Nursing home abuse in the United States is at alarming levels. More than 40 percent of nursing home residents have reported some type of abuse. What’s more, up to half of nursing home workers have admitted to abusing or neglecting elderly people in their care. However, many elderly people are afraid to report abuse. Not every caregiver will admit that they have harmed a patient. It is, therefore, plausible that the situation is even worse. When you take your elderly relative to a nursing home, you expect staff members to treat them well. You assume that the facility is able to give them the care you can’t offer. However, sometimes senior citizens become victims of abuse at the hands of their caretakers. If this happens to your loved one, you need a Marietta nursing home abuse attorney. An experienced attorney with our firm can help walk you through the claims process.
Rights of Nursing Home Residents in Marietta, GA
In Georgia, in addition to Federal regulations, there are specific nursing home abuse laws. They fall under the Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-term Care Facilities. These laws are aimed at protecting vulnerable elderly people who have to live away from home. Any nursing home abuse attorney will tell you that under Georgia laws, nursing home patients have several rights. These include:
- The right to be free from restraints, isolation, and restrictions on mobility unless absolutely necessary. Restraints may be necessary to prevent the patient from harming themselves or others.
- The right to freedom of choice. The patient can choose to stay in control of several aspects of their lives. This includes who will manage their financial and legal affairs.
- The right to proper nutrition. Nursing homes in Marietta, GA must have someone on staff whose qualifications are accepted by the American Dietetic Association. This individual must make sure that all patients get three nutritious meals each day. They must also make sure the gaps between meals are no longer than five hours.
If a nursing home breaches these rights, this may be a case of abuse. The facility could face a neglect or abuse lawsuit. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect an elderly person is a victim of abuse.
Types of Abuse a Marietta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Encounters and Their Symptoms
The five main types of elder abuse are sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and neglect. We’ll discuss them here and inform you about some of the symptoms to look for. Anytime you believe someone is hurting your elderly relative in some way, reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Neglect occurs when nursing home staff don’t give proper care to patients. They may isolate them, fail to provide proper meals or fail to ensure they receive baths. Neglectful caregivers may also not give patients their medication on time. Family members who visit relatives in nursing homes will often see the signs of neglect. Wounds may go untreated, patients may be dehydrated, and the environment may appear unclean or unsafe. You may also notice sudden weight loss or the absence of necessary walking sticks or other aids. If staff members appear disgruntled or disinterested in the patients, this may also be a sign. If you have concerns about any of these symptoms, be sure to contact a Marietta nursing home abuse attorney.
This is unwelcome physical and sexual contact with a nursing home resident. It includes sexual contact with an elderly person who is disoriented or medicated and unable to give consent. This type of abuse includes sexual assault, rape, involuntary nudity and taking photos of a sexual nature. If your loved one is being sexually abused, you need to know the symptoms. They include the presence of sexually transmitted diseases and infections and bruises around the genital area or breasts. Vaginal bleeding is another physical sign. A sexually abused nursing home resident may also show signs of anxiety and fear around the perpetrator. They may never actually say someone is harming them. It is more common for women to become victims of nursing home sexual abuse. If you have concerns, don’t delay in contacting a nursing home abuse attorney.
Physical abuse refers to when nursing home patients suffer physical injuries, impairment or pain at the hands of another. This can result from willful treatment on the part of nursing home staff in Marietta, GA. It may also occur because of neglect. Physical abuse is quite common in nursing homes. It includes hitting or kicking but it can also take the form of injuries caused by neglect. Improper use of restraints is also a form of physical abuse. Sometimes the injuries are minor but at other times, they can have severe consequences. Some physical injuries are life-threatening. While the abuser is most often a nursing home worker, sometimes another patient or visitor can be responsible. Signs of physical abuse include unexplained injuries, malnutrition, bruises, and dehydration. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help you if you report any of these symptoms in an elderly relative.
Many elderly people become victims of financial scams or other forms of financial exploitation. It is especially common among those with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. The perpetrator may make them sign over power of attorney. They may force them to hand over money in exchange for services or forge their signature. Signs of financial abuse include sudden changes in wills and unexplained financial decisions. Patients may also suddenly hand over their financial or legal affairs to a nursing home worker. These actions can have emotional consequences for the elderly person. Notify a Marietta nursing home abuse attorney as soon as you become suspicious.
This type of abuse refers to when a nursing home worker causes emotional pain and suffering. Emotional abuse can be both verbal and non-verbal. The caregiver may yell, make threats or degrade the patient. They may also refuse to engage the patient or take away their personal belongings. Emotional abuse is difficult to prove. It doesn’t leave physical evidence and may not always be witnessed. Elderly people who are treated badly may become withdrawn or experience other changes in behavior. If your loved one suddenly starts acting differently, try to get them to talk to you. If you have serious concerns, contact our trustworthy attorney.
More than one type of abuse may occur at a time. For example, a caregiver may yell at a patient while pushing or restraining them. They may hit them while forcing them to view pornography. A staff member may also forge a resident’s signature and take their money but neglect to care for them. If any of these situations occur, you need a nursing home abuse lawyer in Marietta, GA to handle the situation.
How a Marietta Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Will Advise You
Abuse often goes unreported and unpunished because loved ones don’t know what to do when they suspect something is wrong. They don’t want to accuse the nursing home of abuse without proof. They fear this may result in the victimization of their loved one. They may also fear embarrassment if it turns out that they are wrong. Talk to your loved one’s doctor if you have concerns and call 911 if the situation is urgent. Then, talk to your Marietta nursing home abuse attorney to determine the next steps you should take.
A nursing home abuse lawyer will tell you to avoid confronting the nursing home without proof. Not every injury is due to abuse or neglect. Sometimes, elderly people slip and fall and it isn’t anyone’s fault. Sometimes they simply feel unwell and lose their balance. If your relative faints and hits their head, it may not be because anyone did anything wrong. Your nursing home abuse lawyer will hear your case and advise you as to whether you have a case.
Why You Need a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
You may be tempted to go after the nursing home. However, a nursing home abuse lawyer will advise you that various parties can be held liable for abuse. The nursing home owes patients a duty of care. However, depending on the circumstances, they may not be the only responsible party. An individual staff member, the facility, the owner, or even a wheelchair manufacturer may be held liable. A visitor could also be at fault. It may be difficult to determine who is at fault on your own. A nursing home abuse lawyer’s advice will be invaluable if you suspect something is wrong.
It may be necessary to contact the police, social workers or the long care ombudsman in Georgia. It depends on the circumstances of your case. It can be overwhelming to deal with an injured relative and handle paperwork and phone calls to the authorities. Your Marietta, GA attorney at Schneider Hammers knows all the logistics involved. They have handled several nursing home abuse cases and they know how to proceed. Let them deal with the formalities while you take care of your relative.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse in Marietta, GA
You may be wondering why people in a caregiving role would be cruel to vulnerable senior citizens. The reasons are numerous.
Some nursing homes can’t offer proper care because they don’t have enough staff. If the staff-patient ratio isn’t adequate, some patients will be neglected. Even when staff have the best intentions, they may simply not be able to get everything done. Patients may not get food or medication on time. Bedridden patients may not be turned frequently enough and they may develop bedsores. Overburdened workers are also more likely to yell at patients or physically abuse them. Not everything that happens will be intentional. Workers may simply not be able to properly supervise residents. Falls may become more frequent.
Lack of Background Checks
Employers should always look into the background of potential employees. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t do this. People with histories of sexual abuse or other criminal behavior may end up working in nursing homes. This is a recipe for disaster. These individuals may assault patients or financially exploit them. A nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to look into the background of staff if you have suspicions.
Sometimes nursing homes hire staff just to make up numbers. They may also look for workers who will accept low pay. Very often, these people are not properly trained. They may not intentionally hurt patients but they may not know how to care for them. They may also get frustrated and yell when residents don’t cooperate with them. Poorly trained workers can make nursing home residents vulnerable to neglect and abuse.
If there is proper supervision at a nursing home, the above problems can be rectified early. Staff can be dismissed if their behavior is grossly negligent. They can be trained if they seem to have difficulty coping. However, if management doesn’t even notice that staff are abusive or neglectful, nothing can be done. Anything can happen in a nursing home when staff aren’t properly supervised.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Marietta, GA Today!
Regardless of the reason for the abuse and the form it takes, your relative should not be left to suffer. They should have recourse. Reach out to a nursing home abuse attorney to see what kind of compensation they can get. Typically, they will get economic, non-economic and punitive damages.
Economic damages can cover the costs of medication and treatment which your relative may need because of abuse or neglect. If an elderly person needs to be hospitalized, the person held liable should also have to offer compensation for this. If long-term medical care is necessary, this should also be covered. It may be difficult for you to prove that the injuries were caused by abuse or negligence. That’s why you need a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Non-economic damages relate to the pain and suffering which your relative may experience. An experienced Marietta accident attorney will know how to prove this occurred. They will know how to put a figure on emotional pain.
Punitive damages are awarded by the court if the perpetrator was grossly negligent or deliberately abusive. These costs aim to punish the person and deter them from similar actions in the future.
You will need to bring proof for each of these claims. There will be lots of documentation to prepare and formalities to go through. Hand your case over to a Marietta nursing home abuse attorney at Schneider Hammers by calling (678)-846-6900. The first consultation is free so you have nothing to lose by talking to us.