Top 5 Most Common Types of Abuse in South Carolina Nursing Homes

April 16, 2018

Placing a loved one in a nursing home can be a terribly difficult and personal decision. However, sometimes the care needed is just too much for loved ones. Whether a beloved senior requires assistance with activities of daily living, mobility, rehabilitation, or dementia care, sometimes a nursing home is the right choice for the family. Sadly, abuse and neglect are quite prevalent in American facilities.

A 1987 survey found that about 36 percent of nursing home residents interviewed had either been abused or witnessed abuse. Today, that number has increased dramatically. Of course, the true numbers are much higher, due to the fact that many residents will not report abuse out of fear of retaliation. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, here are five of the most common types of abuse you should watch out for.

#1 Bedsores

Bedsores (also called pressure ulcers) are actually a form of skin breakdown. They are caused when pressure and friction are applied to the skin, usually over bony parts, like elbows, hip bones, tail bones, ears, knees, heels, and shoulders.

Look for:

  • Immobility
  • Incontinence
  • Mental impairment
  • Poor nutrition or hydration
  • Diabetes or vascular problems

#2 Falls

Residents may have problems that create unsteady movements.  Residents often forget their limitations and try to get up for the restroom at night, only to fall and fracture their legs or hips. Falls can be very serious, and in some cases fatal. Head injuries are also common.

Look for:

  • Prior falls
  • Prior fractures
  • Mental impairment
  • Recent surgeries

#3 Malnutrition and Dehydration

In a healthcare environment, you would expect that a person would be able to maintain proper hydration and food intake. There are many medical options for helping with these things. Sadly, sometimes busy staff will leave water across the room, forget to bring meals, or fail to report lack of appetite. Many residents may have long gaps between good wholesome meals. This can complicate their other medical conditions and put them at higher risks for things like bedsores, falls, fractures, or infections.

Look for: 

  • Swallowing disorders
  • Low appetite
  • Certain medications

#4 Physical and Sexual Assaults

This one is pretty obvious. It’s just wrong. It is not an “accident.” It’s a crime. But it’s also abuse. Many nursing home residents find themselves in a state of vulnerability, where their caretakers exercise control over all aspects of their lives. Family should maintain a frequent and persistent presence, visiting often and getting to know other residents, staff, and administrators. If you believe someone is being physically and/or sexually assaulted, call the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control hotline at (803) 545-4370. Next, call an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your rights.

#5 Medication Errors

Nursing home residents are often in a long-term care facility because they need help with medications. Most people in nursing homes have complicated medical conditions. It is extremely important that medications be prescribed, monitored, and administered properly and in accordance with generally recognized medical standards. Unfortunately, some nursing home staff may use psychotropic medications as a means for subduing restless seniors. Medications are sometimes given to the wrong people or mislabeled. These careless mistakes can cost lives.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer in Charleston

If your loved one is being neglected in a nursing home, or you suspect they’ve had an unreported injury, contact David Aylor Law Offices to discuss your case risk-free.  There’s no charge to meet and discuss your case, but you and your loved one may have a right to be compensated. If your loved one has died due to the injuries, then his or her estate can actually sue to nursing home for damages. Call or visit us 24/7 online to schedule a free case evaluation today.

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