While nursing home abuse may not receive a lot of attention, it is just as big a problem as child abuse or domestic violence. Roughly 5 million people aged 60 or older are abused in North Carolina and throughout the country each year. Those who live in nursing homes are vulnerable because they may not get a chance to interact with their family and friends on a regular basis. However, there are ways to help nursing home residents stay safe.
Individuals should make a point to visit or call their spouses, parents or grandparents on a regular basis. The more a person interacts with a resident, the less likely it is that he or she will be a victim of abuse. It is not uncommon for friends or family members to have little or no idea that abuse occurs in a nursing home setting.
Ad campaigns and feature stories can help to increase awareness of the problems that nursing home residents could face. Nursing facilities can help patients by making sure that staff is properly vetted. Adequate staffing levels can also be a tool used to ensure that residents are treated properly. In many cases, residents are mistreated because employees don't know what they are supposed to do or are too tired to carry out their duties.
If a resident is the victim of abuse in a nursing facility, the victim's family may be entitled to compensation. Compensation might pay for medical bills or other damages related to a nursing home's negligence. Examples of neglect may include failing to feed a resident regularly or keeping that person away from other residents. An attorney may be able to use medical records, victim statements or other evidence to show that abuse or neglect occurred.