A Dubious Distinction for SC Regarding Elder Abuse

A recent case of elder abuse at a Columbia, SC, nursing home has spotlighted the need for better laws and regulations when it comes to protecting the elderly from abuse.

A new online study from Wallethub revealed that, out of all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, South Carolina was absolutely last when it comes to protecting our seniors from abuse. Our state also did poorly on a number of other fronts, including complaints made by residents 65 and older of neglect and abuse, the overall quality of nursing homes, the number of organizations and services devoted to eldercare, and general spending on elder abuse protection. South Carolina’s overall score of 12.49 was almost six times lower than the top overall score by the District of Columbia, placing SC 51st on the list.

Selected categories for South Carolina, with 1 being the best, are:

  • 50th (tie) in the number of abuse/exploitation/gross neglect complaints lodged by residents 65 and older. SC tied with a much larger state, California, in total complaints.
  • 41st in the number of services and organizations dedicated to caring for our 65+ residents.
  • 35th in total spending on preventing elder abuse per 65+ resident.
  • 34th in overall nursing home quality.
  • 28th in the total funding for long term care (LTC) ombudsman programs per 65+ resident.

Note that in none of these categories did South Carolina rise even as high as average (25th).

A Response from the State Regarding Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Dale Watson, South Carolina’s LTC ombudsman in the Office of Aging, has pointed out that SC was among the earliest states to adopt a wide-ranging adult protection law. “I certainly don’t want folks to feel that people are not trying to address the issue of elder abuse in South Carolina,” noted Watson. “We know we have issues, but we are working together to resolve issues.”

Watson has made the following message clear several times in the past: “You have a right to complain. These are your rights, and let us help you with it.”

A 2016 Columbia Abuse Case

In December, 2016, it was reported that the SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) responded to a case of physical abuse in a Columbia nursing home by arresting the certified nurse’s assistant (CNA) and charging her with physical abuse of a vulnerable adult, a felony charge. The situation allegedly occurred March 7, 2016 at the C.M. Tucker Nursing Care Facility, which is owned by the state; a witness reported that the victim was struck in the face with an open hand not once, but several times. If she is convicted, Laquita S. McReynolds of Columbia faces as many as five years in prison.

We at the Louthian Law Firm are on your side and ready to assist you should you experience or believe you see signs of nursing home abuse.

Family-owned. Family-focused.

Elderly people are entitled to basic safety, respect and dignity. If you or someone you love is a victim of South Carolina nursing home neglect, you have the right to hold the abuser responsible in court. The Louthian Law Firm has represented injured South Carolinians in nursing home patient neglect, negligence, and abuse  lawsuits and other personal injury suits since 1959. With our firm on the case, you can rest assured that you’ll get the personalized attention you deserve.

There is no substitute for proper legal help when making an elder abuse claim. For a free consultation, call our Columbia nursing home neglect attorneys today toll free at 1-803-454-1200, or use our online contact form.