To report nursing home abuse in Georgia, call the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR) division at 800-878-6442. The HFR is “responsible for health care planning, licensing, certification and oversight of various health care facilities and services in Georgia.” When you suspect abuse or neglect is taking place in a nursing home, the HFR has the resources and authorization to investigate and make swift decisions regarding the health of a facility's residents.
Nursing home abuse in Georgia can also be reported to a state or regional Georgia Ombudsman by calling 866-552-4464. Long-Term Care Ombudsman work on behalf of patients and their families to investigate claims of abuse and neglect. Ombudsmen work closely with social services, law enforcement, and other agencies to ensure swift and effective action is can be taken when needed to protect the health and happiness of nursing home residents.
How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse
Knowing where to report nursing home abuse is only useful if you know how to identify it - and obvious signs like bruises or broken bones are not always what abuse looks like. Of course, signs of physical abuse including bruising, unexplained injuries, cuts or lacerations, and broken or fractured bones absolutely demand an investigation, but these signs are not always present, even when abuse is taking place.
In addition to physical indications of abuse, signs to look for include:
- New habits such as rocking, biting nails, or fidgeting
- A withdrawal from the larger nursing home community
- Fear around nursing home staff
- Anxiety, depression, or aggressive behaviors
These signs all point to something being wrong and should be investigated. If you suspect they are being caused by abuse, it is important that you take action right away and call the HFR or state ombudsman to report. The sooner abuse is reported, the quicker it can be stopped.
Neglect in a nursing home can be just as dangerous as physical abuse. Signs that your loved one may be facing neglect include:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Over or under medication
- General hygiene issues
Neglect can result in a slow and painful death, but is often more difficult to spot than abuse. Like abuse, however, swift reporting is essential for the long-term protection of your loved one’s health and happiness.
When to Call an Attorney
It is best to call an attorney for help with nursing home abuse as soon as you have reported it to the state ombudsman or the HFR. Our attorneys will work to protect your family against tactics employed by care facilities to silence victims while building a case that seeks fair compensation for the injustices your loved one has suffered. If you live in or around Atlanta, call us at 404-760-7400 to schedule a complimentary case review and learn more.
Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance is a personal injury law firm located in Atlanta, GA. We welcome nursing home abuse clients from all surrounding areas including Savannah, Decatur, Columbus, and Augusta.