Sadly, many injuries that occur in nursing homes are preventable. Nursing home operation is highly regulated. Still, too many facilities choose not to follow the rules.
Safety regulations exist to give nursing homes clear guidance about what they need to do to promote health and safety. When violations occur, the nursing home may be penalized by state authorities. They may also be liable to victims when harm occurs.
The Bobby Jones Law nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers explore safety violations at nursing home facilities and what you can do if you are a victim.
Common safety violations in nursing home facilities
Common nursing home safety violations include:
- Exceeding the licensed bed capacity
- Providing care that the facility is not equipped, capable, or authorized to provide
- Failing to have written policies and procedures to prevent avoidable bedsores and pressure-related wounds
- Not conducting background checks for new employees, denying employment to those with abuse, neglect, and mistreatment convictions.
- Failing in written policies to prevent residents from running away or eloping from the facility
- Denying the opportunity for residents to create advance directives and the acceptance or refusal of medical treatment
- Insufficient worker orientation, training, and education, failing to conduct required in-service training.
- Inadequate numbers of workers, including meeting minimum resident-to-staff ratios; unqualified physician and nursing care; failing to have nurses on duty to meet demand, including one registered nurse on duty whenever residents are present
- Poor emergency, fire, and disaster preparedness
- Allowing accidents and incidents to occur without reporting them as required, not reporting communicable diseases, epidemic outbreaks, and animal bites
- Resident record violations
- Admitting residents whose needs cannot be met in the facility
- Fiscal management violations
- Not providing regular, meaningful activities that are appropriate for residents
- Using restraints when it is not appropriate
This list is not exhaustive. As you can see, there are regulations governing nearly every aspect of resident life and the administration of a nursing home. These regulations are outlined by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) in Regulation 61-17, Standards of Licensing Nursing Homes. There are also federal regulations that apply.
How are safety violations at nursing home facilities enforced?
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control may inspect and investigate alleged violations. They may decide to take enforcement actions, including a monetary fine or a licensing action that includes denying, suspending, or revoking an operating license.
Violations are categorized into classes based on their severity and the likelihood of negative impact to residents. Class, I violations create a severe, imminent danger. Class III offenses are considered the least serious. For a first offense that is a Class III violation, fines begin at $100. For serious and repeat offenses, fines may be up to $5,000.
When determining how to enforce a safety violation, the Department considers the nature of the offense, whether the facility has a history of violations, corrective measures taken by the facility, and the facility’s overall conditions.
What rights does the victim of a safety violation have?
If a safety violation occurs in a nursing home facility, residents and family members may report the violation. When victims suffer harm because of the violation, they may qualify to bring legal action. The action may hold the nursing home accountable, prompt meaningful change, and result in compensation to the victim for their injuries and suffering.
All safety violations are important matters. Violating a rule or regulation is strong evidence of legal liability. Our lawyers can help you investigate the circumstances and whether a violation occurred in your case. Remember, negligence and nursing home misconduct does not always have to include a breach of a safety regulation. Let our nursing home lawyers investigate the situation and provide you with a confidential consultation about your rights and remedies.
Lawyers for Nursing Home Safety Violations
If you suspect that your nursing home or a facility your loved one lives in is responsible for a nursing home violation, contact Bobby Jones Law to review your case. Robert “Bobby” Jones is a dedicated advocate for nursing home residents and their families in South Carolina. Practicing law in South Carolina since 2010, he has recovered more than $40 million in compensation for deserving clients.
Call or send us a message today to talk to our legal team about your situation.