When you suggest that your parent enter an assisted living facility in North Carolina, you probably expect that legal protections against abuse will extend there. However, federal protection for residents in assisted living facilities is rare, which means you may face conflicting rules from state and local bodies.
State reporting rules are not as strict
State rules for reporting abuse and neglect for individuals living in assisted living facilities are far weaker than for those living in nursing homes, even though residents may be of similar age and abilities. One study indicates that more than half of state Medicaid agencies cannot cite the frequency of serious incidents like physical, emotional and sexual abuse because those agencies had no systems to gather that data.
What does this mean for your loved one?
As your parent or other loved one in an assisted living facility may have lessened cognitive faculties, you need to be their advocate, especially if you are dealing with a facility that accepts Medicaid payments. Be on the lookout for signs of abuse, even if your senior loved one can’t fully express what is going on. Some senior advocates indicate that the quality of many facilities is questionable.
What you can do if you suspect abuse
Various types of abuse are illegal under state and federal law. If you believe that your loved one has been abused in an assisted care situation, you may have a case. Looking for signs of abuse such as fear, unexplained injuries, lack of cleanliness, mood changes and unexplained weight loss can point toward an abusive situation.
When you suspect abuse, keep thorough records of what you loved one looks like, says and does. Noting these actions can make the difference in proving an abuse case.