Elder abuse and neglect has become a growing problem in this country. Unfortunately, this problem will continue to escalate as the population continues to live longer. However, the overall number of elderly who are abused or neglected is unknown. Most incidents are unreported, because many are afraid or unable to report it happening.
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 out of every 10 people ages 60 and older who live at home have been abused. Elder abuse is defined as either neglect or exploitation.
I would like to focus on abuse and neglect of the elderly in nursing home facilities or other long-term care facilities, as well as inform people of their rights.
Definition of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Both nursing home neglect and abuse are similar in several ways. However, they are not the exactly alike. Nursing home abuse indicates an intent to cause harm to the person. Neglect involves violation of one’s duty or care, which results in the person being harmed.
Understanding Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
There are different forms of abuse; however, it may be difficult to identify in a nursing home or other facility. Physical abuse such as marks on the body or broken bones can be seen on the outside of a person. However, physical abuse is not the only form of abuse. Other common forms include sexual abuse, mental/emotional abuse and financial abuse. Each of these forms can seriously damage an elderly person and cause great harm.
According to the Nursing Home Guide website, there are four basic types of nursing home neglect.
- Emotional or social neglect – When a person does not have any contact with others, which means they are basically left alone for a long period of time or shouted at by a staff member who is overstressed.
- Personal hygiene neglect – When a person does not receive adequate assistance to help take care of their laundry, bathing, cleaning, brushing their teeth and other personal hygiene needs.
- Basic needs neglect – When a person does not receive enough water of food and the environment is not clean.
- Medical neglect – When a person does not receive adequate attention, prevention or medication for their medical concerns. This includes lack of care for bed sores, infections, cuts, diabetes, cognitive diseases and mobility concerns.
Identifying neglect or abuse can be difficult, unless the family or representative is close to the person in the facility. Many times an elderly person are unable to communicate what is happening.
Signs of Neglect or Abuse
Here are a few signs may indicate neglect or abuse.
- Weight loss/Malnutrition/Dehydration
- Changes in behavior, appearance or personal hygiene
Georgia Rights and Filing a Complaint
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, Georgia laws regarding nursing home abuse are oftentimes stricter than the Federal regulations. Each person in a Georgia nursing home has the right to have a clean, comfortable and safe place to live plus more. If a nursing home violates these rights, then they could face a lawsuit and possibly loss of certification.
When a person’s rights have been violated while living in a nursing home, then someone needs to file an official complaint. Retaining an attorney’s services to file the complaint on the family’s behalf is the best way to handle the situation. If the complaint is not resolved then a complaint should be filed with the state ombudsman, who handles these types of complaints. If the issues or problems are not resolved then a hearing will be held. The nursing home will then have 72 hours to comply to the hearings resolutions.
If you or a loved one rights have been violated due to nursing home abuse or neglect then contact a lawyer today. A lawyer can assist with filing a complaint and making sure your or your loved one’s rights are upheld.