Articles Posted in Preventing Elder Abuse

shutterstock_1698309571-300x200Nursing home abuse takes place when caregivers harm residents of the facilities. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, it’s still considered abuse and the consequences can be dire, with the end result of distress, physical pain, medical injuries, or even death in extreme cases. Certain groups are more vulnerable than others when it comes to abuse; like many other types of abuse, victims of nursing home abuse are more likely to be women.

Women are More Likely to be Elder Abuse Victims

For elder abuse in general, studies have shown that individual-level factors which may increase the risk of abuse include the gender of the victim. Women likely have a higher risk of more constant and severe forms of injury and abuse.

shutterstock_264466154-11-300x200The statistics about the frequency of nursing home abuse and neglect are far too common. It doesn’t even take in consideration, the numerous cases that go unreported every year. When it does happen to them, nursing home residents may be reluctant to speak out because they are afraid that reporting it will result in additional abuse. Sometimes victims of abuse carry shame and embarrassment and sometimes they suffer from dementia and other ailments which make it difficult to report the mistreatment. To help protect your relatives and loved ones, you can ask them questions that can get them talking and can result in exposing nursing home abuse.

 Questions about Daily Activities

 It’s important to ask about the residents’ daily activities and whether anyone is interfering with them. When this does occur, it can be considered willful deprivation and shows signs of neglect or a form of emotional abuse that attempts to exert control over individuals. Here are questions to ask:

shutterstock_240339163-300x200When you and your loved one decides that it’s time for them to move into a nursing home, you have likely made the decision based on the difficulty of them staying in their own home. You expect to depend on the care that they will receive from the nursing home staff. On some occasions, your loved one may need additional help that the nursing home can’t directly supply.

When something goes wrong with a nursing home resident, the first course of action is often to treat the problem onsite first. Depending on the level of harm, this may not be enough to treat the resident. The type of medical issues that older people generally have may require more specialized care that makes a visit to the hospital necessary.

This is why efficient hospital care is a pivotal part of an elderly person’s health care management and should be part of the consideration for nursing home residents. Included in this plan is making certain that speedy transportation is readily available.

shutterstock_680112613-300x163Your loved one is having trouble remembering certain facts; they are disoriented and confused about a lot of details. It seems like they may have a condition beyond just aging memory issues and something more akin to developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It’s worth investigating whether your loved one needs Memory Care and if so what to look for in a nursing home that offers this type of specialized care.

What is Memory Care?

Memory Care differs from regular care at nursing homes or assisted living facilities because Memory Care is specifically designed for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Unlike an assisted living facility where a resident has enough independence to set their own schedules, (such as deciding when they will eat and when to engage in activities) a Memory Care facility is more like a nursing home in that the resident must have the staff manage their time and attend to their needs very closely.

shutterstock_1741881821-300x199For residents moving into nursing home facilities, there are a lot of things they must face when they move out of their own homes. Unfortunately, one of the things that they may encounter is abuse of various types, including physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and neglect. But one aspect of the abuse faced by seniors is that a lot of it remains unknown. Some studies indicate that as many as fourteen or fifteen cases of elderly abuse go unreported. Understanding why this happens isn’t simple, but there are possible factors that help to explain this phenomenon. Read on to learn about five reasons why nursing home abuse is frequently unreported.

  1. Failure to Recognize Signs: Nursing home abuse isn’t always obvious, even to the victims. Many of the relatives and loved ones of nursing home residents aren’t familiar with the signs of abuse and thus, don’t take note of them when they occur. Even the nursing home staff may not properly identify the signs of abuse either because they erroneously associate the symptoms with the residents’ age, medical conditions, or cognitive issues, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This impacts the residents’ own perceptions of what happened to them and makes it difficult to describe the situation or in some cases, adequately recall the experience if they are suffering from emotional conditions, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or are disabled. While different forms of nursing home abuse manifest in multiple ways, there are various red flags to look out for. Watch out for the following indicators of abuse:
  • Bedsores;

shutterstock_251528320-300x200One of the main reasons for placing your loved one into a nursing home may be that they need care and supervision they simply can’t get at home. However, this very important factor may be undermined by understaffing in nursing homes. Unfortunately, understaffing in nursing homes is a common problem throughout the country. Read on to learn about the understaffing problems in nursing homes and how the resident to staff ratio can impact the quality of care in these facilities.

Immobile Residents

Since many nursing home residents have mobility issues and have difficulty moving independently, they rely heavily on staff for help. For instance, understaffing can lead to occasions when the staff members are unable to turn the residents in bed enough times or to move them around to avoid muscle atrophy. Because they occur when an individual remains in the same position for too long a period, bedsores can also occur. Immobility can also lead to skin infections, and falls, which can result in even more serious injuries.

shutterstock_382311643-200x300It’s never an easy decision to place your loved one into a nursing home. And it certainly isn’t easy for an individual to make the transition from living at home to living in a new setting. However, in the sea of new faces and different furniture and walls, a few well-placed keep sakes can help an unfamiliar setting feel more like home. So, you decide to make sure that you’ve packed Mom’s favorite jewelry and picture frames when she moves into her new nursing home. Then you’re dismayed when you discover that her items have disappeared. Your mom’s things were taken from her room. Unfortunately, theft in nursing homes is a common problem. Read on to learn about information about nursing home theft and guidance on how to deal with this issue.

Common Types of Property that Go Missing in Nursing Homes

Obviously, any object can be taken from the nursing home. However, there are certain items that are more likely to be reported missing. They include the following:

In recent years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has drawn attention to a source of increasing concern for nursing home residents: Candida auris, also known as C. auris, a fungus that causes “bloodstream infections and even death” in those it affects. Like many infections, C. auris infections are particularly dangerous for those who are already suffering from other conditions. Described by the CDC as “a serious global health threat,” C. auris poses a special risk for nursing home residents.

What makes C. auris so dangerous? A few things. The CDC notes that the fungus is frequently resistant to numerous antibiotic medications; that it is “difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods”; and that it is even prone to misidentification by laboratories without certain technology. This places elderly populations, especially those in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, at heightened risk. A New York Times report published in September 2019 described a June 2019 study that found “patients and residents in long-term care settings have alarmingly high rates of drug-resistant colonization, which means they carry the germs on their skin or in their bodies, usually without knowing it, and can pass them invisibly to staff members, relatives or other patients.” The study in question “focused on Southern California,” finding that 85% of nursing home residents “harbored a drug-resistant germ.” The CDC has also found that the infection proliferates in long-term healthcare centers

The Times reported that 800 cases of C. auris infection have been identified in the US since the fungus was first reported here in 2015. In August 2019, the CDC updated that count to 806. That includes 388 confirmed cases in New York; 227 confirmed cases in Illinois; 137 confirmed cases in New Jersey; 24 confirmed cases in Florida; and five confirmed cases in California. The Times attributes C. auris’ easy spread through nursing homes to a few factors, in addition to the prevalence of nursing home patients on multiple antibiotics to which the infection has already developed a resistance. Nursing homes are frequently understaffed and under-resourced, according to the Times, and struggle to “enforce rigorous infection control.” They often cycle infected persons in and out of hospitals, putting those hospitals’ patients at risk of the infection too. One health expert told the Times, “You’ll never protect hospital patients until the nursing homes are forced to clean up.” Basic hygienic measures, such as “using disposable gowns and latex gloves,” are essential to combating the infection, yet often unfollowed by long-term care centers, according to the Times. Experts also attribute the infection’s spread in the US to healthcare economics “that push high-risk patients out of hospitals and into skilled nursing homes.” Under the US’s healthcare system, these experts told the Times, “nursing home facilities are reimbursed at a higher rate to care for these patients… providing an economic incentive for poorly staffed or equipped facilities to care for vulnerable patients.”

Each year, more than one in three seniors in San Diego sustain falls and serious injuries. In some instances, falls are the result of elder or nursing home abuse and/or neglect. But in other instances, falls are purely accidental.

More and more elders (defined by California statute as those over the age of 65) are choosing to reside in their own home versus living in an assisted living facility or with relatives. Although there are wonderful reasons to live in your own home as long as possible, it’s important to note that elders are at risk of suffering injuries from a fall, which often times could have been prevented.

Typically, falls are responsible for 60% of in-home injuries. However, statistics show that programs to help prevent falls in the home are effective.

According to the World Health Organization, dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people. Dementia, which is a syndrome in which there is a deterioration in memory, behavior and thinking, causes many who suffer from it to lose the ability to perform their regular activities.

Elders are stricken with dementia far more than any other age group. In many cases, dementia is the reason an elder moves into a nursing home. Dementia is also often to blame for what is known as “elopement” or in layman’s terms, wandering. Elders with dementia may develop wandering tendencies, wherein due to cognitive impairment, they begin to wander around their nursing home unsupervised and without an escort.

Wandering may lead to serious injury as the result of falling. In some cases wandering has even led to death, in cases where residents have wandered outside of their residential facility. Though rare, wandering is dangerous enough that lawmakers included provisions to protect against it in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. The law required that nursing homes must provide residents with adequate supervision in effort to prevent elderly patients from wandering. That means of course, that nursing homes must be properly staffed.

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