After nearly six months of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, people can visit relatives and friends in South Carolina nursing homes and residential care facilities, but there will be no hugs and kisses and they will have to meet outside.  Consultation with an experienced attorney may prove effective in keeping residential family members safe from neglect, or abuse related to COVID-19. Governor Henry McMaster announced new guidelines for visitation Tuesday, which require guests to give full contact information and pass a temperature check and require no COVID-19 cases in staff, or residents in the past two weeks.

Standards of care.

South Carolina nursing home facilities are required to take action to isolate sick residents to control disease spread in accordance with South Carolina Nursing Home Laws (S.C. Code Section 44-7-260), and to uphold approved medical standards in the best interests of residents.  “As expected, the months of separation and isolation have caused loneliness, depression, stress, anxiety among the residents. I worry about them, like you do, every day.” said McMaster, adding he has read dozens of letters and had hundreds of conversations with heartbroken families.

Resident rights.

Residents in nursing homes have rights under The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, and families and loved ones need to make certain those rights are not being violated during this time of uncertainty. A family can do their best to investigate a nursing home for violations related to COVID-19 treatment against the spread of the virus.  Inadequate staff levels, shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), lack of cleaning and sanitation, delayed referrals to intensive medical care when necessary, and deviations from normal standards of medical care (including the use of Hydroxychloroquine) could result in complaints of nursing home abuse, or neglect that results in injury, or wrongful death of a resident. A could assist in this process.

Department of Health oversight.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is continuing to partner with nursing homes across the state to support implementation of infection control practices that protect residents and staff during the pandemic.  Nursing home abuse covers acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions or place residents in danger so it is imperative that infection control practices are adhered to, including:

Seek counsel.

When deviations from approved medical standards of care result in harm, or death to a nursing home resident, call an experienced attorney at the McDougall Law Offices to discuss a potential case for damages.

McDougall Law Firm, LLC

115 Lady’s Island Commons
Beaufort, SC 29907

Phone: 843.379.7000

Sources.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-carolina/articles/2020-09-01/no-hugs-kisses-sc-nursing-home-visits-resume-amid-covid-19

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

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

 

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