legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
After being named America’s Most Friendly City and the most polite and hospitable city in America, it has seen steady population growth. Its population of just over 120,000 includes over 16,000 senior citizens and thousands of adults over 60 who are rapidly approaching retirement.
The South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC know everyone has the right to live out their final years with dignity. We have aggressively pursued damages for other clients against caregivers and nursing facilities that have failed to provide the quality care that your loved ones deserve.
Is your loved one a victim of abuse or neglect in an elder care facility? Contact our affiliate Charleston nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case at our local office.
Since we do a free case review, you don't have to worry about attorney's fees upfront. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship policy at our law firm.What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse includes any forms of mistreatment of residents in assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is all too common in the United States. It can take many different forms, from physical to emotional to financial. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age or medical condition.
If your elderly loved one is in a nursing facility, you should be familiar with the warning signs of abuse to take prompt action if you suspect abuse or neglect.
Role of Nursing Homes
Nursing facilities are meant to provide a safe, nurturing environment for residents who cannot live independently. Many elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer's disease reside in nursing homes. Nursing homes' primary purpose is to maintain residents' health and safety while providing them with the necessary care and assistance.
In most cases, nursing home staff members provide proper care and treat residents with compassion and respect. However, there are some facilities where abuse and neglect are commonplace.
Nursing homes are regulated by state and federal laws intended to protect residents' rights. For instance, the Omnibus Adult Protection Act in South Carolina establishes specific regulations related to the care of nursing home residents.
The Omnibus Adult Protection Act specifies nursing homes’ responsibilities and how the facility must address the needs of vulnerable adults. The Act also lays the groundwork for protecting these vulnerable individuals, particularly in abuse and neglect cases.Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents may experience different types of elder abuse, including physical, emotional, financial, and mental. Family members may notice signs of abuse and neglect, ranging from pressure ulcers to changed behavior.
Physical abuse in a nursing home facility is any form of violence that results in physical pain or injury. It can include hitting, kicking, burning, biting, strangling, scalding, and using a variety of weapons. It could also include chemical or physical restraints.
Staff members may use physical abuse to coerce, intimidate, or punish a resident. It can also be a form of retaliation if a staff member feels frustrated or overwhelmed.
Physical abuse residents may have visible injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones. They may also have internal injuries, such as organ damage or head trauma.
Likewise, a nursing home resident may also experience sexual abuse. It is any type of sexual contact or behavior without the person’s consent. It can include fondling, rape, and sodomy.
Sexual abuse can also occur when a staff member forces a resident to watch or participate in sexual acts or view pornographic material.
Such residents may have bruises in their genital area, sexually transmitted diseases, or unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding.
Many nursing home residents are also victims of psychological abuse by staff members. Psychological abuse can include name-calling, threats, and intimidation.
It can also involve isolating a resident from other residents or activities. Staff members may also withhold food or medications to torture a resident psychologically.
Victims of emotional or mental elder abuse may appear withdrawn, depressed, or anxious. They may also have unexplained changes in their behavior. Many residents develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) due to the abuse.
Unfortunately, financial elder abuse is also common in nursing homes. A staff member may coerce a resident into signing over power of attorney or providing access to the resident’s bank account.
In some cases, the abuse is more subtle. Staff members may overcharge the resident for services or goods.
Signs that a resident is being financially abused may include sudden changes in their bank account activity, unexplained withdrawals, or missing possessions.
Nursing home neglect is also a form of abuse. Again, the staff members are responsible for the proper care and well-being of the nursing home residents.
However, some staff members may cut corners to save time or money. It can result in a resident not getting the proper medical care, clean clothes, or enough food and water.
Unfortunately, neglect can be highly detrimental to the health of an elderly person. It can result in life-altering injuries or wrongful death.
Abuse of any kind is never acceptable.Causes of Abuse in Nursing Homes
Most elder care facilities do an excellent job of providing quality care for residents. However, some other nursing homes have been linked to cases of abuse.
Many factors can contribute to an abusive environment in an elder care facility. For example, if staff members are not adequately trained in dealing with residents, they may be more likely to resort to physical or verbal abuse.
Poor management also plays a role in elder abuse cases. If a facility is not well-managed, the staff may be unsupervised.
Some facilities are alarmingly understaffed, which means that employees can be overworked. If staff members are overworked, it can lead to frustration and even anger, which may be directed at residents.Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Elder Abuse
The signs and symptoms of assisted living facility abuse vary depending on the type. While the signs of physical abuse are obvious, those of mental abuse isn't always easy to identify.
Therefore, if you have an elderly loved one in a South Carolina nursing facility, you should know how to spot different types of nursing home neglect and abuse.
Signs of Physical Abuse
Here are some common signs of bodily abuse:
- Bruises: Unexplained bruises on any part of the body
- Fractures: If your loved one has fractures that are in different stages of healing, it could indicate that they've been the victim of repeated abuse. Broken bones can result from falls or physical assault.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is harder to detect because there are no physical signs. It is also known as psychological abuse, damaging the victim's mental and emotional health.
Here are some warning signs of psychological abuse:
- Withdrawal From Regular Activities: If your elderly loved one suddenly stops participating in social activities that they used to enjoy, it could be a sign that they're experiencing emotional abuse.
- Anxiety: If your loved one is exhibiting signs of anxiety, such as constant nail-biting or rocking back and forth could be due to emotional trauma.
- Depression: Depression is another common sign of emotional abuse. Some symptoms of depression are a loss of appetite or weight, insomnia, and fatigue.
- Irritability: People who are emotionally abused often become easily agitated. If your loved one is acting out of character and unusually irritable, it could signify something is wrong.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of an elderly person's money or property. The following signs may indicate that your loved one is experiencing financial exploitation:
- Sudden Bank Statement Changes: If you notice that your loved one's bank account balance has suddenly decreased or they've started having difficulty paying their bills, it could be a sign of financial abuse.
- Unexplained Withdrawals: Staff members or other residents may be making unauthorized withdrawals from your loved one's bank account.
- Changes in Power of Attorney: If your loved one has recently changed their power of attorney or made sudden changes to their will, ask them if they did it willingly.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Elder abuse also includes sexual abuse, which is any non-consensual sexual contact. Sexual abuse can happen regardless of the victim's gender.
The following are some warning signs that an elderly person may have been sexually abused:
- STDs: If an elderly person has sexually transmitted diseases, it could be a red flag.
- Bruises in the Genital Area: Unexplained bruises or bleeding in the genital area may signify sexual abuse.
- Anal or Vaginal Infections: Likewise, infections in the genital region can also indicate abuse.
If you or a loved one has experienced elder abuse at a Charleston nursing home, you should start by reporting the abuse to the administration at the nursing facility.
The administration at a nursing home facility supervises the staff. They are responsible for enforcing safety standards for all patients and residents at the nursing home.
When you report suspected abuse, the nursing home should take immediate steps to protect your loved one from further harm and investigate the allegations.
You can also contact the police or Adult Protection Services to get the law enforcement agencies involved in cases of criminal activity at a nursing facility, such as sexual assault.How Does a Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help Nursing Home Residents?
Elder abuse is relatively common in South Carolina, often due to the lack of adequate training for the staff and understaffed nursing homes. If a resident experiences elder abuse or neglect at a nursing home, their family members should consider their legal options to hold the facility accountable.
A nursing home abuse lawyer can help in the following ways:
Decode Legal Jargon
The legal process can be complicated, making it difficult for the layperson to understand the legal route. However, every family deserves to get justice for the abuse faced by their loved ones.
A nursing home abuse attorney can help by explaining the legal process in detail so families can make an informed decision about their case.
The nursing home abuse lawyer will also work with private investigators and medical experts to gather evidence of nursing home abuse or neglect. The evidence may include reviewing surveillance footage, talking to witnesses, and reviewing medical records.
File a Lawsuit
If the family decides to move ahead with a case, the nursing home abuse lawyer will file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim. The lawsuit will hold the facility responsible for any physical, emotional, or financial damages incurred due to the elder abuse.
The plaintiff can seek economic and non-economic compensation from the long-term care facility. Economic damages would include medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost wages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.Justice for Your Loved One
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem in South Carolina. Unfortunately, most nursing home abuse cases go unreported because the elderly are scared or reluctant to come forward. Some might not even know they are being abused or may be too frail or sick to tell anyone about it. If your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, it is crucial to seek legal help as soon as possible.
A nursing home abuse lawyer will fight for the rights of the victim and help them get the justice they deserve. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Resolve Your Nursing Home Abuse Case
Nursing Home Law Center, LLC is a nationally renowned personal injury network of home abuse lawyers. Our team is staffed with specially trained Charleston nursing home abuse lawyers with extensive experience with neglect and mistreatment of nursing home facilities.
Our affiliate nursing home abuse lawyers have represented the needs and interests of thousands of other clients who have suffered the same injuries your loved one may have experienced.
Do you suspect your loved one is being mistreated? Our nursing home abuse lawyers can help through legal action. Your family is likely entitled to receive compensatory and punitive damages to cover your medical bills, hospitalization, health care costs, and pain and suffering.
Contact us today at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone call) to arrange a free consultation. Let us advise you of your legal options and collect the information we need to begin a thorough investigation into how your loved one’s care is being addressed.
If our law firm fails to obtain compensation on your behalf, we’ll waive our attorneys’ fees and court costs since we work on a contingency fee basis. All shared information remains confidential in support of the attorney-client relationship policy at our law firm.
For additional information on South Carolina laws and information on nursing homes, look here.