Anyone who has aging parents, grandparents, or other loved ones whose physical and/or mental capabilities are diminishing with age, has struggled with how to provide the support needed during the final years of life. When families opt for a nursing home, they expect a clean, safe facility staffed with individuals who will provide loving care. But what if that isn’t the case? If you believe your loved one is not being well cared for in a South Carolina nursing home, you may be wise to seek legal counsel.
Issues of Concern
Upstate nursing homes have been found deficient in a number of areas in the past year. The issues range from flies in the kitchen to out and out verbal abuse. Included in inspection reports were the following issues which could compromise the physical and/or psychological health of residents::
- The error rate for medication dispensation was over 11 percent;
- A resident lost over 20 pounds in six weeks and the issue was not investigated or addressed;
- Nurses and aides entered residents’ rooms without knocking;
- Techniques to prevent bedsores were not used, and when they developed, bed sores were untreated;
- Food was not stored, prepared and served according to health standards;
- A staff member fell asleep in the home’s living room while on shift.
- Unreasonably long time frames between the time a patient’s call button was pushed and assistance arrived, if it arrived at all.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?
The definition of nursing home abuse in South Carolina is not opaque, and can be broken into two categories: physical and psychological.
- Physical abuse: In addition to the obvious, intentional hitting, choking, burning, sexual battery, and other physical acts, many other behaviors constitute abuse. For example, using medications in any manner outside of accepted medical practice, or to control someone’s behavior, is considered abusive. Likewise, using physical restraints as punishment or confining a patient in unreasonable time frames or conditions is problematic.
- Psychological Abuse: Any form of degradation or humiliation is considered abusive. That includes using any language that is derogatory within earshot of a resident, regardless of that resident’s age, cognitive abilities, or physical state. Additionally, all forms of intimidation, harassment, or degrading actions and behaviors in the presence of a resident that causes confusion, agitation or extreme emotional duress is simply unacceptable.
When goods, services and care are not provided to residents, putting their health and safety at risk, it is considered neglect. If physical psychological harm occurs or may reasonably occur as a result of neglect, it is a criminal offense.
Recourse After Abuse Occurs
Sadly, elder abuse is far too common across the nation and in South Carolina. Documented nursing home incidents have resulted in significant legal settlements in the past several years. Hold the nursing home accountable for abuse in order to protect your loved one and all residents of nursing homes in the Carolinas. If you believe someone you love faces serious physical or emotional risk, contact the experienced legal team at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm. Our compassionate, yet aggressive attorneys will fight for justice on your behalf. Contact us in Greenville for a free, confidential consultation today.
Dan Pruitt is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from University of Georgia, and has been practicing law for 25 years. Dan Pruitt believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.