When your loved one lives in a nursing home, you worry about abuse. If you see evidence that someone is mistreating your older relative, there is something you can do about it. You can report the abuse to the appropriate authorities. Government agencies can step in to investigate and protect your loved one from several different types of abuse.
If a senior is in danger of imminent harm, call 911. Otherwise, contact local law enforcement and report the abuse to Adult Protective Services.
How to Report Elder Abuse
You should file a Protective Services Report if you have reason to believe that someone you know is a victim of elder abuse at a nursing home. You can file anonymously, or you can provide your contact information so that the investigator can contact you for additional facts.
The Division of Aging Services of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) provides an online form to report suspected elder abuse. You need to complete as much as you can about:
- Your contact information and relationship to the at-risk or abused person (unless you file the report anonymously).
- The date and place the incident happened.
- Whether law enforcement is actively involved in the situation.
- The alleged victim or involved person.
- Alleged perpetrator information.
- Information about other possible connected individuals.
Making a Report by Telephone
If you prefer to speak with someone rather than fill out an online form, you can call:
1-866-55AGING (1-866-552-4464) When prompted, press “3.”
The call is toll-free.
Intake Specialists answer the phone on weekdays (Monday through Friday) from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. If you call after hours or an Intake Specialist is not available, you can leave a detailed message with your phone number for them to call you back.
If you do not get a phone call from an Intake Specialist within 48 hours, call them back at the number above. Do not assume that the authorities opened an investigation if they did not reach you to follow up on your message.
What the Georgia DHS Considers as Abuse
When someone intentionally harms another person or puts that person at risk of harm, the Georgia Department of Human Services considers that as abuse. Elder abuse can take any of these forms, all of which you should report:
Physical abuse. This abuse can include bodily injury, pain, or discomfort. It can also be abusive to intentionally deprive someone of food, water, medical care, and habitable living conditions, like adequate heating and air conditioning. Extreme neglect can reach the level of abuse.
Financial abuse. Exploiting the assets and resources of another person without her consent and to benefit someone else is financial abuse. The person who pockets the older person’s property, buys items for his own use when shopping for the senior while using the elder’s checkbook or credit cards, or takes her Social Security check, for example, is committing elder financial abuse.
Emotional abuse. Bullying, harassing, and threatening are but a few examples of the ways a person can emotionally abuse an elder. Depending on the specific facts of the individual case, it can be abuse to treat the senior with disrespect or diminish his sense of dignity and self-worth.
Sexual abuse. When a person controls an older adult through unconsented sexual behavior or the threat of such, that is sexual abuse. Perpetrating any kind of sexual behavior toward a senior without consent qualifies as abuse.
Filing a Lawsuit for Elder Abuse
You might be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home and the abuser. Nursing homes have a duty to keep residents safe from harm, and you can hold the abuser accountable for hurting your relative.
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC will talk with you at no charge to find out what happened to your loved one. We can investigate the situation and let you know if you might have a civil case. Call us today at 404-474-0804, to line up your free, no-obligation consultation.