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How to report elder abuse or neglect


People in California who have ever had to entrust the care and support of a loved one to another caretaker know how stressful this situation can be. Even after doing substantial background checks and thoroughly investigating the caretaker or nursing home, it's just human nature to worry that a loved one is not receiving proper care. Unfortunately, sometimes those worries wind up to be well-founded.

When a person has suspicions of nursing home abuse, his or her first step should be to ensure that the elderly person is out of harm's way. Secondly, the incident and any concerns should immediately be reported to the proper authorities. If the incident occurred in San Diego County, the person should call the San Diego Health and Human Services office. The third call a person should consider making is to an experienced local personal injury or elder law attorney. If neglect, injuries or abuse can be substantiated, the person and his or her family may be entitled to compensation.

Some people are mandated to report any incidents or suspicions of elder abuse. These mandated reporters include health care workers, emergency services, law enforcement or public service officials and any other person who is partially or fully responsible for the care and well-being of the elder person. Failure of these people to promptly and properly report these incidents could subject them to civil and criminal liability.

After Health and Human Services has been notified of the report, they should dispatch someone to fully investigate the case, and if necessary, make emergency arrangements for the care and safety of the victim. Depending on their findings, further action may be taken.

It is very important for everyone to report any elder abuse or neglect concerns they have as soon as possible. Not only is it essential to the prompt resolution of the case at hand, but it creates a record that can help law enforcement and others determine whether the person should be trusted with the care of other people.


Source: San Diego County Reporting Abuse, accessed Dec. 29, 2014

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