Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
Abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults and the elder is a concern in South Carolina. Reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people in nursing homes and other institutional settings in South Carolina has increased 25% since 2000.
Nursing home abuse refers to elder abuse that takes place in a residential, long-term care facility. It is also sometimes referred to as institutional elder abuse. Such abuse includes:
- Physical abuse - physical injury from falls, kicking, hitting, or punching, or the unnecessary use of physical restraints
- Neglect - abandonment, malnutrition or dehydration, bed sores, gangrene, aspiration pneumonia, over-sedation, withholding prescription drugs, or withholding hygienic care
- Sexual Abuse - forced sex acts or acts committed with a resident who is physically or mentally unable to grant or deny permission
- Mental Abuse - isolation from friends and family or verbal assaults
- Financial Abuse - stealing an elder’s money or property, and identity theft
Protection in South Carolina
There are both federal and state laws designed to protect nursing home residents. In South Carolina, § 16-3-1050 makes it is a crime for certain persons to fail to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a nursing home resident, to abuse, neglect, or exploit a nursing home resident, or to interfere with the investigation of a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Further, South Carolina Code § 43-35-5, the Omnibus Adult Protection Act, establishes The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program which is responsible for investigating “reports of alleged abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults occurring in facilities.”
Preventing and Detecting Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
The following are some steps that residents and their families can take to limit the potential for nursing home abuse:
- Look for Signs of Abuse:
- Dehydration or malnutrition;
- Bed sores or frozen joints;
- Poor hygiene;
- Abrupt behavioral changes;
- Signs of physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures;
- Venereal disease or genital infections, vaginal or anal bleeding;
- Nursing home resident is not allowed to be alone with visitors or visits are delayed;
- Large sums of money suddenly withdrawn from resident’s bank accounts;
- Wills and/or financial documents are abruptly changed; or
- Nursing home resident’s possessions are missing.
- Make frequent visits to the nursing home at various times, including unscheduled visits.
- Speak regularly with care providers and nursing home staff. Press them for answers to your questions.
- If you are a resident, build relationships with other residents. If you have concerns about the quality of your care, speak up for yourself and tell your friends and family.
The Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers at Futeral & Nelson, LLC help those who have been victimes of nursing home abuse in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Hanahan, Moncks Corner, James Island, West Ashley, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Awendaw, McClellanville and the surrounding areas.