Fall/Winter 2019 Issue
We’re about to make some history! Welcome to my first newsletter. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re familiar with my law firm in Decatur – which is just a stone’s throw from Atlanta.
Here’s how this newsletter will work: every quarter we’ll send you helpful information and useful tips we think you’ll find valuable. Some topics we plan on including:
- Interesting case studies
- Changes in the law
- What’s in the news
- Happenings in the community
- Business developments at our law firm
Be sure to also keep an eye out for my monthly blog, where you can read up on topics such as how pain relievers can increase the risk of stroke among senior citizens.
Before we get started, let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.
Handling the Holidays with Aging Parents
Many of us don’t have the luxury of living close to our older parents, but the holiday season serves as a great opportunity to learn more about how they’re living and whether or not they’re having any problems that we can address.
Before you go back for your second helping of stuffing or another scoop of Aunt Hilda’s green bean casserole, read these 5 things you can do for your aging parents while you’re home for the holidays:
- Assess their overall wellbeing: Have they gained or lost weight? Are they having any issues while they’re eating? Are they communicating well? Are they having a problem remembering things? Do they look like they are being taken care of or come across as disheveled? Are there any signs that they’ve suffered a fall? Whether your parent lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, these are all things you should be asking yourself. Talk to your parent and ask them how they’re doing, and don’t be afraid to raise concerns with a supervisor if you think something seems off, even if you think it might be minor.
- Include them in your plans: Offer to bring your parent to gatherings and get-togethers so they don’t feel lonely or left out. Depression can set in quickly for aging parents during the holidays, and being included in group activities can help them avoid those winter blues.
- Make sure their needs are being met: Whether it’s their diet, their hygiene, their clothes, their medication or their overall comfort level, see if there’s anything that needs to be changed or modified to make sure your parent is happy and safe where they are.
- Get nostalgic: The holidays are a great time to reminisce about your favorite memories with your parents. Take time to go through old photographs, share sentimental stories and laugh at old jokes. Even aging parents who are suffering from advanced memory loss can recall some of their favorite moments from the past, and doing so can bring back that feeling of joy.
- Treasure the moments: Most of us wish we could spend more time with our aging parents, so it’s important to cherish the time that we do have with them. Let them know you love and appreciate them. Saying that alone can make a huge difference in their lives.
How To Spot Abuse or Neglect
We touched on this subject briefly above, but it’s worth diving into further. We trust nursing homes and assisted living facilities to take care of our loved ones as if they are their own, but sadly that doesn’t always happen. While you’re home visiting for the holidays, here are some things you should look for:
Mysterious injuries: Bruises, especially on the arms or face, should raise a big red flag. Fractured or broken bones, head injuries, trouble walking, and unexplained cuts or welts are also cause for concern. If you notice any of these, ask your loved one how the injury happened. If they don’t remember or seem too scared to answer, speak with a supervisor immediately to get to the bottom of things. If the supervisor is acting suspicious, you can always contact the police and a lawyer.
Unexplained weight loss: If your loved one looks like they’ve lost 10 pounds or more since you’ve last seen them, it could be a sign that they are dehydrated or malnourished. Ask them what they’re eating, how many times a day they’re eating, and how they’ve been feeling. There are medical conditions that can result in sudden weight loss, but even if that’s the case, it’s important to bring up your concerns with a supervisor to make sure the condition is being treated properly.
Dramatic mood changes: Does your loved one just seem off or depressed for no apparent reason? Are they crying, overly quiet, ignoring your questions, sleeping more than usual or having problems with their appetite? These could be signs of abuse. Try talking to them to find out what’s going on. If they’re too scared to talk, you can reach out to a lawyer for help getting to the bottom of things.
Changes to visitation rights: If the assisted living facility or nursing home taking care of your loved one suddenly restricts or prohibits visits, it could be a sign that they’re hiding something. These facilities are not prisons, and your loved one should not be treated like a prisoner. If you’re being prevented from seeing your loved one, a lawyer can help you find out the reason why.
Inexplicable medical conditions: Sudden medical issues aren’t always attributed to old age. Sometimes these conditions can be a sign of negligence. Maybe your loved one isn’t receiving the right amount of medication. It could be that unsanitary conditions resulted in them being exposed to harmful bacteria. These problems need to be brought up with a supervisor, and if you aren’t satisfied with their answers, a lawyer can help you investigate further.
Changes in finances: Nursing home patients and those in assisted living facilities typically have a fixed income with predictable expenses. If you get a chance to review your loved one’s finances and notice unexplained withdrawals, bounced checks, missing valuables, missing cash or any other fiscal irregularities, you should start to ask questions and possibly seek out the help of a lawyer.
Staying Safe During the Holiday Season
‘Tis the season to be out and about. Whether you’re at the supermarket picking up groceries for Thanksgiving dinner or hitting the mall to get your holiday shopping done, your safety needs to be ensured.
Property managers should always have security as one of their top priorities – especially during the holiday season when throngs of people flock to strip malls and shopping plazas and become easy targets for opportunistic criminals. While you shouldn’t be scared of going out in public, it’s important to remember that there’s always a chance you could become the victim of a crime due to negligent security.
Some common forms of negligent security include:
- Lack of or faulty video surveillance equipment
- Deliberately having cameras that don’t work to provide a false sense of security
- Inadequate lighting
- Lack of or poorly trained security guards
- Failure to install proper locks or restrict building access
- Failure to install fencing or railings
- Improper maintenance of lighting, locks, and security systems
While it can happen anywhere, some places are more prone to criminal activity than others. Negligent security cases often involve crimes at or in:
- Parking garages
- Hotels and motels
- Parking lots at grocery stores and malls
- Apartment complexes and condos
- Bank ATMs
You can learn more about negligent security on my website here.
What You Need to Know About Urgent Care Malpractice
Whether you’ve gone to one because you’re sick with the flu or needed immediate medical attention due to a broken bone, you’ve probably received treatment from an urgent care center. These medical facilities have become a popular alternative to traditional healthcare providers due to their convenience and affordability. It also doesn’t hurt that you can seemingly find one popping up in every strip mall and shopping plaza.
But are these urgent care centers safe?
The fact is, these stand-alone medical centers are just like any other healthcare facility where cases of medical malpractice can and do happen. While they aren’t equipped to treat life-threatening conditions, a lot of people in Georgia and across the U.S. use these clinics with the expectation that they’re going to receive the same level of quality care that they get when they go to other medical providers.
Unfortunately, the physicians and nurses who work at urgent care centers are just as prone to making preventable mistakes as their counterparts at hospitals and doctor’s offices. They still work long hours, have irregular shifts, and aren’t always as highly-trained as other healthcare professionals.
Urgent care malpractice can include:
- Misdiagnosis of a condition
- Prescription errors
- Delayed treatment of a condition
- Failure to treat a condition
- Clerical errors
- Improper counseling
If you’ve suffered harm due to negligence at an urgent care center, it’s important to remember that you have rights and can hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information in this newsletter does not constitute legal advice or a solicitation of clients, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and The Law Offices of George S. Johnson. This newsletter is intended to provide general information and may be considered attorney advertising in your jurisdiction. Professional legal counsel should be sought for specific advice relevant to your circumstances. Please do not respond to this email with any confidential information.