Although many people who work in nursing homes in North Carolina possess great compassion for the people under their care, nursing home abuse remains a persistent problem. According to a report from the Long Term Care Community Coalition, some homes have systemic failings that isolate residents and ignore their complaints. In other cases, individual staff members hide their misconduct by threatening residents who complain.
How retaliation silences victims
People living in nursing homes are effectively separated from the outside world. Outside observers rarely have a chance to see what goes on day in and day out in these facilities. Staff members could put on a good face to hide long-term care facility abuse when visitors enter the building.
If a resident complains about bad food, lack of hygienic care or physical abuse, the staff member or members who are to blame may:
- Ignore calls for help
- Leave residents in soiled clothing
- Hit residents
- Place residents in restraints
- Tell residents they will be put in the street
Threats like these can be highly effective at silencing abuse victims, even those experiencing sexual assault. Nursing home residents depend entirely on others for care and housing. When complaints result in worse treatment, they learn to stop complaining.
Anonymous complaint systems
On top of training staff to recognize and report abuse, nursing home operators can protect their residents from staff retaliation by enabling anonymous complaints. Ideally, they could make a call to an outside party, like a government agency or corporate headquarters. When residents can report their abuse without staff members knowing the source of the complaint, they have a lower chance of being targeted by the people harming them.