North Carolina nursing home abuse is of grave concern not only for those who are reaching an age where they might require assisted living, but also for their loved ones who may sometimes feel powerless to protect them.
Our Asheville nursing home abuse attorneys know that when you place your loved one in a facility to receive quality, around-the-clock care, you want to trust that is what they will get. Unfortunately, North Carolina is gaining an unsettling reputation as having nursing homes that perform poorly in terms of protecting residents from infection, abuse and neglect.
A recent investigation conducted by Reporter Jonathan Carlson of NBC17 uncovered some disturbing trends. Of the 125 Raleigh-area nursing homes the reporter reviewed, more than 30 of them had inspection ratings that fared far below average. A number of these noted violations were so extreme that elder family members were put in positions of danger.
In one case, an adult assisted living facility in Wake Forest was downgraded to provisional status after authorities launched an investigation into the death of a resident and several cases of alleged assault. Provisional status requires intense scrutiny and government oversight of a facility, which must meet certain requirements in order to maintain its license and receive federal money.
In another case in Mount Olive, a nursing home was fined more than $15,000 following the deaths of six patients who contracted hepatitis at the center.
Other violations included patients who were either over-medicated or not given enough medication. In some cases, family members weren’t told when their loved ones were injured or had fallen ill. And even more alarming, a vast majority of facilities had at least one employee who had a criminal conviction, some of those for neglecting, mistreating or abusing residents in the past.
Sadly, that is somewhat in line with the national average. In fact, a report issued by the Inspector General following an FBI probe found that more than 90 percent of nursing homes across the country employ at least one person who has been convicted of a crime.
Some industry insiders said turnover of supervisory staff is often at issue in these cases. Positions within nursing homes are sometimes seen as stepping stones to a higher run in the career ladder. Still, that is no excuse for any form of abuse, neglect or mistreatment.
Federal money has been set aside to help streamline the process of checking the backgrounds of nursing home employees. For those employees that don’t require a license to do their job, it is hoped they will all be fingerprinted, their files kept in a statewide database. But that could take several years.
In the meantime, families will have to be proactive and vigilant concerning their loved ones’ care. According to the Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Resource Center, there are a few steps you can take if you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring:
1. Make frequent visits. Don’t always go at the same time or on the same day. This will give you a chance to see what is happening on weekends, nights and holidays.
2. Discuss your concerns with nurses or aides.
3. Talk to the doctor.
4. Contact the ombudsman.
5. Call the state’s Department of Health to find out what kind of oversight or complaints your facility has received.
Finally, it is critical to contact an attorney who is experienced in nursing home abuse and neglect – someone who will fight for you and your loved one.
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect in North Carolina, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices P.A. to discuss your loved one’s rights. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney today.
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