Legalese can be confusing, and with new legislation coming out every year, it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutia of how the law addresses and handles elder abuse. However, there are two very important legal Acts that have been passed that you, as a California citizen, can rely on to protect you and your loved ones from elder abuse.
The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA)
The Nursing Home Reform Act, which was signed into law in 1987, essentially created a Bill of Rights for anyone living in a nursing home or care facility. It was a major piece of legislation that enforced guidelines for the quality of care every nursing home resident had the right to, and established the below list of rights as an across-the-board standard for every facility:
- Accommodation of physical, mental, and psychosocial needs
- Communicate freely
- Be treated with dignity
- Be free from mistreatment, abuse, and neglect
- Exercise self-determination
- Voice grievances without facing reprisal or discrimination
- Be free from physical restraints
- Participate in family and resident groups
- Participate in their own care plan, including advance notice of changes in treatment, care, or facility status
The Older Californians Act (OCA)
Among other things, the OCA recognized the following:
“The ability of the constantly increasing number of aged in the state to maintain self-sufficiency and personal well-being with the dignity to which their years of labor entitle them and to realize their maximum potential as creative and productive individuals are matters of profound importance and concern for all of the people of this state.” (Mello-Granlund Older Californians Act, Ch. 1, Sec. 9001, 1996)
“Provide for protection of older individuals from physical and mental abuse, neglect, and fraudulent practices.” (Mello-Granlund Older Californians Act, Ch. 1, Sec. 9002, 1996)
Under this Act, older citizens were officially recognized as a protected class, encouraged to continue to be contributing members of their communities through meaningful jobs and other activities, guaranteed free choice in planning and managing their lives, and protected from any abuses, among many other provisions.
Regardless of where you are in life – whether you’re considered a senior citizen, or caring for a loved one – you can rest assured that these laws stand as foundations and legal precedent for the equitable care and treatment of older Californians.
If you or a loved one have experienced abuse, please call Gharibian Law (866-958-4052) for a free consultation and the best legal representation.