Over the last few decades medicine has advanced significantly, and the life expectancy of Americans has risen. As more and more Americans live longer lives, children of these older Americans find themselves serving as caregivers to their parents. Often, the medical demands of the parents are pressing enough that, despite their best efforts to care for their parents, many children are forced to turn over the care of their parents to licensed professionals in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Finding the right nursing facility is often a difficult task. A good facility has certain characteristics. For instance, good facilities are licensed, with Medicare and Medicaid certification. They have critical emergency features such as smoke detectors and fire alarms, automatic sprinkling systems, back up generators, and doors with alarms. Also, routes to emergency exits should be simple so that the elderly residents can make their way easily. The facility should encourage visitation with residents and have an active resident participation program. The size of the staff should be sufficient to meet the needs of all patients, and staff should be friendly and courteous to residents as well as to visitors. Take note of railings in bathrooms and corridors; facilities should be handicapped accessible. Also, look at the residents in the facility and see whether they look clean and appropriately dressed, and whether they appear happy.
Determining whether a facility is right for your loved one is not an overnight task. Visit a facility more than once. Try to go at mealtime to see what the residents are eating and whether the food is good. Do the residents go outside? Does the facility smell offensive? Do you like the staff members that you meet? Ask questions, and do not be afraid to contact the local Ombudsman to determine the history of the facility.
While looking into these things does not guarantee the safety of a loved one, doing so may help ensure that your loved one is in a safe and pleasant place.
Recent reports of resident abuse and neglect have made residents and their families more aware of the care given by their nursing home. Some warning signs of abuse and neglect are:
Sometimes, a lawsuit may be files in state court to protect a resident’s rights or to obtain damages for physical and mental pain to the resident caused by the nursing home’s abuse or neglect.
For questions regarding abuse and neglect at nursing homes and assisted living facilities or to discuss with you the option of a lawsuit for damages, contact the Nursing Home Group of Ward Black Law. Phone: 336-273-3812 or 800-531-9191.
State and Federal laws also attempt to protect the safety of nursing home residents and to ensure that they receive the care they need. These laws require that the nursing homes assess residents’ needs when they are admitted to a facility. The laws also require the nursing home to develop and follow a plan of care for each resident. The plan of care should be reviewed and changed as the residents’ health needs change.
If you suspect that a nursing home has not provided the care that a resident needs, or even worse, is abusing or neglecting a resident, you can report these problems to government authorities.
To reach your local Ombudsman you may call North Carolina’s CARELINE (800-662-7030). The State Long Term Care Ombudsman may be reached at the North Carolina Division of Aging (919-733-8400)
The North Carolina General Assembly has enacted a special statute to protect residents of nursing homes. Any resident whose rights are violated may bring a lawsuit to enforce the rights outlined in the statute. Additionally, if a violation of these rights results in injury or death to the resident, depending on the circumstances, the resident or his or her family may be able to bring a lawsuit seeking damages against the nursing home.
The North Carolina Nursing Home Patients’ Bill of Rights protects, among other things, the following rights of residents:
The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at Ward Black Law in Greensboro, N.C, have years of experience representing clients and victims of nursing home negligence. Our legal team is available to answer your questions and conduct a free case review. Call Ward Black Law today at 336-333-2244, or toll-free at 800-531-9191. You may also reach Ward Black Law by email or online inquiry.
For directions to Ward Black Law, visit our Contact Us page.