One of the reasons the nursing home abuse numbers are so high is because so few cases are reported. Many nursing home residents have memory problems, so they may not remember any details about the incident.
Furthermore, many victims do not report these incidents because they fear retaliation. If you do not like what you see, even if it’s no more than an uneasy feeling, contact an attorney straight away. The situation could get a lot worse.
Abuse and Neglect in Georgia Nursing Homes
The elderly population has expanded significantly since 2010. That expansion will escalate at least until at least 2060. At that time, America’s over-65 population may be close to 100 million people. The over-85 population may be almost 20 million.
At the same time, Medicaid reimbursements have dropped rather significantly since about 2000. So, nursing home administrators often use patient volume to make up the difference.
Abuse is almost always intentional conduct. It can take many forms, and pretty much all of them are equally harmful.
Some examples include:
- Physical: Many older residents are physically frail. So, a little bit of force can cause a serious injury. Moreover, many residents have pre-existing conditions, so their health deteriorates rapidly after a sudden trauma injury.
- Emotional: Isolation in one’s room is a common kind of punishment. Sometimes, staff members leave residents unattended in their rooms because there is no one to watch them. Staff outbursts are also common, like “No one wants you” and “Everyone’s forgotten about you.”
- Financial: Simple theft is quite common in nursing homes. More elaborate schemes are common as well. For example, an unscrupulous staff member might tell a resident that her niece is in jail and needs cash to get out.
If you want to know how to report nursing home abuse, visit this website. Or, call 866-55-AGING, and then press 3. Legally, the nursing home may be responsible for damages. There are several relevant legal theories, including negligent hiring and negligent supervision.
Neglect is usually unintentional. However, the injuries are no less severe. As mentioned, many Georgia nursing homes are dangerously understaffed. So, according to the statistics, neglect is quite common. Some instances include:
- Bedsores: As long as residents turn in bed every few hours, bedsores are not a problem. Furthermore, if they are caught early enough, they can be dealt with. However, if bedsores are neglected, they quickly become life-threatening.
- Malnutrition: Many times, senses dull with age. Food no longer tastes good. So, many older residents do not eat or drink. If there is no one at the table during mealtime to ensure that residents eat and drink, they quickly become malnourished.
- Resident on Resident Abuse: Nursing home neglect usually causes resident on resident abuse, which is one of the fastest-growing causes of nursing home injuries. Older adults can be rather childlike. If there is no staff to break up petty arguments, these disputes sometimes turn violent.
Nursing home neglect is especially a problem during low census periods, like holidays, nights, and weekends. According to the nursing home is legally responsible for neglect injuries. To report a nursing home, many people work with the Georgia nursing home ombudsman. This person is basically a non-attorney advocate. Visit their website or call 866-55-AGING and select option 5.
Evidence of Nursing Home Abuse
In the nursing home abuse and neglect context, friends and loved ones are first responders. The evidence is usually subtle and hard to detect. So, on your next visit, a little detective work may be necessary. Look for signs like:
- New and unexplained bruises or other injuries
- Evidence that the resident has been physically restrained
- Broken eyeglasses
- Unusual behavior, especially things like thumb-sucking
- Radical mood swings
- Sudden weight loss
- Trepidation around certain staff members
- Soiled clothes or bedding
If you see evidence like this, report the possible abuse or neglect of the nursing home manager or administrator. If you do not like the answers you get, report the nursing home to the appropriate authorities. It’s better to err on the side of caution when your loved one’s well-being may be at stake. If possible retaliation is a worry, and it usually is, it may also be a good idea to find another nursing home.
Work with an Aggressive Lawyer
If your loved one is in a nursing home and has experienced some form of abuse or neglect, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., we routinely handle nursing home abuse cases in Georgia.