At some point in our lives, a parent or grandparent may not be capable of caring for themselves. For many people, it’s not practical to bring relatives into the home, so the best option is to entrust their care to an assisted living facility or nursing home.
There’s an entire industry devoted to caring for the elderly who require medical care, assistance with hygiene and nutrition, and daily companionship. While many of these facilities are safe and well-managed, some are understaffed or staffed with incompetent or ill-trained personnel.
If you know or suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home negligence, you have legal options. Suing a nursing home for abuse or neglect can help you hold the facility accountable and provide access to the compensation you need and deserve. At DuBose Miller, we care deeply about your experience and want to help. Contact our Atlanta office today to schedule a free consultation.
How Prevalent is Nursing Home Negligence?
There are roughly 1.3 million Americans and over 33,000 Georgians currently residing in nursing home facilities. And their experiences aren’t all positive. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse.
Nursing homes are heavily regulated by state and federal laws. These regulations set forth standards for health and safety in the facilities as well as minimum staffing levels. Abuse and neglect often happen due to severe understaffing issues. In fact, a majority of nursing homes are so understaffed that they resort to hiring unqualified and unskilled people to take care of our most vulnerable population.
Because they are isolated from their loved ones, older adults in assisted living and nursing facilities are at higher risk for abuse and neglect. When a loved one hasn’t been given the care that they are entitled to under the law, you can and should seek to make things right.
What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse occurs when a facility’s staff intentionally harms a nursing home resident. This can take several forms:
- Physical abuse– Nursing home staff members are committing physical abuse when they knowingly cause physical harm to a resident. Examples include hitting, pinching, kicking, and pushing.
- Emotional abuse– Any action that hurts a resident’s psychological well-being is considered emotional abuse. Examples include taunting, yelling at, and ignoring residents.
- Sexual abuse– Any type of unwanted sexual contact with a resident is considered sexual abuse. This can range from touching to rape.
Nursing home neglect happens when residents are left unattended for extended periods or placed in unnecessary danger. This can lead to bedsores, infections, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and other problems.
Signs You Need to Be Concerned About Nursing Home Negligence
Spotting signs of nursing home abuse or neglect can be challenging, especially if you live far away from the facility and are unable to make regular visits. However, some signs that it is likely an issue and you need to take action include:
- Unsanitary living conditions. The common areas and your loved one’s room should be orderly and clean. Spills and lack of clean bedding are warning signals.
- Poor personal hygiene or grooming. Nursing home residents are often unable to dress, bathe, use the restroom, or brush their teeth without assistance. If they are left in dirty clothes or haven’t been bathed, there is a serious problem.
- Bedsores. Because nursing home residents spend much of the day resting, they need to have their positions changed regularly, or they will develop infections.
- Loss of mobility. Nursing home staff should ensure your loved one remains active or addresses any declines in mobility with proper medical attention.
- Unexplained injuries. Broken bones, bruises, or scrapes and cuts without explanation suggest that your loved one may be the victim of an aggressive caretaker or nurse.
- Abrupt changes in behavior or mood. If your loved one seems anxious, depressed, or fearful, this can be a sign that neglect or abuse is taking place.
If you suspect that there is an issue with your loved one’s quality of care or that there is abuse or neglect, address it with the facility administrator immediately. If not resolved or you believe that your loved one is in danger, remove them from the facility, report the issue to the Georgia Department of Community Health, and call our office to protect your rights.
When Is a Nursing Home Liable for Elder Abuse and Neglect?
A nursing home or members of its staff can be held liable for damages resulting from the abuse or neglect of your loved one. Our nursing home negligence attorneys specialize in malpractice and personal injury claims that work to secure just compensation for all damages, which may include medical bills, disfigurement, pain and suffering, and even wrongful death.
There are several potential grounds for filing a nursing home negligence lawsuit. These include:
- Negligent Hiring– Some facilities fail to hire qualified personnel or neglect to do background checks and allow dangerous people to work with older adults.
- Understaffing/Inadequate Training– Long-term care facilities that fail to maintain an adequate ratio of staff to patients and properly train their staff are putting patient’s health and safety at risk.
- Violation of Regulatory or Statutory Rights– Nursing home residents are entitled to dignity, privacy, and autonomy by law. When a nursing home or their staff violates these rights, they could and should be held responsible.
Speak With an Experienced Atlanta Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
If you believe your loved one has suffered neglect or abuse due to nursing home negligence in the Atlanta area, our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you fight for fair compensation and justice. We offer personalized service to clients to get the best possible results. Our attorneys are also 100% ready and willing to take your case to trial if we believe it is in your best interests.
We handle nursing home negligence cases on contingency, meaning you pay us nothing unless we win your case. Call our office today at (404) 720-8111 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.