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Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing Home Negligence

When a family places a loved one in a nursing home or assisted-living center, there is a perfectly reasonable expectation that the facility will look out for the elderly resident’s best interests. All too often, however, issues relating to understaffing or negligent hiring lead to residents receiving inadequate care.

In some cases, the harm resulting from nursing home negligence involves residents suffering very serious injuries. When a nursing home resident is the victim of any abuse or neglect in Georgia, he or she may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other possible damages. Victims, however, only have a limited amount of time to file nursing home negligence claims.

Attorney for Nursing Home Negligence Injuries in Atlanta, GA

Have you or your loved one suffered serious injuries as the result of a Georgia nursing home or assisted-living facility’s negligence? You will want to quickly seek legal representation for help holding the negligent party accountable. Contact Marcus A. Roberts & Associates as soon as possible.

Marcus A. Roberts is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta who represents clients with severe injuries in DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County, Clayton County, and Fulton County. Call 404-577-4444 right now to have our attorney review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, no obligation consultation.

Overview of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Fulton County

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Types of Georgia Nursing Home Negligence

The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) defines elder abuse as “any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person.” The nonprofit organization states that the term is generally divided into the following categories:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Sexual abuse;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Psychological abuse;
  • Financial abuse; and
  • Neglect.

Nursing home negligence claims in Georgia may involve any one or possibly even all of these types of elder abuse. A 2001 report by the United States House of Representatives Minority Staff Special Investigations Division Committee on Government Reform found that 5,283 nursing homes—almost one out of every three U.S. nursing homes—were cited for an abuse violation in the two-year period from January 1, 1999, through January 1, 2001. “In over 1,600 of these nursing homes, the abuse violations were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury,” the report stated.

Common signs of possible nursing home abuse or neglect include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Bedsores (pressure ulcers);
  • Sepsis;
  • Unexplained bruises, bleeding, or fractures;
  • Medication errors;
  • Sudden changes to will or power of attorney; and
  • Newfound financial problems.

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Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Atlanta

Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR) is a division of the Department of Community Health (DCH) that is responsible for health care planning, licensing, certification and oversight of various health care facilities and services in Georgia. Chapter 111-8-56 of the Rules of Department of Community Health concerns nursing homes.

Under this chapter, a nursing home is defined as “a facility which admits patients on medical referral only and for whom arrangements have been made for continuous medical supervision; it maintains the services and facilities for skilled nursing care, rehabilitative nursing care, and has a satisfactory agreement with a physician and dentist who will be available for any medical and dental emergency and who will be responsible for the general medical and dental supervision of the home; it otherwise complies with these rules and regulations.”

Violations of regulations established under this chapter can constitute negligence per se, which is a legal doctrine under which an act can be considered negligent if it involves the violation of a statute enacted to protect people from injuries.

Georgia Code § 51-1-6 states, “When the law requires a person to perform an act for the benefit of another or to refrain from doing an act which may injure another, although no cause of action is given in express terms, the injured party may recover for the breach of such legal duty if he suffers damage thereby.”

Some of the important regulations established under Chapter 111-8-56 of the Rules of Department of Community Health include, but are not limited to the following:

  • There must be a governing body which assumes full legal responsibility for the overall conduct of the home, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.02(1);
  • Each nursing home must be under the supervision of a licensed nursing home administrator Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.03(1);
  • A registered nurse must be employed full time as director of nursing services, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.04(1);
  • There must be sufficient nursing staff on duty at all times to provide care for each patient according to his or her needs, a minimum of 2.0 hours of direct nursing care per patient in a 24- hour period must be provided, and
  • There must be not less than one registered nurse or licensed practical nurse employed for every seven total nursing personnel required Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.04(5);
  • Each patient must be under the continuing care of a physician who sees the patient at least once every 30 days following admission, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.05(3);
  • Meals, adequate as to quantity and quality, must be served in sufficient numbers with a maximum of five hours apart with no longer than 14 hours between the evening meal and breakfast, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.06(2);
  • Each home must provide services to assist all patients in dealing with social and related problems through one or more case-workers on the staff of the facility or through arrangements with an appropriate outside agency, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.07(1);
  • Each home must provide pharmaceutical services in full compliance with State and Federal laws and regulations, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.08;
  • Each home must have an adequate arrangement for medical and dental emergencies, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.10(3);
  • The home must provide all linens and blankets essential to the treatment and comfort of patients, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.12(2); and
  • All buildings and equipment must be maintained in such condition that no hazards to the life and safety of the patients exist, Department of Community Health Rule § 111-8-56-.13(1).

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Georgia Resources for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of At-Risk Adults in Georgia | Division of Aging Services — The Division of Aging Services supports the larger goals of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) by “assisting older individuals, at-risk adults, persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers to achieve safe, healthy, independent and self-reliant lives.” Visit this section of the Division of Aging Services website to learn more about types of elder abuse, warning signs, and helpful services. You can also learn how to report abuse of elder persons or adults with disabilities and find information about Adult Protective Services.

Atlanta Regional Commission Aging Division
40 Courtland St., NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 463-3333

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) — The NCEA is a program of the United States Administration on Aging that “provides the latest information regarding research, training, best practices, news and resources on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation to professionals and the public.” On this website, you can learn more about what the NCEA does, read about the program’s history, and access various statistics, data, and research. You can also view a calendar of upcoming events as well as NCEA publications covering a variety of topics.

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Marcus A. Roberts & Associates | Atlanta Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer

If you or your loved one sustained catastrophic injuries as the result of a Georgia nursing home or assisted-living facility’s negligence, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Marcus A. Roberts & Associates fights for individuals in communities throughout Cobb County, Gwinnett County, Clayton County, DeKalb County, and Fulton County.

Atlanta personal injury attorney Marcus A. Roberts will work tirelessly to achieve justice for you and your family. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call 404-577-4444 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.