How to Report Elder Abuse in South CarolinaAbuse and Neglect
Trusting your loved one to the care of others is never easy. When a member of your family suffers elder abuse from another family member or from a caregiver, you must take action. Learning more about various types of abuse, the warning signs, and how to report abuse is essential to a proactive approach to protecting your loved one. You must also know how to report elder abuse in South Carolina so that you can keep your loved one safe.
An elder abuse attorney can help you through this difficult time. We know how to report elder abuse and can help you and your loved one seek justice. If you discover that your loved one is a victim of any type of elder abuse, contact a South Carolina injury lawyer like those at Hughey Law Firm to discuss your options.
How to Report Elder Abuse in South Carolina
Let’s get right down to it. How do you report elder abuse in South Carolina?
To report suspected Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult, call 1-888-CARE4US (1-888-227-3487) or click here to make a report online.
According to the South Carolina Department of Social Services:
“If you or your loved one…
- Live in a licensed nursing home, community residential care facility, or assisted living facility, call the Long Term Care Ombudsman at 1 (800) 868-9095.
- Live in a residential facility contracted or operated by the Department of Mental Health or Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, call the SLED Special Victims Unit, at 1 (866) 200-6066.
- Live at home or in the community, call Adult Protective Services at DSS at 1 (888) 227-3487.
- Have been affected by Identity Theft and/or Scams, call the Department of Consumer Affairs at 1 (800) 922-1594.
If you or your loved one are in immediate danger or harm, please call your local law enforcement agency or 911.”
Under South Carolina law, caregivers must report suspected elder abuse within a 24-hour period to law enforcement. The South Carolina law requires that anyone who fails to report the abuse is subject to possible criminal charges.
When you visit your loved one and notice bruises or signs of neglect, document your findings. Make detailed notes, interview witnesses when possible, and take photos. Do report the abuse, even if you make plans to move your loved one to another facility. Your actions may save another patient experiencing the same, or similar abuse.
Report elder abuse as soon as possible by contacting law enforcement. Make your report within the required 24-hour period or the next business day. Local law enforcement is your best source for investigating the complaint and for alerting other appropriate agencies.
When families discover that their loved one has suffered abuse, they may not know where to turn for help. When this occurs, we want you to know that our South Carolina elder abuse attorneys can help. We will take the legal burdens off your shoulders, so you can focus on getting your loved one the medical and psychological care they need. Our injury law firm will go the extra mile to report the abuse, investigate the incidents, and hold negligent caregivers and institutions accountable.
Common Types of Elder Abuse in South Carolina
There are a variety of ways a caregiver, neighbor, family member or anyone else can hurt an elder. Because not all abuse is easily visible, many cases go unreported and the abuse continues undetected. Understanding the types of elder abuse that often occurs is key to knowing what types of signs to watch for in your loved one.
- Physical abuse – Examples include slapping, hitting, pushing, or other physical actions that result in bodily harm.
- Mental abuse – This type of abuse, sometimes referred to as psychological abuse, involves threatening or yelling at an elder or using hurtful words. Preventing contact between elders and their loved ones is also a form of mental abuse.
- Sexual abuse – Elder abuse can involve different forms of sexual abuse. This type of abuse preys upon their vulnerability as caregivers force them to watch or to participate in sexual acts.
- Neglect – Failure to provide care for the personal needs of an elder is a form of neglect. Not bathing a patient or providing them with their required medications is abusive behavior on the part of the caregiver.
- Financial exploitation – Stealing an elder’s money by forging checks or using their credit cards without authorization is financial exploitation. Reports are that one in ten victims of financial abuse turns to Medicaid for assistance as a result of having their money stolen.
Sadly, an elder may deal with more than one type of abuse. The need for assistance with daily tasks and cognitive impairment as your loved one ages makes them more or entirely dependent upon others. This leaves him or her incredibly vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and theft.
Signs of Possible Elder Abuse
The average monthly cost of a nursing home in South Carolina is more than $8,000. While the cost is high, caregivers are often in short supply, underpaid, and/or inadequately trained. Caring for an elder is often stressful yet that is no excuse for abuse.
You know your loved one better than anyone. Pay special attention to the following signs of abuse and neglect when you visit them:
- Poor hygiene – If an elder displays signs of unwashed hair, dirty clothes, and body odor, it is a red flag of neglect.
- Bruises or unexplained broken bones – An elder may try to fight back against an abuser so watch for scratches on their arms or face. Ask questions regarding unexplained falls that result in broken bones. The fact that their bones become more brittle as they age means that even a simple push can do serious harm.
- Bedsores – Reduced mobility and bedsores are clear signs of your loved one’s confinement to their bed. Failure to turn a patient, assist them to a chair, or walk with them is yet another form of neglect.
- Anxiety and fear – Saying goodbye to your loved one when it is time to end your visit isn’t easy. It is a cause for concern when your loved one, who normally said goodbye with ease, now panics at the thought of you leaving. Their fear of being left behind in their environment serves as an alarm to you that they are scared of something or someone.
- A lack of funds – When your loved one runs out of money to pay for necessities, their lack of funds becomes questionable. If they aren’t spending the money, then who is becomes a matter requiring immediate attention.
Chances are that if your loved one is victimized by abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation, they won’t tell you. Fear of retaliation is top-of-mind as they depend upon their caregivers for assistance with their basic needs.
For a family that lives out-of-state, checking on your loved ones is usually less frequent due to time and distance. Ask friends and family that you trust to check in for you and to report back. You’ll have better peace of mind by doing so and any alerts can spur you to action—like that of moving your loved one closer to your home.
Hughey Law Firm Can Help You Report Elder Abuse
Abuse against an elder is upsetting and frightening for you and for them. The vibrant, outgoing elder you once knew may now appear withdrawn and depressed. They may develop a fear of being alone or a genuine fear of other caregivers.
All members of the elder population deserve kindness and quality care during their golden years. When caregivers, family members, or others mistreat an elder, resulting in serious physical, emotional, or financial harm, report the incident and contact a nursing home abuse lawyer right away. Your loved one may recover compensation for any injuries, and the actions you take on behalf of your loved one could ensure that others at the same facility don’t endure the same mistreatment.
Trusting your loved one to the care of others is never easy. When a member of your family suffers elder abuse from another family member or from a caregiver, you must take action. Learning more about various types of abuse, the warning signs, and how to report abuse is essential to a proactive approach to protecting your loved one. If you discover that your loved one is a victim of any type of elder abuse, contact a South Carolina elder abuse lawyer like those at Hughey Law Firm to discuss your options.