legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
In North Carolina, nursing home abuse has become a concerning issue impacting thousands of residents.
From the sanitation of food to the professional standards maintained by nursing home staff workers, it is clear that there are hazardous deficiencies in North Carolina nursing homes.
The North Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center at (800) 926-7565 are here to help victims and surviving family members. Contact us today to schedule an initial free case evaluation to discuss filing a compensation case.
The State’s Poor Caregiving Track Record
Through surveys, investigations, and inspections at every North Carolina long-term care center, Medicare routinely gathers information throughout the year.
According to the federal agency, 176 (forty-one percent) of the 419 nursing facilities rated in NC have fallen below the national average because they provide their residents with substandard care.
Over thirty-nine percent of nursing homes had issues with improper food sanitation, and over twenty-seven percent of caregiving facilities were cited for substandard professional care.
Something must be done to improve the standards of nursing homes throughout the state, and nursing home abuse lawyers are available to assist in improving the standards of such facilities.
A North Carolina Senior Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
Was your loved one abused, mistreated, injured, or did they die prematurely through nursing home neglect? If so, contact the North Carolina personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center today to discuss the merits of your case.
If your loved one has developed pressure sores, injured from falls, or became infected from neglect, speak with our law firm today to take legal action.
Understanding North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Laws
The NC Protection of Abused, Neglected, or Exploited Disabled Adult Act was enacted to protect vulnerable adults from abuse. Even though this Act has been effective, vulnerable elderly adults are still injured from abuse every day.
"Abuse" is defined in the Act as the willful infliction of physical pain, injury, or mental anguish. Elder abuse is also defined as unreasonable confinement or willful deprivation of essential living services by a caretaker.
If an older person is left alone without any means of leaving a room or receiving services that they need, they might be a victim of unreasonable confinement. Nursing home staff members face severe penalties when victimizing residents with abuse or mistreatment.
The nursing staff and employees could also be criminally liable for the exploitation of vulnerable adults. The law defines exploitation as the illegal or improper use of a disabled adult's belongings to profit someone else.
An older adult might be exploited if funds are taken from their bank accounts, personal belongings are stolen, or their things are otherwise used advantageously for others.
Why Some Individuals Need Nursing Home Services
The urban and rural environments throughout North Carolina are home to hundreds of nursing facilities providing skilled nursing services to the elderly, disabled, ill, rehabilitating, and developmentally disabled.
Major corporations own and operate Nearly all nursing facilities and long-term caregiving homes in North Carolina. Unfortunately, many of the cases involving elder abuse and neglect are due to corporate businesses placing profits ahead of the resident’s well-being.
North Carolina nursing homes are typically run by an extensive medical team of skilled registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing aides that provide services around-the-clock.
In addition to managing the resident’s health, the team also provides hygiene assistance, administration of drugs, and rehabilitative services, including occupational, physical, and speech therapies.
Many individuals who relocate into a North Carolina nursing home require available services that include:
- Skilled nursing and rehabilitative care
- Around-the-clock supervision
- Assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, or other activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Management of their daily Health Care needs
- Management of their drug administration through IV, inhalers, pills, and liquids
- Specialized diets including puréed meals and intravenous nutrition
- Respiratory care, including respiratory ventilation
Pressure Sores, Medication Errors, Chemical Restraints, and Other Severe Nursing Home Abuse Problems
Many of the most vulnerable members of society are susceptible to facility-acquired problems, including the development of preventable bedsores (pressure wounds, pressure sores, pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers).
Most pressure wounds result from staff members failing to readjust the resident’s position every ninety minutes to two hours while sitting in a chair or resting in bed.
Other residents develop pressure sores when staff members fail to provide routine hygiene assistance or do not adequately hydrate/feed patients under their care.
Even a minor medical error could cause life-altering trauma for the patient or end in wrongful death. Medication administration mistakes are often the result of overworked staff, a lack of training, or intention.
Nursing home regulators maintain rigorous policies on the use of physical and chemical restraints allowed only under the strictest procedures. Any unauthorized use of restraint could result in severe prosecution.
Sadly, many nursing home residents become victims of nursing home abuse when found strapped into a wheelchair with an unauthorized belt. Others spend their days and a “drug haze” while drugged out on psychotropic medications.
Physical Abuse Is a Severe Problem
Our personal injury attorneys have handled nursing home abuse and neglect cases throughout North Carolina, where victims were permanently harmed or died a preventable death. In many cases, other residents or the medical staff physically assaults, sexually abuses, or emotionally harms the resident through neglect or mistreatment.
Federal and state laws enacted to protect the senior citizens have failed to stop rampant elder abuse affecting nursing home residents nationwide.
Many cases involving mistreatment are caused by the nursing home administration’s failure to follow the best hiring practices or not adequately training the facility’s registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing aides, and employees.
The Importance of Recognizing the Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Anyone who notices or suspects that an adult is suffering from abuse must file a report with the Social Services Director. The Director will review the report and begin investigating the incident.
Adult Protective Services might be involved, deciding whether to transfer the adult, but only after receiving the victim's informed consent. Helpful services must not be provided if the adult declines protective services or withdraws their consent.
Recognizing the warning signs of abuse is vital to protect the resident's well-being. Any suspicion must be reported to the Director.
The following is a list of the common warning signs of abuse:
- Bruising and scratches
- Open wounds and bleeding
- Constant migraines
- Pressure wounds
- Malnutrition and dehydration leading to unexplained weight loss
- Bed injuries
- Reluctance to talk to family members or friends
After the report, the court might authorize legal entry onto the premises and put forth an emergency motion. Nursing home workers who fail to file a report might be held criminally liable for not following established protocols and procedures.
Many cases of North Carolina nursing home abuse go unreported because the victim feared retaliation or lack the capacity to speak up due to their mental status or medical condition.
Because of that, it is imperative for a family member, friend, or nursing home employee to report the suspected abuse of the elderly to proper authorities.
Speak with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
Call our North Carolina nursing home abuse lawyers today to receive assistance to protect your loved one. A lawyer can review your case and begin investigating what happened. We will aggressively represent your vulnerable loved one and protect the rights.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers are ready to help families throughout the state, including in:
- High Point
- Raleigh, NC
Please call or email us to schedule an initial consultation to begin discussing filing your report and the possibility of obtaining compensation in your case.
Nursing Home Abuse Injury FAQs
What Is the Definition of Elder Abuse and Neglect?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), abuse or neglect among the elderly could include physical pain, willful deprivation of necessary care. Other harm could involve failing to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical services, and financial exploitation where caregivers and other residents illegally access the victim's assets, bank accounts, and belongings.
The state legislature defines abuse under §108A-101 as "the willful infliction of physical pain, injury, or mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services which are necessary to maintain mental and physical health."
Neglect is defined under §108A-101 as a "disabled adult who is either living alone or not able to provide for [themselves] the services which are necessary to maintain [their] mental or physical health or is not receiving services from [their] caretaker."
What Is the Fastest Growing Form of Nursing Home Abuse?
For decades, physical and emotional abuse, abandonment, and neglect were contributing factors of harm to senior citizens. However, in recent years, financial exploitation has become the fastest growing form of abuse against the elderly.
Financial abuse involves the illegal use of the victim's assets that could be converted into cash. Financial exploitation occurs through fraudulent schemes and scams through threats, harassment, or deception.
In nursing facilities, the staff, family, visitors, loved ones, and other residents could take advantage of the victim's assets through opportunities and intentional targeting to mishandle or take property.
Where Does Elder Abuse Occur the Most?
According to the National Council on Aging, senior citizens are most often abused or neglected in their family's home. However, mistreatment could occur in North Carolina institutional settings like long-term care facilities, nursing centers, and assisted-living homes.
Statistics released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reveal that approximately ten percent of all senior citizens will experience abuse or neglect during their final years. Nursing home negligence continues to be an ongoing problem.
What Is Passive Neglect?
According to the National Institutes of Health, senior citizens are often victims of active and passive neglect, where the nursing staff failed to provide the resident with physical, social, medical, or emotional needs.
Nurses, without intent, often passively neglect the elderly in their charge by failing to meet the obligations they have been providing care and services due to a lack of training or knowledge. Alternatively, aggressive neglect is the willful action of withholding care and services for retaliation or inflicting harm.
What Kind of Crime Is Elder Abuse?
Personal injury attorneys in North Carolina specializing in civil and criminal liability describe abuse as a crime, punishable by fines and imprisonment. Criminal laws punish abusive predators willfully assaulting vulnerable adults and children.
Willful neglect is also a severe crime where cases are built on recklessness or deliberate disregard of an elderly victim's needs. The standard to hold caretakers criminally liable is significantly higher than simple negligence or medical malpractice.
Any individual responsible for caring for an elderly individual could be found legally liable for a criminal act that caused harm, including wrongful death, physical assault, sexual abuse, or financial exploitation.
Raleigh Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Serving Victims of Skin Sores, Pressure Sores, and Decubitus Ulcers
Any mobility challenged individual unable to turn or readjust their body without assistance can quickly develop a decubitus ulcer within hours.
Facility-acquired pressure wounds are growing concerns for nursing homes, assisted living centers, and long-term care facilities among the aging and disabled population.
Any developing bed sores (decubitus ulcers, pressure wounds, pressure sores) in a nursing home or assisted living facility could degrade quickly to a life-threatening condition without proper treatment.
Nurses and nurse's aides in charge of a resident's care must routinely (every two-hour) follow "turning" or "readjusting" schedules for every patient unable to reposition themselves independently.
This schedule, which should be documented in the resident's medical records, is part of the patient's health care plan to prevent developing sores.
Turning the patient ensures that pressure is alleviated on all bony areas that contact a chair, bed, or another body part. The simple "every two-hour" procedure eliminates the risks of acquiring skin sores that could cause severe damage to the skin and underlying tissue.
According to the National Nursing Home Survey, more than 150,000 residents living in nursing home facilities nationwide develop pressure ulcers each year.
Many nurses and nurses' aides allowed the Stage I pressure wound to degrade to a stage II pressure ulcer, requiring extensive care to promote healing.
The data show that nursing home residents who have been living in the facility for less than a year are more likely to develop a preventable pressure ulcer than those residing in the facility longer.
About one out of every three nursing home patients that developed a facility-acquired stage II pressure ulcer received specialized wound care services. Approximately twenty percent of all residents that recently experienced weight loss developed an avoidable pressure wound.
Free Consultation Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in North Carolina
Are you or a loved one the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in North Carolina? If so, contact the personal injury attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center (800) 926-7565 for immediate legal advice with a free consultation.
We will use the law to stop the mistreatment if your loved one has suffered harm, pain, and suffering caused by elder abuse.
A nursing home abuse lawyer from NHLC accepts all abuse cases through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement ensures you do not pay for our legal services until we have successfully resolved your case.
Every surviving family member who lost a loved one in North Carolina through nursing home negligence or abuse can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation. Contact our law office today to discuss the merits of your claim.
All information concerning your abuse or neglect case remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Our North Carolina law firm currently follows the United States CDC guidelines of social distancing to protect everyone from Covid-19 (coronavirus).
Many senior home mistreatment cases involve horrific injury through physical abuse, unexplained weight loss, sexual assault, humiliation, medication errors, and emotional distress. Some staff members fail to follow the physician's orders outlined in the patient's medical records.
Decubitus ulcers can quickly form within hours when pressure restricts oxygenated blood flow to tissue and skin. These sores usually develop on bony areas of the body, including the back of the head, shoulders, shoulder blades, elbows, hipbones, tailbone, buttocks, back of the legs, heels, ankles, and toes.
Skin sores are a Serious Medical Condition That Might Result in Complications & Death
The nursing staff must perform regular skin assessment on every mobility-challenged patient's body. Their assessment could help identify any developing sore in its early stage before it becomes a serious or life-threatening condition.
Usually, blisters, red spots, or redness will appear on a contact point when the pressure has been applied to the area for over two hours. A discovered pressure sore needs immediate treatment based on proven protocols, ensuring it heels completely.
If the pressure ulcer is not treated correctly or is left unattended, it can quickly progress to an advanced stage.
Progressive skin ulcers will usually form a shallow crater at the site where fat deposits appear. Within days, the sore might become life-threatening where the crater deepens to expose the patient's bone and muscles.
An infection is often a severe problem at this advancing stage, where the patient might die quickly without effective antibiotics to treat a bone infection (osteomyelitis) or blood infection (sepsis).
Untrained Nursing Staff Behind Many Episodes of Pressure Ulcers
A facility-acquired decubitus ulcer is a significant indicator of neglect at the assisted living facility in many incidences. A pressure sore might result from nursing staff lacking sufficient training to eliminate or minimize the potential of developing a sore.
Many bedsores develop as a result of excessive moisture on the skin. When the patient is forced to lie in their sweat, feces, or urine, the skin's integrity degrades and becomes highly susceptible to developing a decubitus ulcer.
Alternatively, nearly every type of facility-acquired bedsore can be prevented with continuous monitoring of the patient's needs and frequent readjustments to alleviate pressure.
Taking Legal Action to Stop Neglect
Did the nursing staff tell you that a decubitus ulcer is a natural occurrence against aging individuals? That statement is not valid.
Nearly every type of bedsore could be avoided or managed to ensure it does not progress to a life-threatening stage. Sometimes, the facility administrators will make this claim in the hope of shielding their corporation against litigation.
Do you suspect your loved one has acquired a decubitus ulcer while a resident in a nursing Center? Take legal action now to stop the neglect..
These professionals provide services in cities throughout the United States, including in North Carolina:
Our injury lawyers are experienced in prosecuting pressure sore claims and accept abuse cases on contingency to avoid paying upfront fees. We offer potential clients a free initial consultation to help seek financial compensation for the damages caused by others' neglect.
Contact our law firm today or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our nursing home abuse attorneys remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Please do not send sensitive information to our law office through voicemail, email, or text message. Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
Did you notice any signs of abuse involving your loved one? Take the first step now to open a personal injury case.
Nursing Home NegligenceSTATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
- 3 years from act or discovery, whichever comes first. (N.C. Gen. Stat §1-52 – Three years)
- Medical malpractice – 3 years with Discovery Rule (one year from reasonable discovery), but no more than 4 years from the event's date. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §1-15; N.C. Gen. Stat. §1-52(16))
- Punitive damages – three times compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §1D-25)
Wrongful as DeathSTATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
- 2 years. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §1-53 – Two years)
- Punitive damages – three times compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §1D-25)
Nursing Home Care State Law
- Protection of Abused, Neglected, or Exploited Disabled Adult Act – (N.C. Gen. Stat. §108A)