As of 2009 there were over 300 nursing homes in North Carolina, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Convalescent, handicapped and elderly residents rely on NC nursing homes for care. With so many choices to choose from, how can families pick the safest nursing home for their loved one?
All nursing homes must be licensed under NC State Law by the NC Division of Health Service Regulation Licensure Section. The state monitors the locations and the quantity of nursing homes in different areas. After a nursing home applies for approval, the state coordinates an inspection and if the nursing home passes they receive a certificate of licensure. The first thing families should look for when it comes to choosing a NC nursing home is the status of the nursing home's license. They can also check with the Division of Health Service Regulation's Complaints Investigation Branch to view past and present reports, if any. All of these materials are typically public record and available for review.
Another step families should take when choosing a nursing home in NC is requesting the patient-to-staff ratio. You'll want to make sure there are enough nurses and care givers available to decrease the potential for nursing home neglect. Nursing home neglect takes many forms and can cause residents to be malnourished, dehydrated, suffer from bed sores and some negligence even results in death.
After narrowing down licensed facilities with the right staff size, it's time to visit the nursing home. There you can observe nursing home conditions:
- Are staff and residents friendly to each other?
- Are call buttons available in bedrooms and bathrooms?
- Are the staff required to have routine training?
- Space for wheelchairs?
- Emergency procedures?
- Are food menus planned?
Even if after selecting what you feel was a safe nursing home and your loved one still suffers the unfortunate experience of nursing home abuse or neglect, Raleigh attorneys at Brent Adams & Associates are available to discuss the laws and how you can be compensated.