Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Bed Sores – Malnutrition – Elder Abuse in Georgia

Statistics maintained by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services-Administration on Aging show that in 2009 there were almost 40 million persons age 65 and older living in the United States, or about13% of the total population. By 2030, that number is expected to grow to 72 million, or 19% of the total population. With an aging population, an ever-increasing number of elderly patients and their families are in need of long-term, professional care. The elderly – our mothers and fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles – are among the most vulnerable and susceptible in society, and are at extreme risk of injury and harm due to inadequate or improper care and attention.

The reality is that the quality of life of some elderly patients and many residents of nursing home, rehabilitation (rehab) and acute care facilities is substantially limited by physical and mental issues associated with illness and aging. While proper care for this segment of the population can be challenging, as a society we have come to expect high-quality, compassionate and dignified care for our aging loves ones. Even our sickest and most needy patients deserve to be treated and cared for with dignity and respect.

A nursing home is generally considered any facility that provides skilled nursing care and related services for residents who require medical or nursing care; rehabilitation services for injured, disabled, or sick persons; and health-related care and services (above simple room and board) that can be provided through institutional facilities. The federal Nursing Home Reform Amendments of 1987 and corresponding state laws protect residents of most nursing facilities and establish high standards for the quality of life of each resident and the provision of services and activities. In Georgia, among other laws and regulations, residents of nursing facilities are protected by the Long-Term Care Facilities: Residents’ Bill of Rights (Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 111-8-50).

There are many different ways in which elder abuse or neglect can manifest. Below is a partial list of some common examples:

  • Pressure sores/bedsores/decubitus ulcers
  • Skin breakdown & lesions
  • Falls/broken Bones
  • Infections
  • Excessive bruising
  • Burns and other skin lesions
  • Injuries from improperly placed catheters
  • Bowel impactions
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Medication errors
  • Improper or over-sedation
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Dry Skin/Chapped Lips
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Reduced appetite/inability to eat
  • Verbal or physical abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • General disregard for health and welfare of residents

Elderly patients may be unable to properly communicate with family and loved ones about pain or discomfort they might be experiencing or their overall physical and emotional well-being, whether due to neurological deficits, impaired mental status, sedating medications or physiological problems. Consequently, instances of elder abuse or neglect often go undetected, at least initially. While sometimes signs of neglect are obvious, such as weight loss, poor hygiene, or visible skin lesions, other times evidence of neglect or abuse may be indirect and difficult to detect such as pressure sores, fractures, close-head injuries, blunt-force trauma and other hidden wounds. Even acute injuries causing bleeding and bruising can be difficult to detect.

While family can’t always be present with aging or ill loved ones, we are often in the best position to know if there is something wrong. We should be proactive and ever-vigilant in overseeing the care provided to elderly patients at nursing home, rehab and other long-term or acute care facilities. If you suspect that a loved one is not receiving the necessary care and attention they deserve, or worse that they are being physically or verbally abused, you should immediately report your concerns to facility management and document that you did so. Many nursing facilities are truly interested in the well-being of their residents and patients. Unfortunately, however, some facilities are in business merely to collect residents’ Medicare and private health insurance benefits.

At Brownstein & Nguyen, we have witnessed first-hand on a personal level the growing epidemic of elder neglect and abuse in this country. We want to do our part by holding health care facilities for the elderly and sick accountable.

The Atlanta, Georgia nursing home attorneys at Brownstein & Nguyen have substantial experience in evaluating, handling and preparing elder neglect and abuse cases for trial and resolution. We have the passion, expertise and knowledge, working with appropriate medical experts, to assess and handle these cases. Our attorneys also have a proven track record, both in and out of the courtroom, of ensuring that elder victims of negligent care, neglect or abuse and their families recover maximum compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering.

Click here to view some of our notable results, and click here to see what our clients say about our experience and dedication in handling their claims.

If you notice any signs of elder abuse or neglect, including those discussed above, please contact our nursing home neglect and elder abuse lawyers.