Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents in South Carolina

South Carolina nursing home residents have specific rights and protections granted to them by federal and state government. Laws include the federal Nursing Home Reform Law and the Older Americans Act, and the South Carolina Omnibus Adult Protection Act.

The law requires anyone who knows of the abuse or neglect of an elderly person to report it to authorities.

State officials have the authority to investigate complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect, and to bring civil prosecution and levy financial penalties where wrongdoing is found.

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Unfortunately, abuse of the elderly and other nursing home residents can easily be hidden or obscured by excuses and misinformation. Government action can be slow or ineffective. In many cases the assistance of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney is necessary to get prompt and proper results to protect a nursing home resident.

If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect while living in a South Carolina nursing home, Joye Law Firm can help you protect them and recover the compensation they deserve for their medical bills, pain and suffering and other losses.

Call Joye Law Firm now or fill out our online contact form for a free and confidential claim review.

Legal Protection for SC Nursing Home Residents

The Omnibus Adult Protection Act, Section 43-35 of the South Carolina Code, protects elderly, ill or impaired adults, or adults who reside in a “facility,” from abuse and neglect. It establishes the Vulnerable Adults Investigations Unit of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate criminal complaints and the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program to investigate noncriminal complaints.

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is responsible for investigating noncriminal reports of alleged abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults occurring in nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities.

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is governed by the federal Older Americans Act. The South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging administers the statewide Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.

The Older Americans Act, which dates to 1965, was amended in 1987 to include the Nursing Home Reform Amendments.

The law requires that nursing homes and similar facilities establish a “written plan of care” for each nursing home resident, which is to be prepared with as much participation as is practicable by the resident, the resident’s family and/or legal representative. A resident should not decline in health or well-being because of the way a nursing facility provides care.

The Nursing Home Reform Law provides rights to nursing home residents that include:

  • The right to be fully informed in a language they understand of nursing home services and their costs, facility rules and regulations and, in advance, of planned changes in rooms or roommates.
  • The right to complain without fear of reprisal and to receive prompt response by the nursing home’s staff toward resolving such grievances, and to complain to the long-term care ombudsman program or nursing home certification agency.
  • The right to participate in their own care, which includes receiving proper care, being advised of changes in their condition, and the right to refuse any treatment or medication, including chemical and physical restraints.
  • The right to privacy and confidentiality regarding medical, personal or financial affairs and in communications with others.
  • Rights during transfers and discharges, including the right to remain in the nursing facility unless a transfer or discharge meets conditions (health, safety or financial) defined by the law; to receive a 30-day notice of transfer or discharge and that it explain the circumstances and effective date; to appeal a transfer or discharge decision; and that any such move is safe for the resident.
  • The right to dignity, respect and freedom, to be treated with consideration, and to be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints; the right to self-determination and to the security of possessions.
  • The right to visits by relatives, friends, doctors, service organizations and others of the resident’s choosing, and to refuse such visits.
  • The right to make independent choices regarding what to wear and how to spend free time, participating in community activities inside and outside of the nursing home, choosing a physician, managing their own financial affairs, and organizing and participating in a Resident Council; and the right to reasonable accommodation of their needs and preferences.

Anyone who knows of a nursing home resident in South Carolina whose rights are being violated at the facility where they live can contact their Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman Office. The office can provide information and, if warranted, investigate the complaint.

Investigators may eventually refer the complaint to authorities for criminal or civil action. If a nursing home resident is in immediate danger, the local sheriff’s office has the authority to take the resident into protective care.

Contact Our SC Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys

Joye Law Firm can assist without being hindered by the workload or bureaucratic restrictions placed on a state agency. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys can work as your independent advocates, answering only to you.

Our attorneys can investigate and help you take legal action if a loved one has had his or her rights violated in a South Carolina nursing home. You may be able to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering your loved one has endured, for the costs of any medical care they may require and for their relocation to a new residence, if necessary.

Call Joye Law Firm or fill out our contact form online to set up a free and confidential discussion of your legal options today.

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