People who live in nursing homes have special protections under the South Carolina Nursing Home Bill of Rights. It applies to everyone who lives in a qualifying care facility in the state.
The South Carolina Nursing Home Resident’s Bill of Rights lists specific rights and protections for individuals who live in nursing care facilities. These rights are in addition to the protections that exist under the law. If these rights are violated, and abuse occurs, an individual may take action to enforce their rights and claim the appropriate relief, which may include financial compensation.
If you have concerns about the care your loved one is receiving, or if their rights have been violated, we invite you to contact our nursing home abuse lawyers to talk about their rights and options.
List of Rights Under the Nursing Home Bill of Rights
The South Carolina Nursing Home Bill of Rights provides rights in five key areas of care and well-being: medical, possessions, personal treatment, communication, and privacy.
Specifically, the patient has the right to:
- Choose their own doctor
- Get a complete description of their medical condition in terms they can understand
- Participate in care planning and changes to treatment
- Refuse experimental medicine
- Confidentiality with record-keeping; the right to disseminate or refuse to release records
- Treatment that is free of discrimination on a protected basis or because of the source of payment
- Store items of personal property securely
- Use clothing and other personal items as they wish
- Manage the own personal finances; if the facility is managing them with consent, they must provide a quarterly statement
- Respect and dignity in care
- No abuse, physical or mental
- No physical or medical restraints without a doctor’s order
- No working for the facility unless therapeutically as part of a plan of care
- No discharge from the facility without consent except for the patient’s welfare or other residents. The patient must receive a 30-day notice unless the discharge is for their welfare or the welfare of others
- Visits from family, relatives, and their legal guardian, including to talk about the facility
- Refusal of visitors
- Send and receive mail in privacy
- Private association and communication with people they choose
- Participate in social, religious, and group activity unless a medical order prevents it
- Privacy in personal care
- Privacy with spouse; sharing a room with a spouse unless medically prohibited
- Confidentiality in personal records
- Sitter services from outside the facility if they choose, unless they agree in writing with the facility not to use an outside provider. (Sitting must be from an approved agency, and there is no facility liability for an outside sitter.)
A patient must be told about these rights in writing when they enter a facility.
What is the law for the South Carolina Nursing Home Bill of Rights?
South Carolina Code § 44-81-10 et. seq. is the Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities, also known as the nursing home Bill of Rights.
What is the purpose of the South Carolina nursing home resident Bill of Rights?
When the South Carolina legislature passed the nursing home Bill of Rights, they stated that residents in long-term facilities often lack a way to assert their rights. They often live in isolation. The legislature passed the law in hopes of helping residents of long-term facilities live in the least restrictive environments possible with dignity and personal freedom.
Is retaliation mentioned in the South Carolina Nursing Home Bill of Rights?
It is against the law for a care facility or staff to retaliate against you for enforcing your rights or the rights of others under the Bill of Rights. They may not punish you or take away privileges. They may not coerce, embarrass or threaten you in any manner to prevent you from enforcing your rights. (See S.C. Code § 44-81-70.)
What can I do if I believe the South Carolina Nursing Home Bill of Rights has been violated?
South Carolina Code § 44-81-60 establishes procedures for enforcing the nursing home Bill of Rights. Each care facility must have their own grievance procedures. The grievance procedures must be reviewed and approved annually. The State Department of Health and Environmental Control has the authority to enforce the Bill of Rights.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control oversees licensing and regulation of nursing homes. There are many regulations that apply to the operation of care facilities in addition to what is specifically mentioned in the Resident Bill of Rights. Regulations cover a range of topics, including food, sanitation, health care, and even fire extinguishers. Failing to comply may result in licensing sanctions, education, corrective action, and even revocation of the operating license.
You may report a violation of the Bill of Rights directly to the facility. You may also make a report to the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP). The LTCOP resolves complaints made by or on behalf of residents, including rights violations. There are other ways to report your concerns and ensure that your loved ones are protected.
South Carolina lawyers for violation of nursing home Bill of Rights
In addition, when a care facility violates the Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights and physical harm occurs, the facility may owe the victim monetary compensation. When abuse or neglect causes injury in a nursing home, the victim may bring a personal injury claim. Physical harm may result from direct abuse, like assault and battery, or neglect that leads to health problems like bedsores and infection.
At Bobby Jones Law, we are a legal team dedicated to helping the vulnerable in society. If you or a loved one have been injured because of a rights violation, we can help you take action. Our team can investigate the circumstances and determine if you have a legal claim. Then, we can represent you throughout the claims process. We are happy to have a conversation with you about what has happened, your concerns, and your rights or the rights of a loved one.
Contact our lawyers today to learn more about the Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights and what your options are if harm occurs because of a violation. Working with our legal team can be one of the ways you fight back against abuse and protect yourself or your loved ones. Call or send us a message today.