Broad Creek Care Center in Hilton Head Island, SC, has been cited for abuse after a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) yelled at a resident. The CNA was seen yelling and pointing their finger at the resident. The facility has a clear policy against verbal abuse, which is defined in the policy as “the use of oral, written, or gestured language that includes disparaging and derogatory terms to a resident.”
The CNA was escorted out of the building and put on administrative leave, but they chose not to attend a follow-up meeting surrounding the incident. The Administrator, however, agreed that the CNA had violated the nursing home’s verbal abuse policy. The state agency never received a two-hour report from the facility, and a five-day report sent to the state agency was late. The Administrator also agreed that the report was sent in late.
Even though this incident was witnessed by another staff member, the nursing home Administrator did not believe it constituted abuse; this is inconsistent with their admission that the CNA violated the facility’s policy. The Administrator and the Director of Nursing had no record of a two-hour incident report because they did not classify this action as abuse. The facility said they had a 24-hour report from the Director of Nursing, but could not find a physical copy.
The resident did report that a CNA yelled at them while pointing in the resident’s face. This act of aggression would look like verbal abuse to a bystander, but the facility did not investigate the alleged abuse thoroughly. The citation report did not share the resident’s perspective or feelings surrounding the incident, but verbal abuse can be very harmful to those who live in nursing homes.
Nursing home facilities promise residents and their loved ones that the residents will be safe, protected, and given quality care. Nursing home residents are extremely vulnerable; their purpose for being in a nursing home is to receive medical care that could not be provided elsewhere. They are inherently dependent, relying completely on nursing home staff for daily living and any medical issues that may arise.
Working with nursing home residents does take perseverance and a desire to care for vulnerable adults. However, abuse and neglect are never acceptable responses to the stress of this work. Insulting, scolding, or threatening a resident is not to be tolerated. In this case, the resident was able to report the incident, but verbal abuse may not always be reported by a resident, family member, or another staff member.
Verbal abuse also has extensive consequences. This CNA’s comments were not disclosed in the citation report, so there is no way to know what was said or how the resident might feel about these statements. The symptoms of verbal abuse could be withdrawal or depression, decreased self-esteem, changes in personality or mood, agitation, insomnia, or increased fear and anxiety. This type of abuse can be addressed by family members who see changes in their loved ones. Knowing the signs of abuse can allow family members to protect those who are in nursing homes.
Nursing home residents also benefit when family members are able to visit regularly. Visiting at different times of the week also encourages nursing home staff to take care of residents throughout the week. Getting to know the nursing home staff can also be helpful in promoting quality care for a loved one.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, we will provide a free, confidential case evaluation with no obligation to hire us. With nearly 250 years of shared experience, Joye Law Firm attorneys are consistently recognized by clients and peers at the highest level of professional excellence. We make sure to fight hard for our clients and are honest with them every step of the way.