North Carolina law and nursing home abuse

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In assessments earlier this year by leading observers of nursing home care nationwide, the conclusion was, “Far too many have a long way to go to give residents the quality of care and quality of life they deserve,” reported the New York Times. In fall of 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the first major revision of nursing home regulations since 1991, with the new regulations phased in during 2017-2019.


According to the New York Times, “The regulations disappointed nursing associations and many advocates by declining to set minimum staffing standards.” Better staffing has been shown to improve quality of care. The new regulations do, however, expand staff training in preventing elder abuse and in caring for patients with dementia. They also allow nursing home residents fewer restrictions on visitors, roommate choice, and times when meals and snacks are available.


The laws of the state of North Carolina protect disabled adults of any age from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The NC Attorney General’s Medicaid Investigations Unit prosecutes fraud, patient abuse and embezzlement in Medicaid-funded facilities. According to the North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ), the law states, “Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult is in need of protective services shall report such information.” Under the NC law, the definitions of situations that should be reported, where an aged or disabled adult needs protection, are:

  • Abuse – willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services necessary to maintain mental and physical health.
  • Neglect – a disabled adult who is either living alone and not able to provide for himself the services necessary to maintain his mental or physical health or is not receiving services from his caretaker.
  • Exploitation – illegal or improper use of a disabled adult or his resources for another’s profit or advantage.


Abuse should be reported to the local Department of Social Services in the county where the disabled adult lives. Assistance is also available from the NC Department of Health and Human Services CARE-LINE at 1-800-662-7030.


If you believe you have a claim against a nursing home that has abused, neglected or exploited an elderly family member or friend, your first step should be to consult an experienced attorney about the case.


Richard Manger, principal of Manger Law Firm, has extensive experience in litigation and settlements, with a focus on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. We are proud of the strong relationships of loyalty and trust we develop with our clients. We go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. You can contact Richard Manger via email at, or by calling (336) 882-2000.

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