Each year, officials investigate more than 8,000 complaints filed on behalf of nursing home residents. (SC Department on Aging). Many of these complaints are about neglect. Sadly, neglect is too common in long-term care facilities.
For the many suffering residents, it can be hard to know how to address allegations of neglect. They may not know that they are a victim of neglect. They may worry about retaliation, and they may worry about being seen as a troublemaker.
It can be hard to know where to turn if you or a loved one has been impacted by nursing home neglect. Our nursing home abuse lawyers have met and helped victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We want you to know that you have rights, and Bobby Jones Law is where you can turn when you suspect nursing home neglect.
Signs of nursing home neglect
Nursing home neglect can be hard to identify. Don’t ignore the warning signs.
- Not being given medication on schedule
- Inadequate medical attention; not having routine and specialist appointments
- Sudden weight loss
- Bedsores, visible injury on the body
- Social isolation, a lack of interaction with others
- The resident not having access to wheelchairs, walkers, and canes, as needed
- Anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- New medical problems
- Suffering from medical problems that could be addressed with treatment
- Looking unkempt; uncombed hair, dirty and soiled clothes
- Failing to keep a room at an appropriate temperature
Neglect may appear in acute and chronic health conditions. It can show physically and emotionally. If you sense that something is wrong, neglect may be the cause of your loved one’s suffering.
How to report South Carolina nursing home neglect
To report nursing home neglect in South Carolina, call 1-888-CARE4US (1-888-227-3487).
You may also make a report to the South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) at 1-800-868-9095.
*Under South Carolina Code § 16-3-1050, certain professionals are mandatory reporters of nursing home abuse and neglect. If your position is covered under the law, you must report. For all other parties, you may report the suspected neglect to authorities.
Why does nursing home neglect occur?
Nursing home neglect devastates its victims. So why is it so common? How can it happen in the very facilities that are given the task of caring for our loved ones? Here are some causes of nursing home neglect:
- Not having enough care providers – It’s common for care facilities to try to do more with fewer employees. When care facilities try to operate with too few staff, it can be the residents themselves who suffer
- Poor training – Caregivers are not trained in what care to provide or how to recognize signs of abuse
- Cost-cutting measures – Facility operators may try to increase their profits by cutting important services for residents
- Unqualified workers – When employees have a negative attitude towards their jobs, they may allow neglect to occur; in addition, the nursing home must do a proper screening before hiring workers
- A culture of silence – too often, workers don’t think that they can speak out when they see neglect occurring
It’s common for there to be multiple factors in play that allow neglect to occur in a nursing home. Regardless of the reason, nursing home neglect is unacceptable.
What can I do if a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect?
If your loved one is having a medical emergency, call 911.
You may report suspected neglect to the nursing home, the South Carolina Department of Social Services, and the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. These different agencies have different but important roles in investigating and remedying suspected neglect.
Is a nursing home liable for resident neglect?
A nursing home may be liable for damages because of resident neglect. Nursing facilities have a legal obligation to provide appropriate care for residents. If someone is harmed by neglect, they may owe the victim compensation. Compensation may include medical bills because of health problems as well as compensation for the emotional anguish that the person endures.
If you have concerns about the care your loved one has received in a nursing home, we invite you to contact our nursing home neglect lawyers at Bobby Jones Law for a private consultation.