Bluffton Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When they are unable to take care of themselves due to either illness or age, many people and their families make the decision to move a loved one into a nursing facility to get the care and assistance needed. Unfortunately, nursing homes sometimes fail to provide the treatment and attention they are supposed to, and in some tragic instances, residents may fall victim to psychological and physical abuse while in the nursing facility.
If you or your loved one suffered neglect or abuse while living in a nursing home, a Bluffton nursing home abuse lawyer could help you protect their essential rights. A seasoned personal injury attorney could advocate on your or a loved one’s behalf and work to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Bluffton Nursing Home Residents Have Legal Rights
South Carolina Code of Laws §43-35, entitled the Omnibus Adult Protection Act, protects the ill, elderly, impaired adults, and adults who reside in a facility from instances of neglect and abuse. The Nursing Home Reform Law outlines the various rights and privileges afforded to nursing home residents, which include the following:
- The right to be informed regarding the nursing home services, their costs, of planned changes in roommates or rooms (in advance), and of facility rules and regulations
- The right to participate in their own healthcare, which entails being able to refuse medication or treatment, be free from physical and chemical restraints, receive proper care, and be advised of changes in their condition
- The right to complain without fear of a reprisal and receive a prompt response by facility staff to resolve these grievances, and to complain to the nursing home certification agency or long-term care ombudsman program if necessary
- Various rights during discharges and transfers, including the right to remain in a facility unless the discharge or transfer meets health, safety, or financial conditions outlined by law, to appeal a discharge or transfer decision, to receive a 30-day notice of discharge or transfer that explains the circumstances and effective date, and that any move is safe for the resident
- The right to confidentiality and privacy regarding financial, personal, or medical affairs and in communications with other people
- The right to visits by friends, relatives, physicians, service organizations, and other individuals who the resident may choose, as well as to refuse such visits
- The right to respect, freedom, and dignity, which includes being free from physical and mental abuse, involuntary seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints, as well as the right to security of possessions and self-determination
- The right to make independent decisions regarding how to spend free time, what to wear, choosing a doctor, engaging in community activities both inside and outside of the facility, organizing and participating in a Resident Council, and managing their financial affairs, as well as the right to reasonable accommodation of their preferences and needs
When a nursing home facility does not uphold the rights of its residents, a nursing home abuse lawyer in Bluffton could step in to hold the negligent parties responsible and safeguard the resident’s best interests.
Types and Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse may take several forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial exploitation. In addition to intentional, blatant abuse at the hands of caregivers, nursing home facility residents could also be victims of basic neglect without proper nutrition, hydration, or hygiene.
The following are just some of the potential warning signs of abuse and neglect:
- Untreated wounds, cuts, or sores
- Signs of poor hygiene
- Abrasions or bruises
- Stained, blood, or torn clothes or bedding
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained changes in alertness
- Withdrawal from normal activities or fearfulness
- Unresponsiveness or strange behaviors
In Bluffton, nursing home abuse victims could recover numerous types of compensation to make up for the full extent of their losses with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer. Victims could be entitled to financial compensation for any medical costs related to the abuse or neglect, costs to relocate, emotional distress, mental anguish, pain, and suffering. In rare cases, punitive damages may also be available to victims of nursing home abuse, designed to punish the egregious actions of the defendant and deter future bad conduct.
Schedule a Case Evaluation with a Bluffton Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are often highly complex, but an experienced Bluffton nursing home abuse lawyer could work vigilantly to protect the legal rights, health, safety, and financial interests of your loved one. Call Schiller & Hamilton today to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about what legal recourse could be available to you.