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South Carolina Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Do you know the warning signs of older adult financial abuse?

After placing your loved one in a residential care facility or nursing home, you are probably watching carefully for signs of physical abuse. Bruises, bed sores and other warning signs can let you know if your loved one faces abuse or isn't receiving adequate care in a facility.

However, physical abuse is only one of the issues you should watch for. You should also be aware of the potential for financial abuse, which is far too common for older adults in assisted living facilities, especially for adults with declining mental faculties.

Delays in reproductive diagnosis can cause pain and infertility

Timely diagnosis is critical to a good outcome for treatable medical conditions. This is true both for conditions that threaten the life of the patient and those that impact their quality of life. All too often, doctors overlook symptoms reported by patients or fail to order adequate testing when patients present issues.

In the case of reproductive health issues, delays and diagnostic failures by doctors can have devastating results. In some cases, they may result in infertility issues that prevent a family from growing. Other times, the delay can severely impact the patient's quality of life or even their ability to retain a job.

Signs that your loved one isn't getting proper nursing home care

The sad truth is that nursing home neglect and abuse does happen. You can read all the reviews. You can tour all the facilities. You can talk to all the directors. Doing your research helps, but there is still a chance that your loved one will suffer unnecessarily at the home you select.

How can you see it as soon as it starts? That's the hard part. Even if you had time to visit every single day, you're still there for only a mere fraction of the time your loved one is in the facility. You cannot keep an eye on them at all times. You need to know exactly what to look for.

Cancer requires a timely diagnosis for effective treatments

Cancer is likely one of the most feared diagnoses that modern patients have to worry about when visiting the doctor. After all, there are many kinds of cancer, many of which have reputations for being painful and debilitating. More importantly, the treatments that come along with a cancer diagnosis can seem frightening to a patient.

Chemotherapy can leave somebody weak and result in a loss of both appetite and hair. Radiation treatments can impact appetite and further weaken a patient. Surgeries can take weeks to fully recover from, even if they are necessary for removing a tumor. Getting an accurate diagnosis of cancer is certainly frightening, but not receiving a timely diagnosis is a more serious concern for patients. After all, the cancer will continue growing, untreated, until you receive an accurate diagnosis.

What is the Nursing Home Reform Act?

When someone checks into a nursing home, they expect to receive adequate care and attention to meet their living needs. Generally, residents can expect to receive meals, medical care, bathing care and other services that they require to live a quality life. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes live up to their end of the bargain in this regard, and there are many cases in which nursing homes neglect their patients to such a degree that they are in violation of the law.

One of the most important laws that governs the activities of nursing homes is the Nursing Home Reform Act, which became law in 1987. This act details the kinds of services nursing homes have to provide their residents. It also creates a standard level for these services.

Bedsores are a potential warning sign of nursing home neglect

Not so long ago, some elderly patients couldn't avoid developing bedsores. Weight loss during aging would leave them particularly bony and susceptible to these developing bedsores. Thankfully, modern technology has made it much easier for nursing home aides and workers to provide adequate cushioning and relief to people who are immobilized.

Unfortunately, social perception has not caught up with this improvement and many people still assume that bedsores are a common and reasonable side effect of being bedridden. If you notice that your loved one has developed a bedsore while in a nursing home, that may be an early warning sign of neglect and inadequate care.

Emphysema and misdiagnosis: Why it goes undiagnosed

As someone who has smoked for many years, you knew that you were in trouble when the link to cancer and other illnesses was finally made. You'd struggled with weakness and dizziness for years. You were tired and pale.

You'd gone to the doctor, but no one at the time believed anything was a result of smoking. They told you it was probably because of age. Now, you have been diagnosed with emphysema and know that the disease has gotten much worse faster than it would have with a proper diagnosis years ago.

Nursing home neglect can cause serious injuries or death

Older adults are often incredibly vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse. Declining mental capacity combined with increasing physical fragility can make the elderly convenient targets for abusive people. If you have had to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you likely took time to find one with a good reputation.

Unfortunately, care facilities are only as good as the people they employ. In some cases, desire to keep overhead low can result in understaffing or inadequate vetting for staff members. This can lead to situations where residents experience abuse. Lack of staff can also contribute to neglect, which is often as dangerous as overt abuse when it comes to medically vulnerable older people.

Nursing home residents’ rights

When you place a loved one in a nursing home, you expect the staff and administration to do their jobs efficiently and with care. However, in many cases, nursing home patients suffer mistreatment or abuse, or do not receive proper care after injury.

The patients who live within a nursing home have rights that they deserve to keep protected, but often do not have the means to protect themselves, especially when it comes to protecting their rights against the people charged with taking care of them.

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