South Carolina readers of this blog have been alerted to negligence in a variety of contexts. Perhaps none is more troubling than nursing homes. When nursing home staff members fail to abide by applicable regulations, the elderly residents are the victims. Their personal injuries often take the form of bedsores or other types of respiratory or communicable infections. However, a recent story goes well beyond simple neglect of applicable safety and health regulations.
According to reports, the family of a nursing home resident began to suspect that their 98-year-old grandmother was being mistreated. They decided to investigate for themselves, setting up a hidden camera in the room. What they caught on tape was showing: One nursing home staff member -- a registered nurse -- can be seen pulling the resident by the arm, slapping her, calling her degrading names, and spraying water in her face. Another staff member was also captured on videotape being visibly rough with the wheelchair-bound resident and hitting her.
Unfortunately, recent data suggests that nursing home abuse may be more widespread than many readers realized. Across the country, one in three nursing home facilities have been implicated in claims of nursing home abuse. Yet such facilities may be escaping liability for their negligence and neglect.
Cases alleging abuse of the elderly often drag on for months. Even when cases result in fines or a monetary award to the victims, the amount may be insufficient. In South Carolina, for example, Medicare data indicates that nursing home facilities pay some of the lowest penalties in the country, averaging under $40,000.
Source: myfoxdfw.com, “Nursing Home Investigation - Families fight back,” Becky Oliver, May 28, 2013