Caring for elderly loved ones can be daunting and challenging, especially if you lack sufficient knowledge about proper care. Even if you try your best, that might not be enough to provide for their needs. Consequently, you’ll have to find a place where they’ll be given the amount and level of care they require. Among the best options you have is to take them to a nursing home.
However, even with the supervision of professionals in nursing homes, how sure are you that your loved ones are being well taken care of? How can you ensure their safety and security if nursing home abuse is still rampant today?
The Prevalence Of Nursing Home Abuse
One can’t deny the increase in the number of elderly people in the world over the past decades. While the idea of having an elderly person in the family isn’t a problem for most people, some experience difficulty when it comes to providing for their needs. Such scenarios have given rise to the need for nursing homes. However, there’ve been reported cases of different kinds of abuse in some of these facilities. For more information on this matter, you can check the websites of reliable legal service providers.
One of the major problems that come with the increasing demand for senior care is nursing home abuse. While there are facilities that can provide proper health care to your elderly family member through a wide range of services and personalized care programs, nursing home abuse is a real threat that residents may face.
Elderly people aren’t the only ones who experience nursing home abuse. Someone who’s impaired, weak, disabled, or vulnerable to assault can be a victim.
Aside from mental strain, emotional suffering, and physical pain, nursing home abuse can also result in other negative outcomes like the development of chronic diseases. To avoid that from happening, you must be wary of the signs of nursing home abuse, which may include:
- Inexplicable sprains, bruises, dislocations, or broken bones
- Signs of restraint
- Unusual behavior
- Excessive fear of the caregiver
- Presence of bedsores
- Weight loss
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Injuries due to prescription drugs
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Happen?
One of the major reasons behind the prevalence of this issue is the acquisition of additional inexperienced workers who might be lacking in proper training. To cater to all the clients who come through their doors, some facilities hire staff without doing proper background checks. Due to various stressful situations and the conflicting personalities of workers and residents, abuse might occur at some point. Aside from that, here are some key factors why nursing home abuse is on the rise:
1. Staffing Shortages
The most common cause of nursing home abuse is the understaffing of long-term care facilities. Given that the senior care industry is quickly growing, many nursing homes are having a hard time filling vacant positions in their teams. This leads to the lack of a sufficient number of staff members in the facility.
The quality of services in a nursing home depends on the skills and knowledge of the professionals who are part of it as well as their working environment. These individuals need to be provided with appropriate support in order for them to perform their duties well. If the facility fails to do so, there’s a higher possibility of negligence and abuse on the part of the staff members.
Besides that, there are occurrences of residents outnumbering the staff, which creates an unpleasant environment for both parties. Having excessive workloads, doing extensive overtime to attend to the residents’ needs, and the clashing personalities of staff and residents increase the level of stress for the former that often results in abuse.
2. Inexperienced Staff
Aside from understaffing, another reason behind nursing home abuse is the onboarding of undertrained staff members. Because of their immediate need for a bigger team, some facilities hire more individuals without checking if they’re properly trained for the job.
Such instances lead to the inability of the staff members to perform their duties as they lack the appropriate training for their tasks. What’s more, there are employees who haven’t received any type of training that would allow them to address the varying needs of the residents. As a result, these people can’t provide the type of care that the residents expect and deserve to receive.
Improper training and lack of support from the facility affect the staff members’ drive to carry out their duties well, which may then cause nursing home abuse and neglect. Some other forms of improper training among nursing home employees may include:
- Inadequate training programs for certain illnesses and disabilities
- Lack of understanding of the residents’ rights and needs
- Lack of required vocational and educational training
- Lack of adequate knowledge about the specific policies of nursing homes
- Lack of work experience
3. Underpaid Staff Members
One more major problem that may lead to nursing home abuse is the low wages given to staff members. Though mass hirings attract potential workers and can significantly reduce the need for additional staff, some individuals who end up getting hired aren’t guaranteed reasonable wages.
In particular, there are nursing home facilities that pay almost the same salaries provided in fast-food restaurants and similar businesses. Such scenarios cause staff members to lose interest in their work and focus more on getting paid the right amount rather than improving or maintaining the quality of their performance.
Aside from being overworked and deprived of appropriate training programs, low wages can largely contribute to a staff member’s uncaring and even hostile attitude toward residents.
Finding the best skilled nursing facility for your loved ones may not be as easy as it sounds, especially with the possible threat of nursing home abuse. While it can occur due to numerous factors, the most common ones are staffing shortage, inexperienced staff, and underpaid employees.
To avoid exposing your elderly relatives to such issues, conduct a thorough background check before acquiring a certain facility’s services. You may also seek legal assistance if you spot any of the signs of nursing home abuse. In doing so, you can keep your loved ones out of harm’s way and have peace of mind knowing that they’re in good hands.