Adult Advocacy

Residents in long-term care facilities are often physically and emotionally vulnerable, facing daily challenges in pursuing a meaningful quality of life. 

What can I do?

If you suspect abuse or neglect in a long term care facility, please call a Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) at 1-800-868-9095, housed at the South Carolina Department on Aging (SCDOA).

If you suspect your loved one is being abused in his/her home, please contact Adult Protective Services at DSS.

Long Term Care Ombudsman

The Long Term Care Ombudsman receives and investigates complaints about abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities. The Ombudsman investigates more than 8,000 complaints filed on behalf of long term care residents annually.

The Long Term Care Ombudsman addresses issues related to quality of care and quality of life.  Some of the issues LTCO may assist with include:

  • Violations of rights
  • Improper transfer or discharge of a resident
  • Assistance with benefits
  • Dignity and respect
  • Abuse, neglect or exploitation

Signs of Abuse

Ultimately, sometimes you know in your gut that something is wrong. Trust your instincts and call the SCDOA to report anything suspicious.

According to the National Council on Aging, elder abuse can take many forms. Perpetrators may include children, other family members, or spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.

Physical abuse means inflicting physical pain or injury upon an older adult. Warning signs of physical abuse include bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, or burns.

Sexual abuse includes inappropriate touching, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced.

Emotional abuse includes verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment, or intimidation. Signs of emotional abuse are unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, unusual depression, strained or tense relationships, and/or frequent arguments between the caregiver and older adult.

Confinement means restraining or isolating an older adult, other than for medical reasons.

Passive neglect is a caregiver’s failure to provide an older adult with life’s necessities, including food, clothing, shelter, or medical care. Signs of neglect include bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss, and dehydration.

Willful deprivation means denying an older adult medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, and exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm—except when the older, competent adult has expressed a desire to go without such care.

Financial exploitation means the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another.

You can help us stop abuse.

If you suspect abuse, call the SCDOA Long Term Care Ombudsman at 1-800-868-9095. In an emergency situation, please call 911. Don't wait to get help.

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