Nursing home abuse is on the rise in Georgia. As AJC.com reports, the Georgia Counsel on Aging indicates that there has been a 65 percent increase in reported nursing home abuse between 2008 and 2012. The problem is likely to only grow worse as the population ages. By 2050, as many as 20 percent of the total U.S. population will be 65 and up. Many of these seniors are going to be cared for by low-paid and untrained workers in nursing home facilities that are overcrowded and understaffed.
Lawmakers in Georgia are trying to address the problem and provide more protections for seniors in nursing home facilities. Northwest Georgia News reported on GA House Bill 72, which is designed to tighten elder abuse laws, close loopholes in existing regulation, and boost the tools that law enforcement officers have to fight elder abuse crimes. If this bill passes, it could make a significant difference in how patients are treated and in what happens when nursing homes fail in their duties.
Nursing home residents need to be aware that facilities can be held civilly, as well as criminally responsible when abuse occurs. Victims of abuse should consult with an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer for help pursuing a claim for compensation if they suffer harm.
New Georgia Elder Abuse Laws Could Protect Nursing Home Residents
Georgia Bill 72 would add greater protection against financial exploitation of seniors, and would make it possible for cases alleging elder abuse to be brought to trial in a more timely manner. A RICO provision would also be added in order for prosecutors to better target individuals and organizations who are part of an organized scheme to prey on the elderly. These changes are important and could make a significant difference in the safety of residents living throughout Georgia's nursing care facilities.
Georgia has approximately 1,800 licensed personal care homes. These facilities provide varying degrees of medical assistance and personal care service, as well as food and lodging. There are also unlicensed facilities that operate care centers without complying with state regulations. The number of complaints about unlicensed facilities in Georgia increased from 253 over the course of 2013 to 293 over the course of 2014. Those in unlicensed facilities may be at the greatest risk of harm because those running the facilities do not comply with the rules. Frequently, facility operators even move residents to different locations to avoid being caught.
Those who are looking for a nursing home for themselves or other family members need to be sure the facility is properly licensed and does not have a lengthy history of complaints. If abuse does occur, residents and their family members need to take action to protect their legal rights.
The Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Van Sant Law, LLC have extensive experience in nursing home cases. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation if you believe you or a loved one is a victim of Georgia nursing home abuse.