States are required to conduct annual recertification inspections of nursing homes in which a thorough overview of their operations is done over a period of days. A recent report by the newspaper company CNHI found that Georgia ranks last among all states in these inspections.
According to the report, almost 80% of all Georgia nursing homes had not had a recertification inspection in at least 18 months as of the end of March of this year. That was based on federal records. Last fall, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (AJC) reported similar findings.
Obviously, last year was a challenging one, particularly for nursing homes. For a time, federal regulators suspended on-site recertification inspections, but problems with inadequate oversight go back farther than that. A lack of inspections means that some serious care issues go undiscovered and unaddressed.
State ombudsman expresses concern over conditions
As Georgia’s long-term-care ombudsman said, “If you’re not watching, things can go badly.’’ She was especially troubled about issues with food service, medication dispensing and wound care. In the AJC report, people who had loved ones in one facility talked about cases of malnutrition, among other issues.
Georgia lawmakers have committed to proving $12 million to improve the frequency and the number of people doing inspections and reduce the backlog in the state budget for Fiscal Year 2022. However, legislation that would have allowed the installation of surveillance cameras in residents’ rooms to help deter and root out abuse and neglect was derailed by those with concerns over privacy issues.
Trusting an elderly loved one to the staff at a nursing home can be a difficult, emotionally wrenching thing to do. However, it’s often necessary when someone needs constant care, supervision and treatment that family members simply aren’t able to provide.
If your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect by those you trusted to care for them, find out what your legal options are. An experienced attorney can provide guidance and support.