When you hear about nursing home abuse, you may be shocked or outraged, even if you think it would never happen to your elderly loved one. However, the reality is: nursing home abuse is a lot more common than you think. In 2017, a CNN investigation revealed more than 1,000 nursing facilities were cited for mishandling sexual abuse cases. That is just one type of abuse, many other residents are victims of other forms of physical violence and neglect, resulting in physical injuries, like bedsores, infections and broken bones.
No matter how careful you were in selecting a nursing home for your loved one, or how often you check on your loved one, he or she could be abused. If it happens, you need to know what to do to not only protect your loved one from further abuse, but also to hold the abusers accountable under the law and be compensated for damages. Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Brunswick can take you through each step of the legal process, fighting for your best interests at every stage. We can be your legal representation at no cost to you – you only pay us if you are compensated in the legal process. Your consultation is absolutely free, and you are not obligated to take any legal action after our meeting with you.
If your loved one suffered abuse or neglect at a nursing home in Brunswick, report what happened to the authorities and contact our attorneys to discuss what to do next to fight for your loved one’s rights.
Contact Roden Law right now by calling 1-844-RESULTS.
My Loved One Was Abused at a Nursing Home. What Should I Do?
There are several steps you should take after discovering your loved one suffered some form of abuse or neglect. The first thing you need to do is ensure your loved one’s safety and take measures to prevent further abuse or neglect. You also need to make sure proper medical treatment is obtained. After that, you can begin building a case against the perpetrators or facility itself.
Call 9-1-1 for Emergency Medical Treatment
If your loved one has a serious injury and his or her life could be in danger, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 for emergency transportation to the hospital. The first priority before anything else is your loved one’s health and safety. Your loved one’s health could already be compromised by preexisting medical issues and an injury could be life-threatening.
Call the Police
If your loved one was physically assaulted and suffered injuries or was victimized by a trespasser in the facility, it is best to call the police to report what happened. This will allow you to press charges against the perpetrator. The Brunswick District Attorney’s Office can decide whether to move forward with charges based on what happened and the evidence available. Criminal charges against the perpetrator could be powerful evidence in a civil lawsuit over nursing home abuse, which our Brunswick nursing home abuse lawyers can help you file.
Find a Safe Place for Your Loved One
There are many situations when families need to relocate their loved one while they are recovering and as the family pursues legal options. You and your family can research other facilities or go on site visits to find a safe place for your loved one. This is often necessary because many families do not have the ability to provide the care their elderly loved ones need.
You can learn more about the quality of care provided at different nursing homes by visiting the Nursing Home Compare website. This will tell you about previous inspections of the facility, staff-to-resident ratios and other important information to get a sense of how your loved one will be treated.
File a Complaint with the Facility Itself
Federal and state law gives residents and their guardians or representatives the right to file a grievance with the facility if there is a dispute or the resident’s rights were infringed. This helps to create an official record of the incident. Also, when the facility receives a complaint, it must act quickly to try to resolve the situation. If it is not dealt with, the facility could face consequences.
Report the Incident to Regulators
Nursing home abuse must be reported to the proper authorities in the state that regulate nursing homes. This way, the authorities can quickly begin an investigation and document what happened. This can greatly help our attorneys as we begin building a personal injury lawsuit to pursue fair compensation for damages.
There are three ways to do this:
- Contact the Georgia Department of Community Health – The Healthcare Facility Regulation division handles nursing home complaints and other complaints against facilities or programs licensed through this division. Provide as much detail as you can about what happened and who was involved.
- Contact the Georgia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman – The job of those working in this office is to help resolve complaints by residents in long-term care facilities. You can contact them to file a complaint, so they can investigate.
- Contact the Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services – You can file a report online or by phone between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Get Your Loved One’s Medical Records
As with many other personal injury cases, medical records are critical pieces of evidence if you want to obtain fair compensation for medical bills. These records help to link your loved one’s injuries to the abuse or neglect he or she suffered. Make sure to explain to doctors who treat your loved one what happened and that you believe the injuries were the result of nursing home abuse.
You have to remember that the nursing home and the at-fault parties will try to blame the injuries on something else, such as your loved one’s preexisting medical condition. Medical records provide strong evidence to the contrary.
Contact a Lawyer
Reporting the incident to the proper authorities is a necessary step, and while this may result in criminal penalties for the perpetrators or action against the facility, none of these actions will provide compensation for the damages suffered by your loved one.
Of course, compensation does not make up for what occurred. There is no way to change what happened. However, our attorneys have seen how invaluable compensation can be to personal injury victims and their families. Compensation can help families avoid a financial catastrophe and be an important part of the healing process, as families look to try to put this awful situation behind them.
The Brunswick nursing home abuse attorneys at Roden Law have in-depth knowledge of federal and state regulations of nursing homes. We know how to prove abuse occurred and determine the liable parties. We are prepared to launch a detailed, thorough investigation of the situation to determine the value of your damages, including future damages. We will keep you informed throughout the legal process, so you know what to expect.
Schedule your free legal consultation right now by calling 1-844-RESULTS.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse essentially means residents are taken advantage of and harmed in some way because of physical, verbal or emotional abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, nursing home residents, like other elderly people, are at high risk for abuse because they cannot defend themselves and perpetrators think they can get away with it. This is often because they feel they can threaten victims into keeping quiet. There are also cases where victims really cannot report it because of diminished mental capacity.
While no one should suffer abuse, it is particularly bad for nursing home residents because they are already in bad health. Minor injuries can quickly become more severe or make underlying medical issues that much worse. A medication error can quickly cause declining health or even put the resident’s life at risk.
There are numerous examples of nursing home abuse, including:
- Physical violence – This includes any type of physical assault, like punching, biting, kicking, shoving, scratching, slapping, or strapping a resident to a bed or wheelchair so tightly that it causes bruises to develop. Sometimes caretakers are much too violent when moving residents around. They also may use violence to control residents by punishing them.
- Neglect – Sometimes this a result of understaffing – residents end up not receiving proper nutrition (food and water) and medications, their rooms are left unclean, and their personal hygiene is neglected (including use of the toilet). Another form of neglect is not helping a resident move if he or she is unable to move. This can result in bedsores, which can become very serious if they are not treated. If the facility does not remove fall hazards, residents could trip over them and suffer severe injuries. If staff members do not help residents transfer from beds or wheelchairs, residents may do it themselves and fall and break bones or suffer head injuries.
- Psychological or emotional abuse – This is a form of abuse that is intended to bully residents or cause them emotional harm, such as depression, social withdrawal, or fear and anxiety. Examples of this form of abuse include threats, name-calling, ignoring a resident on a regular basis, keeping a resident away from others, verbal abuse, and humiliating a resident in front of other people.
- Sexual assault – Rape, unwanted touching and any other non-consensual contact are shocking forms of mistreatment. Sometimes this abuse is committed by people who are not even supposed to be in a facility. Other times the abuse is committed by visitors and staff members. There are also situations when residents are photographed with their clothes off for the amusement of the perpetrator.
Have any of these forms of abuse happened to your loved one?
Contact our Brunswick nursing home abuse lawyers right now for a free legal consultation. There is limited time to file a lawsuit – the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the incident and once two years pass you no longer have the right to file a lawsuit.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form right now.
What are the Warning Signs for Abuse?
When people hear about nursing home abuse, and they have loved ones staying at nursing homes, they hope it never happens to their loved one. They may also wonder what to do if it happens and how they would know it was going on.
Fortunately, there are numerous signs of abuse you can watch out for. While there could be a reasonable explanation for some of these signs, other times, the cause may be abuse. It is often up to family members to start investigating what is happening. Your loved one could be afraid to say anything, which will allow the abuse or neglect to continue and possibly put his or her life in danger.
These are the most obvious signs that abuse is taking place. Any physical injuries should be investigated, such as bruises, cuts, welts, bedsores, bloody genitals, bloody clothing, weight loss, sexually transmitted infections, dehydration, malnutrition, broken bones, overmedication and infections. Ask your loved one and staff members what happened. If they cannot answer you or do not know, they could be covering up abuse.
Signs in Behavior
Look for any signs of strange behavior from your loved one. Is he or she angrier than usual? Does he or she seem depressed, anxious, nervous, afraid or socially withdrawn? You need to look for anything out of the ordinary. Is your loved one communicating a lot less than normal? Is he or she combative, insulting or threatening toward other residents or staff members?
Another telltale sign of abuse is when a resident is shy or quiet around certain staff members – these people may be the ones who have abused or neglected your loved one.
Signs in the Facility
Sometimes the signs above are accompanied by things you notice in the facility or your loved one’s room. Are there fall hazards in the room or in the hallway? Does the room look unclean? Are your loved one’s clothes dirty? Is your loved one’s personal hygiene bad?
When you visit your loved one, try to determine how many staff members are there. If you are walking around and it seems to be empty, and phone calls go unanswered, it might be that way when you are not there. This points to understaffing and could mean residents are not receiving the individual attention they need to ensure their physical, psychological and social well-being.
If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of abuse, you should take action to protect your loved one. You should also strongly consider meeting with one of our Brunswick nursing home abuse lawyers for a free legal consultation.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form right now.
Contact a Brunswick Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Victims of nursing home abuse and their families often do not know where to turn. They are so shocked by what happened and unsure how to investigate or hold people responsible.
The attorneys at Roden Law understand what families go through after nursing home abuse or neglect occurs. Our compassionate lawyers want to see justice done and victims be compensated for medical expenses, emotional damages and other effects of abuse.
Victims need to know we do not charge for a consultation and there are no legal costs or fees unless our clients receive compensation at the end of the legal process. There is no harm in meeting with us because you will be under no obligation to take legal action. We can explain what we think is in your best interests and the rest is up to you. We are fully prepared to launch a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of what happened.