Our elderly loved ones deserve to age with dignity, cared for with compassion and kindness. But nursing home abuse is all too common. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, one in 10 Americans over age 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse.
With our community’s elderly population at risk for neglect and abuse, it’s important to know the rights that South Carolina law assigns to those living in nursing homes or assisted care facilities. Section 44-81-30 defines a “resident” as a person receiving treatment or care in a long-term care facility – with subsequent sections outlining their Bill of Rights.
Each resident, or the resident’s legal guardian when applicable, has the right to:
- Choose a personal attending physician
- Participate in the coordination of care/treatment and changes in care/treatment
- Be fully informed in advance about any upcoming changes in care/treatment that may impact the resident’s wellbeing
- Receive a complete, current description of the resident’s diagnosis and prognosis from their physician in terms that they can understand
- Refuse to participate in experimental research studies
Long-term care facilities must also meet other standards to ensure each resident is safe from mistreatment, but overworked employees and poor oversight allow cases of abuse and neglect to go unnoticed – and often unreported. Studies show that only about one in 14 cases of abuse is reported to authorities.
Care During COVID-19
To protect residents during the COVID-19 crisis, care facilities have banned family members from visiting. But concerns quickly arose regarding the treatment of residents in the absence of regular check-ins and visits.
The governor’s announcement that nursing homes would begin to reopen was welcome news to loved ones in Berkeley County, SC and across the state. Limited outdoor visitation, with new DHEC guidelines in place, will allow for some long-awaited contact after several months.
Identifying Elder Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect in recent months, contact West Law Firm today. Remember, elder abuse can take many forms and includes a wide range of warning signs.
- Physical abuse: Bruises, burns, broken bones, etc.
- Neglect: Malnourishment/unusual weight loss, bed sores, poor hygiene
- Emotional/verbal abuse: Withdrawal, depression, change in demeanor
- Financial abuse: Sudden change in financial situation
Schedule Your Free Consultation!
Our team is passionate about defending our community’s seniors and stopping nursing home abuse. If you or a loved one aren’t receiving the care you deserve, call West Law Firm today at 843-761-5626. Or click here to schedule your free consultation at our Moncks Corner, SC office.