and found significant differences in the significant areas, compared younger patients. The study used participants from a senior living center between the ages of 55 and 84, and then they used staff members and students between the ages of 20 and 42. They found that when showing the two groups a series of photographs, with individuals who appeared trustworthy and others with a shifty appearance, there was a tremendous difference in reactions in the brain of both groups. The younger participants were able to quickly identify the people in the photos who should not be trusted The elderly group of members did not have the same gut reaction. "Gut Reaction" Response Seems to Disappear in Elder Brains Further, testing using an MRI showed that the part of the brain known as the anterior insula in older participants lacked activity, wherein the younger participants there was a flurry of activity. The anterior insula is the part of the brain that “gut reactions” come from. So this makes you feel ill-at-ease or stressed, to pick up behaviors, and helps you in making difficult decisions. This lack of anterior insula activity, researchers determined, makes it difficult for the elderly citizen to recognize the appearance and behavior signals of being scammed. This puts them at risk that can: Cost them their life savings Bring them in physical danger. These are only two of the recent studies concerning nursing home abuse. They show possible reasons that nursing home abuse and scamming of elders occurs so often. Some abusers know no empathy. What are Some Recent Cases of Abuse? Recently, two nurses were held responsible for felony elder abuse of a nursing home resident who succumbed to the lack of proper care. One of the staff involved was a registered nurse and director of nursing at the now defunct El Dorado Care Center. This now-closed location is where the alleged abuse occurred. When the resident was taken to the hospital, the ER documented injuries, other than the reason for being admitted to the hospital, which included bruises and a wound on her pinky finger. The nursing home owner, Horizon West Healthcare Inc., when held accountable, settled the claim for: $3 million Sold 27 nursing homes it owned In civil court, the husband of the elder abuse victim, as a part of his lawsuit, claimed the nursing home was understaffed to maximize profits. What About The Unreported Abuse? These nursing home employees were held accountable in the above cases. However, there are thousands of cases of nursing home abuse, with what is believed to be approximately half or more never reported to authorities. This silence is because in most cases, the nursing home resident feels defenseless. They do not believe they have an avenue to stop the mistreatment, so they live in fear of the abuse. And this is what the nursing home staff member, who won't give proper care, counts on. Often the elder abuse only comes to light because of the family members who recognize the signs! So they are forced to go to the authorities and perhaps an elder abuse lawyer. But what about the elder who has no immediate family or friends to raise the alarm? What do they do? Where is the oversight? Lobbying Sacramento is one way to help reel in the mistreatment. But civility and empathy are the only way to end harm to our seniors. Obviously, there is a lot to this. Of course, there are many excellent care providers. But all it takes is one weak link in the chain, and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. Be forever vigilant about the abuse of seniors. An elderly law abuse attorney can help even some of the odds, as noted above. If you need help with an elderly abuse law question, use our online contact form, or call Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC at (213) 596-9642.
Jan 9, 2019
Forms of Elder Abuse - Exhaustive List
Caring nurse holding a kind elderly lady's hands in a hospital bed. Abuse of the elderly is a problem that is growing. We don’t know why it happens or how to stop the spread of this kind of behavior. We created an exhaustive list of elder abuse in its many forms. For the list of the more common types go here. One of the things that can be done is for the concerned person, to know the warning signs. That way, if a possible problem exists, people can call for help. Our firm stands ready in help any way needed. Contact us for more info today. Physical Abuse Defined The definition of physical abuse is the use of force, which can result in bodily injury, impairment or physical pain. This type of damage can include acts of violence, such as hitting, slapping, pinching, striking. And this could be with or without using an object. For example, pushing, shoving, shaking, beating, kicking and burning could be the method, not limited to use of force. There can also be the inappropriate use of physical restraints; force-feeding, use of drugs, and any type of physical punishment. All are also physical abuse. What Are Some Physical Abuse Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse? These are the most exhaustive results of physical abuse but are not limited to these signs or symptoms. A report by an older adult of being mistreated, hit, slapped, or kicked. Caregiver’s refusal to allow the older adult to be seen by visitors alone. Sudden changes in the elderly person’s behavior. Physical signs of being subjected to punishment. Signs of being restrained, such as wrist and ankle bruising, lacerations, or red marks. There may be signs of a lack of proper circulation to the heels. Broken eyeglass frames. Unexplained or frequent bruising, lacerations and welts. Sprains and dislocations. Fractured bones, broken bones and skull fractures. Open wounds, cuts, and punctures. Signs of untreated wounds in various stages of healing. Rope burns. Internal injuries and bleeding. Underuse of prescribed drugs. Laboratory findings of medication overdoses. Sexual Abuse of Dependents Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse, which is the act of non-consensual contact of any type with an elderly adult. This mistreatment can be sexual contact with anyone, who is not capable of giving consent. Sexual abuse and rape are not limited to unwanted touching. So this includes all types of sexual assault, battery, including rape, sodomy, sexually explicit photos, and coerced nudity. Sexual Abuse Signs and Symptoms In addition, signs include: The report by an older adult of being sexually assaulted or raped. Bruising around the breasts or genital area. Stained, torn or bloody underclothing. Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding. Genital infections Venereal disease Emotional or Psychological Abuse The definition of emotional or psychological abuse is the infliction of pain, distress or anguish by verbal or non-verbal acts. In addition, this type of abuse includes verbal assaults, insults, intimidation, humiliation, harassment, and threats. Secondly, there are not limits on the types of elder abuse. Isolating an elderly person from his or her family or activities, or giving them the “silent treatment.” These are all forms of forced social isolation. Hence, they are forms of emotional or psychological abuse. Threatening a senior is analogous to abuse of an infant. After all, they are dependent on the healthcare provider or nursing home staff. Emotional or Psychological Abuse Signs and Symptoms These are common signs and symptoms of emotional or psychological abuse but are not limited to these. Reports by the elderly person of being verbally or emotionally mistreated. Extremely withdrawn behavior. Non-communicative Non-responsive Unusual behavior, which could be attributed as signs of dementia, but is not in reality, including rocking, sucking and biting. More Signs Of Elderly Neglect Neglect can take several forms, generally refusing the elderly adult from shelter, food, water, personal hygiene, personal safety, medicine, comfort and other essentials, which are agreed upon or implied in the caretaker's responsibility to an older adult. Neglect can be the failure or refusal in any way of a person or staff members obligated duties to the elderly person. It can also be a failure on the part of a person, who has fiduciary roles. So it's a failure to provide care for the elderly person. Part of elder care means paying for necessary home care services or long-term care facility costs. Failure to disburse funds for this care can be a failure of an in-home service provider. For example, giving the necessary attention. What are Some Signs and Symptoms of Neglect? Furthermore, common signs include: Reports of neglect by the elderly adult. Dehydration Malnutrition Lack of personal hygiene. Untreated or unattended health issues. Untreated bed sores and other wounds. Unsafe or hazardous living conditions. Secondly, unsafe living conditions can include no running water, no heat, and improper wiring. Unsanitary or Unclean living conditions. Likewise, this filthy life can include dirty living conditions; urine/ fecal odor, inadequate clothing or soiled clothing, soiled bedding, fleas, and lice. What is Abandonment? The definition of elderly abandonment abuse, is the desertion of an older adult, by the individual who has assumed the responsibility of caring for them, or by an individual, who has physical custody of the older adult. Abandonment - Signs and Symptoms? The signs and symptoms of abandonment can include the following, but are not limited to them: A report by the elderly person of abandonment Despondency Bedsores Fear of hands Many more signs here. Desertion of an elderly person at any of the following: Shopping centers Public locations Hospitals Nursing facilities Long-term healthcare facilities The desertion of the elderly adult at any other places Financial or Material Exploitation? The definition of financial or material exploitation is the improper or illegal use of a senior's funds, assets or property, by an another. This abuse can be the cashing of the older adult's checks, without permission or authorization. It could include forging their signature, stealing or misusing their possessions or money. Deceiving or coercing an older adult to sign documents, contacts or wills is part of it. But it can also be the improper use of guardianship, power of attorney or conservatorship. Seniors in special homes often do not realize the issue. They often do not realize it until it is too late. A steady eye prevents many of these serious concerns. Children or grandchildren play a vital role in preventing these issues. Signs and Symptoms of Financial or Material Exploitation? These are common signs and symptoms of financial or material exploitation of an older adult. Not limited to: A person reporting strange financial transactions. This includes bank statements. Unnecessary and costly transactions. These include large purchases. Unpaid bills, even when there is adequate availability of financial resources. Relatives or strangers not involved in care declaring their rights to property. People adding themselves to bank cards. Sudden changes in banking practices or bank accounts. This can mean the withdrawal of large sums of money by an individual and may be accompanied by an elderly adult. Sudden transfers of assets to a family member or someone that is not related to the elderly adult. Sudden changes in financial documents or wills. Forgery of the elderly person’s signature for financial transactions or titles of his or her possessions. Withdrawals using the elderly person’s ATM cards to remove their funds. The unexplained disappearance of funds or possessions. Self Neglect This type of self-inflicted harm can occur and is not so easily spotted unless the care provider is on top of their game. This insecurity occurs when an older adult’s behavior becomes a threat to his or her safety. This insecurity typically happens with an older adult, who refuses or fails to provide themselves with shelter, adequate food, water, clothing. Often, personal hygiene or prescribed medications, as well as practicing safety precautions are at risk. Self-neglect does not include situations where the older adult is mentally competent. It means they must have a complete faculties of their decisions. This is a conscious or voluntary decision to act in a way that could threaten his or her health or safety and is a choice. So it means they know, rather than not being aware of the results. What are Some Signs and Symptoms of Self Neglect? In addition, common signs of self-neglect often include, but are not limited to: Malnutrition Dehydration Improper or untreated medical conditions. Lack of proper personal hygiene. Living in unclean or unsanitary conditions. This condition can include insects, urine or fecal odor, non-working toilet, and animal waste. Unsafe or hazardous living conditions. This includes having no running water, indoor plumbing, no heat or improper wiring. Living in unfit housing. Being homeless. Contact Us Above are the many signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect. Furthermore, if you have seen this in a person under care, or elderly, do the right thing. Report this to law enforcement and help the victim get an elder abuse attorney. Root out the problem at its source. Contact the police as soon as you can. Our attorneys care about each of our clients. The firm's head is Michael Ehline. Ehline is a former Marine who angers at the thought of our elders' abuse. We answer the phone day and night. Our firm also comes to you wherever you are. We offer a free, no-pressure visit. Our decades of experience are on full display. See why our former clients trust us so much. In summary, contact us for more information. Other Sources: https://nyceac.com/elder-justice-dispatch-a-round-up-of-elder-justice-news-january-2013/
Jan 3, 2019
No Charges in Nursing Home Abuse Case—with Camera Evidence
Action Alert - Ehline Law Reports that Ontario man is sick over apparent abuse of an elderly parent Nurse hits woman The son shocked over the treatment of 85-year-old mother in a Peterborough, Ontario nursing home. And he is even more devastated that the house and its monster employees, will not be facing criminal charges. Although this case happened in Canada, we wanted to demonstrate that even in so-called "un-greedy" socialist countries, physical, mental and outright criminal abuse against patients is a widespread allegation. Some would argue that the state will go out of its way to protect fellow government agencies and health care providers from lawsuits or criminal charges in a state-run society. Is that the case here? Although this case happened in Canada, demonstrate that even in so-called "un-greedy" socialist countries, physical, mental and outright criminal abuse against patients is a widespread allegation. Son is "Sick" About the Treatment of His Elder Mother in a Care Home According to Camille Parent, he is sick about the fact that the nursing home will not be facing charges, even though video camera footage was shown, of his mother is what he termed “manhandled.” At one point the video shows a dirty cloth being "shoved" into his mother’s face. Although there are more than 5000 hours of video, see for yourself a few snippets of a feces-covered cloth into mother's face. Note she is an Alzheimer's patient. Parent said he is confused that no charges on the nursing home staff at St. Joseph’s at Fleming nursing home, where his mother is a resident. The woman identified by her son as Hellen MacDonald, a resident at the nursing home, also has dementia. He said that he began noticing scratches and bruises earlier this year on his 85-year-old mother. Parent said he made complaints to the management, but he continued to see injuries, so he placed a hidden camera in MacDonald’s room. During four days, Parent said the video showed his mother being mistreated by the nursing home staff. The abuse included: MacDonald maltreated while getting her diaper changed. A dirty cloth shoved in the 85 year-olds face by a staff employee. A nursing home employee is blowing his nose on MacDonald’s bed sheets. Two of the employees were making out in his mother’s room, while she was in bed. Another nursing home resident was entering the room and rummaging through his mother’s things. No Charges Against the Nursing Home—is it Special Protection for Elder Abuse? The police said they were not pressing charges. What does the parent want to know why? He wants to see charges and wants to know why the elderly in long-term care are not protected and why no charges filed. The Ministry of Health investigated the nursing home and found several violations of the Long-Term Care Act. they fired the four employees from the video. That the parent feels the police have failed in providing any reasons for their decision, they didn't file any charges. The Crown Attorney invited him to a meeting on Friday. If there are no current laws that the nursing home and staff cannot be charged, Parent argues for stricter legislation helping prevent similar types of abuse. MacDonald’s son stated that he has not decided whether he will ask another police force to conduct an independent investigation into the nursing home abuse. But If a Human Did this to A Dog, Charges Would Be Filed The son rightly points out in the above video, that if this kind of stuff were done to an animal, the person who did it would already be in jail. Ehline Law Firm agrees. "Since before and even more after 2008, it seems like the U.S. revered its view on humanity. "Fish, frogs, dogs, and people in the country illegally, appear to have special rights that are not even afforded to humans and citizens," said Michael P. Ehline, who went on to say, "it is like Bizarro World from Superman." Does anyone doubt what the son is saying is true? Watch the video! There is evidence of assault under California criminal and civil law. Furthermore, there was an unconsented-to touching, that resulted in bruising and harm, there is even video evidence. In addition, there was also mental and physical anguish inflicted upon the woman. What more do the police need? Ehline Law encourages you to share this article with your local Canadian and U.S. Lawmaker. As an aside, in California, we have the Elder, and Dependent Adult Abuse laws and Ehline says: "there is no doubt that these nurses would be in jail, and that civil tort claims would already be working their way in the courts if this took place here"! The moral of the story is, get out there and support the son. Furthermore, this is shameful treatment of our seniors. It could be your mom or dad next! In conclusion, take action. Sources: Police not laying charges over St. Joseph’s at Fleming footage: https://www.mykawartha.com/news-story/4067925-police-not-laying-charges-over-st-joseph-s-at-fleming-footage/
Jan 2, 2019
Nurse Enters No Contest in Elder Abuse Case
A nurse identified as Rebecca LeAn Smith, 39 has pleaded no contest on Thursday in providing substandard care to a 77-year-old Placerville nursing home woman. The allegations are simply shocking. This case is reverberating across the state. The Plea Was Felony Elder Abuse Many know that elder abuse is a crime. But it is also a civil wrong that a victim or their family can sue upon. Smith pleaded no contest to felony elder abuse and agreed to help prosecutors in a criminal case against her former supervisor. We elder abuse attorneys, know that any findings are res judicata, or decided as the law of the case in a future civil action, so this is a real blow to the insured parties. The facts show that they either knew of or should have been aware of the abuse. Smith returned from her Louisiana home to El Dorado County to enter the negotiated plea with California’s attorney general, for her role in 2008 leading to the death of Johnnie Esco of Cameron Park. According to documents Esco’s husband and family visited her daily. Over 13 days, her health rapidly deteriorated at the El Dorado Care Center in Placerville. Esco died at Marshall Medical Center on March 7, 2008. Her family settled a civil lawsuit with the former owner of the nursing home, Horizon West Healthcare, Inc. of Rocklin. So in this case, if there were a general release, that would mean that all parties in a civil action would be dismissed out of any future claims by the survivors. The California Attorney General Threw the Book At Palmer and Smith The California attorney general took legal steps four years after Esco’s death to charge Smith and the former director of nursing Donna Darlene Palmer, 58 with felony elder abuse. The charges included the special allegation of “inflicting great bodily injury.” In cases of victims over the age of 70, this adds five years to a prison sentence. The preliminary hearing for the nurses’ scheduled for Thursday in El Dorado Superior Court, where Smith’s attorney agreed to a deal. The judge granted a postponement in the case. Smith said in a statement after the hearing that she had responsibility. She admitted that she has to own up to her responsibility. She said some things were missed and things that could have been done better. Smith is the mother of five, and that “heart aches.” She will return to Louisiana until she is sentenced in January. Attorney For Palmer Says No Discovery Evinced any Crimes Attorney Patrick K. Hanly of Sacramento, Palmer’s lawyer, said he was surprised by Smith’s plea and there was no evidence from discovery that she committed a crime. Hanly said his client is preparing to go to trial. The plea agreement is a positive step, Deputy Attorney General Steven Muni said, who is prosecuting the case. Don Esco who died October 8th, worked closely with Muni for months after the death of Jonnie Esco, his wife of almost 61 years. He died at the age of 82 after undergoing surgery to relieve chronic back pain. Don Esco is a retired Air Force veteran. He pressed for justice in criminal court for the death of his wife. Due to his declining health, he was permitted to testify before the tribunal in August. He said in a statement that he was “living on borrowed time” and was concerned he would not see the conclusion of the criminal case. Defendant Smith Is a Working Mother According to Muni, the plea agreement by Smith is by Don Esco’s wishes. He regarded Smith as a working mother, attempting to make ends meet for her children. Muni said Esco felt “considerable compassion” for Smith. Esco’s assessment of Horizon West management and Donna Palmer was entirely different. Don blamed them for his wife’s death. In 2010 he settled for approximately $3 million in a civil suit. He accused the company of understaffing the facility to maximize profits. In 2011 Horizon West Healthcare Inc. sold 27 of its nursing homes. That sale included El Dorado Care Center, which went to a San Marcos-based chain. They then changed the name of the Placerville facility. The Decedent had Dementia Johnnie Esco had dementia, and the state’s criminal case contends that both nurses failed to provide proper care or to sufficiently supervise staff members, who were caring for Esco, who was sent to the facility in 2008 to recuperate, after being hospitalized for pneumonia. Johnnie Esco died approximately 17 hours after transportation to the hospital, after developing a severe fecal impaction at the nursing home. The hospital staff documented injuries that Don Esco found two days before his wife being admitted to the hospital. And this included bruising along Jonnie’s chin, jawline, chest, and wrist. There was also a wound on her right pinkie finger. 270 Days in Jail Smith is pleading no contest, is the same as a guilty plea and has agreed to 270 days in jail. This is a suspended sentence, in trade for her full cooperation. The special allegation was dismissed against Smith, who at the time was a licensed vocational nurse. According to court documents, Smith agreed to testify against Palmer, if called. The plea agreement includes Smith performing 200-300 hours of community service. She must comply with any decision of the California vocational nursing licensing board. Smith said that she has not worked in nursing since mid-2010, due to burnout and has focused on raising her children. Months ago, Smith agreed not to perform official nursing duties, pending the outcome of the criminal case. Palmer received approval to continue working, but not to provide any hands-on care for patients. She collaborates as a consulting nurse for a group of nursing homes. The Nurse Blames High Patient Caseload? It looks as though the nurses in some of these homes become cynical and hardened. During Johnnie Esco’s stay nursing home, Palmer was a registered nurse and director of nursing at the El Dorado Care Center. Thursday a crying Smith said that she accepts responsibility. However, she said she hada ‘high patient caseload." She told us that she and the other nurses felt overwhelmed. Ehline Law Firm mourns the loss of the survivors. We also warn the public against these sorts of homes on his portal website.
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