Yes, in fact, Georgia law states that there are many different people who are required by law to file a report when they suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation is occurring. According to the State of Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services, a mandated reporter, which would be someone who is required to make a report, must do so when they “have a reasonable cause to believe that 1) an at-risk adult hashad an injury or injuries inflicted upon them by a caretaker or 2) has been neglected or exploited by a caretaker.” Some professionals who are considered to be mandated reporters include:
- Licensed professional counselors
- Social works
- Employees of a public or private agency engaged in professional health-related services to elder persons or disabled adults.
- Adult day care personnel
Who should a nursing home staff member report the abuse to?
After a nursing home worker recognizes signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, they can report the incident so that it can be properly investigated. For example, if a nursing home staff member sees a fellow staff member engage in any of the following acts, they would want to report a case of physical abuse:
- Another worker forces a resident to remain in a bed or chair.
- The worker pushes, strikes, slaps, pinches, or beats the resident whom they are supposed to be caring for.
- They hit them with their hand or an instrument.
- They handle the resident roughly.
Now, if a worker notices any of the following signs, it might indicate the resident is being neglected:
- Their medical conditions often go untreated.
- Their bedding is extremely dirty and they are forced to lay down in their own waste.
- They develop bed sores or rashes that continue to worsen.
- Their teeth are decaying or they require false teeth that aren’t provided to them.
- They have become malnourished or dehydrated and the resident appears to be losing a significant amount weight.
Now, if you or someone you work with notices these signs or any others that indicate abuse, neglect, or exploitation is occurring within a nursing home facility in Atlanta, GA, these are some of the agencies you can contact to file your report:
- Your local law enforcement agency.
- The Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation (HFR). This department is responsible for investigating complaints that are filed for abuse or neglect that occurred in a long-term care facility or residence. The number to reach this department is 404-657-5728 or 404-657-5276.
- You also have the option of filing a complaint against the licensed health care facility where the abuse occurred by calling 1-800-878-6442.
While it can be intimidating and rather scary to file a complaint against the facility in which you work for as you don’t want to lose your job or have your employer retaliate against you in another way, the fact is, the law requires you to file the complaint. And if you choose not to, you put yourself at risk of being criminally charged. Aside from it being a law, you also will want to file the complaint so that the resident(s) who are being abused no longer have to suffer. Many of the individuals who relocate to live in a nursing home are extremely vulnerable and easy to take advantage of. Some are immobile and others require assistance will all of their day to day tasks.
The reality is, nursing home residents rely on health care workers to care for them and tend to their needs, not abuse or neglect them only to make them suffer more than they already are. Now, if you are feeling uneasy about filing your complaint or would like a legal professional to assist you, contact an Atlanta, GA nursing home abuse attorney today. The lawyers USAttorneys.com can place you in touch with would be more than happy to guide you through the steps you must follow so that you can feel more at ease about the situation.