In a three-part series on elder care facilities, our first blog focuses on how finding the right assisted living or nursing home to care for your elder parent or loved one can be a be a challenge. Not only does the older adult need to feel comfortable at the chosen facility, but you need to have peace of mind that your loved one is safe and not suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse in North Carolina.
One area that may not come to mind as you are dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s in finding the right facility is emergency situation care or evacuation. Our personal injury attorneys in Charlotte know that many elder care facilities in North Carolina lack an evacuation plan if a natural catastrophe were to occur like a fire or tornado. It certainly isn’t something we expect to happen but worthy of at least asking the question before making a decision on which facility to choose.
Earlier this year, WBTV reported about a fire at the White Oak Manor nursing home in Southeast Charlotte which seriously burned two residents. It is believed the fire was started by a resident who was smoking at the smoke-free facility. Investigators first reported that one resident had life-threatening injuries but both were expected to survive. Federal investigators ranked the facility as ‘average’ during last year’s annual inspection.
The most recent natural disaster were the estimated 60 or more tornadoes that passed through North Carolina, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Several residents died at a nursing home in Bertie County following the ferocious attack by several tornadoes that hit the area.
Natural disasters can’t be predicted but assisted living and nursing home facilities still have an obligation to do what they can to protect your loved one in an emergency care situation. The North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension suggests that you speak with the facility about their emergency evacuation so that you can make sure your elder knows the proper procedure. Similar to the days of attending grade school when fire drills were conducted, the facility should have a familiar routine for residents to follow in case of an emergency.
Older adult care facilities should have something in place similar to the Chatham County Emergency Management Agency. To view a sample, click on the link for Evacuation Planning Guide for nursing homes and assisted care facilities.
In preparing to find the right elderly care facility, there are a number of resources that can help you make the right choice. The following are a few suggested sites to visit that can help get you started:
Department of Health and Human Services
If your loved one has suffered an injury from abuse, neglect, or negligent behavior by an elder care facility, contact The Lee Law Offices for experienced advice about your rights. We fight to protect victims and their families in North and South Carolina, so call for a free consultation at 1-800-887-1965.