Home Health Care Abuse and Neglect Lawyers Serving Spartanburg and Greenville, S.C.
The number of personal care aides and home health aides in the U.S. is projected to increase by 50 percent by 2022, making home health care one of the country’s fastest growing industries. Unfortunately, this growth has been accompanied by an increase in abuse and neglect of seniors by home health care workers.
Home health care abuse and neglect is especially a concern in South Carolina. Currently, there are 900,000 senior citizens living in our state. That number could double within the next 15 years, according to news reports.
Although legislation is being proposed in South Carolina that would enhance criminal penalties for home health aides who prey on this growing number of vulnerable older adults in our state, the civil justice system can play a role as well.
If you believe that your loved one is being abused or neglected by a home health aide in Spartanburg, Greenville or elsewhere in Upstate South Carolina, the lawyers of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., can assist you. Contact us today. We can take immediate steps to protect your loved one and seek compensation that he or she deserves.
Neglect of the Elderly by Home Health Aides
Home health aides may be employed by agencies and organizations that provide in-home services and support. They can also be independent contractors who are financed by government (Medicaid or Medicare) or private (insurance or out-of-pocket) sources.
According to the Paraprofessional Health Institute, these aides perform three main categories of tasks:
- Paramedical tasks – These tasks can include administering medications, overseeing bowel hygiene and changing aseptic dressings.
- Daily living assistance –These tasks can include helping the senior with eating and drinking, personal hygiene (bathing, nail and skin care) and simply getting around. The home health aide may prepare meals, handle grocery shopping, do housework, transport the senior to doctor appointments and help the senior to pay bills.
- Social support – The aide may accompany a senior to a social gathering or simply provide companionship.
If a home health aide fails to perform these or other tasks that they have been entrusted to handle, and your elderly loved one suffers harm as a result, this is a form of negligence.
Signs that your loved one is being neglected by a home health aide may include:
- Sudden weight loss and malnutrition
- Depression and anxiety
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns or more severe injuries
- Lack of cleanliness
- Bills that are being unpaid.
If you detect these or other signs of neglect, you should immediately report the home health aide to your local Department of Social Services (DSS). The number to call in Spartanburg is (864) 585-1445 and the number to call in Greenville is (864) 467-7750.
You can find reporting numbers for other Upstate South Carolina DSS offices by going to the South Carolina Adult Protective Services website.
You should also contact Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C. An attorney from our firm can review your case and help you to assess your legal options.
Abuse of the Elderly by Home Health Aides
In some instances, the mistreatment of a senior by a home health aide goes beyond neglect. Instead, it is intentional physical, sexual or mental abuse of the patient or financial exploitation.
Unfortunately, this abuse often arises in the home health care industry due to the lack of criminal background checks by agencies that provide home aides for the elderly. If proper background checks had been conducted, those with a history of abuse and theft would not have been placed into a position where they could take advantage of an elderly patient.
A claim may be filed against not only the worker but the agency who hired him or her as well.
Contact Our Upstate South Carolina Home Health Care Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
Evidence of wrongdoing by a home health care aide can lead to both criminal and civil action. While the state handles the former, the latter is a private matter to be taken up by the abused or neglected elder’s family with help from an experienced attorney.
Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., is available to speak with you right away about your case. Contact us without delay. We offer free and confidential initial consultations.
Sources / More Information
• New Bill Would Protect S.C. Senior Citizens from Abuse, Exploitation, WSPA
• Caring in America: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Nation’s Fastest-Growing Jobs: Home Health and Personal Care Aides, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI)
• Home Care Aides At A Glance, PHI
• Dangerous Caregivers For Elderly, Northwestern University
• Cases of Abuse By Home Aides Draw Scrutiny, The Wall Street Journal