For many years now, The Jeffcoat Firm has successfully represented neglected and abused nursing home residents and their families in Columbia and throughout South Carolina. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence is extremely common in our state. It is our job as nursing home neglect lawyers to hold these facilities and their employees accountable when neglect causes a resident to become seriously injured. Nursing home abuse & neglect is a serious problem with dire consequences; many of the worst cases involve fatalities.
Our elder law experience over the years has taught us that nursing home neglect cases involve things like unnecessary falls and complicated pressure sores (bedsores or decubitus ulcers) are never simple, and having an experienced nursing home neglect attorney on your side can be a game changer. Time is of the essence, so contact our nursing home abuse law firm today.
Nursing Home Neglect Table of Contents
- Common Examples of Nursing Home Neglect
- Pressure Wounds, Bedsores and Decubitus Ulcers
- Nursing Home Falls Resulting in Injury
- A Growing Elder Population in South Carolina Calls For Greater Legal Protection
- Disturbing National Nursing Home Neglect Statistics
- Flawed Rating System Fails Nursing Home Residents
- Nursing Home Abuse Takes Many Forms
- Speak To an Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
Common Examples of Nursing Home Neglect
A Columbia personal injury lawyer or medical even malpractice attorney alone may not be familiar enough with the unique nature of nursing home cases to bring them to a truly successful conclusion. The Jeffcoat Firm is experienced, having handled complex nursing home abuse & neglect cases for hundreds of clients throughout South Carolina. From the very first call to our office, you will see how our staff takes special care to make sure you and your loved ones are cared for.
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The majority of our cases involve:
- Pressure wounds
- Decubitus ulcers
- Falls with injuries
- Other illnesses
Pressure Wounds, Bedsores and Decubitus Ulcers
To diagnose bedsores, doctors and nurses will assign them a “stage”:
- Stage 1: The skin is not broken, but is discolored or red.
- Stage 2: Sores feature broken skin, ulcers, blisters, or craters, and they are painful.
- Stage 3: Cratering deepens into the tissue below the sore. Sometimes at this stage, fat is visible, but not muscle, tendons, or bone.
- Stage 4: Sores are the most serious. At Stage 4, muscle, tendons, or bone are visible and very serious damage is being done. These sores are simply awful, and recovery is long and complex.
Nursing Home Falls Resulting in Injury
South Carolina nursing homes have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent falls. The steps that the home must take will depend on how serious the patient’s risk of falling is. Someone with a history of falling will require more precautions. Falls are extremely dangerous to older, vulnerable people as they can cause very serious injuries. Nursing home employees know this. Nursing homes are bound to take the necessary steps to avoid preventable falls. Many times they simply fail to take steps to ensure the safety of their patients. Nursing home often do not follow their own plans for preventing a patient from falling. These injuries take many forms, ranging from mild to severe, but a common serious nursing home injury is a fractured hip.
We’ve seen and represented many nursing home neglect clients where, after a fall with injury, the nursing home resident never fully recovers. The people that caused the injury should be held accountable for the lasting injuries they’ve caused.
An experienced nursing home neglect lawyer will investigate to learn answers to important questions such as:
- What measures did the nursing home put in place to avoid a fall?
- Were there working chair alarms?
- Were there functioning bed alarms?
- Was the resident’s bed lowered closer to the floor?
- Were there mats alongside the bed?
- Were there railings on the bed?
We can ask the tough questions to get the real answers to show who is responsible and why the nursing home injuries really happened.
A Growing Elder Population in South Carolina Calls For Greater Legal Protection
The South Carolina nursing home abuse attorneys at The Jeffcoat Firm have been powerful champions of the rights of elder abuse and nursing home neglect victims for years. As the US population gets older, Michael Jeffcoat anticipates seeing more and more elderly who are injured every year. In 1970, 9.8% of the US population was over 65 years of age. By 2050, people age 65 and over will make up 20% of the population of approximately 83 million people. Research has shown that 40% of all elderly will spend time in a nursing home before they die, meaning the number of nursing home patients is projected to rise significantly over time. The question is, who will protect them?
Disturbing National Nursing Home Neglect Statistics
According to a 2001 House of Representative’s report:
- One out of 3 nursing homes were cited for breaking federal laws that either caused harm or had the potential to cause harm to a nursing home resident. One out of 10 had violations that caused residents harm, serious injury, or placed them in immediate jeopardy of death.
- In a study based on interviews of 2,000 nursing home residents, 44% said they had been abused, and 95% said they had been neglected or had observed another resident being neglected!
- Over 50% of nursing home staff admitted to physically abusing, harming, or neglecting a resident in the last 12 months.
- In a survey of certified nursing assistants (CNA’s), 17% admitted they had pushed, shoved, or grabbed a resident. Another 51% reported they had yelled at a resident, and 23% said that they had swore or cursed at a resident.
Flawed Rating System Fails Nursing Home Residents
South Carolina families hoping to protect their aging loved ones often turn to the Medicare star system to find the “best rated” nursing homes in Columbia, Lexington, Orangeburg, and other areas within the state. This nationwide system ranks 15,000 nursing homes across the country and is widely used by family members for guidance when attempting to choose the right facility for a loved one.
Perhaps the greatest weakness of the system is that nursing homes are in part permitted to just police themselves. This allows for nursing homes to manipulate their ranking and allow them to appear much better than they actually are. Medicare can accept the self-reported information and appoint star ratings based on those reports. Due to this it can be very hard to grade a nursing home for a loved one.
Nursing Home Abuse Takes Many Forms
SC nursing home abuse lawyer Michael Jeffcoat says that abuse inside the closed confines of a nursing home comes in many forms, some obvious such as physical abuse, and some not so obvious such as emotional or financial abuse.
Some of the types of nursing home abuse our lawyers have seen in South Carolina include:
- Physical abuse such as a lack of food or water, improper care, excessive restraints, punching, kicking, slapping, or improper dispensing of patient medications.
- Emotional abuse such as shouting, cursing, threatening, frightening, or in some way, withholding comfort and care when requested or needed by the elderly resident.
- Sexual abuse may include overt abuse including, at its worst, sexual assault or sexual humiliation.
- Financial abuse and theft
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Speak to an Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer in Columbia, SC
If you have a loved one that you feel is a victim of any type of neglect or abuse at the hands of a South Carolina nursing home or assisted living caretaker, you should take immediate action. A good first step is to contact the chief administrator of the individual nursing facility, but be prepared that you may not receive full cooperation if the caretaker’s suspected abuse will reflect poorly on the facility.
If you suspect neglect or abuse, get your loved one to a safe place. You will also want to call an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to help you understand your legal options, including the right to file suit against the caretaker and the facility for just compensation for your loved one.
Advocating on behalf of the elderly for over two decades, the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at The Jeffcoat Firm are on your side and ready to work for your loved one. Please contact our South Carolina law office to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
“YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU DO TODAY”
Don’t let them mistreat you or your loved ones.
Every case is different. You should not believe your case will get the same result.