The number of nursing home residents is surging rapidly as the percentage of older adults in South Carolina increases. Although South Carolina has around 200 nursing homes, only about 20% have a five-star rating, while the rest offer average or low-care services. Nursing home neglect cases are rampant in South Carolina, especially in Charleston. According to the South Carolina Department of Aging, there are over 8,000 filed complaints of nursing home neglect.
It is always hard for victims of nursing home neglect to voice their concerns as they may fear retaliation. Besides, most of them might not even realize they are neglect victims. If you or your loved ones face nursing home neglect, you should know that numerous rights protect older adults from neglect. You need not worry about how to address allegations of negligence in a nursing home; all you have to do is consult a Charleston nursing home abuse lawyer.
Nursing Home Neglect
It is a form of abuse where a nursing home resident is generally deprived of attention, care, or food. Neglect may appear in any health condition, whether acute or chronic. A neglected nursing home resident will naturally show physical and emotional signs.
Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
There are several laws protecting nursing home residents. For instance, according to § 16-3-1050, certain people must report neglect in a nursing home. Furthermore, §43-35-5 covers the Ombudsman program, which is an establishment of the Omnibus Adult Protection Act. The program is responsible for investigating reported concerns of neglect, alleged abuse, and exploitation of older people in nursing homes.
On top of that, if you or your loved one is facing nursing home neglect, you can seek legal help from a Charleston nursing home abuse lawyer.
How to Report Nursing Home Neglect in South Carolina
To report a suspicion of nursing home neglect in South Carolina, call 1-888-CARE4US (1-888-227-3487). It is a hassle-free way to voice your concerns, whether you are a visitor or a victim’s family member.
Under the South Carolina laws section, certain professionals can directly report nursing home neglect. Thus, if you believe a nursing home resident is a victim of negligence in Charleston and any other city in South Carolina, you can report your claims to the DHEC. The department will then proceed to investigate your complaint.
When making a complaint, you can opt to be public or discrete about it. An anonymous written or verbal complaint is a great way to hide your identity. On the other hand, you can reveal your identity while making a complaint but request confidentiality. In such a case, the DHEC will keep your identity private and confidential unless authorized by state law.
After reporting your nursing home neglect suspicions, the DHEC will assign your complaint to one of their inspectors for review. The department will further acknowledge receipt of your complaints via a written acknowledgment. After investigation, you’ll receive a written report of their findings.
Other ways to report nursing home neglect complaints are:
- You can also report your concerns to the South Carolina Long-Term Ombudsman via 1-800-868-9095.
- If you live in a facility operated by the Department of Mental Health or Special Needs, call the SLED at 1 (866) 200-6066.
- If the victim is in danger, call 911.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
In most cases, identifying nursing home neglect might require extra attention. The following are the signs you should not ignore:
- Lack of hygiene
- Body dehydration
- Sudden body weakness or malnutrition
- Injuries like bruises
- Genital diseases and infections
- Sudden weight loss
- Delayed medical attention
- Social isolation
Suppose nursing home neglect leads to an accident; the victim has the right to compensation. The nursing home may be accountable for the damages caused. Nursing homes are legally obligated to care for their residents; if a person is injured by neglect, they might need to compensate them. The compensation for a nursing home neglect claim covers damages such as medical bills and emotional distress.