Nursing homes do not operate out of pure love for the elderly. Private nursing homes are just like any other business, where they are primarily driven by profit. Most of them are reputable and for a price, can be very comfortable for the elderly that reside in them. Problems can arise when employees suffer cuts in working hours and wages because this has a direct affect on their morale. When there is low morale, it can easily translate to shortened tempers and negative attitudes toward those that are under their care. In rare cases, it translates to abuse and mistreatment of patients in nursing homes.
What are the numbers?
The numbers are quite alarming, and a study reported that as many as 24.3% of our elderly had suffered an instance of being abused in a nursing home. The elderly are already vulnerable as it is, and the risks are exaggerated further to 50% by those with cases of dementia or mental illnesses. Adding to physical impairments, these conditions make the elderly quite prone to abuse.
Not just that, but the more alarming thing is that over 50% of nursing home staff have admitted to committing some form of abuse to their wards. These numbers are indeed cause for concern. To be fair to our friends in the nursing home business, there are also a lot of great things that a nursing home can do for your elderly loved ones. In addition, litigation is now becoming more strict and laws on elderly abuse make offenders face harsher punishments.
Understanding the causes
There are a lot of reasons why abuse may happen, but primary among them is if the staff who are taking care of the residents are actually abused themselves. The abuse comes in the form of low wages and staffing problems that forces them to work unreasonably long hours while being underpaid. Poor supervision also comes in as a close second, as well as poor management and accountability.
When a nursing home is poorly managed, issues on individual caregivers as well as with residents are commonplace. With staffing problems, a nursing home can become a stressful environment that is toxic to those working there. Taking care of an elderly person is already a huge undertaking at the best of times, and it doesn’t do anyone any good to add to that. Most of the stress comes from poor management of a nursing home.
What can we do?
There are a lot of reasons why nursing homes are needed and are the only viable option to some families, especially those where all members are already working. If one must absolutely do this, it is important to keep in mind considerations that can lower the risk of nursing home abuse considerably. If you care about your elderly relative, make sure a family member makes their presence felt in the nursing home by visiting and checking up on them regularly.
If a caring relative is present and makes their presence known, a lot of these abuses will not have a chance of happening. A lot of times, simply doing your homework on the nursing home and its reputation will go a long way in avoiding the abuse of your loved one. If your loved one experiences any sort of abuse, there is help and a lot of reputable people are out there to help bring justice and put a stop to these wrongdoings.