Nursing homes are supposed to provide the care and support residents need to live a high-quality life. When that doesn’t happen, serious injuries and suffering are possible. At Bey & Associates, LLC, our clients can work with a DeKalb County nursing home abuse lawyer to help their loved one recover from the abuse or neglect they were forced to endure.
If you believe your loved one has been abused in their nursing home, it’s important to remove them from that dangerous situation and get in touch with an attorney. Taking legal action against the facility may be the only way to hold them accountable for what happened.
Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
According to the National Council on Aging, one in ten Americans aged 60 and over have experienced some form of elder abuse. Unfortunately, victims don’t always receive help because it’s estimated that only one in 14 cases are reported to authorities. To protect your loved one, it’s important to know how to recognize the signs of abuse.
Nursing home abuse has the potential to be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial in nature. Physical abuse means inflicting pain or injury. Emotional abuse refers to acts like verbal threats and harassment. Sexual abuse occurs when an older adult is unwilling or unable to give consent for any type of sexual activity. Financial exploitation is the misuse or withholding of a resident’s funds or valuables.
If your loved one has been physically abused, they may have bruises, unexplained broken bones, and pressure sores. These injuries can worsen and cause other problems if they’re not treated promptly. Sexual abuse can also lead to physical injuries and complications like sexually transmitted infections. If your family member seems distant or has stopped participating in activities they previously enjoyed, they may be suffering from emotional abuse. Depending on who manages your loved one’s finances, it can be challenging to detect financial abuse. If the facility manages the money, you should ask for statements and review them regularly to ensure no one is taking advantage of what’s there.
There’s a chance your loved one will be willing to discuss what they’ve been through—especially if they’re being manipulated by a staff member to believe they’ll incur more suffering if they make a report. That’s why you have to be aware of your loved one’s mental, physical, and financial state at all times. If anything seems out of place, working with a nursing home abuse lawyer will help you build a claim and determine who has hurt your loved one.
Perpetrators of Abuse in Long-Term Care Facilities
Your loved one comes into contact with several care providers in their nursing home. Some of the people they’ve come into contact with include:
- Certified Nursing Assistants
- Direct Care Staff
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Occupational Therapists
- Registered Nurses
- Rehabilitative Staff
- Speech and Language Therapists
- Activities Directors
While there are never any excuses for nursing home abuse, there are patterns regarding why it happens. For example, nursing homes are often understaffed. This is attributed to the stress that comes with working in a long-term care facility, high turnaround, and low pay. When a facility is understaffed, those working may get frustrated when a resident requires significant care because they have to tend to a high number of residents. As a result, they may lash out or provide less-than-quality care. There’s also the matter of facilities hiring unqualified employees.
Depending on the situation, the facility, an individual, or both could be responsible for the harm your loved one experienced. Our attorneys will work to prove liability, so fair compensation is won.
What to Do If Your Loved One Was Abused in a DeKalb County Nursing Home
Learning your loved one has been neglected or abused in their nursing home is often jarring. You may experience anger and sadness for what they’ve been through and guilt for placing them in the facility. It’s important to remember, however, that what they’ve wrongfully been through is not your fault.
The nursing home had a responsibility to ensure they received the best care possible and had the opportunity to live the highest quality of life possible based on their circumstances. Because they failed to provide that care, they should be held accountable for their actions.
If you suspect abuse, start by filing a complaint with the nursing home. Once that is on record, you can start taking additional actions to protect your loved one.
Reporting the Incident in Georgia
There are a number of parties and organizations you’ll want to file a report with if you believe your loved one has been abused, including:
- Georgia Department of Community Health
- Georgia Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department
The Department of Community Health regulates and certifies nursing homes in the state. When you file a complaint with them, they will investigate the alleged neglect and abuse. A Long-Term Care Ombudsman is responsible for mediating between residents and nursing homes. They’re authorized and trained to resolve conflicts in nursing homes. Filing a police report is also a good idea because if the facility is found responsible for your loved one’s injuries, the report can be used to take legal action against them.
Removing Your Loved One from the Situation
Once you’ve filed the necessary reports, you’ll want to remove your loved one from their abusive situation as quickly as possible. This can be challenging, but you can use Medicare and Medicaid Services to compare local facilities that are federally funded. With that resource, you’ll have access to criteria like nurse-to-patient ratio and inspection scores.
While you’re in the process of securing a new home for your loved one, also make sure they’re receiving any necessary medical care. Depending on the abuse they suffered, they could be dealing with bedsores, broken bones, or infections. Before moving them into a new nursing home, you’ll want to make sure their injures are properly diagnosed, treated, and documented. You’ll need those medical records if you decide to pursue legal action against a negligent facility or staff member.
You’ll want to make sure the new facility has the resources to care for your family member’s unique healthcare needs. For example, if they’ve been diagnosed with a form of dementia, you’ll want to make sure the facility specifically treats residents with memory, language, and problem-solving issues.
Seek Legal Representation
Choosing proper legal representation is crucial if you’re planning on filing a nursing home abuse case on behalf of your loved one. At Bey & Associates, LLC, a DeKalb County attorney will be with you every step of the way. Nursing home abuse law can be complex, especially when it comes to determining liability. That’s why working with an experienced lawyer improves your chances of receiving full and fair compensation for the losses your loved one suffered.
Get Help from Bey & Associates, LLC in DeKalb County
Our law firm believes in helping victims of abuse recover as fully as possible. We’ll be able to determine the appropriate amount of compensation to seek, which will cover both economic and noneconomic losses. This means that damages like medical bills and pain and suffering will be taken care of.
If you’re ready to start the claims process, schedule a consultation with a DeKalb County nursing home abuse lawyer today. We’ll review what your loved one has been through and help you decide how best to proceed to secure their future.