A Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer can help you determine if you have a case.
An unfortunate fact of life is that many people cannot care for themselves as they age. Their loved ones may have to make a difficult healthcare decision and may choose to turn to nursing homes or assisted living facilities for answers. Such long-term care facilities should provide a basic level of medical care as well as assistance with day-to-day activities. Although most do an adequate job, there are lapses in care. If so, you may need the services of a nursing home lawyer. This negligence, dubbed nursing home abuse, is a serious problem. If you trusted a nursing home or assisted living facility to care for a family member or loved one, and now you suspect that your loved one has suffered an injury or a decline in their condition due to the care they received, contact the Georgia nursing home abuse lawyers of the Mann Law Firm.
We can be reached online or at (478) 742-3381 throughout Georgia. Contact our nursing home lawyer at the Mann Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.
WARNING SIGNS THAT YOU SHOULD CALL A GEORGIA NURSNG HOME ABUSE LAWYER
Nursing home patients may not be able to communicate about abuse or may be afraid to do so. Thus, people who have loved ones in nursing homes must be on the lookout for signs of abuse. You should be concerned if a nursing home patient has unexplained bruises or burns, is depressed, or is malnourished. You should also be concerned if the staff refuses to allow a resident to have visitors or be alone with visitors.
Common signs of nursing home neglect:
- Being emotionally agitated or withdrawn
- Instances of elopement
- Bedsores / pressure ulcers
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., glasses, hearing aids, walker, etc)
- Unsanitary conditions
- Rapid weight loss
- Unexplained injuries.
Common signs of nursing home abuse:
- Bruising, fractures, welts or cuts
- Frequent falls
- Inappropriate use of physical or chemical restraints
- Uncharacteristic changes in behavior or withdrawal from normal activities
- Unexplained STDs.
A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
At the Mann Law Firm, we have over 50 years of experience helping people whose loved ones have suffered from all kinds of personal injuries, including nursing home abuse. There is help available, so if your loved one exhibits warning signs of elder abuse, contact us online or call (478-742-3381 to discuss holding the facility responsible. We have helped hundreds of Georgia residents, and we are sensitive to the issues that surround nursing home abuse. Contact our team today for a free consultation.
How Much Money to Expect in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
The value of a nursing home abuse or neglect case can vary widely. Your Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer will consider several factors to determine the value of a possible claim. The nursing home abuse lawyer will look at the following:
- Severity of the injuries
- Medical costs and rehabilitation expenses
- How obvious the degree of fault
- Impact on the marital relationship
- Reduction in quality of life and activities after injury
- Whether the nursing home abuse was egregious
- Severity and length of the person’s pain and suffering
- Incapacity caused by the abuse.
If you want more information about how much compensation you can expect in a nursing home abuse case, please contact a qualified nursing home injury lawyer.
Talk to a Nursing Home Attorney If You See These Other Warning Signs
Poor personal hygiene
Nursing and other staff should help patients with basic hygiene. This includes getting dressed, brushing teeth, clipping nails, combing hair and bathing. When the person is being neglected, they are left to care for themselves and may not be able to do it effectively. If your loved shows signs of poor hygiene or bed sores, it is a major warning sign of a negligent nursing home staff.
Poor living conditions
Nursing homes must provide residents with safe and clean living facilities. If this does not happen, they may be guilty of neglect. Federal laws state that nursing home facilities must have an infection control program that provides a comfortable, safe and sanitary environment. Check to make sure your loved one has clean bedding and clothing, a clean bathroom and kitchen.
Physical problems from poor nutrition
Nursing home neglect and abuse can also cause physical problems, such as malnutrition, weight loss and dehydration. Whether it is caused on purpose or from oversight, poor nutrition hurts millions of residents in nursing homes across the U.S. These problems can be due to poor staffing, lack in individual care and high aide turnover.
Loss of mobility
Mobility is a frequent problem for nursing home residents. The best nursing homes ensure that staff members help patients to move around often, exercise and stay as active as their physical limitations allow. Good facilities often have walking programs to build muscle strength and tone, as well as increase circulation and improve balance.
Injuries that are unexplained, such as broken bones, head injuries or bruises can be a sign that abuse or neglect is happening. People who are not getting enough help can try to do things on their own, leading to injuries. Approximately 1,800 seniors living in nursing homes die from falls every year, according to the CDC.
Neglect and abuse can cause emotional problems for elderly patients. They can show fear of caregivers and may not want to talk about issues they are dealing with in the nursing home. Patients may become distant from their family and friends and may be depressed due to emotional abuse.
Do the staff always seem hurried and chaotic when you visit? Do they work well as a team or do they have poor attitudes? At mealtimes, do they talk only to each other, or do they talk to residents? Also, if you never see the director or manager, this is a sign that the staff may have poor leadership.
Patient says he does not want a person to care for them
Your loved one should never feel uncomfortable around any staff member. It can be a sign of neglect or abuse.
Phones constantly ringing
If the staff lacks the time to pick up the phone, this is a warning sign of potential neglect.
Ask nursing home staff what improvements they have enacted recently. If they are not trying to improve, this is a sign there could be serious problems at the facility.
There are many types of nursing home abuse that residents might experience. If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, talk to a Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer.
How Widespread is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
In a study of more than 2,000 nursing home resident interviews, 44 percent said that they had experienced abuse. A heart-wrenching 95 percent reported they had been neglected or seen other residents neglected. These reports from residents are further confirmed by self-reporting from nursing home staff – 50 percent of whom admitted to mistreating patients (e.g., physical violence, mental abuse, neglect).
It is worrisome that only 7 percent of complaints to long-term-care Ombudsmen are reports of abuse or neglect. Clearly, the problem is more widespread than is being officially reported for investigation.
WHO REGULATES NURSING HOME SAFETY?
Nursing homes are inspected annually by the Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Office of Regulatory Services (ORS). The ORS has been given the responsibility of inspecting Georgia’s nursing homes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS is the component of the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services that oversees the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The Department of Health conducts inspections (known as surveys) in nursing homes to make sure they are following state and federal regulations. Nursing homes that have a history of serious problems are inspected more frequently.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Georgia
Any abuse or neglect of your loved one needs to be reported immediately.
If you suspect an incident of abuse or neglect in a Georgia long-term-care facility, there are many resources available that can provide you with additional guidance and walk you through the complaint and investigative process. We all have a solemn obligation to help protect the welfare, safety and dignity of our senior citizens. It is important to offer as much background as you can about the alleged abuse. Keep trying until you are sure the complete situation has been dealt with.
First, you should speak to the supervisor or director of the nursing home to document your concerns about nursing home neglect or abuse of your loved one. Do not hesitate to call the police if you feel the situation is not being taken seriously.
Agencies to Contact About Nursing Home Abuse in Middle Georgia
Next, contact the Georgia Department of Human Services – Division of Aging Services. You can call the division from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You also can report the abuse or neglect on their website form.
The advocates who work to improve the quality of care and safety of nursing home residents want to hear from you. Increased awareness and active reporting to the appropriate oversight agencies is one step toward holding nursing homes accountable for resident abuse and neglect.
COMMUNITY OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM
121 Prince Street, Warner Robins, GA 31093
Phone: (478) 922-4464, Nancy Hill, LTCO Coordinator
BIBB COUNTY AGENCY ON AGING
175 Emery Highway, Macon, GA 31217
Phone: (478) 751-6466, Julie Hall, AAA Director
For more information, go to http://www.georgiaombudsman.org or call 866-55AGING.
NEXT, CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED GEORGIA NURSING HOME LAWYER
After you have taken these important steps, consider contacting our nursing home lawyer in Georgia to determine whether you have a legal case. We can be reached online or at (478) 742-3381.
NURSING HOME ABUSE CAN MANIFEST ITSELF IN MANY WAYS
Physical Abuse in a Nursing Home
It may happen only once (such as a physical attack) or it may be a pattern of ongoing neglect. The most prevalent form is physical abuse. Examples of physical abuse include hitting an elderly patient, sexually assaulting them, over- or under-medicating them, or forcing them to eat. All of these uses of force against a patient, from sexual abuse to any type of physical mistreatment, are unacceptable. Physical abuse also occurs when a nursing home employee refuses to provide the basic level of care or neglects to do so.
Nursing Home Residents Suffering from Mental abuse
Mental abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse, although it may be harder to perceive. Patients that are humiliated, insulted, or threatened are victims of mental abuse. This category also includes nursing homes that refuse to let a patient make choices about personal issues such as eating or getting out of bed.
Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes
Additionally, patients must guard against financial abuse. Nursing homes may unlawfully take a patient’s money or possessions or even improperly pressure the patient to include the nursing home or an employee in their will.
As always, you can call our nursing home abuse lawyer at (478) 742-3381 if you have questions about how to proceed with a suspected nursing home abuse case.
CAUSES OF NURSING HOME ABUSE
Nursing home abuse has many causes, primarily ones related to not having enough qualified employees. Understaffing can lead to overworked employees’ taking their stress out on the patients. In addition, understaffing can result in neglect because there is less time for individual care. Furthermore, some nursing home employees are inadequately trained and cannot cope with the emotional aspects of the job. The liability of a nursing home’s owner or its employees can also result from negligent hiring and retention of staff, negligent maintenance of the premises, and negligent selection or maintenance of equipment.
What Is The Process In a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
If you decide to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit with a Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer, there will be a process similar to that of any civil lawsuit in the state. Prior to beginning the legal process, the nursing home abuse attorney will have an open and clear discussion with the you. The attorney will make clear that all evidence of abuse and neglect must be disclosed.
First, it is important to understand that a nursing home abuse attorney who takes the case is bound by the law to establish facts and prove them in a court of law. This process takes time, and the attorney will quickly assess whether there is enough evidence to prove abuse or neglect occurred.
It is important to understand the role of your attorney. Their role is to represent the best interests of the plaintiff in the nursing home abuse case, while still respecting the rights of the nursing home.
Staying within Georgia law, these facts must be proven:
- The nursing home signed a legal contract to provide the victim ‘a duty of care.’
- The nursing home did not provide the duty of care because of neglect or an intentional, abusive act.
- The facts and evidence of the case prove that alleged abuse is relevant to the court case.
Once a lawsuit begins, there are four major steps that must occur
The nursing home abuse attorney will have a general talk with the victim and family. The basic facts of the alleged abuse and neglect will be obtained. This includes the contract with the nursing facility, witness statements, medical records and photos.
After the nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit is filed, witnesses are subpoenaed to court. They must testify under oath in an ‘examination of discovery.’ This is a more intense fact-finding process. Witnesses for the plaintiff and defendant may be cross-examined by the other side. Sometimes, facts are disclosed in this stage that were previously overlooked.
Once most of the evidence is obtained with the investigation and testimony gathered in depositions, both parties will perform an objective analysis of the facts exposed. The relevance of said facts will be assessed. A strategy to prove or disprove the case at trial will be created. Trial prep allows for more investigation, such as sourcing expert witnesses to refute or verify evidence.
Trial and appeal
A jury is impaneled and the evidence is presented, but this is a last resort in most nursing home abuse cases. Before the case goes to trial, a settlement is often offered. Failing that, the case does go to court and a jury will decide whether the nursing home abuse allegations were proven. Compensation may be awarded to the patient or family.
A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
At the Mann Law Firm, we have over 50 years of experience helping people whose loved ones have suffered from all kinds of personal injuries, including nursing home abuse. There is help available, so if your loved one exhibits warning signs of elder abuse, contact us online or call 478-742-3381 to discuss holding the facility responsible. We have helped hundreds of Georgia residents, and we are sensitive to the issues that surround nursing home abuse. Contact our team today for a free consultation.
Compare Nursing Homes in Georgia
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides consumers with up-to-date information related to health inspections, quality measures and staffing criteria for all Georgia nursing homes on its nursing home comparison tool.
That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the quality of care we can expect in our nursing homes. Those numbers certainly do not ease the constant worry of family members who have a loved one in a Georgia nursing home.
While our attorneys serve all of Middle Georgia, since we have offices in Macon we were curious about the ratings for Bibb County nursing homes. Unfortunately, the figures remain disconcerting, with four nursing homes rated “Above Average” and five nursing homes “Below Average.”
Could residents in Warner Robins expect higher quality care? The percentages for “Below Average” nursing home quality worsen in Houston County, with only one nursing home graded “Above Average,” but three “Below Average.”
What’s Happening in Georgia?
What has happened to allow such poor nursing home care in Georgia? Why in The Peach State do the residents of Peach County have access to one long-term care facility and that facility (Fort Valley Health and Rehab) ranks “Below Average”?
If you think we’ve hand-picked the worst nursing home quality statistics to make a point, let’s look at the state as a whole. Overall, the data shows that Georgia ranks as the third-worst state for nursing home quality standards. The only states with slightly lower grades are Texas and Louisiana.
There’s no way around it. No matter how you dissect the data, it is crystal clear that Georgia nursing homes are not performing to the health standards established by government oversight agencies, and they are not living up to the basic standards residents deserve.
Causes of Poor Nursing Home Care in Georgia
Long-term care facilities are complex healthcare systems where a wide variety of things can go wrong. In most cases, a combination of negative factors compound to create a risky environment where injury, neglect or abuse can occur at any time.
Larger facilities have been associated with higher incidence rates of patient harm. At the same time, facilities that are too small or that have low occupancy rates can be in financial distress, and funding problems can also be correlated with poor patient care.Georgia has 358 nursing homes across the state, with a total of 40,000 beds. This is approximately 111 beds per nursing home, on average. The national average is 108 beds per facility; so Georgia is right in the middle – neither too large, nor too small.
But, let’s take a closer look at the size of facilities in Bibb County, GA.
- Carlyle Place (5300 Zebulon Road, Macon, GA): 40 beds / 5-Star Rating
- Cherry Blossom Health & Rehabilitation (3520 Kenneth Drive, Macon, GA): 82 beds / 5-Star Rating
- Eastview Nursing Center (3020 Jeffersonville Rd, Macon, GA): 92 Beds / 3-Star Rating
- Goodwill Health & Rehab (4373 Houston Ave., Macon, GA): 172 Beds / 3-Star Rating
- Macon Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center (505 Coliseum Dr., Macon, GA): 100 Beds / 1-Star Rating
- Medical Management Health and Rehab Center (1509 Cedar Ave., Macon, GA): 100 Beds / 1-Star Rating
- Porter Field Health & Rehab Center (3051 Whiteside Rd., Macon, GA): 143 Beds / 1-Star Rating
- Pruitthealth – Eastside (2795 Finney Circle, Macon, GA): 90 / 1-Star Rating
- Pruitthealth – Macon (2255 Anthony Road, Macon, GA): 228 / 4-Star Rating
- Pruitthealth – Peake (6190 Peake Rd, Macon, GA): 122 Beds / 2-Star Rating
- Zebulon Park Health & Rehabilitation (343 Plantation Way, Macon, GA): 66 Beds / 5-Star Rating
The average number of nursing home beds for the top-rated facilities is 62, while facilities considered the worst performers have an average of 108 beds. Is there a correlation between facility size and quality of care? You decide.
Data shows that understaffed nursing home facilities have higher rates of patient abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, nursing homes are notorious for understaffing problems and have some of the highest rates of turnover for any employment field. Nursing homes are graded on the number of staffing hours allotted per resident, per day. A review of the staffing levels for the top-performing nursing homes in Macon shows an average of 2.53 hours of licensed nursing care per resident per day and 2.56 hours of CNA care per resident per day.
Clearly, the Macon nursing homes with the highest quality of care, and lower risk of abuse or neglect, had higher levels of skilled staffing for each resident.
Some long-term care facilities are for-profit agencies, often owned by chains or corporations, while others are managed by non-profit organizations. For-profit nursing home facilities have been associated with poor staffing and lower care. It is hard not to notice that all of the best-performing nursing homes in Macon are non-profit organizations while every one of the poorest-performing facilities are operated by for-profit businesses. Coincidence?
Holding Healthcare Providers Accountable in Georgia
Nursing home owners, managers, and staff have legal obligations to provide at least a minimum standard of care and safety for nursing home residents. Some of the factors that can create an environment of higher risk for residents include the size of the facility, staffing levels, and management – and all of these are out of the control of the patients.
The Mann Law Firm has been serving the Macon and Middle GA community for over 50 years. We have helped hundreds of Georgia residents, and we are sensitive to the issues that surround nursing home abuse. If your loved one exhibits warning signs of abuse, you can reach us using our contact form or call (478) 742-3381 to discuss holding the facility responsible.
While swimming is always a fun exercise and a good activity for people of all ages, it is also one of the most common causes of accidents in children. According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. In this article, we d......