As the elders we love age, we have to make difficult decisions about how to make sure they get the care they need. Nursing homes may provide a solution to families who cannot afford a private nurse or don’t have the resources to take care of their aging loved ones at home. When we choose to put our loved ones in a nursing home, we expect nurses and caregivers to treat them with dignity and provide exceptional care.
Although many facilities and caregivers provide excellent care, too often they fail; sometimes this means neglecting residents and other times this means outright abuse. If you suspect or know your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, you need to stop the abuse as soon as possible. Immediately file a report with The Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services Healthcare Facility Regulation at 1-800-878-6442.
Nursing home abuse has physical, emotional, and financial consequences for victims and their families. Georgia law permits victims of nursing home abuse, or a representative on their behalf, to sue for damages. Contact our empathetic team of skilled Atlanta nursing home abuse attorneys at Brauns Law at (404) 418-8244 to discuss the specifics of your case and learn how we can assist you.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Georgia
Nursing home abuse is an umbrella term which encompasses a wide range of activities which harm nursing home residents. Like most states, Georgia law recognizes abuse, neglect, and exploitation of nursing home residents and seniors who live in assisted living facilities.
Nursing home residents might experience physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse. Physical abuse includes the use of physical force to coerce or harm a resident, often causing physical injury. Emotional abuse, which also includes verbal abuse, includes attacking a resident’s identity, dignity, and self-esteem. Sexual abuse includes sexual contact of any kind with or towards residents without knowledge or consent. Examples of abuse include:
- Hitting, slapping, and pushing a resident
- Overuse or improper use of restraints
- Intentionally withholding food, water, and medication
- Intimidation and verbal insults
- Isolating a resident
- Threats of violence
Georgia law considers the failure of a nursing home caregiver providing for a resident’s needs as neglect. This includes failure to give residents food, water, and medical care to the level it harms or threatens to harm a resident. Leaving residents alone without supervision for long periods of time is also neglect. Residents who cannot provide for themselves can suffer harm or injury when they don’t have proper supervision.
The exploitation of nursing home residents often refers to financial abuse. Caregivers can financially exploit and abuse residents in multiple ways causing economic harm to them and their families. Some examples include:
- Improper use of resident assets
- Opening accounts in a resident’s name
- Stealing valuable property and cash
- Using possessions and property of the resident without consent
Signs Your Loved One Is Being Abused at a Nursing Home
Your loved one might be able to tell you about abuse. In some cases, residents cannot communicate, in other cases nursing home abuse victims might not report abuse because they are scared of retaliation from their abuser. When you spend time with loved ones in a nursing home, you need to remain tuned into signs which might indicate abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation:
- Physical signs of nursing home abuse are easiest to detect. Keep an eye out for bedsores, bruises cuts, wounds, and welts. If you ask your loved one about physical marks, he or she might have odd stories about them which don’t make sense. This can mean abuse. If the elder you love is being malnourished you might notice abnormal paleness, excessive weight loss, and sunken cheeks or eyes. Poor hygiene also signifies abuse or neglect, especially if your loved one has soiled clothing, excessive body odor, and constant bad breath.
- Behavioral signs of nursing home abuse are not as obvious, and other issues might cause them. You should be especially concerned when behavior strays from the usual behavior of your loved one. Some behavioral signs include depression, anxiety, confusion, disorientation, withdrawal from typical activities, fear of speaking to you in front of caregivers, and talk of suicide or dying.
- Signs of financial abuse can be obvious when you know where to look. Financial exploitation can include missing cash, checks, and other valuable property. If you handle your loved ones financial affairs, you might find unexplained credit card or debit card charges, unauthorized changes of address on financial accounts, newly opened accounts, and changes of your loved one’s credit rating.
Recovering Damages in a Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
If you sue a nursing home for damages after a loved one was abused, you might be able to recover compensation for the following damages if a Georgia court rules in your favor:
- Medical costs associated with the abuse including ambulance service, hospitalization, rehabilitation, prescription medication, and diagnostic tests
- Cost of assistive devices needed after abuse including wheelchairs, canes, and walkers
- Cost of counseling for mental trauma caused by abuse
- Future medical costs if the abuse resulted in a permanent disability
- Expenses related to moving your loved one to a different facility
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages for gross negligence and intentional harm
Help Your Aging Loved One, Contact Brauns Law Today
Your elder family member deserves above standard care and respect when they reside in a nursing care facility. If the caregivers you trust have abused, neglected, or taken advantage of your aging loved one, you need to hold them accountable. When you take legal action on behalf of your loved one, you also help prevent subpar and abusive caregivers from causing harm to other residents.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, contact one of our skilled Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers at Brauns Law online or at (404) 418-8244 to discuss the circumstances surrounding the abuse. We offer free consultations and handle cases on contingency, collecting attorney fees from any settlement or verdict in your favor.