What Is Considered Nursing Home Neglect?

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When you make the difficult choice to place your aging relative in a South Carolina nursing home, you expect your loved one to receive the best of care. However, not all facilities run as they should, with some facing staffing and guideline issues that may lead to nursing home neglect. If you suspect problems at your loved one’s nursing home, you likely have many questions, such as what is considered nursing home neglect and how to reach out for legal assistance. Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm can provide valuable information for every facet of a developing case.

What Is Considered Nursing Home Neglect?

Most individuals who live in a full-time nursing facility can no longer care for themselves and need assistance with dressing, bathing, and taking medication. When nurses and other members of the care team become lax in their duties or the facility needs a larger staff, this could lead to elderly neglect, such as:

  • Leaving residents in soiled clothing
  • Not turning bed-bound patients
  • Failing to treat illness or injuries

Always keep an eye out for changes in your elderly loved one when you visit, such as new or worsening depression symptoms or the development of pressure sores. These are often signs of neglect.

Medical neglect

Most nursing home residents need regular medical care, whether they have chronic illnesses or treatment for an injury, like a broken hip. In cases of medical neglect, the facility staff may keep poor dosing records, fail to give residents consistent doses, or provide inadequate medical care for more serious illnesses, like Type 2 diabetes.

Neglect of personal care

If you suspect neglect at a South Carolina nursing home, pay close attention to your loved one’s appearance during your visits. Dirty or uncombed hair, soiled clothing, and noticeable body odor all point to hygiene neglect.

Emotional neglect

Nursing home residents with limited or no mobility still need to socialize daily. If your loved one appears withdrawn, ask the staff how many hours he or she spends alone and what the staff does to encourage interaction and socialization among the residents.

How Is Nursing Home Neglect Different From Abuse?

When you believe a South Carolina nursing home facility is neglecting your elderly loved one, you must understand the difference between neglect and abuse. Generally, nursing home neglect differs from abuse in that the former occurs because of a failure to act. This differs from abuse, which is a willful act that can include physical or sexual assault.

How Are Bedsores an Indicator of Neglect?

One of the most common signs of nursing home neglect is bedsores. When nursing home staff neglect to move or turn bed-bound patients every few hours, the pressure of laying in one position for too long leads to the development of bedsores. These sores can develop to more serious stages, from mild areas of skin discoloration to injuries that reach down to the bone and cause tissue necrosis.

These sores usually appear on the buttocks, heels, hips, and tailbone. You can recognize developing bedsores in your loved one by looking for areas of the skin that feel warm or appear swollen. In more serious cases, you may notice ulcerated areas that appear infected or have an unpleasant odor.

Is Nursing Home Neglect Always Noticeable?

In some cases, nursing home neglect in South Carolina is not immediately apparent. While abuse tends to be more obvious, some types of neglect may take weeks for signs to show. During your visits, take the following actions to ensure your loved one remains safe while living in the facility.

Ask your loved one questions

If your family member can still communicate and answer simple questions, asking about his or her well-being inside the facility can help you identify neglect. Do meals arrive on time? Does someone help with bathing and dressing each day? Listening to your loved one’s answers and addressing their complaints may uncover signs of neglect.

Question the staff

Most South Carolina nursing homes have administrative duty nurses and staff who can answer questions related to your family member’s treatment. You have the right to ask about nutrition, daily activities and, if you are your loved one’s medical proxy, when and how the facility dispenses medications. Any evasiveness on the part of the staff may point to neglect.

Examine your loved one

Problems like bedsores do not occur overnight; they take continued neglect to form. When you visit, take the time to examine places where bedsores crop up most often. Clothing may hide erupting bedsores.

Take notice of the facility environment

The cleanliness of your family member’s room can tell you a great deal about possible neglect. This includes the bathroom shower and toilet. Poor housekeeping usually means the department employees need new or additional cleaning guidelines.

Malnourishment and falls can also occur in nursing facilities where neglect is common.

Who Is Liable for Nursing Home Neglect in South Carolina?

What is considered neglect in a nursing home in South Carolina? State laws require nursing facilities to provide adequate care for all of their residents and ensure their safety. Regulations state that any nursing home staff must prevent neglect through following certain actions, including:

  • Proper dispensation of medication to prevent incorrect dosing
  • Assistance with daily activities and maintaining good hygiene
  • Prevention of physical harm and accidents

When neglect occurs in a full-time care facility, both the individual or individuals who failed to act or acted neglectfully and the hiring staff are usually held liable. Your loved one’s neglect case is unique, and our attorneys will investigate to the full extent to hold responsible parties liable.

Let Us Handle Your South Carolina Nursing Home Neglect Case

You trust the facility that cares for your elderly loved one to properly care for his or her physical and emotional well-being. When you have reason to believe this is not happening, important questions like what is considered nursing home neglect are often difficult to answer. Reach out to us at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm today for further information and assistance and let us fight for your family.

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