It has been said that growing old is not for the faint of heart. Some of our life choices affect how we age, but much of it is left to chance or fate or a higher plan, depending on what you believe. What isn’t beyond our control is how we treat the elderly – and how we speak up for them if something seems wrong. Identifying and reporting nursing home abuse and neglect is a responsibility we all have – and it can have lifesaving results.
If you trusted a nursing home to care for a family member or loved one, and now suspect that they have suffered an injury or a decline in their condition due to the care they received, the Middle GA nursing home mistreatment attorneys of the Mann Law Firm can help. Call us at 478-742-3381 or fill out our online form. In addition to cases in Macon, we are prepared to handle claims on behalf of clients in Dublin, Warner Robins, Milledgeville and other Georgia communities. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help you recognize the warning signs and get the justice and compensation that your loved one deserves. Contact us today for a free case consultation.
What is neglect?
In terms of nursing home care, neglect is the failure to treat a patient in a way that avoids harm or to react to a situation that could be harmful. Neglect can generally be classified as:
Emotional or social neglect – Examples include ignoring patients’ call bells or cries for help, yelling at patients, and leaving patients alone for extended periods of time.
Personal hygiene neglect – Examples include failure to help patients bathe or to provide clean clothes.
Basic needs neglect – Examples include lack of assistance with eating, drinking, and walking.
Medical neglect – Examples include poor handwashing, not attending to patients’ infections, and allowing bedsores to develop.
Signs of nursing home neglect include:
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Changes in personal hygiene or appearance efforts
- Environmental hazards, such as poor lighting, slippery floors, unsafe mobility equipment, or unsafe furniture in the patient’s room
- Indicators of prolonged exposure to elements (excessive sunburn, insect bites, colds)
- Lack of immunizations, medications
- Poor hygiene, including lice, scabies, severe or untreated diaper rash, bedsores, body odor
- Sudden weight loss
- Unsanitary and unclean living conditions (e.g., dirt, fleas, lice, soiled bedding, fecal/urine smell)
- Unsuitable clothing; missing key articles of clothing such as underwear, socks, or shoes
- Untreated injury or illness
- Withdrawn, non-communicative or non-responsive.
What is abuse?
While neglect may or may not be deliberate (a worker may be inadequately trained in proper care techniques), abuse causes intentional pain or harm. Abuse may be:
Physical – Examples include shoving, hitting, pinching, scratching, spitting, slapping, force-feeding, and rough handling.
Mental/Emotional – Examples include ignoring, ridiculing, berating, cursing, harassing, and threatening.
Sexual – Examples include improper touching or coercion to perform sexual acts without the patient’s knowledge or consent (some patients do not even possess the ability to consent).
Financial – Examples include stealing patients’ belongings, forging patients’ signatures, and coercing patients to buy gifts or give financial control.
Signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents
- Avoidance of undressing, or wearing extra layers of clothes
- Broken glasses, dentures, hearing aids
- Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, rope burns, broken bones, sprains, cuts, burns, bite marks, untreated injuries in various stages of healing
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Disturbed sleep patterns, especially recurrent nightmares
- Frequent, unexplained sore throats, yeast, or urinary infections
- Hair pulls/bald spots
- Inappropriate or excessive fear of caretaker
- Not allowed to be alone with visitors
- Overly medicated, drugged
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Sudden change in behavior or behavioral extremes (withdrawal, aggression, regression, depression)
- Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice
- Torn, stained, or bloody underclothes
- Unauthorized withdrawal of funds
- Unbelievable or inconsistent explanation for injuries
- Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
- Unexplained sudden transfer of assets to someone outside the family
- Unusual shyness, wariness of physical contact
- Withdrawn , non-communicative or non-responsive.
To report nursing home injury, neglect or abuse in Middle Georgia contact:
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 georgiaombudsman.org or call 866-55AGING.
You can also report suspected neglect or abuse by contacting the Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation, 478-742-3381 or http://dch.georgia.gov. Or submit a complaint about a licensed facility online, here.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Georgia
If you suspect an incident of abuse or neglect in a Georgia long-term care facility, there are many resources available that can help provide you with additional guidance and walk you through the complaint and investigative process. We all have a responsibility to support the safety, welfare and dignity of our society’s vulnerable and older adults. Provide as much background information as possible and keep trying until you are satisfied that the complaint has been addressed. Don’t hesitate to call the police if the situation warrants it.
We Can Help
The Mann Law Firm has been serving the Macon and Middle GA community for over 50 years. We know that nursing home abuse is a highly personal topic, and we are sensitive to the issues that surround it. If your loved one exhibits warning signs of abuse or neglect, let us put our experience to work for you. Contact us today at 478-742-3381 or through this convenient online contact form to discuss holding the facility responsible.
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