Identifying the Signs of South Carolina Nursing Home Neglect
South Carolina has a high population of aging Americans, making up approximately 17 percent of the state’s total population. While some families can care for loved ones in their own homes, many do not have the space, time, or ability to provide the necessary level of care. Many South Carolina families rely on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to help provide care to aging loved ones. While most nursing homes hire caring and compassionate staff members, the realities of the industry are such that even the most well-intentioned nursing home employee can get worn down, leading them to neglect the needs of those they are charged with caring for.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is a term used to describe a situation in which a nursing home or its employees fails to provide for a resident’s basic needs. Nursing home neglect can involve any of the following:
• Failure to ensure a resident’s daily hygiene.
• Failure to move a resident to prevent bedsores or pressure ulcers.
• Failure to provide a resident with their necessary medication.
• Failure to provide residents with needed medical care.
• Failure to meet the emotional and social needs of residents.
• Dehydration, malnutrition, and weight loss.
If you have a loved one in a South Carolina nursing home, you should monitor their health and the facility’s conditions, keeping an eye out for signs of nursing home neglect.
Signs of South Carolina Nursing Neglect
Each year, thousands of South Carolina nursing home residents suffer from neglect. According to recent government statistics, just one in 57 cases of nursing home neglect gets reported. While any resident is at risk of nursing home neglect, residents experiencing dementia are at the greatest risk. By some estimates, half of all nursing home residents with dementia are neglected by their caretakers.
Nursing home neglect is common, although it often occurs behind closed doors. For example, nursing home residents are often kept isolated from loved ones, and it may be difficult to determine the quality of care provided to a resident. If you have a loved one in a South Carolina nursing home, keep an eye out for these signs of nursing home neglect.
• The facility has a foul odor.
• There are not many staff members visible.
• You have difficulty getting in touch with the facility’s administrator.
• The nurses on staff do not return your phone calls when you have questions about your loved one’s care.
• You notice a serious lack of hygiene. For example, your mother’s hair looks unkempt, or your father, who once shaved regularly, hardly shaves at all – or maybe they are not changing their clothes regularly.
• You notice your loved one is falling more often or developing recurrent infections.
• Your loved one develops bedsores.
In some cases, a resident will openly discuss these deficiencies with loved ones. However, that is not always the case. Often, residents do not want to burden loved ones for fear of being seen as complaining. In other cases, a resident may not have the ability to articulate what is happening to them behind closed doors.
Why Is Nursing Home Neglect So Common?
The primary reason nursing home residents experience neglect at such high rates relates to understaffing. According to one source, as many as 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed. Industry regulations suggest that nursing homes provide one staff member for every three to six residents. However, some nursing homes have a 30:1 resident to staff ratio.
Nursing homes operate to make a profit, and the cost of labor is one of a facility’s most significant expenses. Nursing home management too often prioritizes saving a few extra dollars over providing a safe place for residents. This dramatically increases the likelihood of elder neglect.
What to Do When You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect in South Carolina
If you believe that a nursing home is neglecting your loved one’s basic needs, the first step is to reach out to the facility’s administration. Hopefully, this will bring attention to any deficiencies, and you will notice an immediate improvement. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and it is common for nursing home management not to take loved ones’ concerns seriously.
The next step is to contact the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and file a complaint. You can file a complaint online or over the phone. If you choose to submit your complaint online, you can also upload any supporting documentation. This will trigger an investigation into the facility.
If your loved one suffered serious injuries as a result of the neglect, it is also crucial that you reach out to a dedicated South Carolina nursing home neglect lawyer. Nursing home neglect is a matter of great public importance, and every step should be taken to reduce the frequency of these tragic events. Too often, nursing homes get away with providing inadequate care, putting residents at risk.
Filing a South Carolina nursing home neglect lawsuit can also result in your family recovering compensation from the offending facility. This can be critical to covering the cost of medical care and the decrease in your loved one’s quality of life as a result of the neglect. A recent survey among nursing home neglect lawyers shows that the average settlement in these cases is around $400,000.
Contact the Steinberg Law Firm to Talk with a South Carolina Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
If a loved one recently suffered a serious injury due to the negligence of a nursing home staff member, contact the Steinberg Law Firm for immediate assistance. The dedicated lawyers at our firm help families hold nursing homes accountable for their failure to care for residents. We understand the frustrations you and your family are facing during their challenging time and do everything we can to make the recovery process as easy as possible. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 843-720-2800. You can also reach us through our online form. We represent clients in Charleston, Goose Creek, Summerville, and the surrounding areas.