When an individual suspects that an elderly loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, he or she should file a nursing home complaint. Filing a complaint is easier said than done, however, and it is important that worried parties fully understand the complaint process.
The North Carolina Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators explains the first steps individuals should take when they suspect nursing home abuse. Typically, this organization is the first point of contact.
Filing an initial complaint
When a person suspects that a member of the nursing home staff or an administrator is guilty of wrongdoing, he or she must file a complaint with the NCBENHA in writing. The complainant must sign and notarize the document. He or she must also provide a written and detailed summary of the complaint and attach any supporting evidence. The Standards of Practice Committee will review the complaint, reach out to the nursing home administrator and give him or her a chance to respond to it. Concerned parties should be aware that the complaint process is often quite lengthy and that they should prepare to provide additional evidence.
When to involve the state
State involvement is rarely necessary for nursing home abuse complaints. However, as the NC Division of Health Service Regulation points out, state involvement is appropriate in certain instances. For instance, if the NCBENHA or the other reporting agency fails to appropriately investigate the claim, the DHSR may become involved. The DHSR may also involve itself if it finds out that the reporting agent is guilty of misconduct, or when a conflict of interest exists between the reporting agency and the nursing home.
Seeking justice for an abused loved one is not as easy as filing a complaint. Individuals who suspect abuse should seek legal representation to ensure the complaint is handled fairly and efficiently.