Answers to Questions on Elder Abuse From a South Carolina Nursing Home Lawyer
What is financial abuse? Are nursing home aids properly trained? When should you believe a loved one’s stories of neglect? Our legal team answers the most common questions about nursing home abuse on our FAQ page.
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What qualifies as “neglect” in a nursing home setting?
While nursing home abuse implies some type of intentional harm to a nursing home patient, nursing home neglect is generally described as sub-standard care to the individual that results in some type of harm or injury to the patient. Some of the most common types of nursing home neglect include:
- Emotional or Social Neglect: This can generally be described as a patient being ignored on a long-term basis or emotional abuse towards the patient resulting in harm or injury.
- Personal Hygiene Neglect: This can generally be described as a patient not receiving adequate bathing, cleaning, laundry, or any other forms of personal hygiene.
- Basic Needs Neglect: This can occur when a nursing home neglects to provide adequate food or water, or to keep a generally safe and habitable environment for the patient.
- Medical Neglect: This can occur when a nursing home fails to provide adequate attention, monitoring, prevention, or medical concerns that might result in bed sores, infections, blood clots, new development and diagnosis of chronic diseases, mobility concerns, slip and falls, and many others.
- Financial Neglect: Under certain situation, a nursing home or individual may have authority or control over the patient’s financial means. Neglect in this regards can include misappropriation of funds, stealing funds, forging of signatures, or coercing or deceiving an elderly in signing some type of financial documentation.
How can I report nursing home abuse?
If someone you know has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, S.C. Code Ann. § 43-35-15 provides that you can report the situation to the Vulnerable Adults Investigation Unit, Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, Adult Protective Services through the Department of Social Services, or the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, and the property authorities will coordinate and investigate the situation.
What should I do if I suspect a loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect?
Most importantly, if you suspect someone is in immediate danger or at risk, you should contact the police and report the incident. If the risk is not as imminent, you should tell family members of the victim who can consult the victim and monitor the situation. Also, if you suspect a loved one is at risk of negligence or abuse in a nursing home, you need to remove them from their current residence and find a new home for them immediately. Lastly, if a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or negligence, you need to contact an experienced South Carolina nursing home attorney as soon as possible to advise you on your rights and remedies.
What are some signs of nursing home abuse or neglect?
Sometimes it is very difficult to tell whether a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Obviously, the easiest indicator is if your family member can tell you directly if something has happened. However, often times, the person may not be competent enough or in a position to explain to you the details about what has occurred. It is helpful to pay close attention to their mental state and emotions. Other signs can include malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, infections, rapid weight loss or gain, unsanitary or unclean conditions, reluctance to speak when staff members are present, emotionally upset or agitated, episodes or wandering, or an unexplained injury or death to the patient. Anytime any of these signs have appeared to a loved one in a nursing home setting, you should do your best to investigate the cause and determine whether it is a result of abuse or neglect.