Our Augusta nursing home neglect lawyers have seen increased filed complaints, opened investigations, and safety concerns involving nursing home facilities throughout Georgia.
Has your loved one been mistreated, abused, injured, or died unexpectedly from neglect while living in a rehabilitation home in Georgia? Our nursing home abuse lawyers are dedicated to protecting victims’ rights and helping them obtain the compensation they deserve.
Contact our affiliate Augusta, GA, nursing home abuse attorneys (800) 926-7565 to schedule a free consultation and file a personal injury claim to recover your damages. We are committed to holding the responsible parties in a nursing home abuse case accountable for their mistreatment.
Our nursing home negligence and elder abuse cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. There is never a legal fee charged unless there is a recovery from the negligent nursing home or care facility responsible for the harm to your loved one.
Reasons Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect Occur
There has been a growing problem in our country’s nursing home facilities that puts lives at risk. According to the World Health Organization, 2 out of 3 staff members of long-term care facilities have reported that they committed abuse in the last year.
It is predicted that many cases of nursing home abuse go unreported, as well. In Augusta, GA, 8 of the 21 nursing homes have below-average ratings on the Medicare website, showing that there are serious issues that haven’t been addressed.
According to the national online news provider, CNHI News, by March 2021, more than half of long-term care facilities had been operating for at least 18 months without a proper inspection. Serious nursing home care industry problems must be tackled because the issues have only worsened, and our elderly population is expected to double in the next couple of decades.
Some common factors contributing to the poor quality of care and abuse are staff shortages, hiring of unqualified staff, and state and federal inspections not being done due to the recent pandemic.
Understaffed Assisted Living Facilities
The main issue that many nursing homes face is a shortage of staff. This problem contributes to the other issues that nursing home staff must manage.
When there are not enough required nurses and employees, facilities could have a high turnover rate and may begin to hire unqualified people to perform the work. Nursing homes in Georgia already struggle to meet the staffing requirements, but the COVID-19 pandemic has since made finding enough qualified employees more challenging.
This issue creates a demanding work environment and affects the well-being of nursing home residents who need patience and proper care.
Hiring Of Unqualified Staff Members
As a result of staff shortages, nursing homes may have to resort to hiring unqualified employees and lowering training standards to meet their staffing requirements. Hiring untrained people to care for nursing home residents can be dangerous because they don’t have the work experience to provide proper care and could inadvertently neglect patients with special needs.
The nursing home employee may unintentionally put the disabled or elderly resident in immediate danger. These possible errors can result in adverse health effects and even death for the residents.
Unqualified staff are more likely to abuse or neglect nursing home patients because they have little training or experience handling certain complex situations.
Nursing homes that do not perform thorough background checks and allow unqualified employees to care for loved ones can be held accountable for this negligence.
Facility Inspections Not Performed On Time
Nursing home facilities must undergo and pass state and federal inspections, usually performed at least once a year. Georgia was behind in nursing home inspections more than any other state last year.
Approximately one-third of nursing homes in Georgia have below-average ratings, which causes additional concerns since they can continue operations without being properly inspected. The pandemic made it more difficult for state inspectors, advocates, and family members to check on the residents for an extended period.
Unfortunately, conditions of nursing facilities continue to be an issue, and comprehensive state and federal inspections are still lacking.
What is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse involves a caregiver performing an action that results in harm to a resident. Many types of nursing home abuse can occur, which include emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, elder abuse, and financial abuse.
Nursing home neglect is when a caregiver fails to fulfill their duty of meeting a resident's needs. Negligence can be either intentional or unintentional, depending on the factors involved.
Nursing home abuse and neglect are likely to occur if the facility lacks resources and cannot protect the residents. A few Augusta, GA, nursing homes have issues that could contribute to mistreating patients.
Nursing Home Neglect
When a nursing home resident is neglected, they may be suffering in silence due to the inability to communicate or out of fear. Neglecting patients for a long time puts them at risk of developing additional health issues, complications, and emotional anguish.
Neglect can be intentional, but staffing shortages and inexperienced workers also lead to unintentional neglect. Some examples of negligence in nursing homes include:
- Not answering a call light for an extended period
- Lack of providing proper personal hygiene
- Delaying or not dispensing medications
- Not providing adequate nutrition or hydration
- Isolating a resident from social activities
- Not providing required medical care (the plan of care)
Physical force used against a nursing home resident to cause pain or injuries is considered physical abuse. This type of nursing home abuse is the most easily detected because it is likely to leave visible marks on a fragile victim.
This type of abuse is also harmful to a nursing home resident’s life because they are already struggling with health problems, disabilities, a decline in cognitive abilities, or old age.
Some forms of physical abuse can include:
- Throwing an object at a resident
- Using an object as a weapon
Emotional or psychological abuse involves verbal abuse or an act that causes a victim distress or anguish. This abuse may be the most unreported form due to no visible effects.
Some examples of emotional abuse include:
This type of nursing home abuse involves a sexual act forced upon an unwilling participant. Nursing home patients are usually disabled or elderly and especially vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Some forms of sexual assault are:
- Masturbation in front of a resident
- Taking sexual photographs
- Forcing the resident to view pornography
Financial abuse is when someone illegally uses or steals a resident’s assets, money, or personal belongings. Some examples of financial abuse in nursing homes can include:
- Theft of money
- Stolen possessions
- Unauthorized withdrawals from resident’s bank accounts
- False nursing home charges
The elderly make up a large part of the nursing home population. Their age is a risk factor for being a victim of abuse and neglect. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 10 people aged 60 and older experience abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
We must protect our senior citizens as abuse and neglect can cause suffering and pain that will last for the rest of their lives. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 6 people aged 60 and older experience abuse in community settings such as nursing home facilities.
The elderly in nursing homes are already struggling with health issues as age progresses. Injuries from abuse can result in disabilities, infections, and premature death for the elderly.
Signs of Abuse and Neglect in Victims
You may see abuse or neglect when visiting your loved ones at their nursing home facility. Family members are sometimes the best advocates for residents because they can visit more often and inquire about the care.
You can also monitor mealtimes and exchanges between your family member, the staff, and other residents. Visiting your loved one is one of the best ways to prevent or stop any abuse or neglect.
Some of the common signs of nursing home abuse that you may notice can include:
- Unexplained cuts and scratches
- Broken bones
- Marks on wrists and ankles (due to restraints)
Signs of neglect may include:
- Weight loss
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Unsanitary living conditions
Common Situations That Signal Possible Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
Many accidents or situations indicate a nursing home resident is experiencing abuse or neglect. Ask your loved one questions and the caregivers for additional information on any casualties or complications that develop.
Bed sores are one of the most common injuries when a patient is neglected. A bedsore is when the skin and tissue are damaged due to prolonged pressure on the skin.
This injury is likely to occur when a nursing home resident is left in bed or a wheelchair without changing their position for an extended period. The skin can break open when bedsores are left untreated and develop an infection.
Severe infections can also indicate neglect because they were not treated in the initial stages. Finding your family member had broken bones can also mean that they were abused or neglected when they sustained a fall.
What to Do if Your Loved One is a Victim of Abuse or Neglect in an Augusta Nursing Home
Do you suspect nursing home abuse? There are steps you can take to ensure your family member's safety. Report your suspicions immediately to the nursing facility administration.
Also, report the nursing facility to the Division of Healthcare Facility Regulation at 800-878-6442. They will perform an investigation.
Other resources include Adult Protective Services and Georgia’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. For Richmond County, the contact number for the Ombudsman is 706-549-4850, or you can visit their website.
Your local Ombudsman can coordinate any transfers, help with billing, and speak with you about your options.
What Type of Compensation can You Obtain in a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
Filing a nursing home abuse claim can benefit your loved one and family because you may be able to hold the assisted living facility accountable for their mistreatment.
Experienced attorneys will be able to investigate your nursing home abuse case, collect medical records and all necessary information, establish negligence or abuse, and file a claim or lawsuit against those responsible.
Your loved one may have sustained severe physical injuries from the abuse and could require long-term treatment at a rehabilitation center, physical therapy, assisted living devices, and new medication. It can be overwhelming to deal with more medical bills, treatments, and the emotional pain caused by the negligent parties.
Your nursing home abuse lawyer can help you recover your loved one’s past and future medical costs, pain and suffering, and emotional anguish. Your personal injury law firm can also file a wrongful death claim if the abuse or neglect caused your loved one’s death to obtain compensation for funeral costs, medical bills, and grief.
A nursing home abuse attorney from our network can assist in any cases involving assault or neglect and will fight to ensure the insurance company provides fair compensation.
Seek Representation with An Augusta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
It can be devastating to find out your loved one is being abused or neglected at a nursing home. Our experienced personal injury attorney network can provide legal options through personal injury law to ensure those at fault for causing harm to your loved one are held legally accountable through a personal injury claim.
We encourage you to contact our affiliate Augusta, GA, nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. Your personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
We provide legal representation and resources to victims of nursing home abuse, elder abuse, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases through contingency fee agreements, which means no upfront fees are required. We look forward to providing you with a free consultation where we can guide you and answer any questions you have.
All our legal fees are paid after negotiating an out-of-court settlement or winning your abuse lawsuit at trial. Schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced attorney to receive advice on legal matters that will ensure your loved one is protected to the fullest extent of the law.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.