If you’re looking for a nursing home abuse lawyer, you and your loved ones have already been through a terrible ordeal. No matter how often you visit or how many times you call, you can’t be present all the time. Families trust nursing home staff to look after and protect their loved ones when they can’t be there.
Unfortunately, Georgia ranks among the worst states for nursing home abuse.
Poor training, chronic understaffing, lack of supervision, burnout, and other problems can lead to inadequate care, neglect, and elder abuse. As a skilled nursing home abuse attorney, I want to help ensure your family member is defended, protected, and compensated for the harm that’s been done to them.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Types of nursing home abuse fall into four categories: physical, emotional, sexual, and financial.
Physical abuse in nursing home abuse cases is any forceful or physical act against a patient that causes physical injury or pain. This can include hitting, pushing, shoving, improperly restraining or tying down a patient, or any other action that causes physical harm to a patient. Caregivers are not allowed to use restraints for their own convenience or as a form of discipline. Restraints are only allowed for medical purposes or in an emergency. Symptoms of physical abuse include unexplained sores, bruises, cuts, or broken bones, and malnourishment, increased anxiety or depression, and fear of staff members.
Emotional abuse is any intentional act that causes trauma or emotional distress. Emotional abuse could be verbal attacks, degrading or humiliating a patient, isolating a patient from their family members or friends, victim blaming, yelling at a patient, or threatening or intimidating a patient. Symptoms of emotional abuse include depression, increased anxiety, loss of appetite or malnourishment, poor hygiene, agitation, antisocial or nonverbal behavior, and fear of staff members.
Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual conduct between a caregiver and a patient. Sexual abuse can include unwanted physical contact as well as unwanted exposure of their bodies, coercing a patient to remove their clothing, or being forced to view any sexually explicit images or acts. Family members should be on the lookout for torn or ripped clothing, bruising or other injuries to the genitalia, and unexplained emotional or behavior changes. Because sexual abuse can cause severe physical or emotional trauma, symptoms of emotional and physical abuse can also indicate this form of abuse.
Financial abuse is any exchange of money from the patient to a caregiver through theft or coercion. This includes stealing property, cash, or financial documents like checks. Forging the patient’s signature on a check or financial statement, using a person’s credit cards or bank accounts without their consent, and forcing or coercing a patient to sign a will or deed transferring power of attorney or property is also considered financial abuse. Family members should look out for unusual activity on credit cards and back accounts, and the transference of any property or financial assets.
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Nursing Home Abuse FAQS
What are the signs of nursing home abuse?
Unexplained emotional or behavioral changes and unexplained bruising or other injuries might be signs of abuse and should always be thoroughly investigated by family members. Symptoms can be hard to detect, so it’s important to listen to your family members and take any stories of possible abuse or mistreatment they describe seriously. Also, keep a careful watch on your older family members’ financial assets and bank accounts to catch any financial abuse as quickly as possible.
What is nursing home neglect?
Neglect is any substandard care which harms a nursing home resident. Older people have a much higher risk of injury and can have difficulty recovering from severe physical trauma. Dementia and other diseases affecting a person’s mind can make emotional trauma difficult to recover from because the person may feel the effects of the trauma but not be able to recall why they feel the way they do. They also may not be able to process what occurred or confide in their loved ones. It’s up to you to be on the lookout for signs that something may be wrong.
How do I report nursing home abuse in Georgia? Who do I call?
First, call the nursing home and ask to speak to the highest-ranking manager present. Report the abuse and who, if anyone, you suspect is responsible. The manager should immediately isolate the suspected abuser from your loved one. Next, call your local police department to file a report. The officer who responds to the call should interview any suspected abusers and will also want to talk to you and your family member who has been abused. Show the officer whatever evidence you have, like photos of the injuries, medical records, and incident reports. Always keep copies of these documents! Next, call a nursing home abuse attorney like me, Tracey Dellacona. After your free consultation, I’ll help you gather additional evidence and file a lawsuit on your loved one’s behalf. Finally, you should report the abuse or neglect to Adult Protective Services (APS) for the state of Georgia, which should lead to a government investigation of the nursing home.
Can you sue a nursing home for neglect?
Yes, family members can file a personal injury lawsuit for negligent or wrongful conduct. The statute of limitations in the state of Georgia is 2 years from the date of the abuse, so it’s very important to set up your free consultation with me at the Dellacona Law Firm as soon as you can so we can get the legal process underway.
What if nursing home abuse resulted in death?
The spouse or children of a deceased person can sue on behalf of the deceased for wrongful conduct or negligence resulting in death. For a nursing home patient, an injury such as a broken leg or hip can lead to death. If your family is in this situation, gather as much documentation as possible and contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer like me as soon as possible. As mentioned above, the statute of limitations in the state of Georgia is 2 years from the date of death, though there are exceptions.
How common is abuse in nursing homes?
Elder abuse and nursing home abuse affect more than 40 million people over the age of 65, perhaps as many as 1 in 10 elders. Despite it being often tragically underreported, nearly 1 in 3 nursing homes in the US have been issued at least one citation for abuse from Adult Protective Services (APS).
What are the most common complaints about nursing homes?
Slow responses to phone calls, poor food quality, and lack of adequate staff for the number of patients in their care, forcing patients who need help to wait a long time, are very common complaints. They may not indicate neglect or abuse, but they shouldn’t be dismissed as normal or acceptable either. As an experienced nursing home abuse attorney, I know what is standard for nursing home care and I can advise family members if a situation constitutes neglect or abuse.
How long do you have to file a lawsuit against a nursing home?
In Georgia, the deadline for filing a lawsuit against a nursing home for abuse or neglect is 2 years from the date of the incident. If the injury resulted in death, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of death. To avoid missing your opportunity to pursue legal action, contact an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse cases as soon as possible. At Dellacona Law Firm, we would welcome the opportunity to seek justice for you and your family through our representation. To set up your free consultation, call us at 478-477-9000.