After 8 Die In Carthage Nursing Home Shooting, NC Questions Nursing Home Safety

Posted on Apr 16, 2009
Are North Carolina nursing homes safe? This is the question many caregivers, families, and seniors are asking in the days and weeks after a violent nursing home multiple murder in Carthage, North Carolina shocked the nation.

The deaths took place at the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center - a small nursing home in a small town. For reasons still unclear, 45-year-old Robert Stewart entered the adult care facility and started shooting - killing a number of residents and wounding a police officer, a visitor, and a nursing home staff member.

State officials have been quick to point out that although the case was a tragedy, it will probably not happen again and that nursing home residents, staff, and their families should not be concerned. Representatives from The Department of Health and Human Services and from the North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association stressed that all 436 of the North Carolina's care facilities have emergency plans and protocol, but also that random acts of violence like the shooting in Carthage could probably not been prevented.

"This is a random act and for us to overreact now and try to do metal detectors or some sort of 24 hour guarded security, that's just not the atmosphere that we want to create. After all, this is home to people," Craig Souza of NCHCFA said.

Still an investigation into he crime is ongoing, with officials looking at how police and nursing home staff responded to the shooting and how this model could be improved in the future. The best defense, many nursing home officials say, may simply to be aware of who visitors in the building are and why they are there.

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