Experienced South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Upholds Your Loved One’s Rights
If your loved one was harmed by another resident, our attorneys want to help
Witnessing the physical and/or mental decline of a loved one can be extremely difficult. Part of the process can eventually involve deciding whether it is time to place your loved one in a nursing home to ensure he or she receives suitable and consistent care. This can be an emotionally painful decision. You want to be sure that your loved one is not only taken care of properly, but is also protected from potential physical harm or abuse. This can include slip and fall injuries, or any physical or mental abuse potentially inflicted by another resident.
After you place your loved one in a nursing home care environment, you have little choice but to trust the caretakers in the facility to monitor and care for your loved one properly. However, if this does not occur and your loved one suffers negligence or abuse within the facility, you may have a legitimate legal claim for compensation. A South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer like Johnny Felder, at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s abuse and take appropriate legal action on your behalf to fight for the justice and compensation you and your loved one deserve.
How common is resident-on-resident abuse?
Unfortunately, the instances of resident-on-resident abuse in nursing homes are far too prevalent. The cognitive degeneration of a resident is one factor that can lead to aggressive behavior exhibited toward another resident resulting in injuries.
A study conducted through Cornell University indicates that about 20 percent of nursing home residents suffer abuse from other residents within the facility.
The four-week study accumulated data from over 2000 nursing home residents in 10 separate facilities. It was found that many abusive behaviors involving resident-on-resident abuse were perpetrated by cognitively impaired individuals who were more mobile than their fellow residents. The Cornell researchers, after interviewing residents and combing through statistical data from questionnaires and reports completed by nursing home staff members, compiled these results:
- 16 percent of residents have been victimized from other residents with verbal abuse, including yelling and swearing
- 5 percent of residents report uninvited invasive behavior from other residents, such as entering another resident’s room uninvited and searching through another resident’s belongings
- 6 percent of residents endured physical abuse, including kicking, hitting, and biting
- 3 percent of residents report suffering sexual abuse – this included inappropriate contact, indecent exposure, and attempts to receive sexual favors
Due to the disturbing statistics mentioned above, and as the loved one of a nursing home resident, it is important to understand the level of responsibility the nursing home has for any harm or injuries suffered by its residents.
Signs of resident-on-resident abuse
Not all abuse is physical, and every person reacts differently to abuse and neglect. That being said, here are some of the more common signs that your loved one is being abused:
- Lacerations, bruises, and other physical injuries
- Sudden limping, or requiring the use of a cane or walking device over a very short time span
- Broken bones
- Withdrawal from communal activities
- Expressions of fear towards specific residents
- Sudden, intense interest or desire in moving to another facility, or leaving the current nursing home
- Refusal to spend time with other residents
- Unease or fear at being alone in his or her room
Abuse comes in many forms. For this reason, it is not always easy to pick up on the signs or patterns of abuse. After all, your loved one is older, frailer and slower than he or she used to be.
We point this out because it is not your fault if your loved one is being abused in a nursing home. The facility and its staff are responsible for the safety and security of your family member, and if they fail to recognize the signs, your loved one may be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries.
Liability of nursing homes in South Carolina
Nursing homes must implement effective security processes that help to ensure residents are protected from emotional or physical abuse exhibited by other residents. Some of the resident security practices and processes that South Carolina nursing homes can institute for this purpose include:
- Adequately tracking residents at all hours
- Properly training nursing home staff
- Ensuring that staff is on site in sufficient numbers
- Taking preventative measures to protect the physical and mental well-being of all residents
- Conducting routine staff sessions to discuss the needs of residents and plan accordingly
- Identifying resident-on-resident abuse immediately by observing warning signs
- Acting immediately when abuse has occurred to ensure a prompt and complete investigation
As mentioned above, many cases of resident-on-resident abuse are at least partially due to particular neurological conditions that influence a person’s ability to control their emotions. Alzheimer’s disease is one of those conditions. If a resident with this type of condition inflicts harm upon another resident, the nursing home and its staff could be held liable.
Nursing home residents can suffer great damage to their physical and mental health due to the abuse they receive from other residents. These residents have a number of different legal rights, not the least of which is the right to live free from neglect and abuse in a secure environment.
Seeking justice for nursing home residents who are abused by their peers
Nursing homes have an obligation to protect their residents from maltreatment of any nature. If your loved one has suffered an injury due to resident-on-resident abuse or any other reason, it’s important for you to contact a South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer as quickly as possible. At McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, we have decades of experience helping injured victims obtain the compensation they are entitled to for their injuries.
To get the help you need for your injured loved one, call us today at 803-327-7800 or send us a message through our contact form. We can set up a free consultation to go over your case together. We can serve you from our offices across South Carolina, including Anderson, Columbia, Charleston, Georgetown, Rock Hill, and Sumter.