It’s tough to put a loved one’s care in someone else’s hands. But it’s often necessary when a spouse, parent or other family member faces a health challenge, such as a physical disability, stroke or Alzheimer’s disease. Many families do their best to select the most reputable nursing home they can find. They visit facilities, ask questions and check references.
But it doesn’t mean their loved one is immune from nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, nursing abuse is more common than people may think. The National Center on Elder Abuse surveyed 2,000 nursing home residents and found 44 percent had been abused and 95 percent reported that they had been neglected or seen other residents be neglected.
Federal statistics also find that a quarter of all nursing homes nationwide are cited each year for causing a resident’s death or injury. And the situation in South Carolina is also grim. A 2017 study by WalletHub found South Carolina ranked almost dead last when it comes to elder abuse protections.
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, there are steps you can take from reporting the nursing home to the state and even legal action to get justice for your family member.
1. Gather as much information as possible about the abuse. Elder abuse could include physical and emotional abuse as well as neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse and financial exploitation. If possible, take photos or keep copies of documents or notes on conversations that could be needed to prove instances of abuse. If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, call local law enforcement.
2. 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 investigate the complaint.
3. If you’re not getting the resolution you need, consult with a law firm experienced in nursing home abuse cases. In 2016 the South Carolina Department of Social Services received more than 7,000 reports of vulnerable adults being abused, neglected or exploited. Many of these reports resulted in court proceedings, so it’s important to work with lawyers who understand the system and the best way to pursue legal action. States agencies are often bogged down with too much work, too much paperwork and red tape. An attorney can advocate on your family’s behalf, navigating the system more quickly and efficiently.
If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect at a South Carolina nursing home, turn to experienced attorneys like the team at Joye Law Firm. Since 1968, they have helped injured people recover not just the money they are entitled to, but also their lives. To learn how Joye Law can help you, visit JoyeLawFirm.com or call 843-507-4959. Responsible attorney: Ken Harrell, 5861 Rivers Ave. North Charleston, SC 29406.