The Hughey Law Firm has successfully pursued claims against this facility.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley was working to introduce a bill aimed at reducing the incidences of nursing home and neglect nationwide. The senator’s interest in the care that residents are receiving at skilled nursing facilities was sharpened when a resident at a five-star rated nursing facility in his state died due to abuse and neglect. The proposed bill would authorize funding for services already called for in federal law via the Elder Justice Act, which was authorized as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
The bill would establish a $100 million funding stream for state elder adult protection agencies, which have previously been reliant on federal block grant funding, as well as funding for six forensic centers located around the nation, which would investigate allegations of nursing home abuse. These forensic centers were established in the Affordable Care Act but have never been funded.
Grassley hopes that this funding, along with re-authorization of the Elder Justice Act, will facilitate greater public awareness of elder abuse and neglect taking place at skilled nursing facilities across the country and will lead to further protections. When it comes down to it, Grassley believes that there are three things currently diminishing the quality of life at most skilled nursing facilities: nutrition, bedsores, and dehydration.
Grassley’s attempts at nursing home reform have been met by opposition from groups who represent facilities. Those groups have expressed concern that his bill will lead to more regulations and more punishments for facilities that are unable to comply with the regulations. The group called for a revision of the current inspection system, where facilities would face reduced penalties if they self-reported deficiencies and punishment would be reserved for facilities that consistently fail to show improvement on quality measures.
Elder abuse has gained more publicity in recent years with the development of the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare website, which provides information to those seeking a nursing home placement for a loved one. On this website, individuals can look at the recent health and fire safety inspection reports for nursing homes in their area and see how these facilities measured up to certain quality standards.
One of the local nursing facilities that we took a look at was NHC Healthcare – Greenwood. The results of our examination follow.
About NHC Healthcare – Greenwood
The Hughey Law Firm has successfully pursued claims against this facility.
NHC Healthcare – Greenwood is a 152-certified bed nursing facility in Greenwood, South Carolina owned by a for-profit corporation. The facility is rated average in terms of staffing. Some of the services that the facility says it provides include:
- 24-hour nursing care administered by licensed nursing teams;
- Different levels of care, depending on the resident’s needs;
- Dietician and chef-approved meals; and
- An onsite rehabilitation facility with comprehensive therapy services.
The framework is focused on core values and perspectives found in high-performing organizations, including:
- A systems perspective;
- Visionary leadership;
- Patient-focused excellence;
- Valuing people;
- Organizational learning and agility;
- Focus on success;
- Managing for innovation;
- Management by fact;
- Societal contributions and community health;
- Ethics and transparency; and
- Delivering value and results.
January 2019 Inspection
All that said, the January 2019 inspection at NHC Healthcare – Greenwood revealed three deficiencies, which were:
- Failure to ensure the services provided by the nursing facility meet professional standards of quality. Based on interviews and record review, CMS inspectors determined that the facility’s staff had failed to follow acceptable standards of practice for administering medication when a licensed practical nurse failed to flush a gastrostomy device between administering three types of medication to a resident.
- Failure to ensure medication error rates are not 5 percent or greater. Observations, interviews, and record reviews led inspectors to conclude that the facility’s medication error rate was 12 percent after a nurse was observed administering three medications via gastrostomy tube without properly flushing the tube between each medication.
- Failure to provide and implement an infection prevention and control program. An inspector observed a staff member changing a dressing on a resident’s pressure ulcer without properly sanitizing the scissors used to cut the old dressing off before beginning the procedure.
What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
Federal law guarantees the residents of skilled nursing facilities rights, including:
- The right to a dignified existence, including being treated with consideration, respect, dignity, and as an individual. As part of this right, residents’ lives must be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and misappropriation of personal property. Residents have the right to be free from the use of physical and chemical restraints, and to have the assurance that their quality of life will be maintained or improved. Residents have the right to a homelike environment that features their personal possessions whenever possible. They have the right to security of their possessions and access to medical care, and the right to exercise these rights without interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.
- The right to self-determination, including choice as to the activities in which they participate, their schedule, and their health care and health care providers. Under this right, residents may expect reasonable accommodation of their needs and preferences. Residents may participate in developing and implementing a person-centered plan that incorporates personal and cultural preferences. Residents may organize and participate in resident and family groups, as well as appoint a representative to exercise their rights. Residents may decide when to discontinue treatment.
- The right to be fully informed of the type of care to be provided, including the risks and benefits of that care. Residents also have the right to be informed of changes to their care plan or health status. They have the right to receive a written copy of their rights, as well as policies and regulations governing the facility. Residents may access the contact information for the long-term ombudsman program as well as state inspectors and health inspection reports. They must receive written notice before being required to change rooms or roommates, and all notices and information must be given to them in a language they understand.
- Residents have the right to raise grievances, and to do so without discrimination, retaliation, or the fear of either. Facilities must make prompt efforts to address these grievances and to provide written notice of their decision regarding the complaint. Residents also have the right to make their grievances known to the long-term ombudsman program or to the state inspection agency.
- Residents have the right to receive visitors of their choosing, as well as the right to refuse visitors. Residents must have access to individuals, services, community members, and activities both inside and outside of the facility. They must be allowed to participate in social, religious, and community activities. They also have the right to access their own personal and medical records, and the right to have access to their personal physician.
- Residents have the right to manage their own financial affairs. They have the right to information about the facility’s available services and the cost of each service. They have the right to know whether Medicare/ Medicaid will cover a service that they’re interested in receiving and to not be charged if Medicare/ Medicaid does cover the service.
- Residents have the right to privacy regarding their personal, medical, and financial affairs. They have the right to unrestricted communication with whomever they choose. They have the right to privacy during treatment and care of their personal needs.
- Residents also have specific rights regarding discharge or transfer from a facility, including the right to appeal a discharge or transfer and not to be moved while the appeal is pending. They have the right to receive a 30-day written notice of discharge or transfer, including the reason for the discharge or transfer, the effective date, the location they’re going to, their appeal rights and the process for appeals, and the name and contact information for the long-term ombudsman. The resident has the right to expect that the transfer or discharge will occur in an orderly way by trained staff. They also have the right to receive written notification of their ability to return to the facility after hospitalization or therapeutic leave.
Warning Signs of Possible Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
It is not always easy to tell if a nursing home resident has been abused or neglected, particularly if they have cognitive disabilities and are unable to talk to you about their experience. The following are a few of the signs that may indicate nursing home abuse or neglect:
- Unexplained injuries, including bruises on the wrists that may indicate restraint or bruises or bleeding on the breasts or genitalia that may indicate sexual abuse.
- Unexplained weight loss or signs of dehydration.
- The presence of pressure ulcers or signs of infection.
- Reluctance to speak to you in a staff member’s presence or the reluctance of a staff member to allow you to be alone with the resident.
- Unsanitary conditions.
- The resident appearing unclean or wearing dirty clothing.
- Unusual or sudden changes in behavior, such as withdrawal, wanting to be isolated from others, or behaviors such as rocking or biting.
- Injuries requiring emergency room treatment or hospitalizations.
- Signs that the resident has been over-medicated or under-medicated.
- Circumstances in which one resident is injured by another resident.
- The lack of warm interactions between residents and staff members.
- Staff members who appear frantic, or call lights that go without response for an unreasonable period of time.
- Instances in which the resident wanders away from the facility or staff leaves the resident alone in a public place.
- Unusual or unexplained withdrawals from the resident’s bank account or new signatures added to the signature card for the account.
- The unexplained or unexpected death of a resident.
Elder abuse comes in several forms, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. The most common form of reported abuse is physical abuse, followed by resident-on-resident abuse. It is believed that approximately 10 percent of elders over the age of 60 are victims of abuse, and studies show that nearly one-quarter of all nursing home residents are the subject of at least one occurrence of abuse.
In spite of mandated reporting laws in South Carolina and other states that require health care providers, facility staff, and others to report any knowledge or suspicion of abuse, only about ONE IN EVERY 14 CASES of nursing home abuse are formally reported.
The Hughey Law Firm Wants to Help You in Your Case Against NHC Healthcare – Greenwood
If your loved one suffered abuse or neglect as NHC Healthcare – Greenwood or another South Carolina facility, our experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys would like to speak with you about your case. Contact us at (843) 881-8644 or email us to schedule your free initial consultation.
Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464