Information & Safety Violations for Georgia Nursing Homes
According to Medicare.gov, Georgia has 360 nursing homes. While 220 (61%) of these facilities rank average or above on the level of care they provide, the remaining 140 (39%) have below average and much below average ratings. This substandard level of care falls below the acceptable rating allowed by Federal and state regulators at Medicaid and Medicare.
Our team of lawyers understands the painful decision when it’s time to place a loved one under the care of medical professionals in a nursing facility. We know that it is difficult to think about unfamiliar Nurses and Nurse’s Aides providing care to a loved one at their most sensitive time. Tragically, there are many cases of neglect and abuse on the elderly living in nursing facilities in Georgia.
Often, these cases involve a nursing home providing a level of significantly substandard care by not giving basic needs including shelter, food, hydration, hygiene assistance, and medical care. Some patients are victims of neglect when their mobility is restricted, or they suffer severe complications and injuries involving dehydration, malnutrition, infections, facility-acquired bedsores, medication errors or falls.
To ensure the nursing facilities are following established rules and regulations, federal and state inspectors routinely conduct surveys and investigations involving formally filed complaints where surveyors have had to intervene, impose monetary penalties, and act to ensure the facility complies. Below is a small sampling of some of the serious concerns and safety violations occurring in Georgia nursing homes as outlined on Medicare.gov.Failure to Protect Residents from All Forms of Abuse Abuse and mistreatment can happen at any nursing home even at the nicest and cleanest facilities in Georgia. Statistics by the National Center on Elder Abuse indicate that upwards of 10% of all patients in nursing facilities have experienced abuse. The information below concerning the different types of abuse that occur in nursing facilities include:
- The nursing home did not ensure that three residents were free from physical or verbal abuse (Crestview Health and Rehab Center)
- A resident was not protected from neglect when given a laxative medication without a Physician’s order that was mixed with Pine-Sol cleaning solution (Douglasville Nursing and Rehab Center)
- A nurse reportedly jammed and forced a spoon into a resident’s mouth containing their medication (Anderson Mill Health and Rehab Center)
- The nurses did not report an allegation of physical abuse timely when one resident reportedly slapped another resident (East and Health Care and Rehab Center)
- The nursing staff did not provide adequate supervision to stop an aggressive resident from biting and assaulting another resident (East Lake Arbor Health Care Center)
Accidents can occur from exposure to hazards in the facility when employees in the nursing staff failed to follow protocols to create and maintain a safe environment. Residents can be exposed to harmful chemicals, dangerous conditions, broken equipment, and other hazardous situations. Some violations involving accident hazards in Georgia nursing homes include:
- The nursing staff did not maintain a locked medication cart in an unsupervised area of the facility (Bryan County Health and Rehab Center)
- The nursing staff did not keep a potentially harmful chemical in a secure area away from cognitively impaired residents (Fountain Blue Rehab and Nursing)
- The nurses failed to provide supervision to prevent a resident from wandering away from the facility into the parking lot (Anderson Mill Health and Rehab Center)
Nursing home residents can develop septic shock (sepsis), which is a severe bacterial infection in the bloodstream that can travel throughout the body and cause life-threatening conditions. If the nursing staff failed to follow infection protection protocols, their lack of care could expose every resident in the facility to significant harm. Georgia investigators imposed monetary fines and cited numerous nursing facilities for violating infection protocols including:
- An effective infection control program was not maintained when the nursing staff failed to properly label and store personal care equipment (Brown Health and Rehab Center, Chatuge Regional Nursing Home)
- The nursing staff did not perform appropriate hand hygiene during wound care (Budd Terrace at Wesley Woods)
Any resident can acquire a bedsore while residing in the nursing facility if the staff fails to follow the established standards of care. The licensed nurses must assess the resident’s skin weekly or daily and take appropriate measures if any sore, compromised skin lesion or wound begins to develop or worsens. The inspectors have cited Georgia nursing homes for facility-acquired bedsores including:
- The nursing home did not prevent the development of a clinically avoidable pressure ulcer or provide treatment to promote the healing of the sore (Fairburn Health Care Center)
Nursing homes can only use physical restraints on residents if the Physician ordered the restraint by following established federal and state regulations. Unfortunately, some staff members will restrain victims for control or convenience against established laws. One nursing home was cited for their failure to follow the law involving restraints:
- The nursing staff did not ensure that a resident was free from restraint or provided adequate monitoring or evaluation for the continuous use of a bed rail physical restraint (Calhoun Health Care Center)
Other serious safety concerns involving Georgia nursing facilities include a failure to notify the Physician or family member when there is a change in the resident’s condition that could compromise their health and well-being. Medication errors are also a serious concern when the nursing staff gives one resident another resident’s medication or the wrong dosage, the wrong drug or administering the medication at the wrong time.