If you suspect a loved one is suffering abuse in their nursing home, you have a right to move them to another facility. You’ll also want to report the abuse, and you might have a legal case against the original nursing home.
If health insurance covers the nursing home, you might have problems moving in everyday situations. However, abuse and neglect are not “normal” conditions. For example, Medicare provides a few reasons why residents might need a transfer, including for the resident’s “welfare, health, or safety.”
Moving to a New Nursing Home Because of Abuse
Under federal law, nursing home residents have the right to:
- Freedom from discrimination
- Freedom from abuse or neglect
- Dignity and respect
- Privacy and setting their schedule
- Freedom from restraints
- Manage their money (or assign someone to manage their money) as they choose
- Make complaints about services or staff
Lack of any of the above is a sign of abuse or neglect. Family members who are worried about abuse should voice their concerns. If the problems cannot be resolved, that’s reason enough to move the loved one to a new nursing home.
Some facilities will require 30- or 60-day notice before moving a resident, so start the process now to avoid a long waiting period. If the nursing home is hesitant about allowing a transfer, speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer for help.
Reporting Suspected Abuse
If your loved one might be in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. You’ll need to notify the police and make sure your loved one is safe.
If you suspect abuse but aren’t sure, talk to the care team at the nursing home. They should investigate and address your concerns, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
You can talk to a nursing home supervisor, a doctor, or a social worker. According to the Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services, these people are “mandatory reporters” who must make a report when they have reason to suspect abuse.
In Georgia, loved ones can report known abuse or neglect to:
- Adult Protective Services (APS) to report abuse of an elderly adult
- The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) to file a complaint about the facility
- The Long-Term Care Ombudsman that investigates long-term care complaints
After reporting the abuse, call a nursing home abuse lawyer to learn your legal options. You might have a personal injury claim against the facility for the harm the facility did.
Moving a Loved One
When you bring your concerns to the care team, they should help you know your moving options. But if you don’t get the help you need, your attorney can determine your rights. If there are legal barriers to moving your loved one, your lawyer will identify what you need to do.
Keep in mind all financial and insurance-related details when planning a move. If you plan to move a loved one across state lines, check with their insurance company to ensure the new location is covered.
Moving to a new nursing home can be damaging to a resident who isn’t suffering from abuse. If you’re not sure, speak with the care team and contact a lawyer who can investigate further. Overall, the loved one’s well-being is the number one priority.
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At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping injury victims and their families for over 20 years. We understand the laws surrounding nursing home care and abuse. We can help you build a case to seek compensation for what your loved one suffered.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll answer any questions you have, and we don’t charge anything unless we win your case.
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How to Spot Abusive Behavior in a Nursing Home
Some family members will suspect abuse but question the facts. Here are some signs of abusive or neglectful behavior.
Family members might notice physical signs of abuse on a loved one.
Signs of physical abuse include:
- Unexplainable cuts or bruises
- Broken bones
- Signs of restraint or other physical punishment
- Broken eyeglasses or other possessions
Physical abuse can mean hitting, slapping, restraining the resident, or causing bodily harm in any way.
Psychological abuse might be harder to spot. Nursing home staff might cause fear or stress without any physical injuries.
Signs of emotional abuse include:
- No longer doing enjoyable activities
- Becoming emotionally withdrawn
- Having fear about returning home
- Rocking back and forth
Family members might notice a change in the loved one’s personality or demeanor. If the loved one seems distant from family members, that can also be a sign of emotional manipulation.
Older adults need regular care and attention. Many are in nursing homes because they have special needs. If a caregiver does not provide for those needs, it’s a sign of neglect.
Neglect can include:
- Withholding food or water
- Not receiving medications (or being over-medicated)
- Having soiled or dirty clothes or bedding
- Lacks proper medical aide or assistive devices, such as canes or walkers
Neglect is a type of abuse. If a facility neglects a resident, the business should be held accountable.
Some elderly adults suffer from financial exploitation. A staff member might steal from a resident in many ways.
Signs of financial abuse include:
- Forged checks
- Missing money or strange bank withdrawals
- Changing names on a will
- Unpaid rent or other bills
Sexual abuse occurs when a caregiver forces a resident to engage in or watch sexual acts. The act happens without the resident’s consent or through manipulation.
Signs of sexual abuse can include:
- Bruises or other marks around private areas
- Becoming more emotional or withdrawn
- Flinching from physical touch
- Showing fear towards staff members
Loved one must watch for the signs of abuse. If someone suspects wrongdoing, it’s important to keep the loved one safe. Abuse or neglect is more than enough reason to move a loved one to a better location.
Starting the process is overwhelming for many family members. At John Foy & Associates, we can make it easier. We’ll determine if you have a case and handle the legal details for you.
We have 20-plus years of experience, and we’re not afraid to fight for our clients. If the other side tries to deny your claim, we’ll be ready to handle it. We also do not collect a fee unless we win you compensation.
Speak with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online at any time.