legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Georgia Long-Term Care FacilitiesNursing homes have a duty to provide professional care to every patient in their facility and treat every resident with respect and dignity. Sadly, Georgia follows the national trend in falling short of that standard.
Despite state and federal laws establishing minimum standards for care, nursing homes in Georgia have been shown to have a significant problem with neglect and safety issues.
Concerning Patient Safety Problems Found in Georgia Nursing HomesThe federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that of the 364 nursing homes operating in the state, 141 (thirty-nine percent) provided their resident's substandard care that was below the national average.
Also, statistics reported in a University of California-San Francisco research study indicated that forty-one percent of all Georgia nursing homes had deficiencies in the quality of care, and thirty-nine percent had an unsafe environment putting residents at risk for accidents and serious injuries.
The state of Georgia's regulators mandate that the care industry develop and enforce to prevent physical, sexual, mental, emotional, and financial abuse. Any mistreatment occurring in a nursing center could leave the facility liable for prosecution.
Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Committed to Protecting Residents in Georgia
You must act if you witness your loved one being abused or suspect nursing home abuse. Call the Georgia nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center to get help in investigating your concerns of nursing home abuse or neglect today.
Federal Laws Governing Nursing Home Care Elderly Nursing Home Residents
Georgia nursing home residents derive their legal protections from federal and state laws and regulations. The state has adopted a Resident Bill of Rights for those living in nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and personal care homes).
The bill offers additional protections for nursing home patients.
Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities (Ga. Code Ann. §31-8-100 (2015)) is part of the Care and Protection of Indigent and Elderly Patients chapter of the state health code.
It enumerates over twenty specific rights that must be granted to nursing home residents, including many of the same rights contained in the federal Nursing Home Reform Act.
The State of Georgia requires facilities to furnish residents with a copy of their rights upon admission and post notices about the bill of rights in public locations.
The Disabled Adults and Elder Persons Protection Act (Ga. Code Ann. §§30-5-1-10) defines abuse as the willful infliction of physical pain or injury, mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or deprivation of essential services to nursing home residents.
When it is believed that a nursing home resident is or might be the victim of abuse, medical staff and caregivers employed by a facility are obligated to report such abuse or signs of abuse to authorities, as are emergency medical personnel, coroners, therapists, employees of social service agencies, and even clergy members.
The GA Department of Community Health regulates nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and issues rules and regulations that protect residents.
Family members, friends, loved ones, or any other person who suspects that a resident is being abused, neglected, or exploited can report their concerns to the Department. The victim might qualify for emergency services from a state adult protection agency.
Read more about legislative efforts in Georgia to expand protection for at-risk seniors here.
To learn more about protecting your loved one's rights under either of these statutes, contact our Georgia personal injury attorneys today for a free case evaluation.
Federal Laws Governing Nursing Home Care
The U.S. Congress has enacted several laws designed to protect vulnerable elderly patients, which apply to all care facilities in the United States:
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 established basic standards of care to promote the physical and mental well-being of elderly persons residing in nursing homes throughout the country and outlined specific fundamental rights.
The law requires nursing homes to accommodate residents' medical, physical, psychological, and social needs.
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program created a network of advocates for nursing home residents in each state who investigate and attempt to resolve specific complaints involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident.
Call (800) 926-7565 Toll-Free for a No-Obligation, Free Consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Serving Victims of Pressure Sores, Falls & Medication Errors
While the number of nursing homes across the country is growing in response to the booming elderly population, they are still struggling to keep pace with the rising need for nursing home beds, and Georgia is no exception.
The high demand for nursing home beds has challenged many facilities in their ability to hire trained medical professionals, including nurses and nurse's aides who are skilled in handling the elderly and infirmed.
Understaffing could result in the needs of nursing home patients going unmet, leading to potentially serious health problems.
However, the staff still has a duty to provide reasonable care and keep residents safe from nursing homes abuse or neglect, and if they fail in their responsibility, they could be held accountable.
Following are some of the most common and preventable consequences of negligence in nursing homes, which could all lead to potentially life-threatening injuries.
The warning signs of the common types of nursing home abuse include:
Bed Sores or Pressure Sores
Mobility-challenged individuals who cannot readjust their body position at least once every two hours could quickly develop pressure sores (bedsores, pressure ulcers). The sore is caused by prolonged weighted pressure against a mattress, pad, or cushion that constricts blood flow to a specific bodily area.
When left untreated, pressure wounds could become infected quickly, causing severe life-threatening consequences.
Nursing home patients are at risk of developing bedsores when the medical staff regularly fails to turn or reposition the patient's body. Advanced stage pressure sores are usually the result of negligence by untrained or unskilled nurses and nurses' aides.
State law allows a victim of elder abuse and neglect to recover financial compensation (economic damages) for any medical or other costs associated with the wound, pain caused by the wound, and wrongful death when a patient dies from complications related to the wound.
Falls in Nursing HomesFalls are perhaps the most common and costly nursing home accidents. Falls are the leading cause of death among patients over sixty-five nationwide, and patients in nursing homes are at the most significant risk.
Elderly patients are at additional risk of suffering a severe injury from falling due to the aging process and associated medical conditions affecting bone density, motor function, or balance. Staff members must take reasonable care, so the existing risk of falls is not aggravated by nursing home abuse and negligence and a disregard for safety.
A leading and preventable cause of falls in nursing homes is when patients are dropped by staff while being transferred between beds and wheelchairs or into and out of toilet/bath facilities. Transfers can easily result in a patient getting dropped or falling when untrained or careless staff fails to follow proper safety protocols.
Nursing home falls can cause tragic and costly injuries, including broken bones, brain damage, and other internal injuries.
Nursing homes are liable to fall-related injuries if the fall resulted from inadequate supervision, safety hazards, dropped patients, or other negligence.
Neglectful malnutrition, or another mistreatment that leads to preventable weight loss, kidney failure, or wrongful death.
Medication Errors in Nursing FacilitiesMedication errors result in some of the most easily preventable injuries in nursing homes across the nation. While they are not always life-threatening, some patients can suffer catastrophic harm simply because those responsible for their care failed to do their due diligence.
A chain of individuals is involved in the process by which a medication is prescribed, filled, and administered to a patient, from the prescribing physician to the pharmacist to the caregiver. If there is an error in any part of the chain, disaster can result.
Unless the patient is unable to participate in their care due to neurological or other disabilities, they should understand why certain medications have been prescribed to them and how they are to be dispensed.
Some drugs have the potential to cause serious injury if not administered properly.
Our Georgia nursing home abuse attorneys always examine the medication chain when investigating a case involving medication errors to determine which parties along the way neglected their responsibility.
Physical AbuseDeliberate abuse – As horrible as it is to think about, elderly nursing home residents are uniquely susceptible to physical abuse and emotional abuse. They are dependent, vulnerable, and incapable of defending themselves.
Helpless nursing home patients are often victimized by fellow residents, outside visitors, and most egregiously, the very caregivers paid to look out for their welfare.
If nursing home staff suspects a resident or other staff member of misconduct toward a patient, they are required to investigate the incident and separate the offender from the victim. Nursing facilities should also have adequate security measures to prevent outside visitors from entering the home and assaulting residents.
Financial exploitation where staff, other residents, or visitors gain access to the victim's cash, credit cards, or bank accounts to steal funds
Sexual abuse by nursing home employees, visitors, family members, and friends.
Many nursing home abuse victims remain silent out of shame or fear, so you must recognize the signs of abuse and know when to act to protect your loved one.
Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
Can Someone Check Themselves Out of a Nursing Home?Any mentally competent nursing facility resident could check themselves out of the Home without approval. However, the doctors might classify leaving the center as an AMA (against medical advice) that strips away their responsibility for all injuries or issues should the resident's medical condition decline.
Usually, the nursing administrator might attempt to coerce the resident, discouraging them from leaving. However, they may be more focused on profitability or company liability than the health of a patient who requires hygiene assistance and medical care.
What Happens When Someone Dies In a Nursing Home?When a nursing home resident dies, the medical team will likely notify the family of their passing, asking them to contact a funeral home that will coordinate removing the decedent's remains and initiate the Death Certificate process.
By law, convalescent centers, assisted living homes, and nursing facilities must ensure that the body is removed from the property immediately. The nursing staff might allow loved ones to sit quietly with the remains for a short while, consoling each other, and sharing memories.
In some cases, the family could request a visit from the spiritual counselor at the time of death or shortly afterward to preside over the remains before the body is taken away.
What is the Average Cost Per Day Of a Nursing Home Stay?According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average cost for a daily stay in a long-term care facility is approximately $6800 a month or $225 per day. The cost includes a semi-private room.
Private rooms' cost is significantly higher at $7700 per month ($253 per day).
Additional costs include twenty dollars per hour for a certified health aide or sixty-five dollars per day for adult daycare services.
What is the Average Time a Person Lives In a Nursing Home?According to the National Care Planning Council, the average stay involving patients in nursing facilities is approximately five months. Nearly two-thirds of all patients die within the first year after being admitted to the facility, and half die within six months.
Women tend to live longer than men in nursing centers. However, unmarried residents usually die quicker than married patients. Twenty-five percent of all individuals in the United States will likely die while living in a nursing facility.
What Type of Nursing Home Abuse is The Hardest to Detect?Physical assault and sexual abuse could leave approvable evidence of what occurred, including bruises, cuts, lacerations, sexually transmitted disease, or vaginal/anal bleeding. However, emotional abuse signs are often less apparent when the victim faces rejection, threatening, insults, blaming, neglecting, isolating, manipulating, punishing, degrading, humiliating, guilt, shame, or fear.
Emotional abusers are usually expert manipulators who intentionally neglect the victim's respectful boundaries. However, not all cruelty is easily identified by friends and family members wanting to protect a loved one.
An emotionally abusive predator might put the victim down, call them names, cut them off from access to others (social isolation), or limit the victim's financial decision-making. An Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer could take legal action, if necessary, to obtain justice.
What Are The 5 Signs Of Abuse?According to the Department of Social And Health Services, the leading signs of poor care of elderly residents include:
- Physical assault involving intentional bodily injuries like pinching, slapping, kicking, choking, physical restraint, or inappropriate use of drugs
- Sexual assault involving non-consensual sexual contact that might include sodomy, rape, unwanted touching, coerced nudity, sexual humiliation, and sexually explicit photographing
- Emotional/mental mistreatment leaving scars on the victim's psyche might involve coercion, intimidation, harassment, ridiculing, isolation, silence tactics, swearing, or yelling behavior
- Financial exploitation, including depriving the vulnerable victim funds, might involve the predator stealing things or forging checks
- Negligence through action or inaction, depriving the vulnerable victim of necessities including water, food, safe environment, health care, drugs, or clothing
Nursing Home Abuse is on the RiseThe public generally assumes that nursing home facilities provide the care that adult children cannot provide their aging parents due to work obligations, financial challenges, or other reasons.
It seems incomprehensible that caregivers at a nursing home could ever engage in nursing home abuse or neglect of an elderly resident.
Tragically, there is a severe hidden nursing home abuse problem in many nursing care facilities throughout Georgia and America for years.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), more than three million Americans reside in nursing homes, with nearly a million more in a residential care facility.
Nearly one in three of these homes fails to meet federal standards for safety and quality of care.
While the exact incidence of nursing home neglect remains unknown, experts believe it to be quite pervasive. The NCEA and the Centers for Disease Control determined that due to challenges involved in gathering accurate data and deficiencies with state reporting, most cases of abuse likely go unreported.
Was your loved one injured, mistreated, abused, or died unexpectedly from neglect while residing in an Atlanta nursing facility? If so, contact the Georgia personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center today for a free case review to ensure your family receives the compensation you deserve.
Talk to an Experienced Georgia Nursing Home Abuse LawyerThe Georgia nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center LLC are committed to holding negligent medical facilities accountable for inferior care.
We have experience with lawsuits against Georgia nursing homes and hospitals involving bedsores, falls, and abusive treatment.
Contact our law firm today or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation with our nursing home abuse lawyers. All discussions with our personal injury lawyers remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.