Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes take many forms. Here is how California law defines these terms:
WELFARE & INSTITUTIONS CODE

SECTION 15610.07. ABUSE OF AN ELDER OR A DEPENDENT ADULT SECTION 15610.30. FINANCIAL ABUSE SECTION 15610.57. NEGLECT SECTION 15610.63. PHYSICAL ABUSE

SECTION 15610.07. ABUSE OF AN ELDER OR A DEPENDENT ADULT

“Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult” means either of the following:

(a) Physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering.

(b) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.

SECTION 15610.30. FINANCIAL ABUSE

(a) “Financial abuse” of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity does any of the following:

(1) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.

(2) Assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud, or both.

(3) Takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains, or assists in taking, secreting, appropriating, obtaining, or retaining, real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult by undue influence, as defined in Section 1575 of the Civil Code.

(b) A person or entity shall be deemed to have taken, secreted, appropriated, obtained, or retained property for a wrongful use if, among other things, the person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains the property and the person or entity knew or should have known that this conduct is likely to be harmful to the elder or dependent adult.

(c) For purposes of this section, a person or entity takes, secretes, appropriates, obtains, or retains real or personal property when an elder or dependent adult is deprived or any property right, including by means of an agreement, donative transfer, or testamentary bequest, regardless of whether the property is held directly or by a representative of an elder or dependent adult.

(d) For purposes of this section, “representative” means a person or entity that is either of the following:

(1) A conservator, trustee, or other representative of the estate of an elder or dependent adult.

(2) An attorney-in-fact of an elder or dependent adult who acts within the authority of the power of attorney.

SECTION 15610.57. NEGLECT

(a) “Neglect” means either of the following:

(1) The negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or a dependent adult to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise. (2) The negligent failure of an elder or dependent adult to exercise that degree of self care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise.

(b) Neglect includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:

(1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter. (2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. No person shall be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that he or she voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in lieu of medical treatment. (3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards. (4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration. (5) Failure of an elder or dependent adult to satisfy the needs specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, for himself or herself as a result of poor cognitive functioning, mental limitation, substance abuse, or chronic poor health.

SECTION 15610.63. PHYSICAL ABUSE

“Physical abuse” means any of the following:

(a) Assault, as defined in Section 240 of the Penal Code.

(b) Battery, as defined in Section 242 of the Penal Code.

(c) Assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury, as defined in Section 245 of the Penal Code.

(d) Unreasonable physical constraint, or prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water.

(e) Sexual assault, that means any of the following:

(1) Sexual battery, as defined in Section 243.4 of the Penal Code. (2) Rape, as defined in Section 261 of the Penal Code. (3) Rape in concert, as described in Section 264.1 of the Penal Code. (4) Spousal rape as defined in Section 262 of the Penal Code. (5) Incest, as defined in Section 285 of the Penal Code. (6) Sodomy, as defined in Section 286 of the Penal Code. (7) Oral copulation, as defined in Section 288a of the Penal Code. (8) Sexual penetration, as defined in Section 289 of the Penal Code. (9) Lewd or lascivious acts as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 288 of the Penal Code.

(f) Use of a physical or chemical restraint or psychotropic medication under any of the following conditions:

(1) For punishment. (2) For a period beyond that for which the medication was ordered pursuant to the instructions of a physician and surgeon licensed in the State of California, who is providing medical care to the elder or dependent adult at the time the instructions are given. (3) For any purpose not authorized by the physician and surgeon.

Physical: Bruises, pressure sores (bedsores), other wounds, broken bones, burns.
Sexual: Bruises or injury to the genital area, cowering, withdrawal.
Emotional: Withdrawal, anxiety, depression, unusual behavior, unease.
Neglect: Unattended care needs, poor hygiene and toileting, inadequate nutrition or hydration, weight loss.
Financial: Uncharacteristic purchases by the elder or caregiver, failure to pay bills or keep appointments, questionable behavior.
  • Profit-driven ownership and management.
  • Understaffing.
  • Poor training and supervision.
  • Overworked, underpaid staff.
  • Ignoring resident care needs.
  • Poor infection control.
  • Medication errors.
  • Physical and social isolation.
  • Inattentive family members.
  • Contact our office 209-521-1269. There is no cost or obligation.
    A caring, knowledgeable, and compassionate response. We will ask the right questions to help you decide what to do next.
    Californians who are between 18 and 64 years old and have physical or mental limitations that restrict their ability to carry out normal activities or to protect their rights have the same rights as elders under California law.
    Our firm works on a contingent fee basis, which means that we receive only a portion of the money we recover for you.
    • VISIT FREQUENTLY at various times of the day and night. Be observant. If you have concerns, make notes.
    • Be pleasant to the staff, and give special attention to the CNAs; they are often overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. Occasionally bring a box of chocolates, some donuts or another treat. Mark the box with your loved one’s name and a brief note of appreciation.
    • Check your loved one’s skin, especially backside and heels.
    • Check your loved one’s water pitcher. Is it full? Is the water cool and fresh? Is it within reach?
    • Check to make sure your loved one and their room and bathroom are clean and tidy.
    • Make sure your loved one is getting needed assistance.
    • Make sure activities appropriate to your loved one’s needs are offered.
    • Attend resident Care Conferences.
    • If you have power of attorney or authorization, review your loved one’s nursing home chart.
    • If you see things that are wrong, bring them to the attention of staff and make notes. If your concerns are not addressed, take them up the chain of command.