Knowing who to contact when a loved one is being abused while under the care of nursing home staff is important, but what happens when that department or agency doesn’t answer the phone? Apparently, this is a problem Georgia residents and health care workers are currently facing as Fox 5 highlighted that a primary complaint hotline isn’t always working. Although family members and even staff at nursing homes are urged to report anything they see that might be an indicator that something is wrong, how can they when they don’t have a reliable source to contact?
According to the news source, the Georgia Department of Community Health is one department that is supposed to be available to the public where they can report alleged abuse. They also give you the option to file your complaint online. But, since the beginning of the year, neither method has been working properly which could be a serious issue for those who are forced to endure the abuse or neglect that a person is trying to report.
Former Staffing Coordinator Speaks Out on the Issue
Lisa Overholt, who is the former staffing coordinator for Mountain View Health Care in Rabun County said that she experienced the struggle herself. She had called the department five separate times and left five separate messages. Not only was she unable to get ahold of someone, but she never received a phone call back. One of the reasons why Overholt had called the department was because she “constantly had trouble keeping staffing at the required levels.”
Back in December, a 61-year-old patient died after cutting her foot. That case closed without any charges being filed. Although Overholt isn’t sure if an understaffed facility played a role in this particular death, she definitely felt it was her duty to contact the state knowing the issue with short-staffed existed and could potentially contribute to a patient dying. She stated, “You can’t properly take care of people that are in the building unless you have enough staff to take care of them adequately.” Overholt also shared some pretty concerning circumstances she has been faced with when dealing with Mountain View some of which include:
- Staff being kept against their will to work because the facility was severely understaffed.
- Residents were “wasting away” as there were not enough people to take care of them.
- Staff having to work “extraordinary amounts of overtime.”
- Patients “were not being showered like they should be.” Sometimes patients would go 10 days in between being bathed.
Because Overholt felt her phone call warranted an immediate response, and never got it, the Department did admit that they were experiencing some issues and had resolved the problem that currently existed with the online form. They also said that they were switching phone systems and that phone calls should be returned within 24 hours.
Although there are other ways to report suspected abuse that might be occurring inside a nursing home in Savannah, GA or any other facility, if people are relying on reporting to this agency, they may never receive the help they are seeking which could result in a patient’s condition worsening or them dying.
Do you have a loved one living in a nursing home in Savanah whom you believe is being mistreated? Have you complained to the staff or another agency and not received any sort of response back? If so, there is no need to wait to contact USAttorneys.com. We will work with you to locate a nearby Savannah, GA nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer who will help you and see to it that the issue is addressed and properly handled.