Old age is supposed to be a time for seniors to enjoy the good life, but unfortunately for many elderly individuals, there comes a time when they can no longer live on their own and must turn to nursing homes or caregivers to provide care. These vulnerable seniors deserve to receive professional care from nursing homes and caregivers and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, this is often not the case as the National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that somewhere between one and two million seniors 65 and older are subject to abuse in the United States.
If you have elderly family members or friends who require care in a nursing home or who are cared for by an in-home caregiver, it is important to understand that nursing home abuse is a very real problem. It is also important to be aware that many seniors are unable to speak out about the abuse they endure either due to fear or simply because they suffer from cognitive or other impairments and thus no longer have the ability to stand up for themselves.
Since so many seniors cannot protect themselves from abuse, it is important for everyone to be alert for signs of abuse or neglect and to take action if they have any reasonable suspicion of abuse. Preventing nursing home abuse involves being informed and taking action to punish abusers, including both criminal action and filing civil suits against negligent or abusive nursing homes with the help of an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney.
The National Center on Elder Abuse provides several tips for those who wish to take action to prevent elder abuse. Their suggestions include the following abuse-prevention steps:
- Report suspected mistreatment and continue to speak out if you believe abuse is continuing or becoming worse. Abuse can be reported to local law enforcement or to adult protective services agencies. In Georgia, a complaint can be filed online on the website of the Georgia Department of Community Health or via phone by calling 404-657-5250 (for abuse in the home); 800-878-6442 (abuse in a nursing home); or 404-657-5728 (abuse in a nursing home in the Metro-Atlanta area)
- Keep in regular contact with older friends and relatives. By keeping in contact, you give seniors an outlet to tell you about the abuse. You can also watch for signs of abuse including bruises, unexplained changes in behavior, depression or anxiety
- Be watchful and aware of the fact that abuse is a problem. If you suspect that something is wrong or see any signs of abuse, it is always best to err on the side of caution
- Volunteer. By participating in local programs that provide support services for the elderly, you can be in a better position to help seniors throughout the Atlanta area to fight nursing home abuse.
You should also be careful when choosing a nursing home to determine if there have been complaints against the home for abuse or neglect. The Georgia Department of Community Health has a Find a Facility search tool that you can take advantage of to learn more about nursing homes in your area.
Getting Legal Help When Abuse is Suspected
A part of taking action to prevent abuse involves making nursing homes accountable when they allow or engage in abusive or neglectful behavior. Criminal sanctions and administrative fines and penalties are one way to hold nursing homes responsible and civil lawsuits are another.
Filing a lawsuit with the help of an Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney does more than just allow you to recover compensation for financial losses you or a loved one experiences as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. When an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer helps you to win your case and recover compensation, you literally make the nursing home pay for what they have done. You also send an important message that abuse and neglect don’t pay.
Do You Suspect Your Loved One Is Being Subjected To Nursing Home Abuse?
If you believe your loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse you should speak with an experienced
nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 855.GA.INJURY or
404.991.5950 to schedule your free consultation.