When you chose a nursing home or assisted living facility for your loved one, you had every right to expect that it would provide your loved one with the care and attention that he or she deserves. Unfortunately, you may now realize that the facility has failed to meet your reasonable expectations.
You may have reason to believe that your loved one has suffered harm through abuse or neglect. You should seek legal help without delay.
Joye Law Firm can provide the guidance and representation that you need during this difficult time. Our attorneys have nearly 250 years of combined legal experience and a dedication to protecting the rights of nursing home abuse victims and their families throughout South Carolina.
Types of Abuse and Neglect in Columbia Nursing Homes
Most nursing homes in Columbia provide a safe, clean and caring environment for residents, many of whom are elderly and/or suffer from a physical or mental disability.
However, not all facilities meet the standard of care that residents deserve. They may also intentionally harm residents.
Some common types of mistreatment that occur in nursing homes are:
- Physical abuse – The deliberate use of force on a resident, including hitting, slapping, pinching, and the use of physical and/or chemical restraints. Bruises, cuts, burns, fractures, and marks around the wrists and ankles could indicate that your loved one has suffered physical abuse.
- Emotional abuse – The use of verbal and non-verbal means to inflict emotional distress on a resident. Humiliating, taunting, or intimidating a resident are examples of verbal use. Ignoring or isolating a resident are examples of non-verbal use. If your loved one shows sudden changes in behavior such as anxiety, depression, or withdrawal from social interaction, it may indicate that he or she has suffered emotional abuse.
- Sexual abuse – Engaging in non-consensual sexual acts with a resident, forcing a resident to watch sexual acts or pornography, or harming a resident through other coercive sexual behavior. Signs of sexual abuse include bruises around the breasts and genitals, vaginal or anal bleeding, and the development of a sexually transmitted disease.
- Financial abuse – Stealing a resident’s checks, credit cards, or personal belongings are examples of financial abuse. The abuse may also take the form of identity theft, improper withdrawal of funds from an account, tricking a resident into investing in a fraudulent charity or company, or using undue influence to create or change a will.
- Neglect – Failing to meet a resident’s basic dietary, shelter, medical, and personal hygiene needs. Signs of neglect include dirty clothes and bedding, dehydration, malnutrition, and the development of pressure sores (or “bed sores”). Additionally, if your loved one suffered a fall, it may indicate neglect.
Steps You Can Take if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you have reason to believe that your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a Columbia nursing home or anywhere in South Carolina, you can take immediate steps to protect your loved one. Those steps include:
- Call 911 – If you believe that your loved one faces an imminent threat of harm, you should contact a local law enforcement agency without delay. In an emergency, calling 911 will always be your best option.
- Notify the facility – You should notify the facility’s administrator about your concerns. The facility may have a formal complaint process that you can follow. In response to your report, the facility may conduct an internal investigation and take corrective action. However, if the facility ignores your complaint or fails to remedy the issue to your satisfaction, you should take additional action.
- Report the abuse or neglect to state officials. The South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman Program investigates complaints of abuse or neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. You can call (800) 868-9095 to get contact information for the ombudsman that serves the Columbia area. You can also contact the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) office in Richland County through its 24-hour hotline at (803) 714-7444.
How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help You in Columbia?
If you believe that your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a Columbia nursing home, the most important step you can take is to get help from an experienced and compassionate attorney at Joye Law Firm.
When you work with us, we will use our skills and resources to protect your loved one’s health and safety, legal rights, and financial interests.
Some of the specific services that we can provide include:
- Intervening immediately to remove your loved one from a dangerous situation
- Serving as a liaison between your family and the police or other agency that is investigating the suspected abuse or neglect of your loved one
- Preserving, gathering, and analyzing evidence of abuse or neglect in an independent investigation
- Consulting with medical experts, including experts with a background in nursing home care
Preparing your case for a settlement demand and, if necessary, taking your case to trial if that is what it takes to pursue just compensation.
In a nursing home abuse lawsuit, you or your loved one may be entitled to compensation that includes:
- Relocation costs
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages (if the case involves especially egregious misconduct).
We will pay close attention to your loved one’s needs and your family’s goals throughout your case. We will charge no legal fees unless we secure compensation for you or your loved one through a settlement or verdict.
Our Columbia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers are Ready to Serve You
For more than 50 years, the attorneys of Joye Law Firm have protected the rights of personal injury victims and their families in South Carolina, including those whose lives have been affected by nursing home abuse and neglect.
We will treat you with the respect, compassion, and care that you deserve during this difficult time. For a free consultation, call our Columbia office or reach us online today.