Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyer

A nationwide study revealed that South Carolina ranks 13th among states with the highest numbers of serious violations discovered in nursing home health inspections. In addition, the fines imposed against assisted-living facilities in South Carolina total over $5 million. As such, the state ranks 16th in the nation for the amount of fines paid to the federal government for inspection violations.

The ProPublica study revealed that one facility had such serious deficiencies it qualified for placement on the federal government’s special focus facility list. When a facility is identified as a “special focus facility,” state and federal officials closely monitor the facility’s operations. Officials ensure all reported deficiencies are promptly corrected and that overall facility operations are improved.

Health inspection reports are a valuable tool for evaluating and comparing the standards of care provided by various nursing home facilities. When choosing a long-term care facility for a loved one, it is important to make an informed decision. Diligently researching any inspection violations or fines imposed can reveal which facilities may be expected to provide adequate care.

Below, we list available health inspection information for one nursing home option in Mount Pleasant. Of course, we cannot guarantee results in future cases. However, our team at Hughey Law Firm has successfully litigated claims against the Savannah Grace at the Palms of Mount Pleasant facility. If your loved one has suffered neglect or abuse there, call us now to see if we can help.

About Savannah Grace at the Palms of Mount Pleasant

Savannah Grace at the Palms of Mount Pleasant is a small nursing home facility located at 1010 Lake Hunter Circle, Mount Pleasant, SC. The home features 42 certified beds and is part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community. Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer multiple housing options that provide varying levels of care. Residents of facilities within the community have the opportunity to transfer between facilities as their needs change.

The facility provides short-term care, which may entail up to 100 days of skilled nursing care. Short-term care is commonly provided to individuals who are recovering from surgery or a medical incident such as a heart attack or stroke. Oftentimes, an individual’s recovery will benefit from a slower transition from the hospital back to their home. The facility also provides long-term care for individuals who can’t live independently.

January 2017 Inspection

The January 2017 health inspection of Savannah Grace at the Palms of Mount Pleasant revealed that the facility was deficient in seven areas. Reported deficiencies included:

  • A failure to allow residents to easily view the results of the nursing home’s most recent survey. Based on observations and interviews, the facility failed to provide copies of the past three years’ health inspection reports, certifications, and complaints. Individuals should be permitted to access and review these resources upon request. In addition, the facility failed to display notice to residents and visitors that a survey book of health inspections was available. The administrator stated that she was not aware that she was required to give notice of or furnish health inspection information.
  • Failure to give notice to the resident before their room location or roommate assignment changed. An interview with a resident revealed that the resident was not properly informed that the location of their room had changed. The resident discovered the reassignment only after staff arrived to transfer his or her belongings to the new location.
  • Failure to provide necessary care and services to maintain a high level of well being among residents. Inspections revealed that the facility failed to provide hospice services for a resident, despite a physician’s orders indicating that hospice care was necessary.
  • Failure to ensure that residents with reduced range of motion are provided proper treatment and services to increase range of motion. The facility staff failed to follow a physician’s recommendation for restorative therapy for a resident.
  • Failure to post nurse staffing information and data on a daily basis. The facility failed to provide a posted staffing schedule in a place where it could be viewed by residents and visitors.
  • Failure to have a program that investigates, controls and keeps infection from spreading. Based on observations, interviews, and record reviews, the facility staff failed to properly store a urine collection device for a resident who required catheter care. Additionally, staff failed to update the infection control book with current infection control policies and reportable conditions.
  • Failure to provide quality lab services and/or tests in a timely manner to meet the needs of residents. Record review and interviews showed that facility staff did not have physician-ordered lab testing performed on a resident. The testing included a Complete Blood Count and a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel.

At the time of the 2017 inspection, the state average for health inspection deficiencies at nursing homes was 6.1.

May 2018 Inspection

The health inspection conducted in May 2018 revealed four deficiencies at Savannah Grace at the Palms of Mount Pleasant. Those deficiencies included

  • Failure to provide timely notification to the resident, and if applicable to the resident representative and ombudsman, before transfer or discharge, including the right to appeal. The facility failed to notify the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman that a resident was being transferred to the hospital.
  • Failure to ensure each resident receives an accurate assessment. Facility staff failed to perform an accurate assessment on a resident to address active diagnoses, falls without injury, nutritional interventions, skin treatments, and wander- or elopement-alarm use. In addition, staff failed to perform accurate assessments related to another resident’s use of antibiotics while in the facility. Another resident’s assessment was inaccurate in relation to hearing, active diagnoses, and number of days that insulin administered during the assessment period. A fifth resident’s assessment was inaccurate as it related to prescribed medical treatment.
  • Failure to develop the complete care plan within 7 days of the comprehensive assessment. A complete care plan must be prepared, reviewed, and revised by a team of health professionals. Inspectors discovered that the care plans of five residents did not accurately reflect their medical conditions. Overall, the care plans were not individualized or resident-centered.
  • Failure to ensure a licensed pharmacist performs a monthly drug regimen review. A pharmacist is required to review a patient’s medical chart, following irregular reporting that diverts from developed policies and procedures. The facility failed to abide by the pharmacist’s recommendations regarding monitoring of a resident’s behavior after being administered a type of medication.

May 2019 Inspection

Eight deficiencies were found by inspectors during the May 2019 health inspection of Savannah Grace at the Palms of Mount Pleasant. Reported deficiencies included:

  • Failure to ensure that residents are fully informed and understand their health status, care, and treatments. The facility failed to ensure that two residents were afforded the right to make those decisions with regard to pneumonia and flu vaccines. Both residents were capable of making their own health care decisions
  • Failure to provide timely notification to the resident, and if applicable to the resident representative and ombudsman, before transfer or discharge, including appeal rights. The facility failed to ensure that three residents and their personal representatives were properly informed of the reason for discharge before discharge to the hospital.
  • 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. Three residents were not informed of the facility’s bed-hold policy before being transferred to the hospital.
  • 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 facility failed to ensure that all disciplines were involved in the care plan of two residents.
  • Failure to provide appropriate pressure ulcer care and prevent new ulcers from developing. Facility staff did not follow facility procedures relating to wound care to prevent infection and promote healing.
  • Failure to ensure drugs and biologicals used in the facility are labeled in accordance with currently accepted professional principles. All drugs and biologicals must be stored in locked compartments with separately locked compartments for controlled drugs. Based on observations, interviews, and manufacturer’s labeling instructions, it was discovered that facility staff improperly stored open medications. In addition, staff failed to remove expired medications from treatment carts.
  • Failure to procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory and store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards. Multiple unlabeled food items were discovered in the walk-in cooler, reach-in coolers, and freezer.
  • Failure to dispose of garbage and refuse properly. Paper trash, decaying food, and used plastic utensils were found stacked up or spilled out of the facility’s dumpsters. The failure to properly dispose of the waste created a foul smell and attracted insects.

The state’s average for that year was 6.1 deficiencies.

Fire Safety Inspections

Simultaneous to the three years of health inspections, fire safety inspections were also conducted at the facility. The results were as follows:

  • 2017 Inspection: Four deficiencies were found, including:
    • Failure to inspect, test, and maintain automatic sprinkler systems;
    • Failure to install corridor and hallway doors that block smoke;
    • Failure to have proper medical gas storage and administration areas; and
    • Failure to have restrictions on the use of portable space heaters.

The state average for deficiencies found in fire inspections in 2017 was 1.1. The national average was 3.

  • 2018 Inspection: There were seven deficiencies found in the facility’s 2018 fire safety inspection, including:
    • Failure to conduct emergency preparedness testing and exercise requirements;
    • Failure to have properly installed electrical wiring and gas equipment;
    • Failure to provide properly protected cooking facilities;
    • Failure to have an approved installation, maintenance and testing program for fire alarm systems;
    • Failure to inspect, test, and maintain automatic sprinkler systems;
    • Failure to have simulated fire drills held at unexpected times; and
    • Failure to ensure smoke barriers are constructed to a one-hour fire resistance rating.

The state average for fire safety inspection deficiencies in 2018 was 0.8. The national average was 3.

  • 2019 Inspection: There were three deficiencies discovered during the facility’s 2019 fire safety inspection, including:
    • Failure to implement emergency and standby power systems;
    • Failure to inspect, test, and maintain automatic sprinkler systems; and
    • Failure to have a generator or other power source capable of supplying service within 10 seconds.

In 2019, the state and national averages for deficiencies found at nursing home facilities during fire safety inspections were 0.4 and 3, respectively.

Additional Considerations When Choosing a Nursing Home

As previously mentioned, the health inspection reports are just one tool that consumers can use when selecting a nursing home facility. Some of the other considerations that should be taken into account during the selection process include:

  • What is important to you and/or your loved one? Are there religious or cultural preferences to take into consideration when choosing a facility? Does your loved one need special care for Alzheimer’s or other conditions?
  • How close is the facility to where you or your family live? Will it be easy to visit your loved one or to receive visits from your loved ones at this facility?
  • When you speak with the staff, are they forthcoming with information as to how the facility plans to improve the care of their residents? Did they provide you with access to the most recent three years of health inspections as well as their Medicare/ Medicaid certification? Did the facility’s director take time to meet with you?
  • How long is the waiting list for the nursing home you are interested in?
  • When touring a facility of interest, did you see warm interactions between staff members and residents? Was the facility operating in an organized or chaotic manner?
  • Does the facility give residents the ability to make decisions on their daily care? Can residents decide when they want to wake up or go to sleep, when they want to eat, or which activities they wish to participate in?
  • Is there significant staff turnover rates at the facility? Note: A high turnover rate may indicate staffing difficulties that could lead to an increased risk of abuse or neglect. In addition, high turnover makes it difficult for residents to build a relationship of trust with the staff that is caring for them.

Call the Hughey Law Firm if Savannah Grace Harmed You or a Loved One

If you or your loved one were abused or neglected at a South Carolina nursing home facility, contact us to discuss your legal options.

We have successfully recovered millions of dollars for our clients over the years, and we have successfully taken on many nursing homes for the abuse and neglect of the patients left in their care—including Savannah Grace at the Palms of Mount Pleasant.

You can reach us at (843) 881-8644 or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to helping you.

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