Mr. Louthian and the Louthian Law Firm provided me with excellent legal services regarding a legal issue with a major corporation.Errick Bethel Sr.
They were very down to earth and friendly, but they meant business. I would definitely recommend them. Thank you, attorney Bert Louthian!Keiron Gibson, Keianna Dukes & Ann Dukes
Outstanding customer care. Very professional and handled my case in a timely manner.Johnny Jackson
Being responsible for the health and safety of another person is always hard, especially when it’s your aging parent or another beloved family member. When they need more care than you can give, you turn to a nursing home or assisted living facility to provide that 24/7 help they require. Even after you’ve done your research and made the most informed, best decision you can, you worry. Because you’ve heard the stories about nursing home abuse and neglect, beatings, sexual abuse, over-medication. If your worst fears have come true and you believe your loved one has been abused or injured while in the care of a South Carolina nursing home or assisted living facility, call the nursing home abuse lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm.
At this point you may just have your suspicions, without hard proof. Or you may have been faced with undeniable evidence and moved your loved one out of there. In either case, Bert Louthian can help you with the next steps. Your loved one deserves better, and they could be entitled to compensation for the harm they’ve suffered.
Call (888) 359-2807 or fill out our contact form to tell us what’s on your mind. We have decades of experience helping people who have been harmed by nursing home abuse and negligence. And we offer free consultations, so you don’t have to add lawyer’s fees to the list of your worries.
We care about protecting our elders and others who are vulnerable. Let us help you achieve justice when negligent or malicious people harm your loved ones. Speak to Bert Louthian, a South Carolina nursing home abuse and personal injury attorney who gets results. Contact us today.
Elder abuse is a cruelty so abhorrent that it is almost unfathomable. It’s difficult to imagine someone cruel enough to physically assault a senior citizen, especially when the assaulter is a healthcare provider and the victim is a nursing home resident. In theory, nursing homes exist to provide for the wellbeing of those who most need it. Unfortunately, in practice, these facilities don’t just fall short of that objective, they often do the exact opposite and cause significant physical or emotional harm to those they’re supposed to be caring for.
There are approximately 1.4 million nursing home residents in approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. About 60 percent of those facilities are for-profit, though Medicaid pays for most of the nursing home residents’ care.
The percentage of older Americans who occupy nursing homes has fallen dramatically over the past few decades. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1977 to 2014, the number of nursing home residents aged 65 and over per 1,000 population fell by about one-half. Over that same period, the number of nursing homes have declined by 15 percent.
What these numbers tell us is that the nursing home industry in the United States is largely made up of private enterprises using government funds and that the industry, though still heavily relied upon by older Americans, has been in decline over recent years. This helps set the stage for what many safety advocates believe is a system plagued by nursing home resident abuse and neglect.
It’s important to understand that existing research about nursing home abuse in the United States is often outdated, and it is conducted too infrequently. However, here are a few things that studies have shown, according to a research brief by the National Center on Elder Abuse…
An in-depth piece from CNN in 2017 also provided some startling revelations about sexual abuse in nursing homes. CNN found “that the federal government has cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities” from 2013 to 2016. As CNN points out, many rape victims don’t report sexual assault, so the numbers are likely significantly higher.
What we know about nursing home abuse is disturbing, but just as alarming is what we don’t know. For example, a recent alert given by the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services said that about 28 percent of serious cases of nursing home abuse are not reported to the police, which violates both federal and state law, as reported by NPR.
Not only do these matters not get reported to the police, they are sometimes handled in a way that essentially covers up the wrongdoing. For example, the assistant regional inspector general interviewed by NPR told a story about a female nursing home resident who was badly bruised after a sexual assault, something that should have been reported to the police within two hours. After the family of the victim reported the incident to the police, the facility reached out to the police to say that they didn’t need to come to the facility to investigate.
There are several reasons that abuse and neglect occur so frequently. First is the fact that many senior citizen nursing home residents are easy prey for predators. These residents often have dementia or other conditions that make it difficult for them to speak up about their abuse. Even if they do complain, it’s not a given that their complaints will be taken seriously.
Second, nursing homes are often understaffed. Pay also isn’t great for workers at nursing homes, which means that these facilities often rely on less-experienced or under-qualified workers. CNN also reported that these facilities fail to staff supervisors during second and third shifts, when abuse is more likely to occur.
Nursing home abuse includes more than physical and sexual assault. Neglect is also common in nursing homes. Failure to provide adequate food and water is also a form of abuse, as is the over-prescribing or administering of harmful medications. This has been a frequent problem in nursing homes, where staff often give residents antipsychotic drugs that increase the resident’s likelihood of suffering a serious injury.
Nursing home abuse is not committed only by staff. Resident-on-resident nursing home abuse is likely just as common as abuse at the hands of staff members. But just because another resident is perpetrating abuse, it doesn’t mean the facility carries no responsibility. In fact, it is a nursing home’s duty to provide for the safety and security of its residents, which includes protecting a resident from abuse at the hands of another resident.
Family members of an abused nursing home resident should notify the authorities and contact an attorney as soon they discover abuse has happened. A prompt report ensures that the authorities will have a record of the incident and potentially spare the resident from further abuses.
If you or your loved one has been abused in a nursing home in South Carolina, contact Personal Injury Attorney Bert Louthian to learn more about your legal options. Call us today at (803) 454-1200 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation nationwide are at levels high enough to shock the average person. According to a report shared by ABC News, 30 percent of all U.S. nursing homes—5,283 facilities—received citations for almost 9,000 cases of abuse over two years. In many cases, the abuse caused real physical harm or placed the abused person in jeopardy of serious injury or death. Documented cases of abuse and neglect ranged from slaps to punches, kicks, and choking, causing severe lacerations and broken bones. Documented cases of neglect involved untreated bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene.
Are you concerned about placing a loved one in a continuing care facility? Do you currently know someone in a nursing home and have reason to be worried? Our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) might help you with some of your concerns.
While it is possible that many cases of nursing home abuse, neglect and exploitation go unreported each year, we do have some idea of the prevalence of the problem through the statistics compiled by the state’s Adult Protection Coordinating Council, a group composed of 21 public and private organizations and consumers. The Council’s data shows the following numbers of complaints filed during 2015:
Not at all. Although the majority of people living in nursing homes are age 65 and over, people with other types of serious disabilities, such as traumatic brain injuries, may also reside in nursing homes because their families cannot care for them at home. The South Carolina Vulnerable Adults Investigation Unit of the State Law Enforcement Division, or SLED, received 929 complaints of nursing home abuse for patients of all ages in 2015. Some of the categories with alleged problems include:
I just learned that the nursing home employee who abused my loved one has a criminal record. Shouldn’t the facility have checked on that before hiring them?
According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 92 percent of nursing homes employ one or more individuals who have been convicted of at least one crime. In South Carolina, anyone who is paid by or who has a written contract to provide “hands-on” care to a resident, patient, or client must have a criminal background check. Most applicants qualify for only a state check; federal checks are required only of applicants who have not been a resident of South Carolina or another state for at least 12 months. The decision of whether or not to employ a person after having the background check done is left up to the employer. However, there are a few notable exceptions, including this one: A facility, if it wants to secure and keep a SC state license to run a nursing home, cannot hire any person who was ever convicted of, or who pled “no contest” (nolo contendere) to, a charge of “child or adult abuse, neglect, or mistreatment, or any other felony.”
Any of the following behaviors or actions can be classed as abuse, and any caretaker in any facility or care situation can be guilty of them:
If you observe any of the following signs with regard to your loved one who lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you would be wise to explore the situation to determine whether the facility is properly caring for them:
Nursing homes must be licensed by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, which sets standards they must meet in many areas, such as training, record keeping, medication management, food service, infection control, and building design. All facilities are subject to inspection or investigation at any time, without prior notice. These reports are available to the public upon written request.
If you have a concern about the operation of a facility, you can call the South Carolina DHEC at (803) 898-DHEC (3432). If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of physical, sexual or psychological abuse, financial exploitation, neglect or abandonment, contact the SC Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging at (803) 734-9900.
More information on elder abuse can be found at the websites for South Carolina Adult Protective Services, the National Center on Elder Abuse, and the South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging.
If you feel uneasy or anxious about what you observe at the facility, or if your loved one tells you they are being abused or neglected, you should consider investigating further.
When someone you care about has been hurt, it can feel like nothing will ever be right or fair again. When this happens, the nursing home injury lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm can review your legal options after a personal injury and work with you to determine the most appropriate next step.
The corporation’s lawyers may try to dispute abuse and neglect claims, but we at the Louthian Law Firm have represented victims of neglect or abuse in retirement homes, and we understand how to deal with such negligent facilities and the attorneys who represent them. While a lawsuit cannot heal bedsores or restore someone’s health, a South Carolina nursing home abuse claim can help recover the large sums spent on a neglectful or abusive nursing home, as well as the medical bills created by that abuse or neglect. You may also be able to hold the abusers accountable for the pain and suffering they caused, for relocation costs, and for wrongful death.
For a free consultation, call our Columbia nursing home injury attorneys today toll free at 1-803-454-1200, or use our online contact form.