The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that criminal charges have been levied against 21 current and former employees of a nursing home that cares for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Among those accused is the owner of the facility, which is located about 60 miles north of Atlanta in Commerce, Georgia.
The charges stem from a three month investigation into the facility that housed 27 patients as of Tuesday morning. That’s when investigators made a surprise visit with a warrant in hand to investigate the home and gather evidence. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation released a statement that alleged “inhumane and undignified conditions” Some of the employees reportedly had prior felony convictions for crimes including voluntary manslaughter and identity theft.
The alleged abuse reportedly includes staff members tying patients to beds with bed sheets and striking and hitting the patients or throwing water on them. The facility is designed for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, which lowers the ability of these victims to protect themselves from the abuse or to report it if an opportunity arises. These vulnerable adults were also doubled diapered, where two diapers are used at the same time, so that staff reportedly would not have to tend to the patients as often and could let the elderly lie in soiled diapers for extended periods of time.
As of Tuesday evening, 11 of the 21 charged had been apprehended and were in a local jail. Authorities were searching for the remaining 10, including the owner, who is facing charges including cruelty to a person 65 year of age or older, abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Of the patients at the nursing home, three were transferred to area hospitals for medical treatment and the others will be relocated to other nursing homes after authorities can discuss the matter with the families of each patient.
Though this incident occurred in Georgia, it is unfortunately similar to those that happen in Illinois every year. Owners and employees of nursing homes who are responsible for the care and treatment of the home’s residents too often disregard the patients, ignore their needs, and inflict neglect and abuse on the residents. In 2012, a Congressional report showed that patients suffer abuse or neglect in one out of three nursing homes in the nation. That means that 33 percent of our elderly who need nursing care are living where they could be being severely mistreated. These patients may not have family who visits or the ability to express the abuse they endure, meaning that a large portion of mistreatment in homes goes unreported. As a result, the percent of those exposed to abuse or neglect may be much higher than has been reported.
Nursing homes are notorious for covering their tracks and making it difficult to impossible to obtain information about a loved one in their care. If you suspect a family member has been abused, you should contact an attorney who can help you get the answers you need.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers with experience on our side. We will provide you with a free, no obligation telephone consultation and we will take your call 24 hours a day at (312) 924-7575. If you believe that abuse or neglect may be harming your loved one, do not wait and allow the abuse to continue. Contact us today and let us help you understand your legal rights.
Prior Blog Entries:
Medicare Fraud Conviction Demonstrates Risk for ID and Other Theft in Illinois Nursing Homes, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published June 28, 2013.
Debate Continues Over Whether Nursing Home Patients Should Be Allowed Security Cameras, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published June 21, 2013.
Nursing home staff face charges in abuse of elderly patients, by David Beasley, Reuters, published July 2, 2013.
Ga. Alzheimer’s center raided; 21 workers charged, by Phillip Lucas, newsobserver.com/Associated Press, published July 2, 2013.
Photo Credit: zeafonso, stock.xchng.