Has nursing home abuse or neglect left your loved one injured, depressed, and afraid to speak out? If so, you should know that you have legal options available to you. We highly recommend visiting the knowledge base at SchenkSmith.com. Or better yet, contact our law firm to set up your free consultation.
Abuse and neglect are regular occurrences at nursing home facilities across the U.S. Abuse may take the form of theft, psychological anguish, or even physical abuse and rape, while neglect is often much more deceptive, leading to malnourishment, poor hygiene, and even physical wounds such as bedsores.
Should I Sue the Facility?
Whether you sue the facility or not will depend on many factors:
- You may not need to take the case to court. You may be able to mediate a very good settlement with the nursing home outside of the courts, especially with a capable attorney.
- It will depend on the evidence you have. If medical records or witnesses point toward abuse, we’d say absolutely, it’s worth looking into. If you have no evidence of wrongdoing at all however, it might be in your best interests to consult an attorney first.
- Whether the alleged offenses committed were criminal or civil. Criminal cases will likely end up in court due to their more serious nature. If your case is a civil dispute, handing it outside of the courts could prove just as beneficial, if not more so.
Who Regulates Nursing Homes?
Both federal and state governments have regulations in place for nursing homes. In the state of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Community Health is in charge of regulating these types of facilities. They are also in charge of licensing nursing homes and renewing those licenses as necessary.
To assist with regulation, the DCH relies on the Healthcare Facility Regulation. The HFR is the regulatory arm of the DCH, and regularly visits nursing homes to assess whether they are in full compliance with state and federal regulations.
You may contact the DCH if you suspect your loved one has been abused or neglected. If this is something you’d like to do, we’ve provided the contact details of the DCH in this article.
We Are Schenk Smith, Your Peachtree City Nursing Home Lawyers
At Schenk Smith, we take your loved one’s case seriously. If abuse or neglect played a role in their injuries or anxiety, you can guarantee we will learn about it. And we will get them the justice they deserve.
Schenk Smith LLC has been actively supporting Georgia’s elders since 2013, and has since secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for them and their families. Our roots go deep here in the Peach State. Schenk Smith LLC’s cofounder, Will Smith, was a CNA in nursing homes for over a decade before becoming an attorney, and we are members of a number of Georgia senior citizen advocacy groups.
We proudly represent the people of Peachtree City, Georgia. Whether you live near Flat Creek Golf Club, the High Museum of Art, or the Woodruff Arts Center, we’ve got your back.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Peachtree City, Georgia- What you need to know.
Peachtree City, Georgia is located in Fayette County and has a population of 34,988 residents. Of those, 15.2% are aged 65 and older. We actively represent this part of the Peachtree City community against abusive or neglectful nursing homes.
How Can I Spot the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Many people believe that nursing home abuse is strictly physical abuse at the hands of nursing home staff, but this is only one aspect of it. Abuse can take on many forms, including psychological and sexual. It’s an incredibly varied legal concept, and to spot it, you will need to know what to look for.
- Physical abuse manifests itself in bruises, cuts, and even broken bones. Most abuse doesn’t go as far as assault, but it can sometimes come close. If you regularly see bruising on your loved one’s arms, legs, or elsewhere, speak with nursing home management right away.
- Psychological abuse happens when a staff member or staff members terrorize, antagonize, or threaten residents with punishments real or imagined. This can quickly lead to depression, loss of energy, and a constant state of stress or anxiety.
- Sexual abuse is unfortunately a very real threat faced by nursing home residents. Sexual abuse may have visible signs—such as bruising on the arms—or emotional signs such as depression.
- Theft is also a form of abuse, and it may not be easy to spot unless you have access to your loved one’s bank account and social security check information. Always be on the lookout for discrepancies, and regularly ask your loved one whether they remember making certain payments for goods and services.
What Injuries Are Most Likely to Happen?
Every nursing home will have its share of age-related injuries. It simply cannot be helped. While it’s important to understand accidents can and do happen, many of these same accidents may have been prevented if the facility had been up to date on state and federal regulations.
At Schenk Smith, our attorneys have seen every type of nursing home injury imaginable. Some of the most common injuries by far include:
- Broken bones, bruises, and cuts from falling: Falls are without a doubt one of the most common nursing home injuries. And they can be devastating to a loved one’s quality of life if immediate care is not provided. The longer your loved one goes without receiving help, the more likely that fall will turn into a life threatening situation.
- Bedsores: When a nursing home resident or hospital patient is unable to move in bed, they are at risk of pressure ulcers, or as they’re more frequently called, bedsores. Bedsores have four stages of development, the last of which can lead to the death of the surrounding skin and muscle tissue. Without a doubt, bedsores are one of the most common injuries in a nursing home.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Abuse?
Causes of abuse are varied, and no one knows for certain why abuse is so rampant in nursing homes. However, there are a few factors which likely play an oversized role in how abuse develops over time:
- Ineffective hiring practices by management: Nursing home managers are the gatekeepers of the facility. They should do everything in their power to keep predatory individuals from gaining access to the residents. Unfortunately, the hiring practices of many of these facilities are woefully inept, and mean-spirited people continue to find employment at nursing homes across the country.
- Lack of family involvement: Studies have shown that the more often family members visit a loved one, the less likely that loved one will be abused by nursing home staff. By visiting often and visiting at different times, you make it difficult for any predatory staff to take advantage of your loved one. Please note, this is not to say the family is at fault for the abuse. But being active in your loved one’s life is without a doubt proven to make abuse less likely.
- Employee stress: Nursing homes are high-stress environments and the work required can be grueling and thankless. If nurses become overworked, they tend to take their stress out on residents. In the worst case scenario, that stress is directed toward residents in highly negative ways, such as theft, physical abuse, and psychological abuse.
My loved one was hurt in a Peachtree City nursing home- What do I do next?
If your loved one was severely injured or passed away at a Peachtree City, 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
If you’re looking to get regulatory officials involved in the matter, your first call should be to the Georgia Department of Community Health, or DCH. The DCH regulates all nursing homes within state limits, and will likely be sending a representative from the Healthcare Facility Regulation to ensure the nursing home is in compliance with the 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
The Georgia office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman provides mediation in the event that a nursing home facility and a resident of a nursing home are at odds with one another. Officials from the Ombudsman are allowed to visit nursing homes and review their conditions and business practices.
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
Sometimes, the abuse can escalate into a situation where the local authorities need to get involved. If there is evidence of physical assault or violence against your loved one, you are within your rights to contact the police, the county sheriff, or the local District Attorney’s Office.
Peachtree City, GA 30269
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.
When you become aware of a possible abusive or neglectful situation at your loved one’s nursing home, your first impulse is to get them as far away from that facility as quickly as possible. The longer your loved one is a resident of that particular nursing home, the more likely the abuse or negligence could turn deadly.
Finding a new nursing home does not need to be frustrating or stressful. There are many tools on the web which can help you compare homes in your area and see up-to date-ratings. The tool we’ve found most useful over the years is Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare tool. Click here to go to the Nursing Home Compare Website.
The Nursing Home Compare tool has all the information you need to make an informed decision about choosing the right nursing home for your loved one. That includes past inspection ratings, staff scores, health inspection violations, and overall ratings.
For your convenience, a list of all nursing homes located within Peachtree City, Georgia is located below, along with their contact information and inspection scores.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
If you’ve recently become aware of physical injuries on your loved one and suspect those injuries were caused by nursing home staff, you may want to collect any and all medical records related to that injury, because they could provide evidence proving your assertions in a court of law.
Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as walking into a hospital and asking for your loved one’s medical records. Federal law makes it difficult for anyone to obtain somebody else’s records without the proper authorization. In many cases, this authorization is in the form of a power of attorney or similar document proving your legal powers over that individual.
If you aren’t sure how to proceed with securing these documents, we can help. The attorneys at Schenk Smith are often tasked with locating and requesting these types of medical documents, as they are a wealth of information concerning how the injury happened, and why it happened.
If you have the proper authorization but don’t know which hospital has your loved one’s medical records, we’d suggest reviewing the hospitals nearest to you first. Below you’ll find the two closest hospitals to Peachtree City.
Telephone: (770) 631-9999
Telephone: (770) 487-2273
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
We are sincerely sorry to hear about the loss of your loved one. If you suspect this loss was due to negligence or abuse at a nearby nursing home, then we understand how angry you must be. There is no excuse for the nursing home to get away with this kind of behavior.
Fortunately, your deceased loved one and your family still have legal options available to you to make things right. By setting up an estate in your deceased family member’s name and selecting an administrator or executor to manage their affairs, you will have the ability to file a lawsuit against the nursing home for injuries that led to the death of your loved one.
The first step to setting up this estate is to visit your local probate court. In your case, this would be the probate court of Fayette County. There will be plenty of paperwork, but the process is fairly straightforward. And if you need any help at all, the attorneys at Schenk Smith will be more than happy to assist you with anything you need.
Fayette County Probate Court
1 Center Dr
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Telephone: (770) 716-4220
Nursing Homes in Peachtree City, Georgia
Looking for a great nursing home for your loved one? You’re in luck: we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. This information is taken from our CMS’ Nursing Home Compare Website.
151 Wisdom Road
Peachtree City, GA 30269
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 (Average)
Number of Beds: 155
Number of Residents: 135
RN hours per resident per day: 19min (GA Avg: 34min)
Health Inspection Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Staff Rating: 3 out of 5 (Average)
Quality Measure Rating: 4 out of 5 (Above Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 01-11-2018
Number of Health Citations: 2
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting in citation: 0
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 0
Why Choose Schenk Smith as your Nursing Home Lawyers?
We at Schenk Smith LLC know you have a huge selection of attorneys to choose from—millions, in fact. To help you make your decision, we recommend you ask every law firm and solo practitioner you come across these two yes or no questions:
- Are you a Georgia resident that serves only the Georgia community? And…
- Is nursing home abuse and neglect the only area of law that you practice?
Chances are you’ll narrow down the field very quickly with those two questions. And if you ask us, we’ll say yes to both.
Schenk Smith has been serving Georgia’s senior citizens and their families since 2013. Since that time, we’ve secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, and empowered hundreds of Georgians through our podcasts and videos with knowledge about how to spot and how to stop nursing home abuse and neglect.
We love Georgia and we are passionate about serving Georgia’s venerable members of society. We never charge you a penny unless we win your case, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!
If your loved one was injured or died in a Peachtree City, 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.