Acknowledging situations where ‘accidential’ or ‘suspcious’ nursing home deaths may have gone without any formal investigation, South Carolina officials are considering ways to effectively investigate these situations.
Given that in many circumstances the determination between natural vs. accidental death is likely to be made by a physician who is employed by the nursing home, some South Carolina coroners are calling for their offices to be notified every time a nursing home patient dies.
Theoretically, the notification of the coroner would both help confirm the cause of death and trigger an investigation into a suspicious death quickly when the circumstances surrounding the death are both fresh in the minds of the people involved. For the decedents family, a timely investigation would also help them get some piece of mind as to concerns of poor care or abuse at the nursing home.
Considering that an independent party would be able to make these important determinations regarding the cause of death, I can only believe that this procedural change is a good thing for grieving families and patient care.
Given that many nursing home abuse and neglect cases hinge upon physical evidence– such as the condition of a decedents body– I would hope that this policy would effectively root out cases where there indeed been a situation involving mistreatment.
On the other hand, I would similarly think that many of the nursing homes would be in favor of a shift in policy as a determination as to the cause of death by an independent party would likely help reduce any wrongful allegations of poor care.
Read more about this suggested policy impacting South Carolina Nursing Homes here.
For laws related to South Carolina nursing homes, look here.