While you may hope to care for your loved ones yourself, aging family members may need more assistance than you can provide. However, some seniors experience abuse in these facilities, and you might worry about how you can ensure your loved one’s safety.
The South Carolina State Legislature has a nursing home bill of rights that facilities need to follow. These regulations protect your loved ones so that they can receive quality care and maintain their independence. Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm is committed to helping you understand and protect these rights.
The Nursing Home Bill of Rights in South Carolina
State law requires nursing homes to ensure the safety and well-being of each resident by providing several protections.
Freedom from discrimination
In South Carolina, your loved ones cannot legally receive different treatment because of their skin color or national origin. Additionally, the nursing home staff has to respect the religious beliefs of each resident.
Nursing home staff are also legally prohibited from discriminating against seniors based on the kinds of funding you provide. You may need several sources of funding to pay for your loved one’s care. You may pay for some expenses yourself, receive assistance from Medicaid or qualify for a waiver.
The nursing home bill of rights specifies that your loved one needs to maintain a high quality of life. The staff members must interact with each resident in a way that preserves their dignity. This is especially the case if your loved one needs assistance with personal care or has experienced cognitive decline.
Additionally, nursing home staff members cannot require your family member to work for the facility. There could be some situations when a doctor suggests that your loved one do some work. Gardening, for instance, could be beneficial if a senior has dementia. However, this activity can only occur if you give permission. If you ever revoke permission, this work is required to stop immediately.
Nursing Home Resident Rights at the Federal Level
The federal government also lays out a nursing home bill of rights. Many of these rights are similar to the ones your loved one has at the state level. However, the federal guidelines sometimes offer more detail about these rights. Additionally, your family member has these rights in every nursing home, so he or she still receives protection even if you relocate to another state and move your family member to a nearby nursing home.
Seniors retain the right to manage their own finances if they are capable of doing so. Your loved ones should be able to access their bank accounts and credit cards in a long-term care facility. Additionally, they should be able to view their financial records, such as the monthly bank statements. If your loved ones receive these statements through the mail, the nursing home staff members need to deliver these to their rooms.
Some seniors might choose to ask the staff members to hold onto their money for them. If your loved one chooses this option, he or she has to sign a written statement for this arrangement to be valid. Once they hold these funds, the nursing home accountants need to keep the residents’ funds separate from the nursing home’s funds. After your loved one’s death, the nursing home bill of rights requires staff members to return these funds to you within one month.
Nursing home residents have the right to make decisions about their health care. Your loved one can choose a doctor, access all medical records and refuse certain kinds of treatment. Additionally, the nursing home bill of rights requires all residents to have a care plan. You and your family members have the right to help develop this plan.
Some seniors may not speak English, and the nursing home staff needs to be able to communicate in the resident’s language. Furthermore, your loved one should receive information about prescriptions and medical conditions in this language in order to make informed decisions.
Violations of Nursing Home Resident Rights
Nursing home staff members have a legal obligation to inform residents of their rights. You and your loved one should learn about these details through both oral and written communication. Additionally, the staff members need to tell your family how you can file a grievance. If nursing homes do not provide this information or do not follow the requirements listed above, the facility is in violation of the nursing home bill of rights.
When you file a grievance report, the staff needs to remedy the situation immediately. If they fail to act, you can contact the State Department of Health and Environmental Control. This department will investigate the situation and give you a report of the findings. A representative will work with the facility to make sure it meets state regulations.
Legal Action for Nursing Home Bill of Rights Violations
If you think that a nursing home is not providing your loved one with these rights, consider contacting an attorney. Even after a departmental investigation, a facility might not follow regulations and further action could be necessary.