Savannah Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Nothing is more important than family. That’s why when people make the difficult decision to trust the care of their loved one to a nursing home. They do everything in their power to make sure the nursing home offers quality medical care in a compassionate environment. Unfortunately, sometimes looks can be deceiving, and ratings can be manipulated.
In the state of Georgia, at least 59 nursing homes have been cited for serious deficiencies, and 215 homes have been found to have infection-related deficiencies. At least $8.44 million in penalties have also been issued to Georgia nursing homes, according to data from ProPublica. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 1 in 6 adults over the age of 60 will experience some form of abuse in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
At Chris Hudson Law Group, we are big proponents of family. That is why we take nursing home abuse cases so seriously. If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home setting, contact our team immediately. Our team of nursing home abuse attorneys will use their experience and resources to investigate abuse and hold negligent caregivers and facilities accountable. The most important part of the work we do is making sure that your loved one receives justice. Your family member may also be due compensation for their injuries and suffering.
If you have suspicions about the care your family member is receiving, contact Chris Hudson Law Group today by calling 706-863-6600.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Technically speaking, nursing home abuse is any type of harm or damage that is inflicted upon an elderly resident in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Under this broad definition, there are several different categories of “abuse.” Abuse is not confined to the physical act of hitting someone. Abuse can be inflicted upon the elderly in several ways.
What constitutes abuse? Here is a breakdown of the different types of abuse and some of their hallmarks:
- Physical Abuse. Physical abuse is one of the most recognized forms of abuse because the signs can be easier to spot. It is also the form of abuse that most commonly comes to mind when people think of an “abusive” situation. Physical abuse happens when a caregiver inflicts physical harm on an elderly resident. This can be in the form of hitting, kicking, biting, scratching, slapping, or using physical restraints when they are not called for.
- Emotional Abuse. This form of abuse is also referred to as psychological abuse. While signs of this type of abuse can be more subtle in nature than those of physical abuse, the impact it can have on an elderly person’s health and wellbeing is immense. Emotional abuse happens when a caregiver purposely inflicts emotional stress, anxiety, or distress on an elderly resident. This can be accomplished through verbal threats, yelling, scolding, belittling, humiliation, and forced social isolation.
- Sexual Abuse. By far, one of the most underreported forms of abuse is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is any form of unwanted sexual contact between a caregiver and a resident. Residents with cognitive conditions who are unable to communicate or give consent may be particularly vulnerable to this type of abuse. Sexual abuse can be considered rape, inappropriate touching or fondling, masturbation, forced viewing of pornographic material, or taking sexually compromising photos or videos of an elderly resident.
- Financial Abuse. Another underreported form of abuse is financial abuse. Financial abuse happens when a caregiver takes advantage of an elderly resident for their own financial gain to the detriment of the resident. Financial abuse may be the flat-out theft of a person’s valuables or money, forging checks, or stealing their personal or banking information to commit identity theft. It can also happen through fraud, as in convincing a resident to invest in phony business opportunities, scams, and pyramid schemes.
- Neglect. The absence of care is also a form of abuse. There are three basic types of neglect: neglect of medical care, neglect of basic needs, and social neglect. When a resident’s needs are not being met in a systematic way, neglect may be to blame. Neglect does not happen overnight. It is a persistent pattern of behaviors that ends up putting a resident’s health and safety at risk.
Be Aware of These Common Warning Signs of Abuse
The signs of abuse can be open and obvious, or they can be subtle and hard to distinguish. People all respond to stress and trauma in different ways. Therefore, it is important to recognize all the potential signs and symptoms of abuse. While physical abuse may result in unexplained bruises or broken bones, a resident may also respond to physical abuse with anxiety and agitation. Emotional abuse may result in signs of depression, but it can also trigger changes in sleeping or eating patterns, which may result in unexplained weight loss.
Sometimes it helps to take a step back and look at the entire picture. If your loved one is exhibiting one or more of these signs or behaviors, you may need to consider the possibility that abuse could be taking place:
- Unexplained bruises, marks, or cuts
- Frequent or unexplained falls or broken bones
- Frequent illnesses or infections
- Untreated infections or illnesses
- Frequently being given the wrong medication or wrong dosage
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Blood on a resident’s sheets or underwear
- Sudden trouble sitting or standing
- Unchanged bed linens
- Unwashed clothes or bed linens
- Loss of appetite or changes in appetite
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Mood swings
- Suicide attempts
- Withdrawal from family or friends
- Withdrawal from favorite hobbies or pastimes
- Refusing to cooperate with certain caregivers
- Changes in their financial situation
- Inability to pay their bills
- Missing possessions or valuables
- Poor hygiene
Filing a Complaint
Signs of abuse or neglect should be reported to the nursing home immediately. File a written complaint with the nursing home that details the abuse. Keep your written statement detailed and factual. Include as many names, dates, times, and specific incidents as possible. You may also want to include your personal information and request an update from the nursing home when they have concluded their investigation.
At the very least, this begins a traceable paper trail outlining your concerns about the treatment of your loved one. At best, the nursing home will take the claim seriously, investigate, and take action to ensure the safety of your family member and other residents. At worst, the facility may ignore the complaint and bury it so as not to face legal penalties or government fines.
You should also get in touch with an experienced Savannah nursing home abuse attorney from Chris Hudson Law Group who can advise you and your family of their legal rights. An attorney can also talk to you about the next steps that may be taken to ensure the safety of your loved one.
Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes and their caregivers may be liable for substantiated claims of elder abuse. This means that abused residents may be able to hold the negligent facility accountable for their actions. It also means that a resident may be able to recover compensation. Compensation for nursing home abuse claims typically includes payment for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are measurable losses, such as a loss of income or medical expenses. Non-economic damages are meant to cover emotional distress and pain and suffering, things that are more intangible in nature. In general, a resident may be able to recover money for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
In rare or extreme circumstances where gross negligence or willful acts cause serious harm to an elderly individual, the state of Georgia may allow a resident or their family to pursue punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate a victim in the same way that economic and non-economic damages are. Punitive damages are meant as a punishment to deter a wrongdoer from continuing to engage in certain behavior.
In cases of nursing home abuse, it is always best to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. An attorney can advise you of your options for recovering compensation. In some situations, it may be possible to file an insurance claim, while in other scenarios, it may be best to file a lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced Savannah Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today for More Information
It is heartbreaking to think that anyone would abuse or take advantage of an elderly individual, especially one who is close to your heart. Nursing homes have a solemn duty to provide critical medical care and support to elderly residents. When they fail or hire caregivers who fail in that duty, there needs to be accountability. That’s where the skilled team at Chris Hudson Law Group comes in. We can investigate claims of abuse and hold negligent parties responsible for their actions. Your loved one deserves justice, and we want to help give it to them.
If you suspect abuse is taking place in an Savannah nursing home, don’t wait. Call us immediately for help. We can answer your questions in a private and confidential setting and advise you of your family’s legal rights. Call Chris Hudson Law Group today at 706-863-6600 and schedule a free consultation.