You see a senior suffering what you think is abusive behavior at the hands of a caregiver, or being neglected or abandoned for extended periods of time. What do you do with that information? Who do you contact? What are you obligated to report?
Who to Call
If there is an imminent danger or you believe that the elderly person is having critical medical treatment withheld, you should call 911. Call emergency services anytime there appears to be a life-threatening event.
If you have a nagging feeling of something being wrong, there are many ways to get the right people involved.
A doctor or other mandatory reporter who can put the investigative process into motion
A lawyer who specializes in elder abuse cases
Why You Need to Interfere
Seniors are uniquely vulnerable to being mistreated or abused financially, physically, sexually, psychologically, or through simple abandonment or neglect. To say that these are harmful to the senior does not begin to describe the very challenging situation many of these elderly folks find themselves trapped in.
First of all, many elders are dependent on their tormentors for basic life necessities like food, water, clothing, and medicine. Some of them require assistance just to be able to get around. Can you imagine a world in which the only person available to help you is the one who hurts or harms you? It is unfathomable, and sadly, not a situation many of these seniors have the means or the mobility to escape. If they did not require these services, they would not be so vulnerable. This leads to the vicious cycle of abuse and care.
If you see signs or symptoms of abuse, you need to take the time to identify the appropriate authority and report it. Care custodians, health practitioners, clergy members, and law enforcement members are mandatory reporters – they have to report cases of abuse to the state governing body.
What Do You Report?
You should provide the following information:
Your name and contact information
The patient’s name and contact information
Any information available on the caregiver or facility
What you observed, when you observed it, and where. Be prepared to provide as many details and/or evidence as possible.
Names and contact information for other witnesses if known
Any known information regarding the patient’s condition or treatment needed
Any information on the financial aspects of the patient’s care
Any documentation available defining the care relationship
Not having all of the details will not preclude an investigation, but may make it take longer. Being able to give as much information as possible can only help. If you are facing a situation where your loved one was abused in some manner by a caregiver, contact our Orange County elder abuse attorney at Siegel Law at (562) 645-4145 or contact us online. We proudly serve all of Southern California.