Few events can be as stressful and agonizing as discovering that somebody you love is being abused or neglected in their current nursing home facility. If you suspect the abuse or neglect of a loved one at the hands of nursing home staff, then please do not hesitate to use the Schenk Smith website to education yourself on your options. Better yet, call us to set up a free consultation.
Abuse and neglect occur in nursing home facilities year round in the United States. Abusive behavior of residents ranges from intentionally withholding food and water to assault and even rape, while negligence leaves many nursing home residents without care, fearful for their lives and at risk for bed-related injuries such as pressure ulcers and falls.
If you’d like to learn more about the difference between neglect and abuse, our website is a great resource. Click here to learn more.
Should I Sue on Behalf of My Loved One?
You absolutely can sue on behalf of a loved one if the necessary legal paperwork is filled out and filed. With that said, whether or not you decide to sue will depend on the circumstances of your case. And having an experienced nursing home abuse law firm on hand to review those circumstances is one of the smartest things you can do to help your loved one.
Because of injuries or health issues, elderly individuals aren’t always capable of voicing their wishes or sharing their concerns. Other times, the loved one is no longer with us. So it’s up to a family member or close friend to advocate for them. In some instances, that means making sure your loved one receives the justice they deserve after being abused or neglected in a nearby nursing home.
Who Regulates Nursing Homes in Georgia?
The Georgia Department of Community Health is the organization which regulates nursing homes in the state of Georgia. The division of the DCH which assesses and licenses these nursing home facilities is the Healthcare Facility Regulation, or HFR.
The federal government also plays some role in the regulation of Georgia healthcare facilities. Laws have been passed by congress protecting senior citizens, and federal regulators do visit facilities from time to time to ensure they’re complying with federal law.
We’ll be providing you with websites and contact information for all relevant regulators in the Douglasville area. You can find them further down in this article.
We Are Schenk Smith, Your Douglasville Nursing Home Lawyers
Schenk Smith LLC has been helping Georgia residents fight back against nursing home neglect and abuse since 2013. Our first priority is your first priority: stop the abuse from continuing as soon as possible. Only then do we work towards a just and fair outcome, either through a settlement or in the courtroom.
In just a few short years, Schenk Smith has helped over a hundred families in Georgia collect millions of dollars in settlements and reparations for wrongs committed by nursing homes across the state. Furthermore, we have helped educate our community by publishing over 100 educational videos on our website, and even hosting our own podcast to help people identify when elder abuse is being committed.
So if you reside in nearby Douglasville or live in the vicinity of Six Flags over Georgia, Sweetwater Creek State Park, or Cobb County Youth Museum, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ve got your back.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Douglasville Georgia- What you need to know.
Douglasville, Georgia is located in Douglas County and has a population of 32,317 residents. Of those, 8.6% are aged 65 and older. This is the community that needs the most support. And it’s the community that we fight for.
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?
Neglect is often much more difficult to spot than abuse. While abuse often manifests itself in physical cuts and bruises and broken bones, neglect can be hidden from view. Only by knowing what to look for you can properly spot neglect, and take action against it.
Here is what you should be on the lookout for:
- Thinness, emaciation, pale skin: If your loved one was a healthy weight before entering the nursing home, but quickly loses weight in the months after they become a resident, it could be that the staff is neglecting to provide enough food and water to him or her. If your loved one’s skin feels papery, or if they very quickly lose body weight, you should absolutely look into the staff’s behavior.
- Pressure ulcers: One of the most obvious signs of neglect is the appearance of pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores. Bedsores occur when an individual is lying prone for long hours, thus putting immense pressure on areas such as the ankles, thighs, buttocks, and head. These can quickly turn into open wounds which are easily infected.
- Depression: Depression may be another sign that your loved one is being neglected. If your loved one refuses to smile or doesn’t acknowledge you, their depressed state may be due to negligent staff.
What Are the Physical Injuries That Occur the Most?
Physical injuries are a common occurrence in nursing home facilities throughout Georgia. While some are accidental and couldn’t have been avoided, others are purposeful or the due to the negligence of nursing staff.
The most common physical injuries that occur in nursing homes include:
- Infections: The elderly are especially prone to infections due to having a weaker immune system. They can occur from surgeries or even small cuts.
- Bedsores: Unquestionably one of the most frequent physical injuries in a nursing home, bedsores can quickly become open wounds that must be treated immediately if the patient is to be saved.
- Bruising: Elderly individuals bruise very easily. But that does not excuse nursing home staff, especially if the bruising occurs frequently. Extreme care must be taken by staff to avoid causing these kinds of injuries
- Broken bones: Falls can and do occur in nursing homes on a regular basis. A nursing home should have the proper precautions in place to avoid such falls. Should a fall occur, it can result in terrible damage and even death if the resident is not found until later on.
Why Does Neglect Occur in Nursing Homes?
America’s healthcare system has been through a chaotic time. And nowhere is that more apparent than at nursing homes across the country. Unfortunately, nursing homes do not receive anywhere near the amount of publicity that other healthcare topics receive. Perhaps because of that, very little has been done to stop nursing home neglect from happening.
Nursing homes continue to suffer from issues such as cost, a lack of nurses, and poor staff training.
- Costs of nursing homes continue to skyrocket. As the cost of drugs, medical supplies, and medical technology rise, the budget for personnel and nursing care must inevitably drop. More than anyone, it is the elderly that suffer from this.
- A major nursing shortage is occurring: The United States has been undergoing a nursing shortage for years, and the problem is about to get worse. As more people retire and enter nursing homes, the more strain it will put on the nurses that already work at these facilities.
- Poor staff training: With such a shortage of nurses, nursing homes are trying to loosen guidelines for who they can hire. While many of these individuals are hard workers that love the elderly community, others are predatory individuals that could care less about the elderly they are responsible for.
My loved one was hurt in a Douglasville nursing home- What do I do next?
If your loved one was severely injured or passed away at a Douglasville, Georgia nursing home, then we recommend that you act as soon as possible to protect your loved one’s rights.
First, report the incident to the appropriate Georgia authorities
Georgia Department of Community Health
The Georgia Department of Community Health regulates nursing homes throughout the state. The organization makes sure that nursing homes are complying with its regulations, and is in charge of licensure for all nursing home facilities. The Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR) is the investigative branch of the DCH.
You can file a complaint with the Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation online by clicking this link. Here is additional contact information:
Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation
Complaint Hotline: (800) 878-6442
Complaint Fax: (404) 657-5731
Georgia Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
When a family wishes to make a complaint against a nursing home, the Georgia Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is often one of the first government organizations you’ll want to contact. The Ombudsman program mediates disputes between residents of nursing homes and the nursing homes themselves. Ombudsman officials are allowed to enter nursing home facilities and review them for abusive or neglectful behavior.
You can file a complaint with the Georgia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman online by clicking on this link. Here is additional contact information:
225 Cameron Road
McDonough, Georgia 30253
You may report physical assault or abuse to local law enforcement
If you’re concerned that your loved one has been assaulted in a Georgia nursing home facility, you are within your legal rights to press charges. You have many options in this regard: you can contact the police, the county sheriff, and even the DA’s office.
City of Douglasville Police Department
2083 Fairburn Rd,
Douglasville, GA 30135
Telephone: (770) 920-3010
Douglas County Sheriff
8470 Earl D. Lee Blvd
Douglasville, GA 30134
Telephone: (770) 942-2121
District Attorney’s Office: Douglas Judicial District
8700 Hospital Dr, Main Floor
Douglasville, GA 30134
Telephone: (770) 920-7292
Find another facility for your loved one.
The difficulties of moving your loved one out of a nursing home facility can cause incredible amounts of strain and pressure on everybody involved. We understand how tough the situation can be, which is why we’ve provided a few resources to help you find a facility for your older relative as quickly as possible.
One of the most effective tools for finding and comparing nursing home facilities is Medicare.gov’s nursing home compare website. Click here to go to the Nursing Home Compare Website.
Every nursing home in Georgia has been ranked according to a number of different factors, such as staffing reputation, health inspection rating, overall ratings, and more. Simply enter in your city and the results will come up immediately.
For your convenience, a list of all nursing homes located within Douglasville, Georgia is located below, along with their contact information and inspection scores.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
If your loved one has been injured or even assaulted while residing at a nearby nursing home, it is possible, even likely, that the nursing home will attempt to hide the facts from you. One way they do this is by keeping the hospital visit a secret from you. They may also avoid telling you which hospital your loved one visited when they were injured.
There is a reason for this deception. Those very medical records may hold proof that the nursing home neglected or abused your loved one. They may hold the key to a better settlement or even a victory in court. That is why it is so important that we find those records as quickly as possible.
Before you start your search, you’ll need to have one thing ready: a power of attorney over your loved one. Without guardianship over your loved one, it will be very difficult to secure their medical records from the hospital. Once you have it however, you should have no problem attaining them from the staff.
For your convenience, we’ve provided you with a list of hospitals in your local area to help start your search. Links to the hospital websites as well as their phone numbers can be found below.
Telephone: (770) 942-2391
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
In the unfortunate event that your loved one passed away due to the alleged abuse or neglect of a nursing facility, your first step to a just outcome is to begin the process of setting up an estate in your deceased loved one’s name.
An estate will allow you to manage your family member’s affairs after their death, and even file a lawsuit in their name if you suspect abuse or neglect caused their premature death. An administrator or executor can do all of this and more. But to start the process, you must visit your county’s probate court.
A probate court is where you’ll go to set up an estate in a loved one’s name after their death. Please know that if you have any questions about this process, the attorneys at Schenk Smith are happy to help. In the meantime, we’ve provided the contact information for the Probate Court of Douglas County, which you can find below.
8700 Hospital Dr, Third Floor
Douglasville, GA 30134
Telephone: (770) 920-7249
Nursing Homes in Douglasville, Georgia
Helping you find a new nursing home for your loved one is our first priority. This information is taken from the CMS’ Nursing Home Compare Website.
4028 Hwy 5
Douglasville, GA 30135
Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Number of Beds: 246
Number of Residents: 227
RN hours per resident per day: 19min (GA Avg: 34min)
Health Inspection Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Staff Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Quality Measure Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 02-15-2018
Number of Health Citations: 1
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting in citation: 20
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 1 ($235,799 on 10-05-2016)
Why Choose Schenk Smith as your Nursing Home Lawyers?
If you believe a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nearby nursing home facility, Schenk Smith can help. Our attorneys are veterans of elder law and we have resolved over a hundred abuse and neglect cases since 2013.
Here are a few more reasons to go with Schenk Smith LLC:
- We focus exclusively on nursing home abuse cases: While other general practice law firms take all kinds cases, we focus on just one: abuse of nursing home residents. We are informed, experienced, and highly skilled in this area of law, and we stay up to date by regularly attending and even leading continued education seminars on nursing home abuse and neglect.
- Co-founded by a U.S. Marine: Co-founder Will Smith is a former United States Marine who fights for his clients like he fought for his country.
- All cases handled by an attorney: Larger law firms will set you up with an inexperienced case manager. You may never even speak to an attorney. That is never true here at Schenk Smith, where every one of our clients is in direct contact with one of our experienced attorneys.
If your loved one was injured or died in a Douglasville, Georgia nursing home, please call us at Schenk Smith (678) 823-7678 for a free consultation. You can also check out hundreds of video FAQs on our website.