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Mixing Elderly With Mentally Ill Can Be Dangerous For NC Nursing Homes

While the North Carolina government was trying to help matters when it reformed the state hospital system eleven years ago, it ended up creating a more dangerous environment for many seniors in nursing homes across the state. When many of the state’s psychiatric hospitals were closed (many of which provided sadly deficient medical care and housing), the mentally ill patients often ended up in nursing homes that receive state assistance. Now, both the younger mental patients and the elderly are getting worse care in adult care homes.

In just the past two years, for example, four elderly nursing home patients have been killed in their facilities when mentally ill residents physically attacked them. These sad and preventable incidents have led to an official federal complaint issued by an advocacy group for the disabled, Disability Group North Carolina. They argue that while the initial idea of taking the mentally ill out of ill-equipped and poorly-run state hospitals was a compassionate one, the mentally ill are not faring any better where they have ended up: under-staffed nursing homes and prisons.

Nursing homes are not appropriate places for those struggling from mental health issues. The nurses and staff have not been trained to care for these types of patients, and mixing the younger, mentally ill patients with the elderly lowers the quality of life for both groups. Perhaps most importantly, mixing the two populations puts the elderly at risk for assaults, physical attacks, and sexual abuse.

If your loved one has been harmed in a nursing home by another nursing home resident, you could have a nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect case. Talk to a North Carolina lawyer about your case today.