According to the law, elder abuse is directed at individuals aged 65 years or older. The following provides the basic actions that fall within the purview of elder abuse:
1. Physical abuse, which includes infliction of unjustified pain or suffering on an elderly individual or sexual abuse or improper administration of their medication;
2. Neglect, which includes placing an elderly person in a situation where the conditions would result in great bodily harm or even death;
3. Emotional abuse, such as isolation or ridicule;
4. Financial abuse, such as mismanagement of funds or properties or other pertinent and applicable laws where the victim is elderly;
When nursing home charges are filed, the individual employee or owners of the nursing home facilities would be held liable and when proven beyond reasonable doubt, then all the penalties associated with the nursing home charges.
There are many reasons why nursing home abuse occurs. Amongst them is the inadequate training undergone by the staff of the nursing home, inadequate supervision of the nursing home staff and the high turnover rates of the staff.
Before any case can be filed, there is a need to file an administrative complaint in the facility then forwarded to the California Department of Public Health. An investigation would then be conducted to determine if there is probative value to the case. Upon finding of the same, then the case would be forwarded to the district attorney’s office.
An individual convicted for nursing home abuse would be liable for both civil and criminal sanctions. Under the civil suit, the accused would be required to pay fines and when found guilty by a jury for the criminal offense, then imprisonment and fines would be imposable.
This case can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony offense under Sec 368 of the California Penal Code. Since this is a wobbler offense, the District Attorney would need to evaluate the circumstances of the offense and the criminal history of the accused. When convicted of the offense, the following penalties are to be imposed:
• Informal Probation;
• Imprisonment of up to one year in county jail;
• Payment of a fine of up to $6,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the subsequent offense;
• Restitution of damages to the victim;
• Counseling and other services;
The crime of elder abuse is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.