The recent case of Community Care Center of Aberdeen v. Barrentine is, at its core, an employment dispute. But the matter, reviewed by the Mississippi Supreme Court recently, holds relevance for those who care about the well-being of elderly, vulnerable residents of nursing homes because it involves someone who reportedly was willing to speak up about abuse.
As we know all too well, that courage is rare, especially for someone who is employed by the facility potentially liable for such wrong-doing and the resulting injuries.
One study by the General Accounting Office revealed that physical and sexual abuse of nursing home residents is not promptly reported to local law enforcement authorities and state regulators. And even when it is, it’s rarely prosecuted. Not only are patients and sometimes even relatives reluctant to report abuse, but nursing home managers are reluctant because they fear adverse publicity and legal liability. Employees are fearful of losing their jobs.