If your loved one has been harmed by nursing home abuse, it is likely to be as alarming to you personally as it is dangerous for your aging family member.
If this is the grave situation that you find yourself in, our experienced Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer is standing by to help. We encourage you to reach out by giving us a call or contacting us online today.
Abuse in Nursing Homes
While it may be difficult to wrap your thoughts around a nursing home professional purposefully harming your vulnerable relative in their own home – which is what a nursing home is – Georgia’s Department of Human Services reports that abuse of the elderly is one of the most undetected and underreported problems in this country. It is important to note that the line between nursing home abuse and neglect is intentionality.
Consider the following:
- Nursing home abuse refers to a staff member or administrator who purposefully causes a resident to suffer harm.
- Nursing home neglect refers to a facility or a member of its staff who fails to provide residents with the care and attention they are employed to provide. Because nursing home neglect can be slower to raise red flags, it can prove just as dangerous as abuse.
Both nursing home abuse and neglect can cause irreparable harm and should never be tolerated or ignored.
Signs of a Nursing Home Abuse Problem
There is a wide range of signs that your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse. Some of these relate to your relative, and others relate to the facility in which they live.
Your loved one
If your loved one exhibits any of the following signs, it can be indicative of abuse and requires your careful attention:
- Your loved one exhibits a marked and unexplained change in overall demeanor. If your aging relative has always been cheerful but has suddenly become reserved, take note.
- Your loved one exhibits a marked change in appearance, which can include looking unkempt, disheveled, dirty, unwashed, or any other manner of appearance that gives you pause.
- Your loved one is leery of a specific staff member and expresses or demonstrates a desire not to be alone with them.
- Your loved one has begun to self-isolate.
- You have to wait a considerable amount of time before seeing your loved one when you come to visit – or the staff puts you off, and you aren’t allowed to visit at all.
- Your loved one has unexplained bruises or other injuries, including bedsores.
- Your loved one has an unexplained and dramatic weight loss – or appears malnourished or dehydrated.
- Your loved one tells you – either directly or in so many words – that they are the victim of abuse. The most important step you can take in this situation is acknowledging your relative’s pain and getting to the bottom of the matter.
The nursing home itself
Sometimes the signs that abuse may be afoot come from the facility itself. Considering that nursing home abuse and neglect are both commonly associated with understaffing, keep the following tell-tale signs in mind:
- The nursing home runs chaotically, which can include giving the appearance of being unsanitary or dirty overall.
- Your phone calls to the facility go unanswered, and they are slow to get back to you.
- The administrators or staff members refuse to answer your questions or can’t answer them.
- The nursing home has a noticeably high staff turnover rate.
Your Loved One’s Right to Quality Care
Your loved one makes their home in a nursing home that they, you, or both of you in tandem carefully chose to provide them with the level of care they require to continue living their lives to the fullest.
Toward this end, they have important rights that Georgia law upholds, including:
- The right to reasonable privacy, including the ability to close the doors and windows in their own rooms – when not medically contraindicated
- The right not to be discriminated against in relation to their age, to their gender, to their religion, or to any other protected class
- The right to freedom of choice, including the right to vote, the right to engage in the religious practices of their choice – if so desired – and the right to manage their own finances or to choose the person whom they want to do so
- The right to proper nutrition, which includes having at least three meals a day that are no more than five hours apart and overseen by a licensed dietician
- The right not to be restrained physically or chemically – barring extreme circumstances that include having written consent from a doctor
A Note on Understaffing
Staffing levels in nursing homes play a significant role in the occurrence of nursing home abuse and neglect – even as low staffing saves nursing homes themselves an immense amount of money.
Some of the most pronounced issues include:
- Too many nursing homes experience serious fluctuations in staffing on a day-to-day basis.
- When staffing is at its lowest, staff members on the job are often expected to do the work of nearly two people.
- Government findings diverge significantly from the findings of nursing homes themselves which try to paint a prettier picture.
Consult With an Experienced Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Brady M. Larrison is a compassionate Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer at The Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys who dedicates his efforts to rooting out nursing home abuse and obtaining justice. Our team can pursue just compensation for those affected.