According to the World Health Organization, elder abuse has been on the increase in nursing homes and at least two in three staff admit to committing abuse. According to a 2017 study, 15.7% of people aged 60 years and above were subjected to some kind of abuse. However, the percentage could be higher because only one in 24 cases of abuse is reported. This is because the victims are afraid of reporting. If your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, don’t hesitate to contact a Plymouth nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
The big question, therefore, is…
Why is there so Much Abuse in Nursing Homes?
Nursing home abuse occurs due to many reasons and they include:
A nursing home can only operate properly if there is adequate staff to fulfill their duties. When there is a staff shortage, some responsibilities might get dropped and even others will get neglected because they will start focusing on the most pressing needs of the nursing home residents over others. Furthermore, an understaffed workforce creates a stressful environment for the staff because they will start feeling overworked.
Poorly Paid Staff
Most nursing homes are privately owned so the pay rate is not standard across the board. Some staff may be paid more than others and others might feel underpaid and undervalued. A good pay rate is considered motivation to provide a high level of care not just nursing homes but in any institution. If the staff does not feel valued, they won’t feel the need to go above and beyond to provide the best standard of care to nursing home residents.
Lack of Staff Training
If the staff does not have the proper training needed to provide adequate care to elderly people, they may not provide the necessary care required. Nursing home staff needs to be given ongoing training to ensure they adapt to the ever-changing needs of nursing residents.
Undertrained staff could mean staff that:
- Doesn’t have the required vocational and educational training
- Doesn’t have experience working in a nursing home
- Hasn’t been trained on specific nursing home policies
- Doesn’t understand the rights of nursing home residents
- Doesn’t receive ongoing training and development
- Doesn’t have adequate training on specific needs, illnesses, and training
There have also been reports that staff is not properly equipped to handle violent residents. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the degeneration of the brain due to disease or injury can be a risk factor in older people. Many nursing home residents who develop aggressive behavior direct it toward their caretakers. If the staff doesn’t have proper training on how to handle such situations, they might retaliate.
Caregiver Personal Issues
Sometimes the nursing home might have well-paid staff, well-trained staff, and adequate resources but the caregivers might still act in a negligent and abusive manner toward the residents.
This boils down to the personal traits of the workers as well as other personal issues they might have going on in their own lives. Some of the personal issues they might be going through include:
- History of childhood abuse
- Mental illness
- Relationship issues
- Financial issues
- Poor health
If the workers are going through their issues they will be more than likely to take it out on the residents because they are easy targets.
Poor Management of the Nursing Home
The home might be run poorly and the workers are not supervised to ensure the workers uphold the highest standards of care.
Lack of Accountability
One of the reasons why abuse in nursing homes is rampant is because management allows it. Workers are not held accountable for their actions and any reported cases might not be investigated.
If the nursing home is reported for negligence and abuse, they get a slap on the wrist. The good news is that actionable steps are now being taken to ensure these homes meet government standards.
Who is at Risk of Being Abused in Nursing Homes?
Some nursing home residents are at a higher risk of being abused than others. Factors that make them susceptible to abuse include:
Residents who have additional needs that take up more time are more likely to face abuse or negligence than other residents.
A resident who has a physical disability requires extra care and this can be a source of frustration for some caregivers.
Residents with mental illnesses such as bipolar, depression or anxiety are at a higher risk of being abused. Also, those that are victims of past trauma are also at a higher risk.
Cognitive disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s require patience and more care from caregivers because of communication barriers.
Rich residents can easily be targets of financial abuse.
Women live longer than men so they make up a huge percentage of residents in nursing homes. Additionally, women are considered to be an easier target than men. This explains statistically why women are at higher risk of abuse in nursing homes.
How Should You Go About Reporting Elder Abuse and Neglect in Massachusetts?
You can file elder abuse online or by calling (800)922-2275. Keep in mind that elder abuse services can only investigate cases where the person is 60+ years of age. To report a case of abuse of a disabled elder person above the age of 60, you can call the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, (800)426-9009. If it’s a life-threatening situation, call 911 or the police.
When to Hire a Plymouth Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If a loved one is experiencing abuse in a nursing home, you must obtain as much information about the abuse as you can. Document any bruises or injuries and take them to the hospital to get checked out.
Nursing homes have a standard of care that they must adhere to and if they fail to do so, residents can be victims of not only physical injuries but also emotional harm.
To establish whether your case meets the qualifications needed to establish a case, you need to seek the expertise of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. We have a Plymouth nursing home abuse lawyer available for a offer a free initial consultation so call us today at 508-746-2700.