As loved ones grow older, we try to provide them with care that ensures their comfort and safety. In many cases, this means moving our loved ones into a nursing home or hiring outside caregivers to assist in their daily activities, errands, and general care. Unfortunately, in some cases, these same persons entrusted with the care of your loved one take advantage of their position and use it for abuse.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse at the hands of a nursing home or other caregiver, it’s important to pursue legal action immediately. An Atlanta elder abuse lawyer from our firm, Ross Moore II, P.C., can fight for compensation on your behalf. We take the time to get to know you and your case so that we can provide representation that accurately depicts the severity of your injury and your need for compensation.
To learn more about your legal options, contact Ross Moore II, P.C. for a free initial consultation.
We are not afraid to go to trial when necessary.
ELDER ABUSE CASES ARE ON THE RISE
As is happening in many other states, Georgia’s elderly population is growing rapidly. With more baby boomers retiring each year, many nursing facilities have taken on more residents/patients than they can handle. These facilities are typically understaffed, and employees are often inadequately trained and/or improperly supervised. Another big problem is that, because they need workers so badly, facilities may not perform a thorough background check before hiring them.
These factors have created a perfect storm in today’s nursing homes, with substandard conditions becoming more of the norm rather than the exception. There are more than 350 nursing homes in Georgia, and less than 20 show up on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of best nursing facilities in the country. By contrast, nearly 30% of Georgia nursing homes receive a one-star (out of a possible five) rating, and dozens more show up near the bottom with only two or three-star ratings.
Nursing facilities across the state are routinely cited for various violations, and most of them are doing very little to address these issues. We believe it is an outrage that so many of our honored elders are subjected to neglect and abuse at the hands of a facility or caregiver that was entrusted to their care. We all have aging loved ones, and any of us would be horrified if they were treated this way. We take these cases personally, and we make it our mission to ensure that those responsible for elder abuse are held fully accountable.
Abuse is not always physical. Make sure that you keep an eye on your loved one and take note of anything that seems out of the ordinary. Problems could stem from emotional abuse or even financial exploitation.
Keep an eye out for symptoms such as the following:
Bruises or sprains
Unexplained weight loss
Injured mouth, genitals, or anus
Uncharacteristic withdrawal or anxiety
Abnormal financial transactions
Elderly individuals are typically very hesitant to report abuse, which is understandable. Many of them think that no one will believe them, and if no action is taken to rectify the situation, their caregiver will continue to mistreat them, and their situation will only get worse. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) says that only one out of every 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported. With this in mind, it is most often up to us to recognize that abuse may be occurring and take appropriate action.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT IN NURSING HOMES
With so many Georgia nursing facilities rated at or near the bottom, there is very little reassurance that your loved one will receive quality care in this state. If it is absolutely necessary for your aging loved one to move to a nursing home, it is very important to take proactive steps to ensure that they are protected from abuse and neglect:
Show Up Often: Nursing home patients who do not receive frequent visitors are the most likely to be abused. So, one of the most important things you and your family can do to prevent this from happening is to show up and visit your loved one on a regular basis. Everyone is busy; but try to work out a regular schedule between you and other family members to go over to the facility for a visit. Make some irregular visits as well, so you will be less predictable to the facility staff.
Stay Engaged: When you show up to visit your loved one, have frequent conversations with their caregiver and other staff, as well as with the facility supervisor/director. Ask them detailed questions and express any concerns that you have. Communicate to them that you want to be directly involved in your loved one’s care and let them know what your expectations are. When the staff at the nursing home sees that you are actively engaged, they will be far more motivated to give your loved one the quality of care they deserve.
Document Everything: Whenever you visit, take detailed notes about the conditions, your loved one’s physical condition and behavior, comments of the caregivers and staff, and any observations you have. It is also a good idea to snap some photos on your cell phone to provide additional documentation to supplement your notes. Unfortunately, it is illegal in Georgia in most cases to install a hidden camera in a nursing home, so this is probably not an option. However, you can still make sure your visits are well documented.
Take Action if Abuse is Occurring: If things do not seem to be adding up and/or you are noticing clear signs of elder abuse, you will need to act promptly to get your loved one out of danger. If this is an emergency situation, call 911 and report it to the police. Otherwise, you can report nursing home abuse to the Georgia Department of Community Health by calling 1-800-878-6442. Next, get in touch with a skilled and knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.
SPEAK WITH AN EXPERIENCED ATLANTA ELDER ABUSE LAWYER
Immediate action is necessary if your loved one is being abused in a nursing home or by a caregiver. Ross Moore II, P.C. is dedicated to fighting for your loved one’s safety and ensuring that they are well-cared for in the future. We can help you assess whether abuse, negligence, or medical malpractice contributed to your loved one’s injuries.
Whatever type of abuse your loved one is experiencing, let us fight for just compensation on your behalf. Our Atlanta elder abuse attorneys are dedicated to making sure that the negligent caregiver or organization is held responsible for their actions and discouraged from or punished for negligent conduct.