Has somebody you love become a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse? Taking legal action against the nursing home may be the only way to stop that abuse from continuing. If you feel overwhelmed by this legal process and don’t know where to turn, don’t hesitate to visit the Schenk Smith website. Or better yet, give us a call to set up your free consultation.
It may not be easy to identify whether your loved one was abused, neglected, or both. Generally, if your loved one has been physically or psychologically harmed on purpose by a staff member at a nursing home, then you may have an abuse case. Alternatively, if the nursing home showed a careless disregard for your loved one, and that disregard led to physical or mental trauma, it may be determined in court as neglect.
What Is the Purpose of Suing the Nursing Home?
There are many reasons that Georgia residents decide to sue nursing homes:
- The neglect or abuse may have led to injuries which are expensive to take care of. Your loved one and your family should not be forced to pay these bills if someone else is at fault.
- Sometimes, suing a nursing home is the only way to stop the abuse from reoccurring. Once a law suit is filed, administrators often act quickly to identify and stop the abusive or neglectful behavior.
- You may be helping other residents escape the same treatment. Chances are, your loved one is not the only one who was abused or neglected at the nursing home in question. You could save lives by shining a light on these terrible practices.
May I Use a Hidden Camera to Capture Nurse Home Neglect?
Whether you can or cannot use video footage from a hidden camera will depend on a few factors, including:
- Is the footage relevant to the investigation? If you file a lawsuit against a nursing home for the abuse of your loved one, and the footage clearly shows nursing home staff acting violently toward him or her, the footage may be admissible.
- Is the footage authentic? Experts will determine whether the video has been tampered with in any way. They’ll look at time stamps, edits, or enhancements made to the video.
- Is the footage clear enough? If the footage provides a clear picture, you have a greater chance of making it admissible in court.
We Are Schenk Smith, Your Lithia Springs Nursing Home Lawyers
Nursing home neglect or abuse is a serious matter that should never be allowed to continue. If you suspect a family member was a victim of such neglect or abuse, hiring an experienced law firm is the first step toward a just and fair outcome for your loved one.
Schenk Smith has served Georgia’s elderly community since 2013, securing millions in verdicts and settlements in just two years’ time. Our focus on one area of the law—elder abuse and neglect—makes us more efficient, and more knowledgeable, than most general practice law firms in the state.
We regularly travel to our clients, and the residents of Lithia Springs are no exception. Whether you live near Sweetwater Creek State Park or Woodrow Wilson Park, we’ve got you covered.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Lithia Springs, Georgia- What you need to know.
Lithia Springs, Georgia is located in Douglas County and has a population of 17,743 residents. Of those, 8.6% are aged 65 and older. We take our service to this community very seriously, so if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, don’t hesitate to contact us.
What Are Some of the Types of Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect can take many forms. But the end result of that neglect is very often physical and mental trauma, which can lead to depression and even death.
At Schenk Smith, we’ve seen every type of neglectful behavior under the sun. Much of the pain suffered by nursing home residents may have been avoided if the nursing home had simply followed its obligations under state and federal law.
Below are some of the more common types of nursing home neglect:
- Failure to provide support for bedridden residents: Residents who are relegated to bedrest are fully reliant on hospital staff for everything in their lives. If a nursing home resident is too weak to turn themselves, it can lead to bed sores. If nursing staff fail to provide regular meals, they can see rapid and unhealthy weight loss. Additionally, these residents may fall between the mattress and the bedrails, leading to serious injury and even death.
- Failures related to medication and prescriptions: Nursing home residents have unique needs, and most require medications at least once a day. If nursing staff fails to provide those medications promptly, it can lead to pain, suffering, dementia, and falls which never should have occurred.
How Are Bedsores Prevented in Nursing Homes?
Bedsores—or pressure ulcers as they’re often called—are one of the most common nursing home injuries. Nursing home staff is trained to identify and prevent bedsores. But despite their best efforts, this type of injury continues to plague residents of both nursing homes and hospitals.
Preventing bedsores requires:
- Positional changes: Bedsores occur when too much pressure is applied to a single area of the skin. Turning the resident frequently (every two hours) ensures bedsores do not have a chance to form.
- A clean, dry environment: Wet bedsheets lead to bedsores. Keeping residents dry and clean is very important to stopping bedsores from advancing.
- Physical activity: Physical activity may be impossible for some nursing home residents. But nursing staff should provide some assistance with range of motion exercises such as arm and leg raises.
- Constant vigilance: Bedsores almost always occur in the same areas of the body. This includes the heels, thighs, buttocks, upper back, and back of the head—all the areas where the body is touching the sheets most frequently. Nursing home staff knows where these trouble areas are, and should be on the lookout for telltale red splotches on the skin.
Who Is Liable for Neglect?
Neglect is a willful disregard for the safety and care of a resident. When neglect occurs, it may be the fault of an individual nurse, a group of nurses, or the administration/management of the nursing home facility.
Nursing homes should have professional liability insurance in place to protect their business from lawsuits related to neglect and abuse. In most cases, it’s the nursing home—not the staff—which is liable for neglect. If it is found that a staff member neglected to care for a resident, it is the company’s insurance policy that often foots the legal bills.
This doesn’t mean that the nurses or administrators who oversaw the neglect will keep their jobs. More often than not these individuals are fired and may even lose credentials and licenses. If a neglect case becomes a matter of abuse or assaulting a resident, then that staff member may face criminal charges, which may be an entirely separate case from the ongoing nursing home lawsuit.
Finding out who is liable for nursing home neglect can be a complex question. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, feel free to visit the Schenk Smith website, or contact us directly and set up a free consultation.
My loved one was hurt in a Lithia Springs nursing home- What do I do next?
If your loved one was severely injured or passed away at a Lithia Springs, 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 governmental organization which manages nursing home regulation and licensure is the Georgia Department of Community Health, or DCH. We highly recommend reporting injuries to the DCH, as they should be able to stop the abuse from continuing. Furthermore, you may wish to start by contacting the Healthcare Facility Regulation, which 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
The Georgia Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman regulates disputes between nursing homes and Georgia residents. You may wish to contact your local ombudsman program in order to establish grounds for a possible lawsuit against the facility.
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
Physical assault against your loved one is incredibly serious. More often than not, this is a member of the nursing staff. But it may also be another resident who assaulted your loved one. Regardless of who physically assaulted your family member, you have every right to file criminal charges against that individual.
For abuse occurring in a Lithia Springs, Georgia nursing home, report the crime to the Douglas County Sheriff.
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.
A family whose loved one has been abused or neglected may wish to remove their loved one from his or her current residence as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly stressful, both for the family and the loved one who has to be moved.
We at Schenk Smith want you to know that we have your back through this very difficult time. To help you search for a new home, we recommend a visit to medicare.gov’s nursing home compare website.
We’ve also provided a list of all nursing homes located in the nearby Lithia Springs area for your convenience. These records contain everything from contact information to inspection scores. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about a move to another facility.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
When an elderly resident is injured at a local nursing home, he or she may be taken to a nearby hospital to assess the damage and recover from his or her wounds. What many Georgia residents don’t realize is that these records could hold the truth behind what really caused your loved one’s injury. And that makes them very valuable in the event that you file a lawsuit against the nursing home at a later date.
Obtaining these medical records may prove difficult for a number of reasons:
- The nursing home may be uncooperative and even hostile toward you once they realize you’re seeking your loved one’s medical records.
- Nursing home staff may have taken your loved one to any number of hospitals in the local area
- You are required to have power of attorney or guardianship powers over your loved one before hospital staff will allow you to review the records themselves.
We understand this information may be overwhelming. To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve provided a list of local hospitals and their contact information. And if you need further assistance, we are here to help, day or night.
Telephone: (770) 812-3000
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
If you suspect your loved one’s death could have been prevented by nursing home staff, then setting up an estate in their name will be one of the first steps you take to ensuring justice is done. To do this, you will need to visit your local probate court, fill out the necessary paperwork, and assign either yourself or somebody you trust the role of administrator or executor of the estate in question.
As an executor of an estate, you are given legal powers to file a lawsuit in your loved one’s name, even though he or she is no longer with us. Without this power, there is little one can do to fight back against the abuse or neglect which may have led to their death.
To get started, you’ll want to visit your local Lithia Springs probate court, which is in Douglas County.
8700 Hospital Dr, Third Floor
Douglasville, GA 30134
Telephone: (770) 920-7249
Nursing Homes in Lithia Springs, Georgia
We want to help you find a new nursing home for your loved one as quickly as possible. This information is taken from our CMS’ Nursing Home Compare Website.
3460 Powder Springs Road
Powder Springs, GA 30127
Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Number of Beds: 208
Number of Residents: 178
RN hours per resident per day: 17min (GA Avg: 34min)
Health Inspection Rating: 2 out of 5 (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: 01-25-2018
Number of Health Citations: 2
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting in citation: 2
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 0
2130 Anderson Mill Road
Austell, GA 30106
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Number of Beds: 170
Number of Residents: 121
RN hours per resident per day: 12min (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: 5 out of 5 (Much Above Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 10-26-2017
Number of Health Citations: 0
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting in citation: 10
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 2 ($339,886 on 01-20-2016; $13,627 on 02-03-2017)
Why Choose Schenk Smith as your Nursing Home Lawyers?
We understand you have options when it comes to an attorney. That’s why we work harder than anybody else for your business.
Our law firm has been helping Georgia residents fight back against nursing home abuse since 2013. Here’s why local Georgia residents have trusted us time and again to take up their cause:
- We work on a contingency basis: You will never pay out of pocket for our services, and we only get paid if we win your case or secure a settlement in your favor.
- We are respected members of Georgia’s community: Our attorneys are members of senior citizen advocacy groups, and our clients often tell us that we are like family to them.
- We are the best nursing home law firm in the state based on Google reviews: We have more reviews and better reviews than any other law firm specializing in nursing home law in the state of Georgia.
If your loved one was injured or died in a Lithia Springs, 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.