Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Columbia, SC
Nursing homes in Columbia, South Carolina are closely monitored by the Division of Nursing Homes. This includes all nursing home facilities that are part of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The primary goal of this monitoring is to ensure that nursing homes comply with federal regulations in order to prevent issues like nursing home abuse and neglect.
The evaluation of elder care facilities by the Division of Nursing Homes is conducted by survey teams which comprise of nurses, dietitians, social workers, and pharmacists. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, there are still a number of nursing home abuse cases in our state each year. If you or a loved one has suffered from abuse while in a South Carolina nursing home, an experienced Columbia personal injury lawyer can help.
Nursing Home Laws in South Carolina
Legally, nursing homes have to comply with federal and state regulations regarding the services they offer and the long-term care they provide. Specifically, they have to ensure the facility is safe in accordance with fire and life safety codes; they also have to ensure that the facilities meet quality standards and do not pose any threat to patient health and safety.
As far as abuse and neglect are concerned, the law specifically states that all nursing homes in South Carolina must ensure that residents are free from verbal, physical, sexual and mental abuse as well as any corporal punishment and/or involuntary seclusion. This refers to abuse by anyone including facility staff, other residents, volunteers, consultants, and staff, outside agencies, family members, friends or any other individual who happens to come in contact with the resident.
Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes in Columbia, SC
Legally speaking, abuse is defined as the willful infliction of injury, intimidation, confinement or any other action that causes harm, pain or anguish to another person. In addition, abuse in nursing homes also includes deprivation of goods or services that are critical to maintaining the physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of the residents.
It is also important to understand that there are different types of abuse, including:
- Physical abuse, which may include slapping, kicking, pinching, hitting or any other form of physical assault.
- Verbal abuse, which may include the use of derogatory terms or comments, threats, intimidation and any other use or oral, written or gestured language that could be disturbing or harmful to the residents.
- Sexual abuse, which may include sexual assault, harassment or coercion.
- Mental abuse, which may include threats, humiliation, harassment or punishments.
- Involuntary seclusion, which refers to a situation where the resident is separated from other residence or removed from their room without their will and consent.
Nursing Home Abuse in Columbia, South Carolina
Nursing home abuse is completely unacceptable and should never be ignored or taken lightly. If you or anyone you know is a victim of abuse at a nursing home facility, you should report the incident, and you should consult a nursing home abuse lawyer to determine how you can get justice for the pain and suffering incurred by a loved one.
Despite the fact that laws and regulations are in place in Columbia, SC that are designed to ensure the safety and protection of nursing home residents, the reality is that nursing home abuse and neglect is too common in South Carolina. This is a major area of concern, especially because the number of people entering nursing homes throughout the US is increasing at a rapid pace. It is estimated that people 65 years or older will account for 13% of the country’s total population by 2050. Even more alarming is the projection that the highest growth among seniors will be in the 85 or older age group.
It is unfortunate that despite close monitoring and legislation in place that nursing homes are expected to follow, there are so many nursing home residents who are consistently being abused, neglected and exploited. One of the biggest reasons why nursing homes get away with such abuse and neglect is the fact that a large number of residents do not report these incidents. They are either incapable of understanding their situation, too confused to object, or simply too scared to take action.
There are additional reasons why nursing home abuse is increasing so rapidly:
- Many nursing homes are understaffed. This means that the staff that is there is already under pressure and this pressure can result in staff members becoming frustrated and impatient.
- Staff at nursing homes often comprise of healthcare workers who are poorly trained and/or inexperienced. When they face the pressure of dealing with elderly patients who require extra care and attention, they can lose control of the situation quite quickly and can also react in ways that could prove to be unsafe for elderly patients.
- Nursing homes tend to function on low budgets. This means that they are working with minimal resources. This can affect the quality of care, attention and the facilities overall.
Nursing home abuse is a sad reality, especially in South Carolina. There are so many nursing homes that have a bad reputation in terms of their quality of care, including:
- The Springdale Healthcare Center
- Wildewood Downs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- C M Tucker Nursing Care Center / Roddey
- Blue Ridge in the Fields, LLC
- Life Care Center of Columbia
- Pruitthealth Ridgeway
There is a need to take notice of this ongoing abuse and to implement measures that will enhance the safety and security of the elderly population. When families admit their loved ones into nursing home facilities, they are basically putting their trust in the management and staff of that nursing home. When their loved ones are later abused, neglected or harmed in any way, this trust is shattered, and the consequences of such abuse and neglect can be serious and even fatal in some cases.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
If you live in Columbia, South Carolina and you have been a victim of nursing home abuse or if someone you know has been a victim of such abuse, you need to speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer. You also need to be aware of the fact that despite what the management staff at nursing homes say about their high quality of care, the reality can be quite different from the picture they portray. That is why you should closely evaluate whether the services that the nursing home promised to provide to you and/or your loved ones are actually what the residents receive when no family members, friends or visitors are around. You also need to observe how the staff behaves with residents, how vigilant the management is and whether healthcare providers meet the standards or not. Keep in mind that you are trusting these people with somebody you care about and you do not want to make any mistakes that could prove to be deadly for your loved ones.
Some signals that could suggest neglect and abuse in a nursing home include unusual behavioral changes in the patient, poor hygiene, over-sedation, bed sores, frozen joints, malnutrition, physical injuries, and infections. Other worrisome signs could also include the loss of valuable possessions of residents; unusual withdraw from bank accounts and other similar events. These could all indicate that something is not right at the facility.
If you do discover nursing home abuse, you have the legal right to file a report against the nursing home in question. All complaints can be filed with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and once received, they will be investigated. However, your legal options are not limited to just filing an official complaint. Call a nursing home abuse lawyer to find out how you can help out your loved ones who may be victims of nursing home abuse.
Reach Out to a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina
If you or someone you love has experienced nursing home abuse in Columbia, South Carolina and wish to speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer, you can call us at the Connell Law Firm. We are committed to fighting for your rights and the rights of your loved ones. Our legal team has been practicing law for over two decades. They know the ins and outs of the system and are aware of how the legal regulations work. Nursing homes are meant to protect and provide care to senior citizens. Residents and their families are not paying nursing homes large sums of money for substandard care.
Call a South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer at 803-310-5700 today. We assure you that it is our goal to ensure you get the justice you deserve. There is no justification for the kind of abuse and neglect that is becoming increasingly common in nursing homes today. Somebody needs to take action.
If you or your loved ones are victims of nursing home abuse, do not be afraid to come out and speak up. We will defend you and will present your story and your experiences in the right manner so that the legal system takes you seriously. The only way you can combat and minimize abuse of nursing home patients is by speaking up and by highlighting the various ways in which nursing home residents are abused. Call us, and we will work with you to design a plan that will provide peace of mind and protection for your loved ones.