Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Conyers
Has your loved one been behaving strangely when you visit him or her in a nursing home here in Conyers, GA? If you observe emotional or behavioral changes—especially a tendency to be withdrawn, fearful behavior, or crying, this may be cause for concern. Furthermore, do you see any infected bed sores or bruises on him or her? If so, you should be extremely concerned.
Your vulnerable loved one may have been the victim of a serious form of abuse or neglect. Do not ignore the warning signs. Do not ignore any general uneasiness or bad feelings that you might have in the pit of your stomach. You need to take action to protect your loved one.
Elder neglect, or nursing home negligence, can come in the form of physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. 1 in 10 people is abused or neglected each year. Unfortunately, since many residents suffer from memory loss and/or dementia, some of these abusive behaviors are challenging to prove, especially when the elder resident doesn’t have the ability to communicate.
At MG Law, our compassionate Conyers, GA nursing home abuse attorneys have extensive experience protecting the legal rights and financial interests of nursing home residents in Conyers, Covington, and the other surrounding areas. If you believe that your vulnerable loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse in a Georgia assisted living facility, our legal team is here to help. Please contact our law firm today to get immediate legal guidance.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect is a True National Epidemic
Nursing home abuse and neglect are major problems in the state of Georgia and throughout the country. It is difficult for researchers to get a gauge on the full scope of this safety issue. We do know that the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) has reported that 10 percent of all residents of assisted living centers tell authorities that they have been the victim of abuse or neglect.
Though, that data from the NCEA comes with a major caveat: the organization explicitly states that the actual percentage of victims is undoubtedly much larger. This is because elder abuse and neglect are substantially underreported. For reference, the Center for Aging Research and Clinic Care conducted a study on 2,100 nursing home patients, finding that nearly 1 in 4 was a victim of abuse or neglect.
The problem of nursing home abuse and neglect in Georgia cannot be taken lightly. There are serious risks. According to a survey conducted by The National Center on Elder Abuse, elders who experienced abuse had a 300% higher risk of death than those who had not. However, abuse is rarely reported to the police, often because residents fear retaliation. We all need to do more to protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable loved ones especially as nursing home neglect lawyers.
Nursing Home Residents Have Important Legal Rights
All people in Georgia must understand that nursing home residents have extremely important legal rights. In our state, healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, are licensed and regulated by the Georgia Department of Community Health. These facilities have legal duties to protect the rights and the safety of their residents. Nursing home patients are also directly protected by both state and federal laws. This includes Georgia’s Long Term Care Facilities: Residents’ Bill of Rights and the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. Under these laws, vulnerable residents of assisted living centers have many rights, including the following:
- The ability to live free from abuse, exploitation, or discrimination;
- Full information about their living situation;
- When possible, participation in medical decisions;
- File complaints without worrying about, or facing, retribution;
- Reasonable privacy rights; and
- The ability to be treated with basic dignity and respect.
Physical, Emotional and Psychological Elder Abuse are All Major Problems
One of the things that make nursing home abuse and neglect cases especially challenging is that is can often be difficult to know whether or not your loved one has been a victim. Abuse and neglect come in many different forms; and sadly, a vulnerable person could be abused in a manner that is difficult for people outside of the facility to see. In some cases, residents face serious forms of physical abuse. Physical abuse can manifest itself in a number of injuries, and the skin of elders is often more susceptible to bruising, infection, and scarring.
It can also include deprivation of food, water, and basic care, including medications and treatments. In other cases, nursing home residents face horrible emotional and psychological mistreatment. This can manifest itself in many different ways, including verbal threats, manipulation, isolation from other residents, mocking the resident in front of others, and ignoring or otherwise neglecting the resident for long periods of time.
Regardless of the specific circumstances, abuse and neglect are completely unacceptable. This type of mistreatment is immoral and illegal. Emotional abuse can be committed by staff members of a nursing home, as well as volunteers and family members of the residents themselves. Unfortunately, caregivers in nursing homes hold power over elderly residents as they are responsible for their daily care.
Consequently, residents might fear that revealing abuse will lead to a lack of care. Because it is difficult for residents to have a voice, their friends and family members need to be ready to speak up for them. If you have a loved one who is currently in an assisted living facility, you need to be sure that they are receiving proper treatment.
Know the Signs and Symptom of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Family members should have a general awareness of the common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. It is worth mentioning that many of the common warnings signs of mistreatment are also signs of other medical issues. For this reason, among other reasons, it can be difficult to determine whether or not abuse or neglect is occurring.
This makes it all the more important that family members follow up on any suspicions that there is a problem. Signs of elder neglect can include:
- Unexplained injuries;
- Poor hygiene;
- Unsanitary living conditions;
- Unusual mood swings;
- Lack of nutrition;
- Sudden depression;
- Withdrawn behavior from previously personable individuals;
- Rocking or teeth grinding; and
- A general unwillingness to speak about daily life
Family members should regularly check in on elderly relatives so that behavioral changes will be evident from visits. If your loved one is found to be a victim of abuse, he or she should be removed from the nursing home immediately and you need to contact a nursing home neglect attorney.
Compensation Available to Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims
Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect or entitled to financial compensation for the full extent of their damages. This potentially includes financial relief for both monetary losses as well as intangible losses. Unfortunately, negligent assisted living centers and their insurance companies are rarely willing to offer victims the full and fair compensation that is deserved. Our Conyers, GA nursing home abuse lawyers help victims and their families hold negligent facilities legally accountable for misconduct. Depending on the facts of the specific nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect case, a victim may be entitled to recover:
- Any costs related to relocation to a new nursing home;
- Other incidental monetary damages;
- Money for all related medical expenses;
- Compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress;
- Wrongful death damages; and
- Punitive damages.
The bottom line is simple: Negligent assisted living facilities in Conyers should be held legally liable for the full extent of the damage that they have caused. The Conyers, GA nursing home abuse attorneys at MG Law will help get justice for you and your family.
Elder abuse is a serious and widespread issue. Studies have estimated that this abuse costs victims billions of dollars each year, and that number is anticipated to continue to grow as technology advances. Many victims of elder abuse are residents of nursing homes. We trust nursing homes with the care and well-being of our aging relatives.
Unfortunately, sometimes that trust is misplaced. Nursing home residents are often vulnerable to deception, and some may not even be aware that they have been the victim of financial abuse. Consider these signs to prevent the financial abuse of elders in your life.
Sexual or Physical Abuse
Sexual or physical abuse is displayed with unexplained bruises, burns, cuts, or fractures, bleeding from the genital area, or bruising in that area. Torn or ripped undergarments could also be an indicator or sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse is recognized by changes in personality or behavior. Fearfulness or changes in usual activity or alertness is a good warning sign. Rocking or mumbling is another sign of emotional abuse. Being withdrawn from family or friends is an indicator that the caregiver may impose on the elder if emotional abuse is present.
Neglect is evident when there is a lack of hygiene and soiled or inappropriate clothing. The elder could be confined and left without supervision or care. There could be pressure ulcers or bedsores left untreated. If the home is in disrepair, cluttered, or dirty this is an obvious warning sign of neglect. If the elder is going without medical aids such as dentures, glasses, hearing aid, a walker, or medications, neglect may be present.
Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of someone else’s funds, assets, or property. This, of course, includes the theft of money or possessions, but in cases of elder abuse, it can be much more subtle. This may involve cashing checks without their permission or even forging their signature. Financial abusers may pressure or trick elders into signing a document like a contract or will.
Improper use of power of attorney is another form of financial abuse; this document authorizes someone to act in the resident’s stead if they should be incapable. In the hands of an untrustworthy person, this power can be extremely damaging.
Financial exploitation also falls under the category of financial abuse; friends and relatives borrowing money with no intention of paying it back, doctors charging for unnecessary medications or treatments, and scammers encouraging donations to causes that do not exist can cause real financial and emotional damage to the victim.
Who commits financial elder abuse?
Anyone with access to a nursing home resident could potentially commit financial abuse. Oftentimes this abuse is carried out by service professionals, like facility caregivers, who have a significant amount of unsupervised time with the resident and a certain level of power over them.
However, while it can be tempting to imagine elder financial abuse being perpetrated only by unscrupulous employees, family members or close friends may also take advantage of an elder. This can often be seen when a friend or relative is granted power of attorney and uses their control of finances and assets inappropriately.
How do I prevent financial elder abuse?
The best thing a friend or relative can do in this situation is to stay alert and involved. Isolation makes it significantly easier for elders to be taken advantage of. Familiarize yourself with the warning signs described above, and do not hesitate to seek out help or further investigation if you suspect something may be awry.
It is also a good idea to involve more than one person in major financial decisions to ensure that no single person has complete control over the resident’s finances. You can also limit the potential opportunities for financial abuse to occur by automating bill payments when possible and direct depositing checks.
Most banks and financial institutions are also able to monitor accounts for suspicious behavior. When choosing a nursing facility or hiring a caretaker, make sure to check reviews and speak to references to ensure that your relative is in good hands. If you feel that your loved one is at particular risk for financial abuse, you may also consider hiring a geriatric care manager to oversee all aspects of care, including financial management.
Where Do I Report Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
If you witness abuse or neglect in a nursing home that is an emergency situation, you should immediately call 911. If the abuse is not life-threatening contacting local law enforcement or the district attorney’s office is your first step to file an official report of the abuse. There are other resources to assist you in reporting cases of neglect or abuse.
Adult Protective Services is one of the first agencies that will respond and will investigate the reports of neglect or abuse. The National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence will have a list of elder abuse hotlines in every state. For more information about how to contact the Adult Protective Services in your state, you can contact the Eldercare Locator.
There is a United States Administration on Aging protective service in every state that may be a resource, as well. Even if you are reporting instances of neglect or abuse to Adult Protective Services or the local law enforcement agency, it is further recommended that you contact a nursing home neglect lawyer that is licensed and experienced in nursing home abuse or neglect.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Conyers Today
At MG Law, we are prepared to do everything we can to get to the bottom of your nursing home neglect case, to get you and your family the compensation you need. While neglect might seem challenging for you to prove, we at MG Law are up to the challenge, not simply because we excel at our jobs, but because your loved ones’ safety is paramount to us. Please do not ignore the warning signs.
If you suspect that your vulnerable family member has been the victim of a nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect in Conyers, GA, please contact our top-rated nursing home abuse attorneys today at (770) 728-6263. We offer free, fully confidential legal consultations. With offices in Conyers, Covington, and Atlanta, we represent nursing home abuse victims throughout the region, including in Rockdale County, Newtown County, Clayton County, Henry County, Dekalb County, and Fulton County.