When you suspect the abuse of a loved one in a nursing home, it can be hard to know where to turn. There are several avenues to report suspected abuse and neglect in South Carolina. Our nursing home abuse lawyers explain resources for reporting nursing home abuse in South Carolina.
Where to Report Nursing Home Abuse in South Carolina
At a Glance –
- South Carolina Department on Aging – Long Term Care Ombudsman – 1-800-868-9095
- Adult Protective Services – 1-888-227-3487
- DHEC Health Facilities Licensing Bureau – 1-803-545-4370
- Law Enforcement – 911 or local police intake number
- SLED, Vulnerable Adults Investigation – 1-866-200-6066
- Facility Administrator – Report to the care facility directly
Agencies to Make a Report of Nursing Home Abuse
Where to report nursing home abuse depends on the circumstances and the nature of abuse. Any of the following agencies may receive and investigate your report:
South Carolina Department on Aging – Long Term Care Ombudsman
The South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) is usually the appropriate agency to report nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation, along with Adult Protective Services. The Department on Aging investigates and resolves complaints for people who live in care facilities. They advocate for residents and family members and address care and quality of life concerns.
To make a report to the SC Ombudsman program, call 1-800-868-9095.
Adult Protective Services
South Carolina Adult Protective Services protects adults from abuse. They may investigate and take temporary action until the risk can be thoroughly evaluated and mitigated. The organization helps adults who are not able to care for themselves. The goal is to ensure the safety of the vulnerable adult within the least restrictive environment.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Health Facilities Licensing Bureau
The South Carolina DHEC licenses health care facilities, including nursing homes. With licensing comes a great deal of regulation and requirements. When nursing home abuse puts a care facility in violation of these requirements, the DHEC may step in.
Nursing home abuse may be a police matter. South Carolina law 43-35-5 et al. l authorizes law enforcement to investigate vulnerable adult abuse in a care setting. § 43-35-55 allows law enforcement to take a victim into protective custody if they suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation and imminent danger to the victim’s health and safety.
In addition, § 43-35-85 criminalizes willful abuse of a vulnerable adult. The penalty is a felony with imprisonment of up to five years, or 15 years if great bodily injury occurs, and 30 years if death occurs. Threatening or intimidating a person reporting or cooperating in an investigation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years of imprisonment.
To make a report to law enforcement, call 911 in the event of an emergency or your local police non-emergency reporting number.
SLED – South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Vulnerable Adults Investigations unit
If the individual lives in a facility operated or contracted by the Department of Mental Health or Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, the SLED Special Victims Unit can investigate.
To make a report to SLED, contact 1-866-200-6066.
It may be beneficial to report the abuse directly to the facility administrator depending on the circumstances. If you do not suspect that they are a perpetrator or complicit in the abuse, they may be able to investigate quickly and take direct action.
To make a report to the care facility administrator, contact the care facility directly.
Can a report of nursing home abuse remain anonymous?
While you can make an anonymous report of suspected nursing home abuse, an anonymous report may be harder to investigate than a report with contact details. The agency investigating needs the correct information to follow up on the report. Without your contact information, they cannot ask for clarification or ask additional questions.
How can an attorney help with nursing home abuse?
In addition to reporting suspected elder abuse to the appropriate agency, an attorney for nursing home abuse can help you take legal action. If you suspect nursing home abuse for you or a loved one, contact our attorneys today to learn more about how legal action can hold wrongdoers accountable and provide monetary compensation for injuries and suffering.