South Carolina prioritizes COVID-19 infections in nursing homes and remains concerned of the spread of respiratory illness in these facilities.  Due to the high risk of the residents in nursing homes and the recent spike in infections, South Carolina nursing homes have changed the way they allow visitation to residents. In the past thirty days there have been 334 confirmed cases among residents, 213 among staff members, 46 resident deaths and 2 staff deaths associated with COVID-19.

Visitation restrictions.

A closed window visit consists of a nursing home, or assisted living facility resident remaining inside of their facility and communicating through the facility’s closed window with a visitor outdoors on the opposite side of the window. The visit is limited to this setting with both parties separated by a window that is closed at all times during the visit. All visitors are restricted at nursing homes and assisted living facilities except for end-of-life situations, but visitors may conduct closed window visits with residents if permitted by the individual facility.

Resident rights.

The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 outlines residential rights to protect the approximately 1.3 million Americans living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities from nursing home abuse.  A nursing home facility can be held liable for any personal injury or neglect that causes harm, exacerbates health conditions, or results in an untimely death of a resident. Legal action may be taken against a nursing home based on acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions, or place residents in danger.

Neglect.

  •  Neglect means the failure of a caregiver to provide care, goods, or services necessary to maintain the health and safety of a resident by providing nourishment, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, or medical services.
  • Isolation is normally considered a type of abuse, or neglect in a nursing home venue, but during the pandemic, arrangements have been made to keep residents from families and outside visitors for fear of spreading the virus. With numbers continuing to rise, it seems this is not working as well as imagined, and isolation can be detrimental to the health of an elder person in a nursing home facility.

Standard of care.

 In accordance with South Carolina Nursing Home Laws (S.C. Code Section 44-7-260), “An infection isolation room shall be made available if ordered by the attending physician for a resident who has a communicable disease that poses a threat to the health or safety of other residents, When sub-standard care results in harm to a resident, or outright abuse occurs, call an experienced attorney at the McDougall Law Offices, to discuss a potential nursing home abuse lawsuit if you, or a loved one suffered injury, or death caused by unsafe nursing home practices, inadequate precautions and sustained exposure to other sick long-term care residents.

 

McDougall Law Firm, LLC

115 Lady’s Island Commons
Beaufort, SC 29907

Phone: 843.379.7000

 

Sources:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/3545/titles

https://www.scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/Regulations/R.61-17.pdf

https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/About/howcannhchelp.html

https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html

 

 

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