Preventable Mistakes in Adult-Care Lead to Death

Preventable Mistakes in Adult-Care Lead to Death

Preventable mistakes in adult-care homes in North Carolina have led to more than 50 deaths over the last five years, according to state records.

State documents reveal that “…inattentive care, medication errors and poor maintenance of the homes” are to blame for the tragic deaths of the elderly.

Residents have wandered in to traffic, choked to death, drown, been scalded, and even frozen. Worse still, experts believe that many deaths go unreported, particularly because only those deaths directly caused by the facility or staff are required to be reported.

Adult-Care and North Carolina Law

Changes in the laws governing adult-care homes took effect in 2005. The laws added facility inspectors, increased certain fines up to $20,000 and required an annual examination of each facility beginning this year.

However, a provision added to the state budget at the last minute cut monthly Penalty Review Committee meetings to twice yearly. The potential for crisis to arise as a result has raised serious concerns.

A former committee member, Betty Broadhurst, believes these changes will only harm the elderly. “There will be no advocacy. There will be no voice for these people,” she said.

Phil Jeffries, a Wake County commissioner, agreed, saying that these cases should result in criminal charges. He said, “This is something that really needs to be looked at, to hold some of the people that own these homes criminally liable.”

Jeffries’ brother-in-law drowned in 2004 when he walked away from his assisted-living facility.

Jeffries said, “I just don’t think any of them do a very good job. They have had too many walk away and die. They can pay a penalty and stay in business, and that’s what they do.”

Is someone you love the victim of nursing home neglect? Contact us today to speak with a qualified attorney who will explain your legal rights and options.

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