Charleston Assisted Living & Home Health Care Lawyer
Assisted Living and Home Health Care Law Attorney In Charleston, South Carolina
Throughout the Charleston region and beyond, families are entrusting the care of their loved ones to home health care providers and the staff at assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, and for a variety of reasons, sometimes the providers of this care fail in their responsibility to ensure that their client’s medical needs are met and that families are kept informed of any changes to their loved one’s health. Elderly and disabled clients are left to a conveyor belt of providers and may even experience abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to be caring for them. If your loved one has experienced abuse or neglect at the hands of a home health care provider or an assisted living facility, Hughey Law Firm can help.
The attorneys of Hughey Law firm are former insurance defense attorneys with experience defending assisted living centers and home health care providers against elder abuse claims. We gave up that practice in order to fight for elder patients and their families. We know the tactics they will use to deny your claim. We fight back with effective, aggressive legal strategies that work.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
It is often hard to know whether your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect at an assisted living facility or from a home health care provider. Generally, these actions take place when family members aren’t around, and the victims may be unable or unwilling to talk about what happened to them. Here are a few signs of possible abuse and neglect to be aware of:
- Injuries from falling accidents, including hip fractures and others
- Sudden weight loss, possible signs of malnutrition or dehydration
- Bruises, scrapes, welts, or burns
- Internal injuries or bleeding
- Infections from pressure sores and bed sores
- Changes in demeanor, including becoming fearful or withdrawn
- Evidence of the use of restraints
- Indications that the client/patient has been given too much—or not enough—medication
- Refusal by staff to allow visitors to see the client/patient alone
- Large withdrawals of money from the client/patient’s bank account
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Frequent turnover of facility staff
- The client/patient reports being slapped, hit, mistreated, or kicked
Types of Abuse and Neglect Seen in Nursing Home or Home Health Cases
Some of the following are examples of the types of abuse and neglect that may be seen in cases involving clients of assisted living facilities or home health care services:
- Physical abuse: The use of some type of physical force that could be expected to cause bodily harm or physical impairment. In addition to hitting, shoving, slapping, punching, biting, shaking, or burning the victim, other examples of physical abuse include force-feeding or the use of physical restraints.
- Sexual abuse: Non-consensual sexual contact with a patient or sexual contact with a patient who is unable to give consent.
- Emotional abuse: The infliction of emotional pain or distress through verbal or non-verbal means. Emotional abuse may include verbal assaults, insults or humiliation, threats, or intimidation.
- Neglect: The failure to provide the client/patient with necessities such as food, water, shelter, clothing, medication, hygiene, and personal safety.
- Abandonment: Desertion of the patient by one who has the responsibility to care for them.
- Financial abuse: Illegally or improperly using the client’s assets. Examples of financial abuse include forging the client’s signature, having the caregiver’s name added to the client’s bank card, providing unnecessary services, or coercing the client into signing documents that they do not understand.
State and Federal Laws Protecting the Elderly
In South Carolina, residents in assisted living facilities and those accessing home health care services have a number of state and federal laws that aim to protect them from abuse and neglect. These include the South Carolina Omnibus Adult Protection Act, the federal Nursing Home Reform Law, and the Older Americans Act. Here are some of the highlights of the protections offered by these laws:
- Proper state licensing for facilities, and compliance with federal Medicare/ Medicaid standards.
- Qualification of staff: Requires staff providing care to elderly patients to be properly screened, trained for the duties they’re assigned, and provided with the appropriate climate in which to carry out these duties.
- The requirement of facilities to have a sufficient number of staff to meet the needs of all patients.
- Policies and procedures: Policies that provide the framework for how nursing homes operate, and step-by-step processes for the operation, maintenance, and inspection of nursing home facilities.
- Information regarding the facility’s services, charges, and refund policy, provided to each resident at the time of admission.
- The right of the resident or the resident’s guardian to choose a personal physician, participate in the care plan, and to be informed of any changes in the care or treatment of the resident.
- An accurate assessment of each patient’s individual needs and a written plan developed specifically for each resident.
- Maintaining accurate and accessible records for each patient.
- Preventing the deterioration of a patient’s health, as best as possible.
- The provision of necessities, including food, water, heat, needed medication, and social interaction.
- The provision of adequate supervision and devices that prevent patients from falls or bedsores.
- Ensuring that medication is correctly administered.
- Ensuring that patients have the ability to choose activities that they want to participate in.
- The right to be free from emotional or physical abuse and the use of chemical or physical restraints.
- The storage of the resident’s personal belongings in a place free from damage or theft.
- The right to complain about the conditions of the facility or treatment by staff without fear of reprisal.
- The right to privacy and confidentiality regarding medical, personal, or financial matters.
- The right to visits by family, friends, doctors, service organizations, and others, in accordance with the resident’s choosing, as well as the resident’s right to refuse such visits.
- Treatment provided without discrimination as to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, or source of payment.
Holding Providers Accountable
With broad experience in cases involving assisted living abuse and neglect, Hughey Law Firm regularly teaches other attorneys about the federal and state laws pertaining to this type of litigation. If you believe that your loved one may be suffering from a lack of care at one of these facilities or from a home health care provider, we would like to talk with you about your legal options. For a free consultation and case review, contact us at Hughey Law Firm online or by calling (843) 881-8644.