Nursing home abuse and neglect in North Carolina comes in many forms. In fact, there were approximately 20,000 complaints of elderly and disabled patients in the state suffering harm while under a physician’s care during 2011. Those claims ranged from medication errors to assaults on patients.
Two recent cases bring into perspective just how common North Carolina nursing home abuse is. In the first case, a nursing home reached a $1.5 million settlement with the family of a patient who died as the result of a morphine overdose. According to North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, the facility was accused of using the drug to keep patients sedated.
In another case, a North Carolina assisted living facility was fined by the Department of Health and Human Services for violating nursing home residents’ rights. Reports from the Star-News stated the victim’s family found bruising on his body that was consistent with being punched. They rushed the patient to a hospital, but despite receiving medical care, his condition worsened and he died days later.
The facility was accused of providing inadequate and inappropriate care to the patient and was fined for the violations.
These incidents leave many citizens with loved ones in long-term care facilities wondering what they can do to protect their family members from harm. Experts say there are several actions that can be taken, including:
- Be Present– Studies show patients with frequent visitors are less likely to suffer abuse and neglect.
- Get Involved– Checking your loved one for signs of abuse—such as bruising, cuts, bed sores, or unchanged linens and clothing—can reduce the chances they are harmed. It’s also a good idea to ask caregivers plenty of questions regarding your loved one’s treatment.
- Report Suspected Abuse– If you believe your loved one has been harmed or neglected, report the incident to the facility’s management first. Then contact your local police and elderly advocacy group. Finally, speak with a North Carolina nursing home abuse attorney at HensonFuerst regarding you and your loved one’s legal rights.