A skilled attorney can answer various questions like, “How do I report a nursing home in Atlanta?” Contact the Law Office of Paul Black for answers and info.
Author: Paul Black
Paul’s experience as the son of two parents with big health challenges is what led him to the work he does today and gives him first-hand knowledge of the challenges that many caregivers and family members face. After graduation from GSU Law, Paul was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide as one of three 2010-2011 Borchard Foundation Law & Aging Fellows. Paul has been named as a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. Published on: January 19, 2023.
How Do I File a Complaint Against a Nursing Home in Atlanta?
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Our older parents and loved ones deserve to live the rest of their lives surrounded by lots of love and optimum care. Nevertheless, due to their busy schedules, many people need help taking care of their aging family members. As an alternative, they often seek out nursing homes to care for them and fill the gap as much as possible.
But what do you do when you discover that the nursing home or caregiver you have carefully selected is failing in their duties either by offering substandard care or neglecting or abusing residents? In that case, you might need to file a formal complaint to the regulatory authority for nursing homes in your state. They can investigate the issue and sanction the guilty establishment where necessary.
Read on to learn more about how to report nursing home abuse in Atlanta, GA, and how an attorney might help in such circumstances.
When to File a Complaint Against a Nursing Home
Generally, you can file a complaint against an adult care facility once they fail to fulfill their obligations toward a resident. But the most common reasons for complaints against nursing homes are neglect and abuse include the following:
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect encompasses all situations where the nursing home and caregivers fail to meet the nursing home resident’s needs. Nursing home neglect can manifest in several ways, including the following.
Slow Response to Needs
Slow response is a common complaint within many nursing homes. Sometimes, due to understaffing, the caregivers, physicians, and staff members’ responses to residents may be delayed. A slow response can take various forms, such as delays in responding to call buttons or leaving residents for an extended time in their beds or wheelchairs while they await care provision.
Slow response to needs can cause residents to suffer health complications. If nursing home residents are left unattended for long hours, they can soil themselves or fall when they try to move without aid. You can immediately report any slow-response incident to the facility administration, especially if the resident is in constant danger and requires frequent attention.
Inadequate Personal Hygiene
A nursing home has to ensure that its residents, especially those with limited mobility, maintain adequate personal hygiene.
Different health issues could arise when a nursing home member isn’t given enough assistance with hygienic activities, including bathing and brushing their teeth. So if the care facility fails to provide or facilitate good personal hygiene, they could be liable for neglect.
Emotional neglect occurs when a nursing home patient is isolated, disregarded, left alone for an extended amount of time, or treated in any other way that affects their dignity as humans.
Unfulfilled Basic Needs
Humans, especially senior citizens, require a clean environment, food and water, suitable conditioning systems, and appropriate attire to survive. When a nursing home willfully fails to meet these essential needs, it amounts to neglect.
Insufficient Medical Care
This is usually common among elderly persons who require frequent medical attention. In such cases, the nursing home would need to provide adequate medical care for their ailments or face charges of neglect.
Poor Quality Food
Meals provided in nursing homes should incorporate proper nutrition and appropriate dietary needs. Some nursing homes may cut meal choices or offer little variety of meal types to reduce their expenses and increase their profits. If a nursing home fails to offer appropriate meals to the residents, that could also be neglect.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can occur in various forms, including:
- Physical abuse: This could include pushing, burning, slapping, punching, or other actions that can inflict physical pain on the nursing home resident.
- Sexual abuse: This involves any form of sexual contact between the patient and a caregiver.
- Psychological abuse: This could occur in both verbal and non-verbal forms. Through intimidation and isolation, psychological abuse inflicts mental distress and fear on the targeted resident(s), which adversely affects their quality of life.
There may be other kinds of incidents that could amount to neglect or elder abuse. The important thing is to take note of the act in question and how it affects your loved one so you can put a stop to it.
How to File a Complaint Against a Nursing Home in Atlanta, GA
Once you observe or suspect resident abuse, neglect, or low quality of care against a senior citizen, you’ll need to quickly assess whether the person is in immediate danger. In that case, you’ll need to call 911 immediately to report the case and get immediate intervention.
Otherwise, you can report abuse by filing a complaint at the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services. You can call the department on the phone at the toll-free number 1-866-55AGING (+1 866-552-4464) from Monday to Friday, between 8 AM to 5 PM. You can also file a complaint online.
You can also file a complaint against a nursing home at the Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation Division (HFRD). The HFRD is the regulatory body in charge of Georgia nursing homes. It is mandated to undertake healthcare planning, licensing, (re)certification, and oversight of various healthcare facilities in Georgia. The agency investigates and follows up on complaints filed against nursing homes and can sanction a nursing home that is found liable for substandard service delivery.
You can file a complaint to the HFRD by completing the online complaint form here. You’ll need to provide details of your
The resident on whose behalf you’re making the report
The nursing home
The nature of the complaint.
You can also call or fax the division at +1-800-878-6442 and +1-404-657-8935, respectively.
Remember to document your observations and the patient’s report as much as possible before filing a complaint. Where possible, take pictures as evidence to establish your complaints.
The health and comfort of elders are paramount so while you’re busy with the complaint process, consider removing them from the nursing home and making better personal home care arrangements for them. They might fare better there since the nursing home arrangement didn’t work out.
How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help
If you need to report a nursing home for elder abuse or neglect and are unsure how to proceed, you can contact an experienced elder law attorney for help.
Your attorney can help you follow through on the administrative complaint process with the Georgia state departments and explore all the legal pathways to help you get justice for your loved one, including filing a case in court where necessary.
If you have further questions about selecting nursing homes or filing elder abuse reports, contact us at The Law Office of Paul Black. Let us help you as you seek dignified care for your elderly family members.