The elderly are among our most vulnerable citizens and deserve top-notch care. That’s why thousands of families across South Carolina trust nursing homes to take care of their grandparents and parents as they transition into a new phase of life. But because these elderly patients are so dependent on others, they are easy targets for nursing home abuse.
This isn’t a message to scare a family away from putting their loved one in a home. There are many nursing homes that provide excellent care to their patients and follow all proper South Carolina regulations. However, if your loved one winds up in the hands of a bad nursing home, there is an avenue to get the justice they deserve.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse in South Carolina?
Nursing home patients are not quick to speak up about mistreatment and in some cases are unable to communicate anything because of their condition. This vulnerability has led to multiple counts of nursing home workers abusing or mistreating their patients. The most common forms of nursing home abuse are:
- Physical abuse. Anytime a nursing home worker “slaps, kicks, strikes, bites, chokes, pinches or burns” one of their patients intentionally. Administering medication to “chemically restrain” a patient without authorization also falls into this category.
- Emotional abuse. Deliberately subjecting a vulnerable patient to threats, intimidation, or harassment. This can include leaving a patient in isolation and ignoring them. All of the above can create undue distress, anxiety, and fear in a patient.
- Sexual abuse. Any non-consensual sexual contact or activity between a patient and a member of the nursing home staff. This also includes forcing patients to watch pornography, sexual acts among others, or being asked to undress without reason.
- Financial exploitation. This isn’t limited to outright theft. Many nursing home patients are not at full mental capacity and can be easily misled when it comes to money. Predatory nursing home staff members can scam patients into handing over large sums of money in addition to identity theft and health care fraud.
- Facility neglect. Nursing homes can be understaffed and have a high turnover. This leads to a number of breakdowns in standard healthcare protocol such as forgetting to bathe residents, change their clothes, administer medication, or look for signs of malnourishment and dehydration.
How Do I Know if My Loved One Is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse?
Pracht Injury Lawyers encourages anyone who has a relative in a nursing home to make regular visits. This way you can keep close tabs on their physical and mental condition. Warning signs to look out for include:
- Open cuts and wounds
- Soiled clothes or bedding
- Bedsores and bruises
- Signs of poor hygiene
- Unusual behavior
The biggest warning sign is when nursing home staff either won’t leave you alone with the patient or won’t let you see them all together. You always have the right to see your relatives.
South Carolina Nursing Home Residents Have Rights
South Carolina has an adult protection law that helps protect nursing home residents. That, in addition to the federal nursing home reform act, gives patients the following rights:
- Freedom from discrimination
- Full disclosure of living arrangements
- Right to privacy
- Flexible visitation times
- Right to make individual life decisions
- Right to make complaints
- Right to medical decisions
Do You Need to Speak With a South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
If you know a loved one has been denied any of these rights or has experienced any of the aforementioned scenarios of abuse, you need to contact an experienced Anderson, South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney.
The attorneys at Pracht Injury Lawyers are here to protect the most vulnerable members of your family. Our office is located in Anderson, South Carolina, but we work in many counties including Greenville, Clemson, Seneca, Abbeville, Easley, Newberry, Laurens, Spartanburg, Columbia, Aiken, Charleston, Greenwood, and Orangeburg. Contact us today.