5 Forms Of Nursing Home Abuse And How To Identify Them
The nursing homes in the United States become filled with elders who either no longer have family members to take care of them have loved ones who cannot look after their needs on a daily basis. Since these are facilities in which doctors, nurses, and other volunteers are available to attend to the needs of the elderly residents, their relatives tend to feel that it’s better for them to be there. Not only will there be professionals to watch over them, but they can also make friends with other senior citizens in the nursing home.
Nevertheless, the sad thing is that such facilities are not always as safe as they claim to be for elders. Some families are in a court battle against nursing care staff members who abused their aged loved one in some way. Even government officials have discovered that a significant number of old-aged individuals get maltreated in private shelters.
If you have a parent or grandparent in a nursing home, it is best to learn how to identify the various forms of elderly abuse now.
1. Financial Deceit
It serves as the most prevalent type of mistreatment that seniors suffer from in a facility. The reason is that they rely a lot on the carers who look after them and can get emotionally connected to them. Hence, there may be times when they lend money to the personnel or entrust their bank details to them.
The conventional scheme that con artists perform is telling the elders they have a relative who needs immediate hospitalization or billing them with a particular service that has never taken place. If the old person manages their finances and believes in everything that the caregiver says, they may end up going bankrupt. As the patient’s colleague or guardian, therefore, you should become up-to-date with what’s happening to the elderly to keep them from getting scammed.
Unfortunately, the system cannot easily filter scammers, especially if they show “proper” credentials. That’s why they can enter a nursing home and only get found after committing the crime.
2. Physical Abuse
Physical abuses do occur in nursing homes, and the victims more often than not are the people whose families rarely visit or not at all. The carers who commit this violation have a psychological condition, which they managed to hide from their superiors. Say, they probably have anger-management issues, panic disorder, behavioral problems, or even depression.
According to Catherine Hawes, Ph.D. “elderly who live in residential settings that offer long-term supportive services are at particular risk for abuse and neglect.1 They are particularly vulnerable because most suffer from several chronic diseases that lead to limitations in physical and cognitive functioning and are dependent on others.”
The thing is, you may not readily notice the marks of abuse when you merely take a glance at your loved one. You see, these wrongdoers tend to cause injury on the body parts that are covered by clothes or will not get recognized by others after their shift. They might threaten the elderly as well to stop them from talking about the violence. Because of that, in case there are scratches or bruises on the senior’s body, and you cannot get a proper explanation about its cause, you should probe the situation more.
3. Emotional Cruelty
While financial deceit and physical abuse are common, emotional maltreatment is the easiest to act out. It does not affect the individual’s bank account or leave any scars on the outside. However, it also happens to be the hardest case to resolve because the victim might remember the cruelty for a long time.
Though your elderly family member may remain mum about it, you should be able to tell they experienced emotional abuse based on their behavior. Most victims, after all, tend to stay quiet or cannot maintain eye contact, primarily when you ask how they are doing. Their mood might often change too, and they might seem scared all the time.
4. Sexual Abuse
As sickening as it sounds, sexual abuse is another common problem in nursing homes. According to a report, the senior women are more likely to get victimized by men. The typical culprit as well is none other than their primary caregiver.
Unlike emotional cruelty, sexual abuse is quite effortless to notice. The senior citizen shows signs of anxiety, anger, or aggression whenever the perpetrator is around. They may also have bruises on their private parts. Worse, the elderly might get diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.
“Evidence exists suggesting that most sexual aggression against older adults occurs in long-term care facilities.” Tony Rosen, MD, MPH and co-authors wrote. Contrary on the above, they said that, “Fellow residents are the most common perpetrators, often due to inappropriate hypersexual behavior caused by dementing illness.”
Lastly, taking an aged resident for granted at the nursing home is a form of violence as well. After all, their family members brought them to the facility so that they can receive the care that the relatives cannot provide in the house. They should be fed on time; they need to get help changing clothes or taking medicine.
You will realize at once that your loved one is suffering from neglect when you visit and see that they are in poor condition even with many carers bustling around. They possibly haven’t had food for a while, for instance. Their clothes got soiled, but no one’s cleaning them up. Similarly, their health is not improving because they cannot take their medication when they are supposed to have it.
Mei-Chen Lin, Ph.D. says, “I know people who are knowledgeable are supposed to take care of residents, but elder abuse is happening at nursing homes. When residents ask, ‘Why did they do such a thing?’ oftentimes the answer is short staff, the inability to deal with care-giving stress, lack of effective ways to handle residents – especially unresponsive seniors — on a daily basis.”
Someone has to recognize these activities because prolonged exposure to various forms of abuse can depress the senior and hurt their health. Remember the things mentioned above, especially if your family member is in a nursing home facility.