You have reason to believe someone you love is the victim of elder abuse or neglect at a local nursing home facility. Rather than leave your loved one’s fate to chance, you want to use all legal means necessary to secure a just and fair outcome. If that’s your objective, don’t hesitate to start your research on SchenkSmith.com, or by calling one of our experienced attorneys today.
Elder abuse and neglect is a regular occurrence in nursing homes across the state. It happens in the poorest facilities and in the most prestigious. The abuse can be physical, psychological, or both, while neglect manifests itself in poor hygiene, bedsores, and other injuries caused by a lack of care and caution by nursing home staff.
Can I Bring a Claim on Behalf of My Loved One?
Yes, you can. If your loved one is incapacitated or has recently passed away due to injuries sustained in a nursing home, you have legal means at your disposal to give your loved one the just outcome he or she deserves.
Bringing a claim on behalf of someone else involves going through the necessary courts and filling out specialized paperwork. If your loved one passed away while in a nursing home, a probate court can help you set up an estate in their name, which will then allow you to file suit.
The process can be frustrating, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to use the Schenk Smith knowledge base, or call us directly to set up a free consultation.
Can Criminal Charges Be Brought Against the Nursing Facility?
Yes they can. If nursing staff, an administrator, or the owner of the facility is found to have acted in a criminal manner against a resident or residents of a nursing home, then criminal charges may be brought against them.
Criminal charges may include physical assault, rape, or culpable negligence in the more extreme cases of elder neglect. If the nursing home employees are found guilty, they could face years in prison and heavy fines.
Depending on the circumstances of the offense, you may have a choice between filing criminal or civil charges. If you’re unsure which is best for you, don’t hesitate to contact Schenk Smith for a free consultation.
We Are Schenk Smith, Your Fayetteville Nursing Home Lawyers
Are you concerned that your loved one has been abused or neglected by nursing home staff? If so, then it’s time to put an experienced attorney to work for you. This attorney can help you discover the truth of the situation and give your loved one the just and fair treatment they deserve.
Schenk Smith has helped hundreds of Georgia families secure millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts within just a few short years. Our attorneys are highly active in the elder law space, maintaining memberships with some of Georgia’s most prominent senior citizen advocacy groups, and maintaining a popular weekly video podcast on the subject of elder abuse and neglect.
We proudly serve Fayetteville and the surrounding area. Whether you live nearby Fayette Union Methodist, Canola Mountain State Park, or out by Six Flags Over Georgia, we’ve got your back.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Fayetteville, Georgia- What you need to know.
Fayetteville, Georgia is located in Fayette County and has a population of 16,780 residents. Of those, 17.4% are aged 65 and older. Protecting this segment of the population from abusive or neglectful behavior is our highest priority here at Schenk Smith.
How Can I Spot Signs of Neglect?
As more Georgia residents retire and enter their later years, nursing homes across the state are being squeezed. Many nursing homes simply do not have the staff required perform their duties as required under the law. And it is up to the families of these elder Georgia residents to spot signs of neglect quickly, to make sure the worst case scenario is avoided.
You can empower yourself to spot neglectful behavior. When you visit your loved one, make sure to be on the lookout for:
- Bedsores of any stage: When certain areas of our skin are in contact with another surface for too long, blood flow can be reduced to that area, leading to the loss of the skin and even muscle and tissue. Watch for red splotches or open wounds on the elbows, knees, ankles, or elsewhere.
- Thin, malnourished appearance: If you see a significant drop in your loved one’s weight, malnourishment may be the cause. Energy levels and regular fights with infections are also signs of this type of neglect.
- Changes to mood: Your loved one’s mood has seen a significant change since they entered the nursing home. They are sullen, depressed, and may not even acknowledge people are in the room.
- Poor hygiene: Bad smelling clothing or body odor, bad breath, long fingernails and toenails, and matted hair, could be indicators that your loved one is not getting the care they should be getting under the law.
What Bodily Injuries Happen Most Often In Nursing Homes?
Nursing home staff manages one of the most at-risk populations in the United States. Many times, an accident simply could not have been avoided. However, on other occasions, the nursing home failed to provide a safe and secure environment for your loved one, and it led to a bodily injury.
There are many types of physical injuries that are sustained in nursing homes. But the most common include:
- Fall injuries (bruises, broken bones, hairline fractures, torn tendons and ligaments) are a serious threat to nursing home residents. They may take years to fully heal—if they do at all—and can leave your loved one with a much reduced quality of life.
- Stage 2-4 bedsores are open wounds which can become large enough to show the underlying skin layers, muscles, tissue and even bone. They are one of the most common injuries in a nursing home.
- Infections of any kind. Every infection no matter how small could leave an elder individual at risk of serious complications. This infection may have been the food they ate, a small cut they received, or something larger, like a major surgery.
What Are the Common Causes of Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect happens for many reasons: understaffed facilities, inept management, a shortage of funds, or inexperienced staff members. Each and every one of them can lead to nursing home residents being neglected.
Here’s a closer look at these causes in more detail:
- Understaffed facilities: Nursing shortages have plagued both hospitals and nursing homes for years now, and the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. This lack of nurses means individual care will continue to drop as fewer nurses take on more and more work.
- Inept management: Poor management can destroy a nursing home. It can fall behind on regulations, run it into the ground with bad financial choices, and in the end, leave otherwise capable nursing staff with no support and thus no ability to provide for residents.
- Shortage of funds: As the price of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals continue to increase, the ability to provide quality care decreases. These facilities need to have updated medical tools at their disposal. Without them, residents suffer.
- Inexperienced staff members: Due to the nursing shortage, nursing homes cannot be as picky as they’d like to be when hiring staff members. Some of these staff members have no right to be working in this type of environment. This is readily apparent in the sheer number of neglect cases that have appeared in recent years.
My loved one was hurt in a Fayetteville nursing home- What do I do next?
If your loved one was severely injured or passed away at a Fayetteville, 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 authority which regulates nursing home facilities across the state of Georgia is the Georgia Department of Community Health, or DCH. Within the DCH is the Healthcare Facility Regulation, which is tasked with assessing nursing homes and ensuring their compliance with state and federal law.
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
In addition to the DCH, you have the opportunity to file a complaint with the Georgia Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The Ombudsman program provides mediation between Georgia families and state nursing homes. An expert will be assigned to your case to determine whether or not the complaint can be settled without legal action.
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:
1743 Hardin Avenue
College Park GA 30337-2059
Telephone: (678) 378-2934
Fax: (404) 768-8512
You may report physical assault or abuse to local law enforcement
Abuse or neglect may be so significant that it warrants a call to law enforcement officials. You may choose to contact the local police, the county sheriff office, or the District Attorney’s Office, depending on the circumstances of the abuse or neglect.
760 Jimmie Mayfield Blvd
Fayetteville, GA 30215
Telephone: (770) 461-4441
155 Johnson Ave
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Telephone: (770) 461-6353
1 Center Dr
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Telephone: (770) 716-4250
Find another facility for your loved one.
If a nursing home has been instrumental in reducing the quality of life for your loved one, your family may have no other option than to remove him or her from their current residence as quickly as possible. Once you’ve made this decision, the next step will be finding your loved one another home.
We understand it can be frustrating to find a good nursing home for your loved one. Thankfully, there are tools freely available to you to make this search easier. And one of the most useful tools by far is medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare Tool. Click here to go to the Nursing Home Compare Website.
The nursing home compare tool allows you to compare nearby nursing homes side by side. The tool provides all the information you need to make an informed decision, such as health code violations incurred, quality of staff, and overall reputation compared to other facilities.
For your convenience, a list of all nursing homes located within Fayetteville, Georgia is located below, along with their contact information and inspection scores.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
Abuse and neglect can be difficult to spot and hard to prove on your own. But medical records related to the treatment of an injury or wound may be exactly what you need to prove your case and secure a just and fair settlement or court outcome.
Once you’ve decided that the records should be acquired, the next step will be locating them. This isn’t always easy, as nursing homes may have taken your loved one to any number of local healthcare facilities. There is also a good chance that nursing home staff will not cooperate with your requests for information. The longer you’re in the dark, the better it is for them.
In addition to these difficulties, you’ll also be required to show proof that you’re authorized to claim your loved one’s medical documents. This often requires a power of attorney or similar form of documentation confirming that status over your loved one. However, once you’ve secured these documents, the only remaining task is to visit the hospital and fill out the necessary paperwork. Alternatively, you can have your attorney take care of the entire process for you.
Even if you’d like to get the records on your own, we may still be able to assist you in finding them. Below you’ll find all of the hospitals in nearby Fayetteville. If you do find them, don’t hesitate to reach out to our law firm for further assistance.
Telephone: (770) 719-7000
Telephone: (678) 364-5400
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
Has someone you love died of injuries or wounds sustained in a local nursing home facility? If you suspect the injuries that led to their death were caused by abuse or neglect, then you still have a chance to seek justice in your loved one’s name.
Your loved one may not be here to formally file a lawsuit against the nursing home. But with the help of an estate, you can still take legal action in their name. To do so, you will need to pay a visit to your county’s probate court, and fill out the necessary paperwork making you the administrator of your deceased loved one’s estate.
Before you begin the estate process, you’ll want to sit down with your family and decide who the administrator or executor of the estate should be. Once that’s been determined, you’ll need to gather all necessary documentation proving your connection to your deceased family member, and fill out additional paperwork at your local probate court.
Schenk Smith LLC has gone through this process with clients many times, and it can be daunting. If you’re not sure what your next move should be, don’t hesitate to reach out and speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
Fayette County Probate Court
1 Center Dr
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Telephone: (770) 716-4220
Nursing Homes in Fayetteville, Georgia
We’ve provided you with a list of nearby nursing homes for your convenience. This information is taken from our CMS’ Nursing Home Compare Website.
110 Brandywine Boulevard
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 (Average)
Number of Beds: 179
Number of Residents: 144
RN hours per resident per day: 21min (GA Avg: 34min)
Health Inspection Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Staff Rating: 3 out of 5 (Average)
Quality Measure Rating: 5 out of 5 (Much Above Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 07-13-2017
Number of Health Citations: 3
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting in citation: 0
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 0
Why Choose Schenk Smith as your Nursing Home Lawyers?
Deciding who should represent your loved one is no easy task. Factors such as experience, cost, and past results will all likely play a role in your decision. In the end, however, you’re simply looking for someone who can give your loved one the most just and fair outcome they deserve. And when it comes to securing that outcome, no law firm is better equipped to make it a reality than Schenk Smith LLC.
At Schenk Smith, our highest priority is giving your loved one and your family a fair shake at justice. And we do this by staying true to our core principles:
- Fair, Affordable Pricing: We work on contingency, meaning you will never pay a penny for our services unless we win your case. This means that all Georgia residents have a chance at a just outcome for their loved one.
- Specialty Legal Services: We focus on one area of the law: elder abuse and neglect. We are not general practitioners. By directing all of our energy toward this one area of the law, we can provide significantly better results for our clients and their loved ones.
- Community Education: We believe in empowering Georgia’s families to more readily spot elder abuse and neglect. That’s why we produce weekly podcasts on these important topics, and have a library of over 100 educational videos on our website.
If your loved one was injured or died in a Fayetteville, 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.