SOUTH CAROLINA – September 30, 2020
The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV (NHRA) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 was put into place to outline services required for the proper care and safety of long term residents of nursing homes and skilled care facilities in the United States. The Act sets forth a basic set of rights to protect each resident’s privacy, individuality, dignity, and medical needs, while ensuring a standard of care, free from isolation, improper medical treatment, and general harm that reduces a resident’s free speech, self-determination, and freedom of physical movement. An elder law attorney could go over the importance of the bill’s language with individuals who are entertaining the idea of moving loved ones into nursing homes, or long term skilled care facilities in South Carolina. NHRA was established to ensure that nursing home residents have access to the “highest practicable” mental, physical, and psycho social well being, through enforcement of quality care and outlined services provided to them. Nursing homes and skilled care facilities that receive federal and state funding are required to meet the criteria set forth by the Nursing Home Reform Act. The state is responsible for certifying nursing home facilities compliance with federal and state bills’ outlined criteria.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), as a primary payor of nursing homes and skilled care facilities, has been charged with updating and enforcing safety and quality standards across the nation. Many of the quality standards outlined in NHRA directly correlate with language in South Carolina resident’s bill of rights. Services under both federal and state law should reflect:
- Maintenance of proper hygiene for residents.
- Maintained nursing home living space interior and surrounding exterior.
- Sanitary environment with proper lighting, heating, and air quality.
- Adequately trained, caring and polite staff.
- Home-like atmosphere for residents is maintained.
- Frequent, fresh, and nutritious meals available to all residents with attention to dietary requirements.
- Adequate safety equipment is installed in resident rooms (handrails, call lights, nonskid surfaces, smoke detectors, sprinklers), and common areas.
- Meaningful activities are provided if residents wish to engage.
An experienced attorney may be helpful if a family, or nursing home resident believes their rights, as outlined in the federal and state language, are being violated. When residents accept shortcomings in their basic rights, it could eventually lead to a downturn in their health based on conditions beyond their control.
Seek legal counsel.
An elder law attorney could assist in the process of recovering damages for any imposed harm to residents of a nursing home or skilled care facility. When violations of approved medical standards of care result in harm, exacerbated illness, or the untimely passing of a nursing home resident, call an experienced attorney at the McDougall Law Offices, to discuss a potential case for damages.
McDougall Law Firm, LLC