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Proposed Georgia Law Targets Abusive, In-Home Nursing Care Assistants

Elderly Georgia residents who receive in-home care would be allowed to find out whether such workers have a history of abuse under a proposed state law.

The proposed law would also give the state greater power to investigate allegations of abuse involving in-home healthcare workers throughout Georgia.

Such legislation was recently approved by Georgia legislators during the 2016 General Assembly, according to a recently article published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was expected to sign the proposed legislation into law.

"It's a win-win all the way around," said Georgia Council on Aging Director Kathy Floyd, who was interviewed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the proposed legislation. "People will now have the ability to make a complaint in a home setting."

How would the proposed law affect in-home nursing care?

Currently, allegations of abuse, neglect or criminal activity involving in-home nursing care assistants can be reported to the police or adult protective services, the Atlanta Constitution Journal reported. But such a complaint often "falls through the cracks," according to Georgia Council on Aging Director Kathy Floyd, as quoted by the newspaper.

Instead, under the new legislation, such complaints could be reported to the state, which currently has the power to investigate nursing home abuse claims and allegations of abuse or neglect in assisted living facilities. Such investigations of certified nurse assistants are conducted by the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

The proposed law would also expand the state's registry for abusive certified nurse assistants who work in people's homes. Currently, the statewide abuse registry only applies to nursing assistants to work in licensed nursing homes and assisted living facilities, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Demand increasing for in-home nursing care services in Georgia

The proposed legislation comes at a perfect time for families searching for safe, high-quality nursing care in the home. Research has consistently shown that elderly residents want to continue to live in their homes, even if they require regular health care or other assistance, according to a study conducted by AARP.

As result, the demand for such services has greatly increased in recent years in Georgia, according to Judy Adams, executive director of the Georgia Association for Home Health Agencies, Inc. "There's definitely a need," Adams said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

However, knowing which in-home nursing care assistant to hire to care for a loved one can always be a complicated decision, according to Atlanta attorney George S. Johnson, who handles abuse and neglect cases involving abusive nurses who work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in people's homes throughout the state. "People should rightly be concerned about the health and welfare of a loved one who relies on the assistance of a licensed nurse in their home," Johnson said. "We trust these people to make our loved one's lives better, not worse."

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