Nursing Home Negligence
Taking a family member to live in a nursing facility can be an emotional experience. You trust that the facility will take care of your loved one when you cannot. However, there are instances in which evidence of abuse or neglect appears even in nursing homes that are reputed to offer superb care. It is at such times times that families feel helpless and guilty because they cannot protect their elders. We work with you to see that seniors are protected. We do this by working with the facilities on compliance and, if necessary, taking legal action against non-compliant facilities. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, nearly 17,000 nursing homes care for 1.6 million residents in the United States. This number is expected to quadruple to 6.6 million by 2050. As the number of families that turn to such facilities to take care of their loved ones increases every year, so does the number of nursing home abuse and neglect cases. It has been estimated that nearly one-third of all nursing homes have been cited for violations.
Though the number of incidents of abuse has increased over the last several years, many cases go unreported. With 1.6 million nursing home patients in 18,000 nursing homes in the United States, how widespread is the practice of nursing home abuse? The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that “1 to 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated . . . .” Nursing home abuse preys on the helpless.
Nursing home abuse and neglect consists of bedsores, open wounds, cuts, bruises, dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss, burns, falls, bowel impacting, medication errors, poor personal hygiene, verbal or physical abuse, over-sedation, and other cruelties.
The federal government regulates nursing homes under the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987 (“OBRA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1395-1396. The State of South Carolina is also involved in monitoring homes, largely through DHEC, S.C. Code Ann. § 44-7-260. DHEC conducts inspections of each nursing home that participates in Medicaid or Medicare periodically, or after a complaint.