Nursing Home Abuse
The abuse of senior citizens, either by hired caretakers or a nursing home, is an all-too-frequent problem. As Georgia nursing home lawyers, we see elder abuse and neglect on a routine basis, and there is no justifiable reason for it.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services are among some of the government agencies that assist in overseeing the services and care nursing homes provide to the elderly. Even though there are governmental agencies overseeing these types of services, abuse continues to occur too often. In fact, it is estimated that more than one million people in nursing homes are abused each year.
Elder abuse may take an active form involving hitting, punching, kicking, restraining or sexually assaulting a senior. Elder abuse may also be passive — failing to provide adequate nutrition, medical care, hygiene or sufficient activity. Emotional elder abuse may involve isolating or verbally berating the victim.
Therefore, elder abuse can come in the form of neglect, abuse, mistreatment, malnourishment, financial exploitation or injury due to improper care. Elder abuse is a serious issue that can have dire consequences for the victim and their families.
Some reasons wherein elder abuse occurs include: inadequate staff training, lack of employee care and attention, low paying wages, a shortage of staff available at the nursing home facility and past criminal records of some of the employees.
Here are some warning signs that tend to show that some form of neglect or abuse is occurring:
- Repeated falls
- Change in condition or mental status
- Continual odor of urine or feces
- Medical conditions that are not taken care of immediately
- Urinary tract infections that become frequent
- Excessive weight loss and malnutrition
- Bed sores or pressure sores or decubitus ulcers
- Sudden changes in resident’s behavior
- Isolation of the resident from others
- Lack of adequate clothing
- Broken bones or fractures
- Poor personal hygiene
Residents of nursing homes are protected under federal and state laws which require nursing homes to provide high-quality care and to respect the rights and integrity of residents. When a type of abuse occurs, or when a federal/state law is violated, a resident can file a complaint with several state and federal agencies.
The federal government created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The legislature created these to regulate the nursing home industry and ensure that the elderly were provided with high-quality care. Georgia passed what’s called the Bill of Rights for Residents of Long Term Care Facilities found under O.C.G.A. § 31-8-126. Georgia, unlike the federal regulations, provides a cause of action for damages for a violation of a provision of the Bill of Rights. Not all administrative remedies have to be exhausted before filing a claim for nursing home abuse.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, you may want to contact our Georgia nursing home attorneys to see how they can help protect your legal rights. Our lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to help you in your time of need.