Nursing homes serve an important function in our society. When our loved ones get to a certain age where they need a little extra care, it’s good to know such places exist. However, the sad truth is that such venues are not always all smiles and goodwill. There are, in truth, some particularly disturbing statistics surrounding nursing homes. Quite possibly the most worrying one is that one in ten nursing home residents have experienced some kind of abuse at the hands of a member of staff. Whether or not this is enough to warrant it being called an epidemic is a matter of opinion, but one thing is certain. There are some unfortunate acts taking place in our nursing homes, and it needs to stop. But what causes such events to occur, and what can we do about it? Let’s take a closer look at this important issue.
There are many underlying causes to abuse, and it can be hard to pick them out individually. Part of the reason for this is because it is such a complex psychological issue. Nobody can be entirely certain as to what drives an individual to carry out such cruel acts on another person. However, one possible influential factor in these sorts of cases might be that there is an institutionalised abuse. This happens when the internal culture of a particular building or company loses its way. The results can sometimes be horrifying. The evidence does seem to support this view up to a point. It does appear to be the minority of institutions experiencing the majority of cases of abuse. There is evidence for this here: http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/library/data/ What this means is that it is an issue with specific nursing homes, rather than the care industry as a whole. This is, in some respects, good news, as it means that a localised attempt to curb the abuse may be successful. Individuals can at least hire an attorney for their local area, in order to try and get some justice. There is more information on that process here: https://www.heardrobinsnewmexico.com/practice-areas/nursing-home-abuse
It is a travesty that such events occur, but there is good news. Like all of society’s ills, there is a workable solution to this problem. One common area which needs improving is that of the safeguarding of new residents. More often than not, it is the new residents in a facility who are most prone to abuse. Therefore, one solution would be to keep these particular cases under a watchful eye. It is also possible that the employees are not being checked thoroughly enough before they begin the job. Around one-third of abuse cases are carried out by a member of staff, so improving this area would help dramatically. Ultimately, however, a deeper change is necessary for this to truly end. In order to stop the abuse of the elderly, our culture needs to learn to treat those people with more respect than it currently does. With an increased appreciation of our elderly residents, we just might be a decrease in abuse against them.