As baby boomers enter their later years, the need for nursing homes – and properly trained staff members to run them – is greater than ever in Laurens County and throughout South Carolina.
These facilities have a duty to meet residents’ needs and treat them with the care, respect and dignity that they deserve. Sadly, many nursing homes fail to live up to that duty.
If you believe that your loved one has suffered harm due to abuse or neglect in a Clinton nursing home, the experienced and compassionate nursing home abuse attorneys of Joye Law Firm want to help you.
We can bring nearly 250 years of combined legal experience to your loved one’s case and a passion for seeking justice. We will fully investigate what happened and aggressively pursue all compensation that your loved one is due. Contact us today and learn more in a free consultation.
Types of Abuse and Neglect in Clinton Nursing Homes
Federal regulations apply to all nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid funding – a group that includes most facilities in Clinton and throughout the country. Those regulations require that nursing homes assess a resident, develop a written plan of care and, ultimately, provide care and services that will allow the resident to “attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being.” When a nursing home fails to meet that standard, residents can suffer serious harm.
Over the years, our law firm has observed numerous cases of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and financial exploitation of nursing home residents in South Carolina. Mistreatment occurs when:
- A staff member intentionally beats a resident or uses physical or chemical restraints to keep a resident “under control.”
- One resident attacks a fellow resident due to the staff’s lack of monitoring and supervision or inadequate security measures.
- A resident experiences emotional trauma due to threats, insults, taunting, harassment, intimidation, isolation and other forms of verbal and non-verbal abuse by staff members or other residents.
- The nursing home staff neglects to meet a resident’s basic hygiene and dietary needs. As a result, the resident suffers pressure sores (or “bed sores”), infection, dehydration, malnourishment or other serious health problems.
- The facility’s operators fail to properly supervise residents, exposing them to the risk of falls, wandering, elopement and other incidents.
- Staff members fail to give a resident the right medication or administer an incorrect dosage of medication, or staff members steal medication such as painkillers for their own use or sale.
- Residents or staff members steal items from a resident such as money, jewelry or electronics, or they unlawfully access the resident’s credit or bank accounts.
Our legal team at Joye Law Firm knows how frightening it can be when you realize that your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home. When you contact us, we will immediately achieve safety and security for your loved one. We will also begin the process of seeking compensation that fairly and fully addresses the harm that your loved one has suffered.
How Prevalent is Nursing Home Abuse?
The statistics available on nursing home abuse are simply staggering. According to data from the National Center on Elder Abuse:
- One in ten older Americans studied said they were victims of abuse that was not financial in nature;
- Seven percent of complaints to long term care Ombudsmen throughout the United States relate to abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation;
- A 2000 study of nursing home residents found that 44 percent reported they had been the victims of abuse or neglect. An astonishing 95 percent of the same participants reported they had witnessed another nursing home resident being abused, neglected, or exploited.
It is widely accepted that the true nature and extent of elder abuse is under-reported. When it is reported and acted upon, though, victims and their families can often obtain the resources they need to address any harm caused and to move the victim into a different, safer facility.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Nursing Home Abuse in Clinton?
Several parties may be held liable in a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit. Those parties include:
- Staff members – The individual staff members who are involved with the abuse or neglect of a nursing home resident can and should be held accountable.
- Nursing home owner – The owner should be held responsible for the negligence of its employees. The nursing home may also be liable for its own negligence. For instance, the owner may have failed to provide a safe and clean environment for residents or to employ a sufficient number of nurses to attend to residents. Additionally, a nursing home owner may be liable if it hired staff members without conducting an adequate background check, hired staff members who lacked proper education and training or failed to properly supervise the staff.
- Third-party vendors – Many nursing homes contract with medical staffing agencies that provide medical personnel. Those agencies could be liable for abusive or negligent acts that the personnel commit. Of course, the nursing home owner may be liable, as well, if it knew or reasonably should have known about a vendor’s negligence.
As part of our investigation, Joye Law Firm will identify all parties who should be held responsible for the abuse or neglect in your loved one’s case, and we will pursue compensation from all available sources.
How Can You Detect and Report Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Many nursing home residents suffer from a physical or mental disability such as Alzheimer’s disease. Their condition may leave them unable to report abuse or neglect. Some residents may simply be too scared to report it. They may fear retaliation by the facility’s owner or certain staff members. For this reason, family members must be vigilant. They need to look for signs of mistreatment and take immediate action.
Signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are:
- Rapid deterioration of your loved one’s health
- Bruises, marks or injuries on your loved one (particularly marks that appear in the same areas or have similar shapes or patterns)
- Being unexpectedly denied visitation with your loved one
- Being “followed” by staff while you are in the home
- Your loved one acting fearful or uneasy around staff members
- Bed sores or other infections that never seem to heal
- Sudden weight loss or dry, flaky skin (indicating undernourishment or dehydration)
- Dirty clothes and bedding
- Disappearance of items from your loved one’s room or mysterious debit and/or credit card transactions.
The sooner you take action to address suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, the better the outcome will be for your loved one. The steps you can take include:
- Calling law enforcement. If you have any reason to believe that your loved one faces imminent danger, you should call 911 without delay.
- Filing a complaint with the nursing home. If the nursing home ignores your complaint, fails to investigate the matter or otherwise falls short in its response, you should not wait to take additional action.
- Notify state agencies. You can contact the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) office in Laurens County through its 24-hour hotline at (864) 547-8079. You should also reach out to the South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. A local ombudsman can investigate your complaint.
Contact Our Clinton Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm Today
If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Clinton nursing home abuse legal council at Joye Law Firm right away. We will take immediate steps to protect your loved one’s safety and to hold the perpetrators of the abuse and neglect responsible for the harm they have caused, including seeking compensation for your loved one’s relocation costs, medical expenses, emotional distress, pain, suffering and more. You can call or reach us online today for a free consultation.