As the years go by, Georgia’s elderly population continues to increase, even beyond the expected number when considering the baby boomer generation. Looking at health reports and data from the greater Atlanta metropolitan area (recorded between 1970 and 2015), it was determined that the elderly population grew by a whopping 400%. In conjunction with this information, the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has estimated that close to 70% of all people over the age of 65 will develop some sort of disability or impairment that causes two or more necessary daily tasks to become difficult or impossible. Elders in such situations are highly likely to require skilled care and placement in a nursing home or long term care facility.
Unfortunately however, as the elderly population in Georgia is on the rise, so are the number of inexcusable incidents of nursing home abuse or neglect. Georgia Bureau of Investigation data has revealed that at least 10% of the elderly and disabled persons living in care facilities will is a victim of intentional or unintentional abuse. When you factor in the large number of incidents of abuse and neglect that are not reported, it is easy to see the actual number is much higher than this.
What is even more frightening are the results of a survey conducted by the National Council on Elderly Abuse (NCEA). The survey was given to nursing home staff members throughout the country to answer questions anonymously about their experience working in care facilities such as nursing homes. More than half of the staff respondents noted that they had mistreated or otherwise abused an elderly patient in the previous 12 month-period.
Identifying the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
In response to the NCEA survey results and both the increase in reported incidents and nursing home abuse claims brought to light through litigation, states are faced with the need to create stricter laws to penalize facilities and staff that do not properly care for the elderly. To keep residents of care facilities and nursing homes as safe as possible, the responsibility for spotting the signs of nursing home abuse falls upon everyone who interacts with these individuals. Indeed, family members that come to visit a patient in a nursing home or care facility are most often the ones that identify that the patient is being abused or neglected.
A few of the most common warning signs of nursing home abuse are:
- Unexplained bruises or cuts
- Poor sanitation and hygiene
- Reports of the patient falling or “throwing themselves out of the chair/bed”
- Prolonged or severe illnesses and infections
- Weight loss is a sign of malnutrition or even starvation
- Fear of nursing staff or another resident
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect
Anyone can report suspected abuse or neglect over the phone, online or by fax. The reporting process is quick and simple and could make a difference in the life of someone vulnerable. When you file a report, be prepared with as much information as possible about the situation or the incident. You do have to provide your identity to the agency so they can contact you if more information is needed, but they will not reveal your identity to the facility.
To report abuse in a nursing home in Georgia, you can go online to the https://dch.georgia.gov/healthcare-facility-regulation-0 Healthcare Facility Regulation Division of the Georgia Department of Community Health or call 1-800-878-6442. The report may lead the State to open an investigation and go onsite to the facility to collect information in response to the complaint or report.
Call Our Georgia Nursing Home Attorneys
Our team of legal professionals at Studstill Firm, LLP are zealous advocates for the fair treatment of elderly and disabled persons in nursing homes and other care facilities. By holding the facilities accountable through a claim or lawsuit, our Valdosta personal injury lawyers hope to help victims and their families find peace of mind, and to prevent future incidents from occurring. If you would like to know more about our legal services or your rights after you have discovered that an elderly loved one was hurt at a nursing home while under someone else’s care, contact our firm at your first opportunity.