Sadly, abuse and neglect in nursing homes, which can lead to injuries among residents, happens frequently. Facilities overly concerned with the bottom line often fail to hire quality staff and train them sufficiently to prevent this from happening. If you fear that a resident may have suffered harm a nursing home, this site can help you figure out how to take action. Even better, give us a call to talk with us about the details of your specific situation.
If a nurse or staff member has failed to meet standards of care, they have perpetrated nursing home abuse or neglect. Abuse occurs when a resident is harmed intentionally, whether psychologically, physically, sexually, or financially. Neglect, on the other hand, stems from negligence, as when a staff member forgets to give a resident their medicine or when a resident slips and falls because they are unsupervised. Neither abuse nor neglect should be tolerated.
How can I sue the nursing home for neglect?
When you place your loved one in a long-term care facility, you trust that they will be safe. After a resident is admitted to a facility, the care team should create a plan to ensure that their specific needs will be taken care of. Residents who suffer from dizziness, for example, should receive extra supervision when walking, and those who fall easily should have their bed positioned low to the ground with bed rails.
When the initial assessment is lacking or individualized care is not provided properly in accordance with an assessment, injuries can occur. You may have the grounds for a lawsuit if your loved one suffers due to neglect. If negligence on the part of a nursing home causes serious injury or death, the nursing home will be held responsible in accordance with Georgia nursing home negligence law.
If the resident has passed away due to neglect, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit on his or her behalf. In the case of injury, you will likely need to receive authorization in the form of power of attorney or guardianship in order to take legal action for the resident. Contact a personal injury lawyer with expertise in nursing home abuse to discuss your specific situation.
Who oversees nursing homes?
Nursing homes in Georgia are overseen by Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR), a division of the Georgia Department of Community Health. This body is responsible for licensing, regulating, and inspecting more than 15,000 health care facilities in the state. They investigate complaints and survey facilities, including nursing homes, to assess their performance.
HFR also compiles a database of licensed nursing homes in Georgia, which it updates weekly. The database includes detailed information on each facility, including inspection reports. You can also use the tool to access any state law or regulation for nursing homes to make sure that your loved one’s facility is following proper procedures.
We are Schenk Smith, your Smyrna nursing home lawyers.
If you’ve come to our website, it is most likely because you already have some concerns about a loved one in a long-term care facility. You likely have lots of questions about what is happening to the resident and what a lawsuit would entail. We are a firm whose sole focus is handling cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. Every case in our firm is handled by personal injury attorney Will Smith or Rob Schenk—never by a paralegal or office administrator. We pride ourselves on being extremely accessible to our clients throughout the legal process.
Before he became the founding attorney of Schenk Smith, Will Smith worked as a certified nursing assistant in Georgia nursing homes for almost a decade. He thus has an additional wealth of experience from being on the ground in long-term care environments and seeing the variety of things that can go wrong. This personal experience made led Schenk Smith to committed to ensuring that facilities are prosecuted when they fail to keep your loved ones safe.
Our website contains information on every aspect of nursing home abuse and neglect. Please take a moment to view some of our video podcasts and FAQ videos, and to read our blog posts. When you’re ready to know more, we can come to you for a free consultation at any time. Whether you’re located near the Smyrna Museum, the Concord Bridge, or the Fox Creek Golf Club, your concern for your loved one is our priority.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Smyrna, Georgia – What you need to know.
Smyrna, Georgia is located in Cobb County and has a population of 54,788 residents. Of those, 8.4% are aged 65 and older. Regrettably, in Smyrna as in other parts of the state, nursing home abuse and neglect occurs frequently.
What are the signs of nursing home abuse?
Most of us can sense when something is wrong with our loved one. Unlike neglect, which can be hard to detect, signs of abuse are generally fairly easy to spot. Behavioral and/or physical changes may be evidence that your loved one has been abused.
Changes in behavior. Is your loved one typically gregarious and warm, but is now acting shy or irritable? Signs that they may have suffered abuse include:
- Unusual lack of energy (possibly due to overmedication).
- Uncharacteristic moodiness.
- Fear of staff members.
- Unusual lack of interest in socializing.
- Any other behavior that is atypical for the individual.
Physical Changes. If your loved one has injuries he or she cannot explain, someone in the facility may have abused them. If you spot any of the following, you should suspect abuse:
- Dramatic and unusual weight loss or gain.
- An unkempt appearance or poor hygiene.
- Bloody or stained linens or clothes.
- Mysterious injuries (bruises, welts, cuts, burns) that the resident doesn’t want to discuss.
Which injuries are most common?
The elderly are generally more vulnerable than the general population, and thus more easily injured. Some of the most common areas of concern are residents leaving the facility, or “wandering,” falling, and contracting bedsores and infections.
With their cognitive function declining, residents may become confused about where they are and “wander” off the premises of the facility. Suddenly they find themselves in an uncontrolled environment where they must grapple with changes in temperature and terrain, traffic, and other unfamiliar elements. Wandering is common and can be extremely hazardous to residents. Nursing homes must make sure that residents do not leave the building unsupervised.
Seniors fall very easily. Nurses and staff must be extremely vigiliant to prevent falls due to poor eyesight and low mobility. Residents should be supervised when walking and mobility aids should be kept in good condition. Patients at high risk of falling should have their beds positioned low to the floor with guiderails installed. Falling can be extremely dangerous for elderly people, leading to head injuries, head broken or fractured bones, or even death.
Bedsores are extremely common in long-term care facilities, especially among residents with limited mobility who remain in the same position for long periods. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandates daily checks of residents’ skin condition. Although bedsores can usually be prevented with adequate sanitation and body repositioning up to ten percent of residents in nursing homes may have bedsores at any given time.
What causes nursing home abuse?
Working in a nursing home is an extremely hard job. Nurses and staff are often underpaid and overworked, leading to high turnover. Because the work can be physically and emotionally challenging and low-paying, facilities cannot always retain the best workers.
All nursing home abuse is inexcusable. A facility’s failure to hire an adequate number of staff and train them properly sets a stage where abuse is more likely to occur, regardless of whether the staff are well-intentioned. Workers may be forced to take on others’ work when staff quit unexpectedly or a facility opts not to hire additional staff. They may grow impatient with the routines of slow-moving residents when trying to get through all of the things they’re expected to do in the day. In these cases, lashing out—either verbally or physically—may happen.
When residents are aggressive, staff must learn to resist their own reflexes. They have to restrain an impulse to hit back if hit, and learn to diffuse the resident’s anger. Residents with cognitive problems may be particularly volatile, and may also injure other residents. Although they may not be in control of their actions, the facility is responsible for making sure that no abuse occurs, whether between staff and residents or among residents.
Nursing homes are competitive businesses that are constantly monitoring their expenses. Staffing and training are often areas that get short-shrift when a budget is limited. But any quality nursing home must take steps to ensure that they are adequately staffed by trustworthy individuals, and that these individuals receive sufficient training.
My loved one was hurt in a Smyrna nursing home – What do I do next?
If your loved one was severely injured or passed away at a Smyrna, 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 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
You may decide to file a police report if your loved one was harmed in a nursing home. The facility may have criminal charges brought against them if found guilty of abuse or neglect. This process is facilitated through the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.
City of Smyrna Police Department
2646 Atlanta Road SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
Telephone: (770) 434-9481
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
Police, Sheriff, & DA Information here
Find another facility for your loved one.
If you learn that your loved one has been harmed by a care facility, you’ll need to find a better option for them. Do some research to determine which nursing homes are close to you, which have good resident reviews, and which take Medicare and Medicaid. Browse the website created by the US Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS), which ranks every federally funded facility in the United States on a five-star scale. Characteristics such as staff quality and inspection scores are ranked.
For your convenience, a list of all nursing homes located within Smyrna, Georgia is located below, along with their contact information and inspection scores.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
To provide proof that a facility was responsible for your loved one’s injuries, you will need to attain the proper authorization to acquire their full medical records. This authorization may take the form of guardianship, power of attorney, or a healthcare directive. You may need to attain records from the nursing home as well as any other medical facilities the resident visited.
If your loved one was abused or neglected at a nursing home in Smyrna, Georgia, he or she was likely treated was likely treated at an area hospital. You can contact the medical records request department for hospitals in the Evans area using the following information:
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
When a wrongful death occurs in a nursing home environment, the resident’s legal affairs must be handled by another person, usually a close relative. This representative can file a petition with the probate court of the county to create an estate for legal matters. Generally, before a lawsuit may be filed, the estate must be authorized.
If you are appointed as the executor or administrator of the estate of someone who has passed away in Smyrna you will handle all 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 Smyrna, Georgia
When you’ve found the facilities that top your list, schedule a visit to each of them. Be sure that they appear to live up to their online reviews and ratings. Try to get a feeling for the place by chatting with the staff, nurses, and residents, if possible. If you schedule your visit with enough notice, you may be able to get a tour of the facility that will help you decide whether your loved one will be happy there. There are not many nursing homes in Smyrna, so you may want to also consider nearby facilities in Kennesaw, Powder Springs, and Mableton.
404 King Springs Village Parkway
Smyrna, GA 30082
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 (Average)
Number of Beds: 120
Number of Residents: 104
RN hours per resident per day: 23min (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: 06-16-2017
Number of Health Citations: 12
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:
Why Choose Schenk Smith as your Nursing Home Lawyers?
- We Know Nursing Home Law: Prior to becoming a lawyer, Will Smith founded the firm after a decade of experience as a CNA in Georgia nursing homes. Therefore, he has personal experience that other firms simply can’t match. We focus exclusively on cases of nursing home neglect and abuse, so you know we will bring exceptional knowledge and experience to your case.
- Passion: In addition to fighting abuse and neglect cases in the courtroom, we fight them through education. Our Nursing Home Abuse video podcast covers up-to-the-moment issues related to long term care. We have been recognized with “Rising Stars” designation by the Super Lawyers legal recognition program.
- Client Acclaim. Our clients appreciate our personal approach and accessibility. Our Google reviews are the best of any law firm focusing on nursing home abuse and neglect in the state of Georgia. Read our client reviews
If your loved one was injured or died in a Smyrna, 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.