A therapeutic and recreational pool helps draw residents to a South Carolina long-term care facility, but it also creates serious liability issues.
Saluda Nursing Center Administrator Bob Bowles proudly tells prospective residents and their families about the warm-water therapy pool that has an underwater treadmill, high-power jets, and a variable-depth floor. Residents and trainers can also use the underwater cameras to review footage of their aqua therapy sessions and fine tune them for maximum results. While the facility caters largely to folks over 50, injured students at the nearby University of South Carolina also frequent the pool.
The therapy pool also helps residents accelerate their training schedules and leave the facility earlier.
Nursing Home Liability
Nationwide, about one in three nursing homes have been cited for dangerous conditions that can potential cause actual harm to residents, and a significant number of these instances involve life-threatening situations. That translates to about one million at-risk people every day, and with the senior citizen population ever growing, that number will likely expand significantly in coming years.
One of the reasons nursing home abuse is such a problem is that it takes so many forms. Some of the more common types of abuse include:
- Verbal: 51 percent of Certified Nursing Assistants admit that they have yelled at a resident at least once in the last year; 23 percent say they have insulted a resident or used abusive language during a confrontation.
- Emotional: Neglect, whether it be keeping residents in their rooms for prolonged periods or keeping them away from their friends, is just one form of emotional abuse.
- Physical: 17 percent of CNAs admit they have punched, kicked, pushed, or used other physical force against at least one resident in the last year.
- Financial: Some residents are tricked into signing will codicils and other financial documents, and some facilities use legal guardianship proceedings to gain financial control over residents, especially if their bills are overdue.
An unknown number of abuse incidents are unreported, typically because the victim fears retaliation or does not want the abuser to “get in trouble.”
Unattended swimming pools are significant liability risks, and a “no lifeguard on duty” sign may not be enough to avoid legal fault in the event of a drowning. Various courts have held that hotels have a special duty towards their guests, and they owe them more than a generic warning to use caution. The same argument certainly applies to physically and mentally frail nursing home residents.
In both neglect and landowner liability cases, victims are entitled to compensation for both their economic and noneconomic damages. Perhaps more importantly, these lawsuits draw attention to the deficiencies in nursing homes and help prevent future incidents.
Rely on an Experienced Attorney
Nursing home abuse affects thousands of families in the Palmetto State. For a free consultation with a Charleston attorney who protects nursing home abuse victims, contact David Aylor Law Offices. After hours appointments are available.