Unfortunately, injuries to nursing home residents happen more often than you might think. If you are concerned that your loved one may have been abused or neglected in a nursing home, use this site to learn your options. Better yet, give us a call to find out how we can help.
If your family member has been mistreated by staff in a way that breaches standards of care, they have suffered nursing home abuse or neglect. Abuse occurs when a staff member intentionally harms a resident physically, sexually, psychologically, or financially. Neglect occurs when inattention leads to harm, as when a staff member fails to ensure that a resident is properly hydrated or repositioned to avoid getting bedsores. In both cases, physical and emotional harm can be severe.
The facility injured my loved one. Should I file a lawsuit?
While this decision is unique to every family, there are two clear advantages to filing a lawsuit. First, a jury will determine the amount of compensation the nursing home owes your family due to your loved one’s suffering, and second, the court will mandate that they pay you.
Nursing homes count on the fact that many people who make charges of abuse and neglect give up before filing a lawsuit. Even though the law requires nursing homes to compensate families of harmed residents, complaints of abuse and neglect are often ignored. Sadly, it often takes a lawsuit—or at least the threat of one—to get action.
Making sure your family gets the compensation you deserve is our mission.
How do I afford a nursing home attorney?
For most people in the process of deciding whether to hire a lawyer in a case of nursing home abuse or neglect, cost will be a big part of the consideration. Happily, most lawyers in this area work on a contingency basis, which means that a lawyer does not receive payment unless they win the case. Because of the contingency, your lawyer will have greater motivation to get results than they might if paid a straight hourly fee. You and your lawyer will agree on the percentage the lawyer will receive if the case is won when you sign the initial paperwork upon deciding to work together.
Keep in mind that there will be costs other than legal fees associated with nursing home abuse or neglect cases. The expenses for acquiring full medical records and expert testimony, as well as court fees and arbitration costs, can total thousands of dollars. Most nursing home attorneys who are working off a contingency will pay these costs initially, with the understanding that they will be paid back upon winning the case.
We are Schenk Smith, your Kennesaw nursing home lawyers.
Rather than striving to be a jack-of-all-trades legal firm, Schenk Smith has chosen to master nursing home law. Our attention is not divided among multiple legal areas—we handle cases of nursing home abuse and neglect only. Our passion for protecting the elderly is real.
Before becoming a lawyer, founding attorney Will Smith was a certified nursing assistant working in Georgia nursing homes for nearly ten years. He knows firsthand the procedures long-term care facilities must follow to keep residents safe. This inside knowledge of nursing home environments has made Smith Schenk committed to prosecuting nursing homes that fail to protect your loved ones.
Please take a minute to browse our website to learn more about us. Our video library answers many frequently asked questions, and our blog and podcast take in-depth looks into issues facing nursing home residents and their families. Feel free to schedule a free consultation at any time. Whether you’re located near the Big Shanty Museum, the Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, or the Kennesaw Civil War Museum, we’ll come to you.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Kennesaw, Georgia – What you need to know.
Kennesaw, Georgia is located in Cobb County and has a population of 32,669 residents. Of those, 8.5% are aged 65 and older. Unfortunately, as in other cities in Georgia, nursing home abuse and neglect is common in Kennesaw.
Are there specific symptoms of nursing home neglect?
Neglect may be harder to detect than abuse in nursing homes, but learning to spot the signs will help you take action as soon as possible. Caring for elderly residents typically involves set routines for providing meals and medication, maintaining proper hygiene, and ensuring that living spaces are free of hazards.
Does your loved one seem unusually weak, ill, or underweight? Long-term care facilities may be understaffed or have a high rate of turnover, resulting in a lack of individual attention for residents. Dietary and medical needs vary widely from resident to resident, so staff must be well-informed and have enough time to give focused attention to each individual. If staff are spread too thin, malnutrition or illness may result.
Does your loved one have an unkempt appearance? Maintaining daily hygiene is an essential component of resident care. When nursing home staff take shortcuts in hygiene routines or omit them altogether, residents’ health may be endangered. Without adequate bathing, personal care, and housecleaning, urinary tract infections, bedsores, and other health problems are more likely to occur. Signs that your loved one is not receiving proper hygiene include uncombed hair, foul-smelling breath, and dirty clothes or linens. These problems may also lead to behavioral changes, such as depression or irritability.
Has your loved one had an accident in their living space? Because each resident has unique limitations, each living space must be customized to minimize risks for the individual. If a resident does not see well, for example, objects that may constitute trip hazards should be removed. Or if a resident is likely to fall out of bed, bed railings should remain installed for safety.
What are the most typical nursing home injuries?
Because most residents of long-term care facilities are elderly, they are at a greater risk of injury than the general population. Thus, federal and state law mandate that facilities take precautions to prevent known risks to individuals of advanced age. Some of the most common areas of concern are residents falling, contracting bedsores, and leaving the premises of the facility.
As we age, our eyesight worsens, and our mobility and coordination weaken. These limitations add up to an increased risk of falling among seniors. Therefore, residents must be assisted with walking when needed, walkers and other mobility aids must be kept in proper working condition, and living spaces must be free of obstacles. Falling can be extremely dangerous for residents, leading to broken bones, head injuries, and sometimes even death.
When an elderly person’s mobility is limited, they are in danger of getting bedsores, or pressure ulcers. This is particularly likely to happen if a resident is incontinent and does not receive proper sanitary care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires that residents be checked for changes in skin condition daily. Most bedsores are avoidable with proper sanitation and frequent repositioning of residents. However, they are so easy to contract that up to ten percent of residents in long-term care facilities will have bedsores at any given time.
Elderly residents may become easily disoriented and wander away from a nursing home. With many people coming and going from a crowded facility all day, a resident may slip away undetected. Once away from the controlled environment of the nursing home, residents are likely to encounter hazards such as traffic, footpath obstacles, and extreme temperatures. Leaving a facility without assistance can be extremely dangerous for people with cognitive and physical impairments.
Why would nursing home staff commit neglect?
Neglect is unintentional—it occurs when a facility lacks the resources to provide quality care. A facility may suffer from budgetary problems, understaffing, or insufficient training, or any combination of these issues.
Like any other business, nursing homes may cut corners to maximize revenue. Thus, they may perceive staff as an area where costs might be cut, inadvertently leaving remaining workers with more responsibilities than they can execute properly. Facilities may decide to hire workers with less experience because they can pay them less, as well.
When a facility doesn’t hire enough staff, lays off staff, or replaces experienced workers with those newer to the field, the staff that remain are in a bind. With too many tasks on their plate, they cannot provide enough attention to individual residents. Taking the time to reposition one resident to avoid bedsores may mean rushing through another’s oral hygiene regimen. Overworking employees can lead to high turnover as well, further exacerbating the problem.
Employees must receive proper training to perform well in their jobs. Facility management may opt to abbreviate or eliminate certain trainings when staff numbers are low simply to address immediate needs for direct care. Employees who aren’t given enough guidance on how to execute the tasks of their jobs may become frustrated and quit. New employees coming in will likely have less experience, and the higher the turnover rate, the lower the overall skill level of the staff.
My loved one was hurt in a Kennesaw nursing home – What do I do next?
If your loved one was severely injured or passed away at a Kennesaw, 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’s Healthcare Facility Regulation investigates nursing homes for neglect and abuse. Their offices also regulate and certify nursing homes in Georgia.
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
You may also want to consider filing a complaint with the Georgia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home patients who help resolve conflicts between nursing homes and residents. Residing throughout the state, long-term care ombudsmen are trained and legally authorized to visit nursing homes and ask questions.
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
Telephone: (404) 627-1057
Fax: (404) 627-1064
You may also report physical assault or abuse to local law enforcement
If your loved one suffered abuse or neglect at a nursing home resulting in injury or death, you have the option to file a police report. If the actions of the nursing home are deemed unlawful, criminal charges may be brought against the staff by the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.
City of Kennesaw Police Department
2529 J. O. Stephenson Avenue
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Telephone: (770) 422-2505
Cobb County Sheriff’s Office
185 Roswell Street
Marietta, GA 30090
Telephone: (770) 499-4600
Cobb County District Attorney’s Office
70 Haynes St
Marietta, GA 30090
Telephone: (770) 528-3080
Find another facility for your loved one.
If your loved one is not receiving proper care at their current nursing home, you will want to place them in a new facility. Finding a nursing home that will offer better care, is in a good location for your family, and takes Medicare and Medicaid can be an intimidating process. The Nursing Home Compare website, created by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), can help you compare area nursing homes easily. The website compares long-term care facilities in your area according to criteria such as staffing quality and inspection scores.
Once you’ve done some research on the website, you’ll want to visit any nursing homes of interest in person. Spend some time at each contender to really get a feel for the place. Speak with residents, staff, and medical personnel if possible. If you don’t receive a warm welcome and ready information, consider that a red flag.
For your convenience, a list of all nursing homes located within Kennesaw, Georgia is located below, along with their contact information and inspection scores.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
When you file a claim about the mistreatment of your loved one, you will need their medical records in order to prove that their health suffered due to abuse or neglect in the facility. These may be kept at the nursing home or at a hospital where the resident was treated. Since Federal law protects all patients’ privacy, you will need written authorization—in the form of paperwork demonstrating a healthcare directive, power of attorney, or guardianship—to gain access to the records.
If your loved one was injured at a nursing home in Kennesaw, Georgia, they were likely treated at an area hospital. The medical records request department contact information for Kennesaw area hospitals is as follows:
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
When a person passes away after being injured in a nursing home environment, legal action on their behalf must transfer to another person, usually a spouse or close relative. This person can petition the probate court of the county in which their loved one passed away to create an estate to handle legal matters. Generally, an estate must be formalized before a lawsuit may be filed.
If you are the personal representative—also called an administrator or executor—for the estate of a loved one who has passed away in Kennesaw, you will be the person making decisions regarding a lawsuit for wrongful injury or death.
Cobb County Probate Court
32 Waddell Street
Marietta, GA 30090
Telephone: (770) 528-1900
Nursing Homes in Kennesaw, Georgia
The following is a list of the nursing homes in Kennesaw, Georgia, along with detailed information about each. This information is taken from CMS’ Nursing Home Compare Website.
1780 Old Highway 41
Kennesaw, GA 30152
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 (Average)
Number of Beds: 100
Number of Residents: 87
RN hours per resident per day: 21min (GA Avg: 34min)
Health Inspection Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Staff Rating: 2 out of 5 (Average)
Quality Measure Rating: 5 out of 5 (Much Above Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 08-03-2017
Number of Health Citations: 5
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?
We know that there is no shortage of lawyers hoping to get your business, but we hope that you’ll choose us to represent your loved one. We are confident that we can help you with your abuse or neglect case. Here are some reasons why:
- Singular focus. We handle only nursing home abuse and neglect cases. If you choose us, you will benefit from the wealth of knowledge we have developed in this area, as well as our passion for seeking justice for your loved ones.
- Client Reviews. Our clients say it all. We have the strongest Google reviews of any nursing home abuse law firm in the state of Georgia. Check out our client reviews
- Rising Stars. Founders Rob Schenk and Will Smith have made the coveted Rising Stars list for their dedication to fighting nursing home neglect and abuse. In addition to defending your loved ones legally, we advocate for nursing home residents through education. With our weekly Nursing Home Abuse Podcast, we explore topics affecting the lives of the elderly throughout the state and nationwide.
If your loved one was injured or died in a Kennesaw, 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.