Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyer
Elder abuse and neglect at senior care facilities are, unfortunately, a relatively common occurrence. Resident abuse and neglect in assisted living facilities can cause serious physical or emotional injury or even death.
Studies show that those at the highest risk of being abused are seniors with dementia or moderate cognitive impairments. These seniors are targets for abuse and neglect in assisted living facilities because they often have impaired communication skills or judgment.
As a result, cognitively impaired individuals are less likely to report the abuse. When searching for a facility, if your loved one is suffering from dementia or cognitive impairment, it is important to thoroughly vet each potential placement.
Below is information about Anderson Oaks Assisted Living, an assisted living facility in Conway that provides memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The Hughey Law Firm has successfully litigated claims against the facility and its staff, among many others in South Carolina.
We have learned through years of experience that the best-rated facilities don’t always earn their good reputations, and even the better ones can make tragic mistakes due to negligence in management, training, hiring, and operations. The Hughey Law Firm has more than a decade of experience helping people whom these facilities have harmed through their actions and inactions. We have recovered millions of dollars for abused and neglected nursing home and assisted living patients since we opened our firm in 2007, including residents at Anderson Oaks—and we look forward to discussing your case with you.
About Anderson Oaks Assisted Living
Anderson Oaks Assisted Living is located at 997 Highway 90, Conway, SC, 29526. The facility can provide care for up to 80 residents, offering studio apartments, shared residences, and companion suites. The facility is not part of a Continuing Care Community and it does not allow residents to have pets. One of the primary services it offers is memory care for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Around 14 percent of all U.S. assisted living facilities offer a special memory care unit. Memory care is a form of long-term care designed to meet the needs of a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Memory care services vary from facility to facility, so it is important to ask what services are included. Note that memory care is an additional service outside of the standard assisted living. Therefore, memory care services may increase the overall costs of assisted living. On its website, Anderson Oaks states that it provides specific opportunities to stimulate memory and meaningful experiences.
Anderson Oaks also provides respite services as a temporary solution to assisted living or memory care. Respite services are priced per day, as opposed to the monthly pricing provided for assisted living.
Assisted living facilities in South Carolina, including Anderson Oaks, are licensed by the state Board of Health and Environmental Control‘s Division of Health Licensing.
Before admission, assisted living facilities in South Carolina must:
- Provide residents with an explanation of the care provided by the facility.
- Disclosure of fees and refund policies.
- Inform residents of the date they receive their personal needs allowance and the amount.
- Explain the facility’s transportation policy.
- Provide information regarding discharge and transfer provisions and documentation explaining the Resident’s Bill of Rights including grievance procedures.
Facilities caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease must also disclose the form of care and treatment that establishes it as being suitable for people with that condition. They must provide the admission/transfer and discharge criteria, care planning process, staffing and training, and a description of the physical environment. Facilities must also explain activities related to Alzheimer’s care, the role of family members in the care plan, and the cost of associated Alzheimer’s services.
About Assisted Living Facilities
We understand that selecting a nursing home facility is a difficult decision, and we want you to know you are not alone. According to the South Carolina Department on Aging, our state is seeing a “silver tsunami” caused by the aging generation of baby boomers who are beginning to require services.
The department notes:
- By 2030, the senior population will double to equal around 1.8 million.
- Over 11.5 percent of the state’s seniors live in poverty and more than a third are existing with the support of Social Security alone.
- More than half of the state’s seniors have less than $50,000 in savings to fund their golden years.
- The department spends, on average, $1,400 per client per year to help them stay out of nursing homes, which would result in annual costs of $52,000 per resident.
- The state has more than 8,000 seniors who are waiting for meals, home care, and transportation.
The AARP reports that there are around 28,900 assisted living facilities providing nearly one million beds in the United States. These facilities vary in size, with the smallest providing beds for up to 10 people and the largest housing more than 100 residents. The average capacity at an assisted living facility is 33 residents. In South Carolina, nursing home staff must maintain a ratio of one staff member per every eight residents.
As explained by WebMD, assisted living is housing designed specifically for people who need various levels of medical or personal care. Generally, assisted living facilities more closely resemble an apartment complex than a hospital. Facilities commonly provide resident living spaces that may include individual rooms, shared spaces, or even studio apartments. Residents of assisted living facilities are typically elderly and/or disabled individuals and are intended to provide residents with as much independence as possible.
While the services provided at assisted living facilities vary, facilities commonly provide residents with:
- Up to three meals a day and snacks
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Personal assistance with daily tasks such as dressing, toileting, walking, cooking, or bathing
- 24-hour emergency care
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Social and recreational activities
- Some medical services, including monitoring of medication
Some assisted living facilities provide additional health care services such as:
- Access to pharmacy services
- Dietary and nutritional guidance
- Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy
- Hospice care
- Skilled nursing care
- Mental health services
- Social worker services
The costs of placement in an assisted living facility can be quite significant. Before choosing a facility, you should ensure that your family and loved one can afford the monthly costs.
Some financing options include:
- Savings or the sale of assets. Many people don’t like the idea of their loved one having to sell the family home to afford assisted living. However, others view it as simply letting go of one chapter of their lives and starting a new one.
- Long-term care insurance. While Medicare and many private health insurance plans generally do not provide coverage for assisted living, some insurance policies do.
- Medicaid. Medicaid will provide some assistance to individuals needing help affording their senior living arrangements. However, this assistance is usually not available until all other resources have been exhausted.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. If your loved one is a veteran, he or she may obtain aid and assistance benefits. Your regional VA office can provide you with further details on these benefits.
The Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the most common types of abuse to be suffered by facility residents are physical abuse (29 percent) and psychological abuse (21 percent). Gross neglect and financial exploitation each account for 14 percent of elder abuse cases. Sexual abuse makes up about 7 percent of abuse cases involving seniors. As previously stated, the most common targets of abuse are residents with dementia or cognitive impairments, as these residents experience difficulties communicating.
However, instances of elder abuse are grossly under-reported for seniors of all levels of cognitive functioning. Abuse victims are often ashamed of the abuse or afraid that they, or their caregiver, will be in trouble if they tell someone. In 22 percent of incidents of elder abuse at senior living facilities, it is not the staff who is abusive, but rather a fellow resident.
While you should be cautious of underreporting, red flags may indicate that your loved one is abused, neglected, or financially exploited.
Indications of abuse and neglect may include:
- Inadequately explained bruises, broken bones, lacerations, or other physical injuries.
- Bruising in the breasts or genital areas, unusually stained undergarments, bloody discharge, or the diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease.
- Withdrawal from activities that the person used to enjoy.
- Unusual behaviors such as rocking, biting, or sucking one’s thumb.
- Unexplained weight loss or signs of dehydration.
- The person expresses fear toward being left alone with a specific caregiver or another resident.
- The person appears to be over-medicated or under-medicated.
- The elder appears dirty or is wearing soiled clothing.
- The living conditions are filthy or bug-infested.
- There is an appearance of new or worsening bedsores.
- There is unexplained activity in the individual’s bank account, including unexplained withdrawals or purchases.
- The resident has added new names to his or her bank signatory card.
- The resident gives lavish gifts to facility staff.
Choosing a Facility for Your Loved One
When it comes time to select an assisted living facility, these resources can help in your search:
- Your local or state agency on aging. Information regarding South Carolina’s Department on Aging can be found here.
- The Yellow Pages, which can provide search results for facilities in your area by ZIP code, city, or state.
- Recommendations from family members, friends, your church congregation, or even from your loved one’s doctor.
When selecting an assisted living facility for your loved one, consider the following:
- What level of care do your loved one’s needs require? Is the facility you’re researching capable of meeting all of those needs?
- How much does the facility cost, what services are provided, and how are fees structured?
- Where is the facility? Is it close to your home or the homes of other family members? Is it close to your loved one’s doctor?
- Has the facility had complaints filed against it by residents or their family members?
- Is the facility licensed? What are the regulations that this facility is required to meet?
- Does the facility provide programs that cater to your loved one’s specific hobbies or interests?
If you are interested in a specific facility, you may want to ask staff members some of the following questions:
- What are the sizes and types of units you have available?
- Do the units have kitchens or kitchenettes?
- Are the rooms and bathrooms private?
- Does each resident have a written care plan? Who is responsible for creating this care plan?
- What additional services or accommodations are available if my loved one’s needs change?
- Is my loved one allowed to bring his or her personal furniture to the residence?
Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential facilities down to two or three, you will want to take a tour of each facility. Some things you should look for on your tour include:
- Overall cleanliness of the facility. Be aware of odd smells or chaotic or dirty environments. Often these are indicators of an understaffed facility.
- An emergency generator or backup power source if a natural disaster should cause the power to go out at the facility.
- Common areas such as dens or living rooms where residents can congregate and socialize.
- A logical floor plan.
- Rooms and bathrooms that feature call buttons in case your loved one needs the help of staff.
- Rooms that feature enough space for your loved one and his or her personal belongings.
- Safety locks on all doors and windows, as well as the provision of security and fire safety systems.
- The availability of amenities such as banking institutions, hair salons, or cafes.
- Well-lit stairways and clearly marked exits.
Before signing a contract, you should read it carefully and even consider having it reviewed by a financial services professional. You should ensure that the contract includes provisions regarding whether your loved one’s space at the facility will be held if he or she has to be hospitalized. You should review the facility’s policies regarding transfers and discharges. You should also be aware of any limitations that the contract places on your right to pursue legal action for abuse and neglect. Many assisted living facilities require you to sign arbitration clauses that require you to settle disputes by a third party outside of the judicial system.
Call Our Assisted Living Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
At Hughey Law Firm we regularly fight for the rights of victims of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
If you suspect your loved one has been abused or neglected at a senior living facility, contact us today.
Call (843) 881-8644 for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464