Georgia Nursing Home Abuse: Selecting a Safe Nursing Home

September 21, 2010

A recent $677 million jury verdict against a major California provider of nursing home services highlights the degree and scope of nursing home abuse. It is believed that this is the largest verdict in the country this year. One recent study found that 44% of residents of nursing homes report being a victim of some form of abuse.

Perhaps more alarming, in one study 40% of nursing home staff admitted to committing some form of abuse on at least one occasion over the previous 12 month period. The widespread epidemic of nursing home abuse and neglect is only going to grow as the median age of our population continues to increase and people live longer.

At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been working with elderly victims and their families in Atlanta and throughout Georgia for over 35 years. We know the devastating emotional and physical toll of nursing home abuse and neglect and understand the need for compassionate and committed advocates.

The attorneys and staff at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, know that prevention of nursing home abuse is a preferable option to seeking compensation once someone you love has been victimized. The choice of a nursing home can go a long way to reduce the risk of someone you love being neglected or abused. The first task in selecting a care facility is to assess the level of care that your loved one needs. Available facilities range in levels of care and independence including the following:

  • Independent Living: This type of facility is designed for a person that can still generally take care of one's own needs but should have someone to check on them occasionally. This type of care entails the residents living in individual apartment units and offers organized social activities and entertainment options.
  • Assisted Living: This type of facility offers slightly more assistance but still allows residents a high degree of independence. The residents still live in an individual apartment unit but may receive daily assistance. The facility may offer apartment cleaning and meal services.
  • Adult Day Care: This arrangement is appropriate when a person is going to live at home but still needs assistance. The recipient goes to a facility for a period of time during the day and may receive meal service or other assistance while the person's regular in-home caregiver's (often a family member) time is freed up to engage in other tasks.
  • Skilled Nursing Facility: This is the type of 24 hour care that many associate with the traditional notion of a nursing home. These facilities provide medical care and round the clock assistance. This type of facility must be licensed by the government and meet specific requirements and standards to continue operation.

Once you have selected the appropriate level of care, the next step is to evaluate individual facilities. A good starting place is to ask for recommendations from people you know. This may allow you to get candid feedback from people you trust that have first hand experience with a facility. Another option is to use one of the many websites online that provide details and ratings for facilities. For skilled nursing facilities that are licensed by state and federal requirements, there will be records regarding such nursing home facility's licenses and inspections. The Medicare website provides a lot of detailed information about such facilities along with a record of inspections, violations and 5-star rating system.

In addition to the steps above, you should make multiple visits to the nursing home facility. You will have a chance to determine if the facility and residents are clean and sanitary. It may also be helpful to observe the demeanor and mood of the residents and whether they are engaged and active or relegated to being alone and isolated in their rooms. A personal inspection will also permit you to determine if what you are told by administrators in terms of staff to residence ratio is actually reflected on the floor of the facility. At least one of your visits should be unannounced so that you can observe the staff and facility when no preparation for your visit has occurred.

When you interview an administrator at a nursing home, you should inquire about whether and what kind of background checks are conducted on potential employees. You should also ask about the background, experience, and training of employees and administrators, as lack of training and supervision is a frequent cause of nursing home neglect. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, our Georgia nursing home abuse attorneys know that despite the utmost diligence in selecting a nursing home there is no way to guarantee that your loved one will not be victimized. We believe these steps can help reduce the risk of abuse or neglect of your loved one, which is always preferable to needing to seek compensation after your loved one has already been neglected or abused.

If you or your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect despite these precautions, the caring and compassionate team at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, will help you and your family seek the compensation and care necessary to move forward. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has helped those who suffer nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse in the Atlanta area and throughout Georgia for over 35 years including the cities of Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller and rural towns in the area. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will travel to meet with you.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.