Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are a problem in the United States. According to the National Council on Elder Aging, as many as 5 million elders are abused each year. If you have a loved one in a nursing home in North Carolina, it is important to be aware of the signs of abuse and know how to report it.
Noticing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
There are many different types of abuse that can occur in nursing homes, but some of the more common signs to look for include the following:
- Bruises, scratches, or other injuries that cannot be explained
- Sudden changes in behavior, such as withdrawn or aggressive behavior
- Changes in appearance, such as filthy clothes or sudden weight loss
- Fear or anxiety around certain staff members
If you see any of these signs, it is important to take action. The first step is to talk to your loved one and see if they are being mistreated in any way. If they are reluctant to talk about what is going on, there may be more going on than meets the eye. In this case, it is best to contact an attorney who can help you investigate the situation further.
Who Commits Nursing Home Abuse?
Figuring out who is committing abuse in a nursing home may be difficult to determine as there are many different parties, each with their own reasonings; however, there are parties that are commonly found to be at fault:
- Family Members – Due to financial stressors, mental illness, substance abuse, etc.
- Caregivers – Due to work-related stress or seeking to capitalize on the vulnerable.
- Other Employees/Staff – Due to inadequate supervision or lack of training.
- Nursing Home Residents – Often due to dementia or cognitive impairments.
If you have a suspicion that your loved one is being abused, it is crucial to take action right away.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in North Carolina
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the United States, and it is important to report any suspicions of abuse. By doing so, you can help protect your loved one from further mistreatment and ensure that they receive the care and attention they deserve. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, there are several steps you can take:
- Contact the facility's administrator and file a formal complaint.
- The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) lays out a very detailed procedure that healthcare providers must follow when reporting abuse allegations.
- Call your county's Department of Social Services (more specifically, the Adult Protective Services. New Hanover County APS can be reached at (910) 798-3420.)
- Adult Protective Services (APS) can investigate your loved one's situation and take steps to protect them from further abuse, like reporting evidence to the District Attorney or taking court action.
- File a complaint with the North Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.
- This program is designed to help resolve complaints about nursing homes. An ombudsman will investigate your complaint and work with the nursing home to try and resolve the issue. Complaints of abuse filed with the Ombudsman Program are also forwarded to the APS.
Wilmington, NC Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
If you believe that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact an experienced attorney who can help you investigate the situation and take action to protect your loved one's rights. The attorneys at Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP have years of experience handling nursing home abuse and neglect cases in North Carolina, and we will fight to get the justice your loved one deserves.
If you believe that your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, call us today at (866) 380-2281 for a free consultation.