It can be painful to think that an elderly loved one is suffering harm in a nursing home. Sadly, injuries due to abuse and neglect are far too common. The National Council on Aging found that 1 out of 10 Americans aged 60 and older, experience abuse.
If a loved one in a nursing home has experienced any mistreatment, you may be vigilant, but you cannot be there all the time. Speak with one of our experienced attorneys today if you think your loved one has suffered harm or neglect in their car facility. A Clayton County nursing home abuse lawyer could work to relieve family members of their worry for their loved ones.
Violation of a Nursing Home Resident’s Rights in Clayton County
Both federal and state laws protect nursing home residents and their specific rights. The Georgia Bill of Rights requires that nursing homes provide these fundamental rights to their residents, including the right to:
- Privacy: Residents must have access to a phone, the right to receive mail, and be able to close their doors and windows.
- Freedom of Choice: This includes things like the right to vote and practice their religion.
- Proper Nutrition: Nursing homes must provide three meals a day, with no more than a five-hour gap between meals.
- Freedom from Restraints: A nursing home cannot physically or chemically restrain a patient except in extreme circumstances.
Additionally, residents must be allowed to participate in their care and treatment plans, access their records, voluntarily transfer or discharge themselves, and interact with community members. Legal counsel in a Clayton County nursing home abuse case can explain all the rights of nursing home residents.
Types of Abuse and Signs of Neglect
Unfortunately, not only are these rights being violated in nursing homes, but residents can suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of staff. Abuse could be hard to recognize and be physical, including sexual abuse, or financial, where someone manages to access and steal money from a resident. Physical abuse may manifest with bedsores, frequent falls, over medication, unexplained bruises, or unusual behavior.
Neglect also happens in nursing homes. Signs of neglect could include poor personal hygiene, dehydration, weight loss, or dirty bed clothing, for example. In cases of cognitive impairment or dementia, an elderly resident might be unable to explain what is happening or articulate concerns. This is where an advocate like a compassionate, skilled Clayton County nursing home advisor can help identify and take legal action against abuse or neglect.
What Happens in a Claim for Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing homes must comply with the laws and regulations in place and exercise reasonable skill when caring for residents. Staff must follow care plans, including adequate toileting, and protect residents from falling. Often, staff members who are negligent or poorly trained do not respond to or use safety measures or alarms. When negligent actions, or inactions, lead to harm, a nursing home resident has the right to seek damages.
A Clayton County nursing home abuse legal representative may consider several strategies when addressing the harm done by a family member’s care facility. There are times when a settlement rather than a lawsuit is more appropriate. State and county agencies can assist with investigations and obtain medical records and other documentation about the resident’s care to prove mistreatment legally. Whether through an investigation or a lawsuit, if there is evidence that abuse or neglect occurred, the resident could be entitled to receive compensation.
There may be direct economic loss from an injury. For instance, a resident may go to the hospital for injuries and receive costly bills. Non-economic damages could include pain and suffering and emotional distress. A nursing home facility could be forced to make payments for both types of damages in a personal injury lawsuit. In cases of egregious injury or death, a court can award punitive damages designed to punish a wrongdoer and discourage others from conducting the same behavior.
How a Clayton County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
No one wants to see a vulnerable, elderly loved one experience harm at the hands of their caregivers. A skilled attorney can help investigate a concern about abuse or neglect and provide legal support and advice.
If you are worried that your parent, grandparent or elderly friend may be unsafe or harmed, consult with a Clayton County nursing home lawyer for help today.