The decision to take your elderly parents to a nursing home can be a difficult one. When making the choice, however, you believe it will be the best place for them to receive proper care. It can be shocking, therefore, if you learn that they are being abused at the facility. The place you trusted to give them a quality life is instead giving them nothing but pain. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you should talk to a Mableton nursing home abuse lawyer. An experienced injury attorney will help you take legal action against the nursing home. Sadly, cases of nursing home abuse are on the rise not only in Georgia but also around the country. We don’t have all the figures since many cases go unreported. However, a report by the National Center on Elder Abuse showed Georgia nursing homes were rated poorly. One in four homes received the worst possible rating – one star in a Federal quality rating of nursing homes. This report shows that more needs to be done to ensure the elderly are well taken care of.
How to Tell If Your Loved One is Being Abused at a Nursing Home in Mableton, GA
Your elderly parent may not be willing to tell you that they are being abused. That is probably because they may fear the situation would get worse. That’s why when you visit them, you should look for some of the tell-tale signs. They include:
- Dehydration resulting in cracked lips
- Understaffing in the nursing home
- Sudden weight loss and malnutrition
- Recurring infections
- Overmedicated patients
- Unusual agitation, withdrawal or emotional upset
- Unexplained deaths
- Injuries resulting from falls
- Injuries that cannot be explained by the nursing home staff
- Limited access to a loved one
If you notice any of the above or suspect abuse, you should seek help from a Mableton nursing home attorney.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse for Which a Mableton Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
Research shows 1 out of 10 elderly people has been abused in the US. Most of the abuse cases go unreported with only 1 in 14 being reported to the police. Abuse at nursing homes takes varying forms.
Caregivers at a nursing home may physically assault the elderly they are tasked with taking care of. They may, for example, slap a victim to force them to take their medication. They may also shove them around to make them do what they want. This form of abuse can be a regular occurrence because staff may use it during daily routines. Some signs of physical abuse include bruises, cigarette burns, unexplained injuries, and hair loss.
This can be either verbal or nonverbal. The nursing employees may yell at the elderly or insult, shame and ridicule them. Alternatively, they can isolate the patients from their peers. They could, for example, refuse to take them to the common area, leaving them alone in their rooms all day.
Some nursing home staff have been known to steal from the elderly at their facility. These employees take money from the rooms of their patients or take expensive personal items. Others can force a patient to part with some money before they offer them any services. Some may go as far as to forge a patient’s signature to steal money from their bank accounts.
Due to their old age, patients at a nursing home may not be able to defend themselves from sexual acts. A caregiver may:
- Touch them inappropriately
- Caress them
- Sexually assault them
- Force them to take off their clothes
- Show them obscene photography
- Force them to watch pornography
Sexual abuse may make an elderly person become withdrawn or depressed. They may also contract sexually transmitted diseases.
This may also be a form of abuse. When an elderly person checks themselves into a nursing home, they expect to receive round-the-clock care. This may, however, not be the case in some nursing homes. Staff may leave the elderly patient without giving them food, water or medication for hours. This situation is likely to cause them a lot of physical and mental distress.
If you have a loved one at a nursing home, you should always monitor their condition. Failure to do so may see them suffer days or months or physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Don’t hesitate to call a nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect your loved one is being abused.
What are the Causes of Nursing Home Abuse in Mableton, GA
Abuse in nursing homes can occur because of the following reasons.
Inadequate background checks. Some nursing homes in Mableton have hired people without doing a thorough background check on them. Some of their staff may be sex offenders or have past criminal records. These people bring their bad behavior and criminal tendencies to the facility, making the elderly patients there unsafe.
Understaffing. It has been found that 91% of nursing homes in Georgia don’t have enough staff to ably take care of patients. Understaffing has been cited as the key reason for nursing home abuse. Because of the low number of workers, those working at the nursing home may feel overwhelmed by their duties. They may then take out their frustrations on the elderly.
Poor training. In a bid to reduce costs, management at a nursing home may hire people who are not qualified. These unqualified people are paid less than a fully trained and qualified nursing home caregiver. Due to their poor training, these employees can give patients the wrong drugs or fail to give them adequate food.
Insufficient administrative supervision. For a nursing home to run well, there has to be proper supervision. If this is not in place, employees may not take their jobs seriously. Lack of supervision will allow room for abuse because staff know they are not questioned about their actions.
All of these reasons are grounds for a lawyer to file a lawsuit against a nursing home. If you see any of them at the nursing home where your loved one is staying, be vigilant. There may be allegations of elder abuse at the facility.
How Will a Lawyer Assist If Your Loved One is Being Abused?
The law in Georgia protects the elderly from any form of abuse while at a nursing home. They have “the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” Abuse at a nursing home in Mableton, GA can be intentional. However, sometimes a facility can unknowingly fail to act in a patient’s best interest.
If you suspect abuse and talk to an attorney. They will investigate to find out if abuse is happening at the nursing home. They have handled many such cases and know who to talk to and how to collect evidence of abuse. If they find any proof, they can help your loved one get compensation by filing a nursing home abuse claim.
If you file a nursing home abuse lawsuit, you will likely get some financial compensation if it is successful. Compensation can take the form of economic, non-economic or punitive damages.
Economic damages. The abuse at a nursing home may require a patient to undergo medical treatment. The nursing home will be ordered to pay for this treatment until it is no longer necessary. If financial abuse occurred, your Mableton lawyer can ask for money or property stolen to be reimbursed.
Non-economic losses. An elderly person may suffer from emotional stress due to their abuse. Sexual abuse, for example, may cause them to suffer anxiety and depression. Non-economic damages cover the pain and suffering caused by the abuse. It covers both physical pain and emotional pain.
Punitive damages. These are usually awarded in cases where a nursing home is seen to be grossly negligent. Gross negligence is defined as behavior which borders on being intentional. The person who carried out the abuse knows the consequences of their actions and did them anyway. Punitive damages are usually awarded to punish a perpetrator of abuse. They are also aimed at deterring them and others from acting in a similar manner in the future. Punitive damages can be hefty and can greatly increase the final compensation if awarded.
How Are Nursing Home Abuse Cases Settled in Mableton, GA?
The process begins when you decide to a file claim for compensation. Your lawyer will most likely inform the facility of your intentions. The nursing home or their insurance company will likely want to see the allegations made against them. They can get this information from your attorney. After looking at the claims, they may want to settle out of court.
The amount the facility is offering in damages will determine if you will accept an out-of-court settlement. You should consult with your attorney. He will know what amount of financial compensation is acceptable. If the insurer offers what you had agreed on, then you may settle out of court. In most cases, insurances companies will not come back with a good offer. Therefore, there may be some back and forth before a settlement is agreed upon. Settling out of court is good because court cases can take a long time to reach a conclusion. However, if what an insurer is offering is not enough, your lawyer may recommend you proceed to court.
In court, the nursing home, through their lawyer, is likely to put up a strong defense against your allegations. Some of the arguments they may use to dispute your claim will include:
- The patient’s claims are false. Due to the patient’s advanced age, a defendant can claim the patient has poor memory and may be imagining things. While this can be true, a nursing home abuse lawyer can try to get witnesses to corroborate the victim’s claims. They may also ask a nursing home to explain the physical injuries on a patient.
- It wasn’t abuse; it was an accident. The defendant may try to claim an abuse incident was no more than an accident. For example, they could claim they never pushed a patient and they just bumped into them by mistake. This type of argument would, however, be inadequate if a form of abuse has occurred repeatedly.
- It was self-defense. Old people are known to have bouts of violence. This can be because they are under the impression they are being attacked or due to their medication. If a defendant uses self-defense as an argument, your attorney will know how best to counter such a claim.
Talk to a Mableton Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
Your loved one should not have to undergo any form of abuse at a nursing home. They may be sick and old but they should be able to live the rest of their lives without cruelty. If you discover they are neglected, abused, or exploited, contact a Mableton nursing home abuse lawyer at Schneider Hammers. Our personal injury attorneys will begin investigating your claims immediately. If they get evidence pointing to abuse, they will move with speed to put an end to the situation. Your loved one may be too old to file a claim on their own. You will have to do it for them. While we work on your case, we advise that you move your loved one out of the nursing home. You can move them back home or to another nursing home where they would be comfortable.
Call us today for a free consultation on your case. We know that you are already spending a lot to keep your loved one at a nursing home. You may not have the money to pay legal fees. Don’t worry about that. You will only pay us once we get your loved one the compensation they deserve. Call us now and let us try put an end to nursing home abuse.