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Representing Victims of Nursing Home Abuse in South Carolina
Moving into a long-term care facility can be a bittersweet transition for loved ones who are no longer capable of living independently. It is a big task to pare down a lifetime of belongings, and it is emotional to say goodbye to a place that has been home for many years. Everyone hopes for the peace of mind that the move was the right choice, and that their loved one will settle in and be looked after with patience and compassion. Even when family members have researched and properly vetted a facility, it is important to regularly ask questions and check in on your loved one to ensure nothing unsettling is happening.
I represent clients the way I would want to be treated: with respect, honesty, and a commitment toward great results.”
- Julian Allen
What is Elder Abuse?
It is frighteningly common for a resident of a nursing home or long-term care facility to experience injuries. Accidental falls happen all the time and it is no one’s fault. What about when an elderly relative is injured, and it wasn’t an accident? Those injuries are the result of staff negligence, or worse, they are intentionally inflicted upon a vulnerable person.
Elder abuse is defined by South Carolina law as physical or psychological abuse, exploitation, and neglect. The atrocities that fall under these categories are many different things. Including:
- Physical abuse. Broken bones, bruising, burns, dislocated joints, hospitalizations, and traumatic hair loss. These are just some of the ways in which residents of nursing homes experience abuse at the hands of their caregivers or even fellow residents.
- Emotional abuse. Bullying, intimidation, isolation, ridicule, threats, and yelling are all tactics of psychological abuse. Many elderly people do not report this kind of abuse because they are afraid that they will be punished for speaking up.
- Neglect. Whether a facility is understaffed, staff is underpaid or underqualified, it can lead to the neglect of residents’ needs. That can mean basic care like hygiene and nutrition or a resident living in unsanitary conditions. It can also be a failure to meet medical needs like mobility and medication assistance.
- Sexual abuse. This includes unwanted touching, forced nudity, sexual photography, and rape. Any form of non-consensual contact with a resident is abhorrent and inexcusable.
- Financial abuse. Unexplained transfers of funds, frequent unnecessary withdrawals from accounts, missing belongings, forged financial documents, and healthcare fraud like phantom billing and up-coding billing are all financially abusive.
Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
There are certain behaviors and physical symptoms that you can look out for when you suspect abuse is happening in your loved one’s nursing home. They are:
- Personality changes and being socially withdrawn
- Childlike regressive behavior
- Avoiding physical contact
- Fearfulness of staff
- Soiled or blood-stained clothing and linens
- Multiple bruises, cuts, and broken bones
- Marks on ankles and wrists indicating they have been restrained
- Changes in visitation and a member of staff always being present
Some of these issues can be resolved if you file complaints with doctors or heads of the facility. If the administration was unaware of the mistreatment happening, they can then move forward with staffing changes to keep their residents safe. If you believe that your loved one is in immediate danger, you should remove them from that facility as soon as you possibly can and report their injuries to law enforcement. Either way the experience unfolds you should speak to a highly skilled Charleston nursing home abuse attorney. Laws were put in place to protect the vulnerable and elderly and it is important to work with someone who understands those laws.
What Should I Do if I Suspect Neglect or Abuse?
Abuse must always be reported to the authorities. A criminal case may be filed against the abuser because elderly abuse is classified as a felony. A civil case can be pursued after the criminal case has been decided. At Allen Law we will fight to seek the compensation you or your loved one is owed after experiencing unimaginable distress. Damages recovered from filing a civil suit can cover the costs that occur from the experience of being neglected or abused, such as medical bills, therapy bills, money stolen, and not to mention pain and suffering.
Allen Law has the experience and prowess hold abusers financially accountable for their actions and see to it that the person they harmed is taken care of. A consultation with Charleston personal injury attorney Allen is free to you with no obligation attached. Our office is ready to hear from you. Call today at (843) 882-5005.