Many people spend their later years living in a senior care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living. While many of these facilities utilize workers that care for patients as if they were their own family members, far too many do not provide an adequate standard of care. Some of them may even subject residents to outright abuse. Fortunately, new legislation here in Georgia seeks to protect residents from nursing home abuse and supporters are optimistic that it will be effective.
Last year, an investigative series conducted by a local media outlet found numerous instances of abuse and neglect at senior care facilities. The investigation also revealed that the system for oversight was inadequate. A state representative saw the reporting and decided that tougher laws were needed to protect the residents of these facilities and to reassure families that their loved ones were receiving proper care.
Up until the passage of this law, administrators for assisted living facilities and personal care homes did not need any sort of licensure. Now, they will have to take and pass a test to obtain a license to operate this type of facility. The law also requires memory care units to be certified. There are also provisions to increase the use of nurses in all of these facilities as well as requiring more staffing and training. Facilities that do not follow the new laws may be subject to much larger fines than they may have faced in the past, with a minimum $5,000 fine for a violation that results in serious injury to or death of a resident.
Officials are hopeful that this new legislation will protect some of Georgia’s most vulnerable, but the sad fact is that nursing home abuse can still happen. A family who suspects that their loved one may have experienced abuse at the hands of a care facility may want to contact an attorney. Filing civil litigation may be the most effective way to hold a negligent facility accountable.