Nursing home patients and residents in South Carolina have a right to dignity, respect, and quality of care as they age. When these rights are violated, the nursing home resident suffers greatly and may even die from the neglect of caregivers or negligence of the nursing home institution. South Carolina is dedicated to helping nursing home residents live with dignity and even have a Bill of Rights for nursing home residents.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by 2050, 20% of all people will be 65 years of age or older, with individuals 85 and older being the largest and fastest growing group among them. In 2010, there were about 5.8 million people 85 and older; in 2050, that number is projected to increase to 19 million.
Many families place their loved ones in nursing homes to provide them with round the clock medical care and supervision as they age. This is especially helpful to families with elders suffering from cognitive decline like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and senility. Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not provide care to loved ones and instead harm them by being negligent and neglectful.
Nursing home abuse implies that the caregiver intends to harm the elderly person by physically hurting him or her. Nursing home neglect is a form of substandard care, or a breach of duty of care, that causes physical and psychological harm to the patient. The actions or inaction of the caregiver must be expected to cause harm to the resident who has been neglected, and consequently injured.
A nursing home, convalescent home, rest home, or elder care facility can be held legally responsible — meaning that a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed — when an act of negligence, neglect, or abuse on the premises ends up causing harm to a patient or resident. In some circumstances, if the nursing home or caregiver’s behavior is especially egregious, criminal charges may be considered by the authorities.
There are Time Limits for Seeking Legal Assistance
The statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. In other words, if you wait too long to file your lawsuit, you will not be able to collect any compensation even though the evidence is overwhelmingly in your favor. The statute of limitations for a nursing home abuse and neglect case usually begins from the date of harm or injury.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect:
Identifying nursing home neglect warning signs can be difficult. Your loved one may not be able to communicate what is happening because of a limitation or disability. Depending on the exact type of abuse or neglect, there may not be any physical signs present. Furthermore, behavioral changes may be difficult to distinguish from behavioral changes caused by diseases or aging.
Warning signs of nursing home neglect include:
- Sudden weight loss
- Bedsores, or pressure ulcers
- Injuries from nursing home falls
- Withdrawn elder behavior, or unusual changes in behavior
- Changes in personal hygiene or appearance efforts
- A growing lack of friendly interaction with the nursing home staff
- A growing lack of friendly interaction with the other nursing home residents
- Environmental hazards, such as poor lighting, slippery floors, unsafe mobility equipment, or unsafe furniture in the nursing home patient’s room
Common Nursing Home Problems
An elderly patient residing in a negligent nursing home is at a heightened risk for serious diseases, infections, injuries, and death. A simple bed sore left unattended may quickly balloon to gangrene, requiring the limb to be cut off to preserve the life of the nursing home patient. While some forms of nursing home neglect are obvious, many cases of nursing home neglect go unnoticed and unreported by the nursing home patient and his or her family. Reporting nursing home neglect can mean the difference between life and death for the elderly patient.
The best weapon in the family’s arsenal is monitoring and observation. Pay attention to your loved one’s social and medical condition. Make sure he or she is groomed, takes the proper medication, and has access to medical aides and devices. Malnutrition, dehydration, and bedsores are all primary concerns for a nursing home patient. Routinely check your loved one’s skin for signs of bed sores, bruises, contusions, or hematomas that might indicate a fall or blunt force. These physical forms of nursing home neglect may be more easily identifiable for the patient’s family when they visit. Injuries from nursing home falls, or strangulation in a nursing home bed, are also both examples of physical nursing home abuse.
Get Help Right Away
If you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse in the hands of nursing home staff or sheer neglect, you may be entitled to compensation. In order to determine if you have a valid claim against the nursing home, elder care facility, or rehabilitation facility, be prepared to answer the following questions when you speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer Greenville, SC about your case:
- Did you or a loved one sustain a physical injury (including bed sores or death) while living in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or rehabilitation facility?
- Did the injury result in hospitalization?
- Did the injury require medical treatment or result in death?
To find out if your case qualifies for compensation, click here or call us any time to schedule a free consultation with an experienced nursing abuse attorney Greenville, SC.