If you suspect neglect or abuse has occurred against your loved one at a St.Marys nursing home, know that we’re here for you. Our website has been designed with countless videos, podcast episodes, and a blog to help you find the answers you’re looking for. After you’ve checked out our website, we encourage you to give us a call so that we can discuss your case. We’re here to help you.
Neglect and abuse are quite common in nursing homes. Neglect often occurs when the nursing home fails to meet reasonable standards. Neglect is usually unintentional, but can ultimately lead to severe injuries. Abuse on the other hand, is an intentional act which was done with the intent to harm. This can come from a nursing home staff member or another resident. Just because neglect and abuse occur frequently, doesn’t mean it should be tolerated.
Should I file a lawsuit on behalf of my loved one?
If your loved one has suffered some form of neglect or abuse, and is unable to defend themselves, then it is within your right to pursue legal action. If you’ve found yourself in this predicament, we highly advise you to contact an attorney in order to see what legal options you can take.
Both neglect and abuse often too frequently in nursing homes. Both can lead to bruises, broken bones, cuts, and even sometimes death. Nursing homes are supposed to set forth a reasonable standard of care and safety for patients. This includes making sure safety hazards are eliminated, and that each and every nurse is trained to provide adequate care, even if a resident has an individualized set standard of care provided by their physician.
It is also the nursing home’s responsibility to make sure that there is never any resident on resident abuse. If a resident begins to abuse or harm another resident, the liability may fall on the nursing home. That’s why nurses in nursing homes are supposed to maintain a round the clock supervision schedule to make sure that each resident is properly taken care of, and assisted.
Can criminal charges be brought against the nursing home?
If a nursing home is culpably negligent, or has conducted some form of abuse against a resident, then criminal charges can be brought against the nursing home. At times there is a criminal component in a case that is usually handled by law enforcement and prosecuting agencies.
If a nursing home staff member has been committed of a crime, and there is sufficient amount of evidence, then criminal charges may be brought against the nursing home. Depending on the circumstances, it is likely that in the event of abuse, criminal charges may be filed by the state or county prosecutor. In a criminal case, the prosecution represent the state, which means, rather than representing the victim. If this occurs the victim will probably need to testify in court against the nursing home. Depending on the severity of the case, a nursing home can receive a fine and sometimes can even be shut down, while the perpetrator may receive fines and even prison time.
We are Schenk Smith, your St. Marys nursing home lawyers.
At Schenk Smith we are 100% committed towards cases in which neglect or abuse has occurred at a nursing home. We do not practice any other form of law, nor represent any other defendants. We focus solely on the individuals that have suffered from some type of neglect or abuse.
We’re extremely passionate about what we do. This passion stems from our founding attorney Will Smith, who prior to law school served a CNA for several nursing homes within the state of Georgia. That passion resonates throughout our firm, which is why we only select cases against nursing homes.
When you visit our site you will notice that we have over 200 videos, podcast episodes, and a blog which can provide answers to your questions. After you’ve checked it out, please give us a call so that we can schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We’ll go to you, regardless of where you reside. It doesn’t matter if you’re by the Submarine Museum, The Cumberland Island National Seashore, or the Crooked River State Park, we’ve got you.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in St. Marys, Georgia – What you need to know.
St. Marys, Georgia is located in Camden County. The city has a population of 17,121 residents. Of those residents, 5.20% are aged 65 and older. As with other nursing homes in other parts of Georgia, neglect and abuse occur on a too often basis.
What are some of the symptoms of nursing home neglect?
There are some visible signs which can show that neglect has taken place. These include:
- Unsafe Living Conditions
- Unsanitary Living Conditions
- Unexplained Injuries
- Changes in Behavior
- Poor Hygiene
The most obvious sign of neglect will come in the form of poor hygiene. This is because nurses in nursing homes are supposed to aid residents with basic day to day functions. These include:
- Brushing Teeth
- Brushing Hair
- Clipping Nails
- Changing Clothes
When any of these day to day functions falter, poor hygiene is always the result. Malnutrition is another serious offense. A lack of nutrition, or failure to follow proper nutritional guidelines set forth by a resident’s physician can lead to serious health issues and even death. Changes in behavior is also another sign of neglect. Usually when a resident tries to isolate themselves, it stems from depression or anger. This can be due to a lack of proper care.
What bodily injuries happen most often?
The most common forms of bodily injuries are:
- Broken Bones
These can be the result of either negligence or abuse taking place. When negligence occurs and a bodily injury is the result, it usually means that the nursing home was either careless or is simply not trained properly. Even though negligence is unintentional, it still can cause some type of injury.
When abuse occurs, it is usually the result of an intentional act done with the intentions to create harm. This can either come from a nursing home staff, or a fellow resident. To treat elderly patients, staff members need to exude a ton of patience. If they are not properly trained, their frustrations can get the best of them, and lead them to commit some type of physical or emotional abuse.
What are the causes of nursing home neglect?
Nursing home neglect usually stems from a nurse not following the proper procedures set forth by the nursing home. Every nursing home is mandated by law to provide a reasonable standard of care to each and every resident.
When the nursing home fails to train their staff, or fails to hire the right staff, negligence will usually occur. Not every nurse is qualified to work in a nursing home. Nurses in a nursing home are responsible to monitor and aid residents with all of their day to day activities, especially those that require some type of specialized treatment. Failure to do so often leads to negligence.
Not only is the staff responsible for making sure that each resident is attended to, they are also responsible to make sure that the living quarters are safe and free of hazards. If the staff fails to clear a living room of debris, and a resident trips and falls over the debris, then the nursing home will be held liable for negligence.
My loved one was hurt in a St.Marys nursing home – What do I do next?
If your loved one was hurt or has passed away in a St.Marys, Georgia nursing home, we recommend that you act immediately in order to protect their rights.
First, report the incident to the appropriate Georgia authorities.
Georgia Department of Community Health
The Georgia Department of Community Health has a division known as The Healthcare Facility Regulation. This division investigates residents claims of neglect and abuse against nursing homes. This same division also regulates and certifies nursing homes in the state of 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
Another option to file a complaint is through the Georgia Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The Ombudsman program is dedicated towards helping residents resolve their complaints and issues against nursing homes. The Ombudsman are also authorized by law to enter 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:
335 W. Society Ave.
Albany, GA 31701
Telephone: (229) 432-1124
Fax: (229) 446-7899
You may report physical assault or abuse to local law enforcement
If an assault has occurred against your loved one, then it is in your best interest to file a police report immediately. Depending on the severity of the crime, criminal charges may be brought against the staff by the District Attorney’s Office: Brunswick Judicial District.
Police Department of St. Marys, Georgia
563 Point Peter Rd.
St. Marys, GA 31558
Telephone: (912) 882-4488
Camden County Sheriff’s Office
209 E 4th ST
Woodbine, GA 31569
Telephone: (912) 510-5100
Camden County District Attorney’s Office
210 E 4th ST
Woodbine, GA 31569
Telephone: (912) 576-3704
Find another facility for your loved one.
If neglect or abuse has occurred against your loved one, it is in your best interest to find a different facility. You may be asking yourself, “How will I know that neglect and abuse won’t happen at a different nursing home?” The best way to answer this is by first scheduling a walkthrough of the facility you’re looking at. During the walkthrough, it is in your best interest to conduct a ‘smell test’ and ask as many questions as you can. Another tool that you can use if the Nursing Home Compare website which is operated by the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This site compiles data on every nursing home in the country, while providing a rating for each. The ratings are determined by a bunch of factors including the nurse-to-resident ratio, and inspection scores.
For your convenience, a list of all nursing homes located within St. Marys, Georgia is located below, along with their contact information and inspection scores.
Get the medical records from the hospital and the nursing home.
Medical records are vital when trying to uncover is negligence or abuse has taken place at your loved one’s nursing home. It is critical to see what the cause of the injury was. The reason is because nursing homes will usually always try to advert any responsibility. They will stop at nothing to place the blame on the resident, rather than accepting responsibility. If your loved one suffers a broken collar bone from a slip and fall, the nursing home will try to claim that the collar bone was already broken before the fall occurred.
In order to build your loved one’s case against the nursing home, you will need access to their medical records. The medical records will show who the primary care physician was, information on the hospital visits, and you’ll need to obtain the medical records from the nursing home itself. The nursing home records sometimes are the most important because those may show clear signs of negligence.
In order to obtain those records, you will first need the proper written authorizations. State and Federal privacy laws restrict third-parties from viewing people’s medical records, regardless if you happen to be a spouse, a child, or a sibling. The written authorization you’ll need, will usually come in the form of a power of attorney, a healthcare directive, or guardianship paperwork.
If your loved one has suffered injuries at a St. Marys nursing home, then those medical records will likely be at one of the hospitals listed below. After obtaining the proper written authorization, you will need to make a request to the Release of Information Department of the hospital. Below is the contact information for these departments.
- Southeast Georgia Health System – Camden Campus: (912) 576-6200
- UF Health Multispecialty Center – St. Mary’s: (912) 729-6821
Begin the probate process if your loved one has passed away.
If your loved one has passed away, their right to sue is still valid. But the deceased person’s right to recover will be handed over to the Estate. For example, the plaintiff of the lawsuit will go from being “Dan Henderson” to “The Estate of Dan Henderson”. Before the lawsuit can be filed, the Estate will first need to be established. To create the Estate, the surviving spouse or relative will need to petition the Probate Court of the County in which the deceased has passed.
If your loved one has recently passed, and you’ve found yourself in this situation, it is imperative that you setup an Estate immediately. In doing so, you will also need to appoint a representative. This representative – often referred to as an Executor or Administrator – will act on behalf of the Estate, and will make all the decisions with regards to the lawsuit.
Camden County Probate Court
200 E 4th ST
Woodbine, GA 31569
Nursing Homes in St. Marys, Georgia
No two nursing homes are alike. Each have their own differences and benefits. Here is a list of the nursing home located in St. Marys, Georgia, along with pertinent information. This information is taken from CMS’ Nursing Home Compare Website.
805 Dilworth Street
Saint Marys, GA 31558
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 (Below Average)
Number of Beds: 78
Number of Residents: 63
RN hours per resident per day: 23min (GA Avg: 34min)
Health Inspection Rating: 1 out of 5 (Much Below Average)
Staff Rating: 4 out of 5 (Above Average)
Quality Measure Rating: 4 out of 5 (Above Average)
Most Recent Health Inspection Date: 01-05-2018
Number of Health Citations: 0
Average Number of Health Citations in Georgia: 3.2
Number of Complaints in previous 3 years resulting in citation: 1
Federal fines in previous 3 years: 0
Why Choose Schenk Smith as your Nursing Home Lawyers?
When you begin to search for an attorney to represent you and your family, you will come across a ton of options. Even though you have plenty of options, we would like for you to consider us your number one choice. Here are a couple of reasons why we think we’d be a good fit:
- Dedication: Our practice focuses solely on nursing home abuse and neglect, that’s it. Our singular focus approach makes us highly knowledgeable of any changes in the law that pertain to nursing homes. Not only are our efforts top notch, but they are all geared towards nursing home cases.
- Highly Reviewed: Our attorneys have been selected as Georgia Super Lawyer Rising Stars. This means that our dedicated efforts towards nursing home cases are top notch. If that’s not good enough for you, then know that Google has us rated as the top Georgia law firm that focuses on nursing home cases.
- Personalized Approach: Our clients will deal almost exclusively with an attorney, rather than dealing with a case manager. All of our clients have their attorney’s personal cell phone number. On top of that, we are selective with the cases we tackle, so we are fully prepared to see your case all the way through trial.
If your loved one was injured or died in a St. Marys, 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.