In 2017, CNN published a set of articles on nursing home rapes that dominated headlines for months — if not years. The reason so many people in Georgia and the rest of America were appalled is obvious. Sexual crimes are always heinous, but are even more so when the victims are utterly helpless and may not even be able to recognize what is happening to them, much less name their abusers. As awareness increased, it also raised questions about other types of abuse that were rampant in nursing homes.
It is not only Georgia's elderly who are at risk of neglect or abuse in long-term nursing facilities. A 29-year-old resident of such a facility in Arizona had been in a long-term vegetative state for years when she unexpectedly gave birth to a baby last December, shocking her caregivers who had no idea she was pregnant. An investigation yielded sufficient evidence for authorities to arrest a 36-year-old licensed practical nurse employed at the facility on charges of vulnerable adult abuse and sexual assault. That man has now voluntarily surrendered his nursing license.
Every year, many Georgia residents are placed in nursing homes. The expectation is that seniors will live in a safe environment, where they have immediate access to proper medical attention and can enjoy the company of others their own age. However, one recent case of a woman giving birth, while being in a coma for 10 years, has caused the public to consider the prevalence of sexual assault for family members who are being cared for away from home.
Your loved one should not suffer indignities or lose freedoms or privileges just because he or she is making the transition to a Georgia nursing home. In fact, the Georgia Department of Community Health specifically identifies the protections every nursing home resident has in long-term care facilities in the Residents' Bill of Rights.
If you have an elderly relative living in a nursing home in Georgia, you will know all too well the importance of knowing that they are being well taken care of. Numerous families make the decision every day to move a parent, grandparent or other family member into a care facility for the exact reason that living in such a place may offer the best opportunity for proper care. Unfortunately, there are situations when being in the very place designed to care for a person exposes them to being neglected or abused.
When families are searching for a reputable nursing home facility in Georgia, they often spend considerable time comparing their options to select one that will be the most applicable fit for their loved one. Often, this requires them to compare similarities and differences regarding location, pricing and fees, medical care and overall patient experience before making their final decision.
Those who entrust the care of their loved ones to nursing homes in Rome do so with the expectation that the staffs of such facilities are willing and equipped to provide the type of monitored and consistent care they themselves cannot. If concerns exist about a facility's ability to do so, one may look at the fact that a facility is licensed through the state as evidence that such worries are not warranted. Yet simply because a facility has a current license to provide care does not mean that instances of abuse and neglect have not happened there before.
As other states do, Georgia has a regulatory agency that provides oversight to nursing home facilities. Such agencies should investigate reports of hazards and safety violations and ensure that these are corrected. According to the Washington Post, the Georgia Department of Community Health was notified of more than one scabies outbreak at a for-profit nursing home facility.
As you age, your body becomes frailer, no matter how healthy your lifestyle, and for many seniors in Georgia, this leads to a fall. The risk isn't the same for every senior, though.
Nursing home living in Georgia should be a positive experience for your loved one. Medical, physical and emotional support should be available to help him or her live the best life possible during the golden years. Unfortunately, for many, this is not what happens.