What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect

Millions of elderly people are neglected in long-term care facilities every year. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, nearly all older people experience nursing home neglect or abuse at some point. If you suspect your loved one has been neglected, you should act right away. Abuse tends to get worse over time and can even be fatal if it is not stopped.

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

While more than 40% of nursing home residents report abuse, nearly 95% say they have experienced neglect. Nursing home neglect involves caregivers failing to uphold medical care guidelines and expected standards of care. They may fail to provide necessities like food and water to a patient, or they may simply ignore them.

Signs of nursing home neglect include:

  • Bedsores
  • Pressure sores
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Mouth sores
  • Sepsis
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Emotional changes
  • Sudden or unusual behavioral changes
  • Lack of communication
  • Frequent illness

These negligent actions are evidence that nursing home staff have breached their duty to your loved one and their family. This neglect can lead to illnesses and injuries that are fatal to your loved one.

Steps to Take If Your Loved One Experienced Nursing Home Neglect

senior women in a nursing home

If your loved one is being neglected at a long-term care facility in South Carolina, you should take the following steps:

  1. Call 911. If your loved one is in immediate or life-threatening danger, you need to contact the police right away. They can investigate the situation and help you document the neglect. 
  2. Call Adult Protective Services. The Long Term Care Ombudsman at the South Carolina Department of Social Services will help you determine what steps to take to protect your loved one. You can call them at 1-800-868-9095.
  3. Remove Your Loved One from the Nursing Home. If possible, you should help your loved one move to a safe location. This might include home-based care or a different care facility.
  4. Gather Evidence of the Neglect. If you have pictures of your loved one’s injuries or records that prove neglect, you should gather that information and provide it to the authorities during their investigation.
  5. Call a South Carolina Nursing Home Neglect Attorney. The nursing home will likely fight back against your allegations of neglect. You need someone by your side who will protect your rights and the health and safety of your loved one.

It’s important to report nursing home neglect and take action against it. If you file a complaint, it might prevent neglect from occurring to other residents in the future.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Nursing Home Neglect Case?

While you are not required to get legal assistance to handle a nursing home neglect case, an attorney can relieve some of your stress by handling the legal issues.

A long term care ombudsman can help you file a neglect complaint against the nursing home, but they cannot help you with a nursing home neglect lawsuit. They do not provide legal advice in South Carolina. Only an attorney has the knowledge you need to file a lawsuit and hold the care facility accountable for their neglectful actions.

It is in your best interest to work with a nursing home neglect attorney. They will conduct an independent investigation and handle all communications with government agencies as well as the nursing home and their insurance company. These parties will use complex legal language that may be confusing. They may also discourage you from trying to get compensation to cover you and your loved one’s damages. A lawyer will be on your side, representing only your best interests.

Compensation in Nursing Home Neglect Cases

If your loved one was severely injured due to neglect they experienced in a nursing home, you may have significant damages. You can get compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death claim.

You can get money to cover the following losses:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Funeral costs
  • Burial expenses

In some cases, you may also be able to get punitive damages. These damages do not compensate you for losses, but instead punish the at-fault party for wrongful actions.

When you call a nursing home neglect lawyer, you can ask about the value of your case. We know that money cannot make everything better, but it can help you cover costs that were incurred as a result of the negligence of the nursing home and their staff.

Call a South Carolina Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer for Help

Nursing home neglect cases can be complex. You must prove that the care facility and/or staff failed to take action that resulted in harm to your loved one. The nursing home will likely fight back against your allegations. With the help of a skilled nursing home neglect lawyer, you can protect your loved one as well as other residents in the long-term care facility.

Call attorney Ryan Montgomery today at (864) 207-4927 for a case consultation.