As experienced nursing home abuse attorneys serving Greenville, SC, we have certainly seen our share of heartbreaking cases of neglect and abuse of the elderly and the disabled. Sadly, incidents of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes happen far too often here in South Carolina.
If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home and believe you may be seeing signs of a nursing home or elder abuse, you may be wondering what can be done and how a nursing home abuse lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina could help you.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse in Greenville, SC?
The first question to consider when considering contacting a nursing abuse attorney in Greenville, SC is what actually constitutes elder abuse, nursing home abuse, or neglect. Nursing home abuse is elder abuse that occurs in the confines of a long-term residential elder care facility. Some examples of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse. This may include injuries due to physical assaults like kicks, punches, slaps, or other strikes, injuries due to falls, and the unnecessary use of restraints.
- Neglect. Neglect is when a patient is left unattended for extended periods of time and can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, gangrene, pneumonia, and bedsores. Other forms of neglect include withholding of hygienic care or prescription drugs or allowing patients to wander at undue risk of physical harm.
- Sexual abuse. This includes any sexual act committed with a patient who is not consensual or is physically or mentally unable to consent.
- Mental abuse. This form of abuse includes frequent insults and verbal assaults, and purposeful isolation from family, friends, and other sources of positivity.
- Financial abuse. This includes the theft of a patient’s money, property, or identity.
Increased Numbers of Residents in South Carolina Nursing Homes Mean Increased Cases of Nursing Home Abuse in Greenville, SC
Today, the number of older adults entering South Carolina nursing homes and other assisted living facilities is growing with the expanding population of older adults in the US. According to the 2010 US Census, 13% of the population was composed of people age 65 or older, and by 2050, 65-year-olds and older are expected to account for 20% of the population of the country. People today are simply living longer and people older than 85 are the fastest growing segment of the US population today. In 2010, people aged 85 or older accounted for almost 6% of the population, but it is projected that by 2050, this age group will account for almost 20% of the population.
How to File a Nursing Home Abuse Complaint in Greenville, SC
If you suspect that a loved one, family member, or other elderly friend is a victim of nursing home abuse, elder abuse, or neglect in the Greenville, SC area, you need to report those concerns to the Department of Health and Environmental Control for the State of South Carolina, also known as DHEC. Anytime they receive a complaint, whether written or verbal, DHEC must investigate the situation and determine if there has been a violation of the licensing standards for elder care facilities in South Carolina.
Anyone filing a complaint against an elder care facility, including nursing homes, can make that complaint anonymously. Moreover, if you reveal your identity to DHEC and request anonymity, then DHEC will not disclose your identity unless they are required to reveal it by federal or state law. Once you file your Greenville, SC nursing home abuse complaint with DHEC, they will assign an inspector who will assess your claim and determine if they can help you. You will receive a written acknowledgment of your elder abuse complaint and a second written report once the investigation is complete.
Should I Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Greenville, SC?
Nursing home residents are protected by both federal and state laws. It is a state crime not only to engage in elder abuse or nursing home abuse in Greenville, SC, but also to be aware of such abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and to fail to report it. It is also illegal to interfere with any investigation of nursing home abuse in Greenville.
While there are state agencies such as the DHEC which can help to find and eliminate nursing home abuse in Greenville, SC, in order to recover damages or other compensation from the caregivers guilty of neglect, abuse or exploitation, it is necessary to work with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Greenville. If you suspect your loved one is suffering from elder abuse or nursing home abuse, contact Brumback & Langley and speak with an attorney today.