Millions of elderly and vulnerable adults suffering from chronic conditions, trauma or illness depend on long-term care because they cannot take care of themselves. In the U.S., roughly 1.5 million people reside in nursing homes - more than half are 85 years or older.
In Georgia, 10 percent of citizens are 65 years or older with the number of elderly who are 85 years old or more set to double by 2030.
Senior care facilities are already straining to adequately provide residents with quality care and many nursing home staff report long hours and lack of training or support. With the baby boomer generation currently around 54 to 72 years of age, more and more Georgians will end up needing to be temporarily or permanently housed in nursing home or long-term care facilities in the years to come.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rate nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds. They rate each facility based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures, awarding between one and five stars, with five indicating higher-than-average quality care and one indicating lower-than-average quality care.
Nursing homes with inadequate staffing, for-profit business models, and residents from low-income backgrounds or poverty are more likely to be marked with a one-star rating.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
- Out of the 50 states, Georgia ranks among the worst overall - 46 percent of nursing homes earned just one or two stars out of five in 2015.
- Nearly 70 percent of Georgia nursing homes are for-profit (studies show that non-profit nursing homes typically deliver better care).
- Georgia nursing home residents also experience higher than average incidents of bedsores and skin infections and diseases which require special treatment.
Common elder abuse cases involve falls, bedsores, choking, medication errors, abuse/neglect, malnutrition/dehydration, and failure to treat and transfer.
Georgia requires nursing homes to exercise "reasonable care and skill" when caring for each resident (OCGA § 31-8-108). The general standard of care is based on the care, skill, and diligence normally provided to family and friends at home and in the community.
What to Do If a Loved One is Abused or Neglected
Elder abuse is severely underreported. Nearly half of residents report being abused and 95 percent claim to have been neglected or seen another resident being neglected.
This is supported by an anonymous survey conducted where half of nursing home staff admitted they had abused or neglected a patient within the past year!
The signs can be obvious (bruises, bedsores, verbal assertions they are being abused) or they can be subtle (weight loss, personality changes, unexplained falls).
If you suspect your loved is being abused or abuse or neglect led to their wrongful death, contact Georgia's Healthcare Facility Regulation.
Then contact us to discuss your rights and the rights of your loved one so we can begin steps to investigate the nursing home immediately and hold the responsible parties accountable.