Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect


We often refer to all long-term residential care for elders as “nursing homes.” But the differences can be significant, both in levels of care and levels of cost. If you are searching for the right place for your elderly parent or relative, it is important to know exactly what type of care will be provided. Your choices may be limited by the level of care your loved one requires, because not all residential care facilities offer all types of care.

Useful Definitions

Helpful definitions for researching types of care include:


Nursing HomesAfter Hurricane Irma devastated Florida, around 160 nursing homes were still without power several days later. The heat, endured without air conditioning, took its toll on nursing home patients, with 11 deaths reported in Irma’s wake. It has come to light that many nursing homes across the United States are, to put it mildly, unprepared for disasters.

Shortly after the deaths occurred in Hollywood, Florida, SC Rep. Wendell Gilliard decided to shine a light on the preparedness of our own state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. He accomplished this by sending a letter dated September 14, 2017 to the acting director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). In it, Rep. Gilliard asked, “In the wake of what happened in Florida, would you please inform me of our state’s policies and guidelines specific to the usage of power generators when a normal power outage occurs?”

David Wilson, the acting director of DHEC, communicated that, in light of the events in Florida, SC’s storm preparations were under review. During Irma, using a computer application developed after the lessons of 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, DHEC staff collected information regarding the locations to which nursing home patients were being evacuated, the details of their transport, and whether the facilities had enough water, food, and other supplies on hand to both move and care for patients. In the cases of four locations where phone calls did not reach anyone, emergency personnel were dispatched to check that all persons had been evacuated from the buildings.


Early one morning in late August, an 82-year-old woman wandered away from her Batesburg, SC, nursing home. She was found nearly eight hours later; fortunately, she was unharmed. If this incident had occurred during winter weather, or if she had wandered into the path of a vehicle, the outcome could have been tragic.

In elder care terminology, this nursing home resident “eloped.” The National Institute for Elopement Prevention and Resolution defines elopement as “when a patient wanders away, walks away, runs away, escapes, or otherwise leaves a care-giving facility or environment unsupervised, unnoticed, and/or prior to their scheduled discharge.” Another term sometimes used is “critical wandering.”


In 1791, James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights to provide constitutional protection for individual liberties and prevent the abuse of governmental power. Nearly 200 years later, in 1987, the federal Nursing Home Reform Law was written to include the guarantee of certain rights to some of our country’s most vulnerable citizens — nursing home residents. All nursing homes which participate in Medicare or Medicaid must meet the requirements of this bill of rights. Additionally, some states – South Carolina included – have enacted state laws to protect the rights of residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult care homes.


Columbia Hospital Injury

Bed rails are metal bars used on the sides of beds to keep sleeping people from rolling out onto the floor. They’re most often used by parents of small children or families and caregivers of the elderly. While they may help prevent a rude awakening, they can also inflict injuries and death when a person becomes entrapped or strangled by the device.

According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), there are about 2.5 million hospital and nursing home beds in use in the United States, many of which are equipped with bed rails, and hospital-type beds are also often used in residences where elderly patients receive home health care. Bed rails used in these situations are considered medical devices and are overseen by the FDA. The agency provides manufacturers of bed rails with guidance on the design of safe and effective hospital beds and bed rails and requires manufacturers to adhere to certain medical device regulations, such as the timely reporting to the FDA of problems associated with bedrails.


An August 4 article in the New York Times brings to light the danger many nursing home patients face as a result of inadequate dental hygiene. It quotes Dr. Sarah J. Dirks, a San Antonio dentist who treats nursing home residents, who says that the lack of daily oral care in nursing facilities is “an epidemic that’s almost universally overlooked..

More nursing home residents require dental care than in the past, because more seniors are keeping their natural teeth due to advances in hygiene and fluoridation programs. But aides and other caregivers often fail to provide nursing home patients with dental assistance because of the many other needs of toileting, dressing, and eating which take precedence.

Poor dental hygiene can lead to a host of other physical problems, some of which can be especially dangerous in the elderly population. One such ailment is pneumonia. A study published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that about one in 10 cases of death from pneumonia in nursing homes could be prevented by improving oral hygiene. Untreated oral infections also increase the risk of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease, according to PrevMED Dental Case Management. Dental problems can cause weight loss and increased frailty, as well.


A Pickens County nursing home is back in the news again – and not in a good way.

Thirty-six elderly patients at Majesty Health and Rehab in Easley were forced from their rooms in the middle of the night because of a gas leak.

Each year there are more than 20,000 complaints of elder care abuse in South Carolina retirement homes.


Too many U.S. nursing homes are using dangerously strong antipsychotic drugs to keep patients with dementia drugged, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In fact, 2010 data shows that 17 percent of nursing home patients had daily doses above recommended levels.

Claire Curry, a consumer advocate, said, “The drugging of nursing home residents has long been a national disgrace..

To help curb the misuse of drugs in nursing homes and elder care facilities, CMS announced that it’s beginning a Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, which will include efforts to eliminate drug misuse for dementia patients. Officials say they hope the program will help reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs by 15 percent before the end of 2012.


Columbia, S.C., March 01, 2012 – Reacting to a Charleston TV station’s recent report, South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney Bert Louthian said today that the state’s nursing homes should alert residents and their families when a registered sex offender moves into the facility.

Louthian also said that nursing home operators need to take more steps to guard against sexual abuse in long-term care facilities.

“Sexual abuse in nursing homes poses a grave threat to residents,” Louthian said. “Placing known sex offenders in a facility without issuing alerts or installing safeguards increases the risk that a resident will become a victim of nursing home sexual abuse..