Life Care Center of Columbia Neglect and Abuse Lawyers

Hughey Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyer
Nathan Hughey, Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Many factors go into the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home. Likewise, many factors go into deciding which facility to choose. Is it a safe place for your family member? Will they be well-fed and cared for in a clean and safe environment?

While you can’t know every detail about what your loved one’s care will be like, you can look at the health and fire inspection records of the facilities you’re considering and see what their history of patient care is like. And if that facility harms your loved one, you can call the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm.

Below is information about one of the larger nursing homes in the area, the Life Care Center of Columbia, South Carolina.

About Life Care Center of Columbia

The Hughey Law Firm has successfully pursued claims against this facility.

Life Care Center of Columbia is a 179-bed nursing home in Columbia, South Carolina, that provides short term rehabilitation for those transitioning from a hospital room to home as well as long term care for those who are unable to live independently and need medical supervision. Medicare lists the Life Care Center of Columbia as below average in its health inspection rating, with numerous violations over the last three years. The facility has a below average rating on quality measures and was rated average on staffing.

September 2016 Inspection

A routine inspection in September 2016 revealed SIX DEFICIENCIES, including:

  • Nursing Home InspectionFailure to give residents proper treatment to prevent new bed (pressure) sores or heal existing bed sores. Staff was observed improperly caring for pressure wounds on two residents.
  • Failure to properly care for residents needing special services, including: injections, colostomy, urostomy, ileostomy, tracheostomy care, tracheal suctioning, respiratory care, foot care, and prostheses. Inspectors discovered through observations and interviews that the staff failed to provide the ordered level of oxygen to one resident.
  • Failure to keep the rate of medication errors (wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong time) to less than 5 percent. Based on observations, records review, and interviews with staff, inspectors discovered that the facility made errors three times out of 28 opportunities for error, garnering a medication error rate of 10.7 percent.
  • Failure to make sure residents are safe from medication errors. Observations, record reviews, and interviews with staff led investigators to conclude that the facility failed to provide insulin to a resident as prescribed by the resident’s physician. In the case in question, a staff member decided to withhold insulin until after the resident had eaten lunch, contrary to the prescribed order to take the medication before meals.
  • Failure to store, cook, and serve food in a safe and clean way. Based on observations and review of the facility’s policies, it was discovered that staff failed to remove expired food from the refrigerator or to maintain a fresh source of supplies in the emergency food storage.
  • Failure to maintain drug records and properly mark/label drugs and other similar products according to accepted professional standards. Inspectors discovered that medication was stored unpackaged on the medication cart. Additionally, medications were discovered on the medication cart that were supposed to be kept refrigerated.

The facility was not fined for the above-listed 2016 violations.

August 2017 Inspection

The facility was assessed a penalty of $10,606 in August 2017, though there is no corresponding data to explain the penalty.

February 2018 Inspection

The inspection taking place in February 2018 revealed 22 deficiencies at the facility and resulted in a $13,744 fine. The deficiencies included:

  • Failure to honor the resident’s right to a dignified existence, self-determination, communication, and to exercise his or her rights. CNAs were observed placing clothing protectors on residents in the dining area without asking them first and did not wash their hands before serving drinks or assisting residents with preparing their food.
  • Failure to allow residents to self-administer drugs if determined clinically appropriate. A resident was discovered with TUMS medication at his or her bedside, with no assessment or doctor’s orders stating that the resident was cognitively or functionally able to safely self-administer them. An LPN who was interviewed was unaware that the resident had medications at his or her bedside.
  • Failure to honor the resident’s right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal and the facility must establish a grievance policy and make prompt efforts to resolve grievances.
  • Failure to protect each resident from all types of abuse such as physical, mental, sexual abuse, physical punishment, and neglect by anybody. The inspection revealed that two CNAs had manually transferred a resident from one place to another without using a mechanical lift as ordered, resulting in the resident suffering a fractured patella (knee cap). The facility administration failed to interview all potentially involved parties or witnesses upon conducting an investigation of the incident.
  • Failure to develop and implement policies and procedures to prevent abuse, neglect, and theft.
  • Failure to respond appropriately to all alleged violations.
  • Failure to provide timely notification to the resident, and if applicable to the resident representative and ombudsman, before transfer or discharge, including appeal rights.
  • Failure to ensure each resident receives an accurate assessment. Interviews and record reviews uncovered a resident with unclear speech not getting a mental and mood assessment as staff members felt like his answers would not be understood.
  • Failure to develop and implement a complete care plan that meets all the resident’s needs, with timetables and actions that can be measured.
  • Failure to develop the complete care plan within 7 days of the comprehensive assessment; and prepared, reviewed, and revised by a team of health professionals. The inspection revealed that the resident and family members were not involved in the development of a care plan for a resident, nor was nutrition service staff, a registered nurse, a CNA or a physician. The only input received in the resident’s care plan was from a social services representative and a therapist.
  • Failure to provide appropriate treatment and care according to orders, resident’s preferences and goals. Staff failed to provide a physician-ordered multivitamin to a resident for a month, and a pain medication was not administered to another resident.
  • Failure to provide appropriate pressure ulcer care and prevent new ulcers from developing.
  • Failure to provide appropriate care for a resident to maintain and/or improve range of motion (ROM), limited ROM and/or mobility, unless a decline is for a medical reason.
  • Failure to ensure that a nursing home area is free from accident hazards and provides adequate supervision to prevent accidents. This violation was revealed due to a resident not receiving palm splints to alleviate contractures of the hands and another resident not having a plan in place to prevent elopement.
  • Failure to provide enough food/fluids to maintain a resident’s health.
  • Failure to provide pharmaceutical services to meet the needs of each resident and employ or obtain the services of a licensed pharmacist.
  • Failure to ensure each resident’s drug regimen must be free from unnecessary drugs.
  • Failure to implement gradual dose reductions (GDR) and non-pharmacological interventions, unless contraindicated, prior to initiating or instead of continuing psychotropic medication; and PRN orders for psychotropic medications are only used when the medication is necessary and PRN use is limited.
  • Failure to ensure medication error rates are not 5 percent or greater. A record review revealed that there were four errors in 31 opportunities, for an error rate of 12.9 percent.
  • Failure to procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory and store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards.
  • Failure to safeguard resident-identifiable information and/or maintain medical records on each resident that are in accordance with accepted professional standards.
  • Failure to provide and implement an infection prevention and control program.

February 2019 Inspection

An inspection in February 2019 revealed 14 deficiencies and resulted in the facility being fined $60,480. The deficiencies were:

  • Failure to honor the resident’s right to request, refuse, and/or discontinue treatment, to participate in or refuse to participate in experimental research, and to formulate an advance directive.
  • Failure to give residents notice of Medicaid/Medicare coverage and potential liability for services not covered.
  • Failure to honor the resident’s right to a safe, clean, comfortable and homelike environment, including but not limited to receiving treatment and supports for daily living safely.
  • Failure to provide timely notification to the resident, and if applicable to the resident representative and ombudsman, before transfer or discharge, including appeal rights.
  • Failure to notify the resident or the resident’s representative in writing how long the nursing home will hold the resident’s bed in cases of transfer to a hospital or therapeutic leave.
  • Failure to develop and implement a complete care plan that meets all the resident’s needs, with timetables and actions that can be measured.
  • Failure to develop the complete care plan within 7 days of the comprehensive assessment; and prepared, reviewed, and revised by a team of health professionals.
  • Failure to ensure that feeding tubes are not used unless there is a medical reason and the resident agrees; and provide appropriate care for a resident with a feeding tube.
  • Failure to implement gradual dose reductions (GDR) and non-pharmacological interventions, unless contraindicated, prior to initiating or instead of continuing psychotropic medication; and PRN orders for psychotropic medications are only used when the medication is necessary and PRN use is limited.
  • Failure to ensure that the residents are free from significant medication errors.
  • Failure to provide timely, quality laboratory services/tests to meet the needs of residents.
  • Failure to procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory and store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards.
  • Failure to provide and implement an infection prevention and control program.
  • Failure to ensure nurse aides have the skills they need to care for residents, and give nurse aides education in dementia care and abuse prevention.

Fire Inspections (TWO FAILURES)

Fire Hazard in Nursing HomeThe most recent fire safety inspection was performed at the Life Care Center of Columbia in March 2019. The inspection revealed the following deficiencies, both deemed to produce a minimum potential of harm for some residents:

  • Failure to provide properly protected cooking facilities.
  • Failure to ensure smoke barriers are constructed to a one-hour fire resistance rating.

The two deficiencies were found to be well above the state average of 0.5 deficiencies per inspection.

The Rights of Nursing Home Residents

Federal and state laws provide the residents of nursing homes with the following rights:

  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The right to be informed in writing about the services and fees before entering the nursing home.
  • The right to manage their own financial matters or to appoint someone to do that for them.
  • The right to privacy and to keep and use their own personal belongings so long as they don’t interfere with the health, safety, or rights of others.
  • The right to be informed about their medical conditions, medications, and the right to choose their own doctor. Nursing home residents also have the right to refuse medications or treatments.
  • The right to have a choice over their schedule, activities, and other preferences that are important to them.
  • The right to a home-like environment that maximizes their comfort and provides them with the assistance needed to be as independent as possible.
  • The right to participate in activities designed to meet their needs and the needs of other residents.
  • The right to be free from abuse and neglect, including verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse.
  • The right to be free from physical and chemical restraints.
  • The right to make a complaint without fear of punishment.
  • The right to have a representative notified if the resident becomes injured, suffers a worsening medical or mental condition, has medical complications or a life-threatening condition, has a change in treatment, or is being discharged or transferred from the facility.
  • The right to spend time with visitors any time they wish, as long as the timing doesn’t interfere with the privacy or rights of another person.
  • The right to obtain social services, including mental health counseling.
  • The right to be protected from unfair transfer or discharge.
  • The right to participate in or form resident groups.

Call Our Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers Today

Your loved one has rights, and nursing homes cost you far too much money to cut corners on your loved one’s care—especially if it results in a serious, preventable injury. If you suspect that your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the Life Care Center of Columbia or any other South Carolina nursing home, contact us for information about your legal options. You can reach us by email or at (843) 881-8644. We look forward to helping you and your loved one.


Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone: 843-881-8644

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