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Fall 2020 Issue

Since we released our Q2 newsletter, things have been slowly transitioning back to somewhat normal. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic is still here and likely won’t be going anywhere for a while.

We have seen the devastation this pandemic has caused in our nursing homes, especially with the lack of oversight regarding visitors, staff, and infected residents.

It’s important that nursing homes do the right thing, even if it means going the extra mile, while we strive through these difficult times. Our condolences also go out to families who have lost loved ones due to this pandemic.

In time, we will get through this.

Nursing homes are a hotspot for COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus pandemic has taken a great toll on nursing homes. Georgia is no exception. Data.CMS.gov, a federal government website managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports the state, for the week ending July 26, had recorded 5,737 cases and 1,128 deaths at nursing homes. The state’s rate of 202.5 cases and 39.6 deaths per 1,000 nursing home residents ranked 11th and 17th in the country, respectively.

Nursing homes across the nation failed their residents by not taking proper precautions beforehand and by not responding to the pandemic in a responsible manner that would have protected their elderly populations, according to a report by ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that specializes in investigating abuses of power.

“It’s just a river of grief, and it could have been prevented,” Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, told ProPublica.

What went wrong?

According to ProPublica, the nursing home industry has a history of opposing regulatory efforts, such as in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the swine flu outbreak of 2009. In a more recent example, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) wrote to newly elected President Donald Trump on Dec. 15, 2016, to object to “extremely burdensome” regulations. Among those cited was a rule calling for nursing homes to develop plans for outbreaks of new infectious diseases.

Facilities had been told to address their response during a crisis. Would they shelter in place or evacuate? How would they provide residents with food, water, and medicine? They also were instructed to provide staff with training. Despite the AHCA letter, the Trump administration said nursing homes should have plans for contagious disease outbreaks.

Inspections have revealed, however, that nursing homes didn't follow the 2016 rules. Between November 2017 and March 2020, regulators cited over 24,000 violations at 6,599 facilities, or about 43 percent of the country’s nursing homes.

Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer George S. Johnson, of The Law Office of George S. Johnson, LLC, knows about the cruelties too often inflicted by nursing home operators who do not properly care for loved ones. They have broken a medical and professional trust that leaves physical, emotional, and psychological scars. Attorney Johnson will pursue justice and fair financial compensation for you and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Who can be held liable if I was injured in a parking lot assault?

As the days begin to get shorter, parking lots and parking garage can be especially dangerous. Innocent people often find themselves in unsafe situations while walking or loading groceries into their cars.

These assaults are often the result of:

  • Robberies
  • Road rage
  • Aggression aimed at a specific individual
  • Random acts of violence
  • Sexual assault

Are businesses responsible for protecting patrons?

When you're on a business property, it is the responsibility of building owner, business manager and staff to provide optimal protection. This can be done by providing:

  • Adequate lighting in all walking areas
  • Security personnel to patrol parking lots and parking garages
  • Surveillance cameras that capture every corner of a parking lot or garage

The owner or manager of the business property can be held liable for any injuries that occur from violent assaults, especially when they fail to provide adequate security measures.

What should I do if I was injured in a violent assault on a business property?

If you were injured in a violent assault while on a business property, you may be able to file a negligent security lawsuit against the property or business owner. The first thing you should do is contact the police and wait for them to arrive. The perpetrator may be caught and arrested when information (description, license plate number, etc.) is provided to police by you, other witnesses, or surveillance video footage.

You should then get prompt medical attention. It's very common for assault victims to sustain:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Bone fractures
  • Lacerations, bruises, and abrasions
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Internal bleeding and injuries to internal organs
  • Injuries to the neck, back and spine
  • Mental/emotional trauma and/or PTSD

Even if you feel OK after an assault, the adrenaline and shock may mask the pain of an injury. A medical evaluation may reveal that your injuries are more serious than you think. In addition, some injuries take several days to start producing symptoms. By seeing a doctor promptly, you can get a proper diagnosis and begin treatment.

Lastly, you should contact an experienced negligent security attorney who can review the details surrounding your incident and help you explore your legal options. Contact us to learn more.

Hip fractures on the rise in nursing homes, recent studies find

A hip fracture can be one of the most severe injuries nursing home residents sustain in their lives. In an instant, they may not be able to walk or could even develop a serious infection because of their hip fracture. Hip fractures have even been associated with an increase in mortality within one year after such an injury, according to recent studies. Specifically, the one-year mortality rate for people with hip fractures was 42 percent between 2007 and 2014, according to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School.

That’s why another recent study which found there was an increase in the number of hip fractures among nursing home residents was so startling. Atlanta nursing home neglect attorney George S. Johnson explains these findings and what you should do if you or your loved one sustained a hip fracture in a nursing home.

Unsettling statistics about hip fractures in nursing homes

Harvard Medical School researchers studied the number of hip fractures among long-term nursing home residents between 2007 and 2015. Their findings were publishing in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. The study defined long-term residents as anyone who was admitted on a long-stay basis, which is defined as a stay of at least 100 days. Based on their research, the Harvard physicians who conducted the study discovered:

  • 2.6 million long-term nursing home residents sustained hip fractures between 2007 and 2015.
  • A 7.4 percent increase in the number of hip fractures in nursing home residents between 2013 and 2015.
  • Newly admitted nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to hip fracture.

In addition, the study found that one-year mortality rates for nursing home residents after a hip fracture remained high through the period studied. In 2007, the one-year mortality rate was 42.6 percent. In 2014, the one-year mortality rate was 42.1 percent.

What are common causes of hip fractures in nursing homes?

Hip fractures in nursing homes can happen for a lot of different reasons, but in many cases, hip fractures occur due to nursing home neglect. Specific causes of hip fractures in nursing homes due to neglect include:

  • Trip and fall accidents caused by unmarked hazards
  • Slip and fall accidents that are the result of water or other liquids left on the floor
  • Unsanitary conditions at the nursing home, resulting in a serious fall
  • Understaffing at the nursing home, resulting in lack of cleaning and maintenance
  • Inexperienced staff members who do not properly monitor nursing home residents

Every nursing home injury or accident is unique. That’s why it’s important for families to take certain steps if their loved one fractured their hip in a nursing home accident.

What should I do if I sustained a hip fracture in a nursing home?

If you or a loved one sustained a hip fracture in a nursing home in Georgia, we strongly recommend that you take the following steps:

  • Seek immediate medical attention. A hip fracture can be painful and may result in other medical problems due to complications.
  • Tell the nursing home that you or a loved one sustained a hip fracture.
  • Do not discuss your injury or accident with the nursing home.
  • Do not post anything on social media about your injury or accident.
  • Contact a nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible.

Our law firm can help you with your hip fracture case and investigate whether your injury occurred due to neglect or abuse. We can also deal directly with the nursing home on your behalf as well as with the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, the state agency which investigates allegations of nursing home abuse or neglect throughout Georgia.

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Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: (404) 378-5878
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