State inspectors have substantiated claims of elder abuse at a North Carolina nursing home. Hidden cameras captured the elder abuse at a North Raleigh nursing facility owned by Choice Health Management Services.
The company has 16 nursing homes located and operating in North Carolina. Since 2015, Medicare has fined the company upwards of $555,000 for instances of abuse and other issues that have occured at six of the company’s facilities.
An incident of abuse was caught on hidden cameras placed in the room of a man in his late 60’s who fell out of bed. The nursing home staff failed to respond to the stroke victim’s calls for help and when they did arrive after an hour the man was mistreated by those employees entrusted to assist him. Other similar instances of abuse were reported as well.
“Residents of nursing homes are often vulnerable and isolated,” according to personal injury attorneys Strom & Associates, and can therefore fall victim to negligent or abusive staffers, especially the residents who are unable to speak up against injustice and advocate for themselves. Warning signs that may mistreatment may easily go unnoticed by family or visitors.
Bruising or fractures, scratches or avoidance of physical contact may be symptoms of physical abuse. Bed sores or lack of medical attention may indicate medical neglect, while signs of personal hygiene neglect may encompass an uncared for appearance or soiled clothing. Social, psychological or emotional neglect are also forms of mistreatment and warning signs may include listlessness, depression, non-responsive behavior or anxiousness.
The Choice Health Management company claimed that “we successfully made changes that led to these facilities being deficiency-free for two consecutive years during our annual surveys,” after becoming aware of the problematic incidents. Measures including firing guilty employees, hiring more staff and adding training hours were implemented, according to the company.
“We attempt to correct any issues that are identified as quickly as possible. It is our responsibility to ensure that all patients and their families receive the care they need in an environment they trust,” Choice Health Management stated.
More severe incidents at the facilities, however, were also caught on camera recently. A doctor from an outside clinic found that maggots living in a resident’s wound had gone unreported by an aide. Residents were also caught on camera wandering alone outside of the building where they were in danger from passing cars.