Governor Nathan Deal recently signed into law SB 406, amending Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, and enacting the "Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program.” This act strengthens and standardizes the criminal background check process performed on potential employees of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Georgia.
Under SB 406, existing employees who do not meet new requirements must be terminated from their positions. There is, however, an appeals process for employees who are let go due to these new standards. Nursing homes and residential care facilities that fail to adhere to these standards may be subject to civil penalties including fines, though owners and managers who fail to terminate employees with unsatisfactory criminal backgrounds will not be held criminally liable under SB 406.
Attorneys Stephen Chance and Lance Lourie from Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance were involved in the creation of this bill. We continue to fight for victims of elder abuse and are committed to pressing for improvements in Georgia’s nursing home standards.
What to Do if a Loved One is Injured
SB 406 is a step in the right direction and should help keep dangerous criminals away from our most vulnerable citizens. However, the bill does little to help those who have already suffered injury. This is where our attorneys step in.
Victims of nursing home abuse deserve an unwavering advocate - someone in their corner who is prepared to do everything needed to protect and promote their best interests. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance are here to help families dealing with elder abuse in Atlanta and are prepared to take viable cases as far as needed to help ensure justice is served.
Signs that someone you love may be suffering mistreatment in his or her nursing home include:
- Unexplained injury
- Open wounds or sores
- Weight loss
In addition, behavioral changes often indicate abuse or neglect. These may include:
- A withdrawal from the larger community
- Visible discomfort around nursing home staff
- Adopting new and unusual behaviors
- Stress, anxiety, depression, and mood swings
If you notice changes in a loved one’s behavior and you suspect it is due to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or if you suspect negligent treatment of a loved one, we can investigate your claim and take swift action to protect them from future mistreatment.
Before Placing a Loved One in a Home…
Before placing a loved one in a nursing home, you can help prevent abuse by thoroughly investigating any that you may be considering. Medicaid has a useful resource in its Nursing Home Compare search feature, which ranks homes on a set of criteria including resident care and health inspection ratings. However, this should not be the sole resource you use when selecting a home.
Be sure to visit each home you are considering. Talk to staff members and management. Meet the owners if possible and be extra diligent when looking at homes run by out-of-state interests. These tend to have less oversight than those under local control.
When you visit potential nursing homes, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask to see living quarters so you can see how residents interact with each other and staff - and get a better idea of the community in the home. Visit the kitchen and dining room. Review medical and speciality services, and only select a home in which you have full confidence.
Taking care to investigate a home before placing a loved one in it can help prevent their being abused, but it is not a guarantee. SB 406 should help strengthen protections, but even with new standards, abuse and neglect can occur. If you suspect a loved one is in need of help, contact our Atlanta nursing home abuse attorneys right away.
Please call Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance at 404-760-7400 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Atlanta, we serve Columbus, Savannah, Decatur, and all surrounding areas of Georgia.