An estimated 1.4 to 1.5 million individuals live in nursing homes across the nation. Many of those people need assistance with daily living activities, such as eating or preparing meals, bathing or dressing, going to the toilet, managing medications, or moving around their residences and getting to other locations. All of those individuals deserve a safe place to live and professional assistance to meet their daily needs. How do you know if the nursing home your loved one lives in is a safe place, though? How do you know that they’re getting the help that they need?
You can do many things to avoid having your loved one become the victim of nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation. One step in the process of finding a safe nursing home facility for your loved one is to look at the facility’s health inspection records. Medicare places the results of nursing home health inspections online so the public can see the quality of care that the facility provides to its residents.
The following are the results of the health inspection reports for National HealthCare Corporation’s (NHC) Sumter facility.
The Hughey Law Firm has successfully pressed cases against NHC HealthCare Sumter for the abuse and neglect of its residents. Call our nursing home abuse and negelect attorneys today if you or your loved one has suffered unnecessarily at the facility’s hands. We want to help you and your loved one.
About NHC HealthCare Sumter
NHC HealthCare Sumter is a 135-bed nursing home facility located at 1018 North Guignard Drive, Sumter, South Carolina. The Medicare/Medicaid-certified facility is not part of a continuing care retirement community or a hospital. The facility boasts a team of specialized physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and therapists. NHC HealthCare Sumter offers different levels of care based on need, and its campus features an onsite rehabilitation facility with comprehensive therapy.
NHC HealthCare Sumter provides short-stay services of up to 100 days for individuals needing to have skilled nursing during their transition from hospital to home following a serious medical event, such as a heart attack, stroke, or recovery from major surgery. The facility also offers long-term care for individuals who are unable to live independently and need help with daily tasks. These services garnered a three-star, average rating from Medicare.
October 2016 Inspection
The health inspection in October 2016 yielded four deficiencies, as follows:
- Failure to make sure each resident receives an accurate assessment by a qualified health professional. Health inspectors discovered that the facility failed to ensure that one resident who was reviewed for urinary incontinence was provided with accurate assessments. Based on record review and interviews, the inspection uncovered that the resident received two assessments at the facility that provided inaccurate data as to his or her nutritional needs, skin injuries, active diagnosis, and medications.
- Failure to give residents proper treatment to prevent new bed (pressure) sores or heal existing bed sores. Based on record review, observation, interviews, and review of facility policy, inspectors discovered that the facility failed to provide appropriate pressure ulcer treatment to a resident. An LPN was observed placing an opened package of medication to treat the resident’s pressure room in the bag with other supplies. The inspector asked about the opened package and was told it was a multi-use package. However, the LPN later retrieved an unopened package and said that he or she would have to throw the opened package away. The LPN was then observed placing the medication on the wound, placing gauze, and then placing the dressing, all while wearing the same gloves. During an interview with the LPN, the LPN told the inspector that he/she had failed to change gloves during the wound dressing process and also that—had the inspector not been there—he/she would have used the open package of medication. A review of the package insert for the medication revealed that it is single-use and should be discarded if the package is open before use.
- Failure to make sure that the nursing home area is free from accident hazards and risks and provides supervision to prevent avoidable accidents. Based on record review, interviews, and observation, inspectors discovered that the facility failed to maintain a safe water temperature in resident care areas for two of three units. The water temperature in many of the residents’ rooms was found to be too warm—exceeding the recommended 120-degree temperature. No reports of scalds or burns had been issued, and all of the staff knew to report water that was too warm in residents’ rooms and shower areas. No reports had been made for at least six months, and the facility’s policies did not address water temperature. Thermometers were installed so that employees could properly assess whether the temperature was appropriate, and the proper water temperature was noted in the facility policies.
- Failure to maintain drug records and properly mark/label drugs and other similar products according to accepted professional standards. Based on observations, record review, review of manufacturer’s label, and interviews, inspectors determined that the facility failed to assure that medications were properly stored and properly labeled as to expiration date, and that expired medications were not removed from the medication cart.
The facility received no citations or penalties as a result of these deficiencies and has not received any citations due to complaints or facility-reported issues in the past three years.
The Rights of Nursing Home Residents
Nursing home facilities in South Carolina and beyond are governed by federal and state laws. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have set the following rights for residents in certified nursing facilities, such as NHC HealthCare Sumter:
- Freedom from discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, or sex.
- The provision to potential residents of a list of services offered and their fees.
- A health assessment upon entry into the facility, as well as daily assessments. These assessments monitor the resident’s physical and mental health, medications, ability to manage daily tasks, and ability to speak and make decisions. These assessments are used to plan the resident’s care, treat the resident, and determine his or her eligibility for ongoing Medicare coverage.
- The ability of the resident to manage his or her own money, or to appoint someone to do so. The facility cannot force the resident to allow its staff to manage his or her financial affairs. Even if the resident consents to the facility providing money management services, written statements must be provided quarterly, and the resident cannot be prevented from accessing his or her financial accounts.
- The right to be treated with dignity and respect, including allowing the resident to determine what time to go to bed, what time to get up, when to have meals, and what to do during the day, provided those activities don’t interfere with the resident’s care plan. Staff must not physically or verbally abuse the resident, administer medication that is not indicated in the care plan, physically restrain a resident (unless he or she is a danger to himself or herself or others), involuntarily isolate the resident from others, or take and use the resident’s property (or allow others to do so).
- The right to privacy and to have one’s own personal property, including being allowed to open one’s own mail and have private phone conversations. The resident also has the right to have guests during reasonable visiting times and may also forbid individuals from visiting him or her. Unless the resident objects, family members are granted access to visit any time.
- Residents have the right to protection from other residents and for staff to step in if there is a problem between residents.
- Residents have the right to know what they’ve been diagnosed with, what medications they are prescribed, and the content of their medical reports.
- The right to choose their own medical providers and to refuse treatment by medical providers appointed to them at the facility. They have the right to refuse treatments and medications. If they need mental, legal, or financial counseling, the facility must provide them with these services.
- If Medicare coverage stops because it is deemed no longer medically necessary for the individual to reside at the facility, the facility must make the resident aware of this, informing them when the coverage is ending and why. The facility must also let the resident know that they will be fully responsible for the cost of services after this date and inform the resident of the costs of such services. Facilities cannot require another family member to pay for the services.
- Facilities must inform residents if they are going to be discharged or transferred and explain why this action is taking place. Facilities can only discharge or transfer residents without consent if their health has declined to the point that the facility no longer meets their needs, their health has improved to the point that the facility’s services are no longer of benefit, or they pose a threat to the welfare of other residents. Residents may also be discharged for the inability to pay for services, unless they are waiting for Medicaid payments to come through.
- The right to complain about the facility and its services without fear of retribution. In 2016, a provision was added to resident rights that allows residents to sue any federally-funded facility for abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Previously, these facilities often forced residents who had been harmed to undergo arbitration.
- Residents may have a meal or snacks anytime they wish. They can also have visits from any guests they wish to entertain at any time of the day, as long as their guests don’t disturb other residents. Additionally, residents who wish to live together may do so.
- New regulations prohibit a facility from sending a resident with dementia to the hospital and then refusing to re-admit the resident when his or her treatment at the hospital has ended. Staff members are required to have additional training on the proper treatment of residents with dementia.
Injured, Neglected, or Abused at NHC HealthCare Sumter? Call the Hughey Law Firm Today
Just because someone’s ability to care for his or her own daily needs has diminished, it doesn’t mean that his or her rights have also diminished. Nursing facilities must provide adequate care for elderly or vulnerable adults, and if they don’t do this, they should face legal and financial consequences.
If your loved one was abused or neglected at a South Carolina nursing home facility, including NHC HealthCare Sumter, you deserve compensation.
We can help. We have the resources and experience to take on NHC HealthCare Sumter. We’ve done it before, in fact, and we’re ready to help you do it now. Call us at (843) 881-8644 or email us through our contact page and we’ll get started with a free consultation.
Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464