Factors that Contribute to Nursing Home Abuse


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As the number of elderly individuals increases in the general population, there is a greater number of persons entering nursing and assisted living facilities either of their own volition or due to family.

The numbers may become staggering in the United States as many older persons enter advanced years. The industry of nursing homes and living facilities that provide assistance has grown exponentially due to this phenomenon which in turn provides more jobs for nurses and staff. More money has been allocated to these facilities to ensure loved ones of advanced ages are taken care of and given a peaceful place to reside.

The expansion and increase in the nursing home and assisted living industry has caused these facilities to acquire staff that may be inexperienced or lack training. This is due to the increase of workers needed quickly. Background checks may be lax or non-existent and abuse may be the result due to stressful situations and clashing personalities of employees and residents. When spending is applied to certain areas but lacking in others, abuse may be the outcome. This means that the best resources may not be attainable, and properly trained staff may not be available. Overworked and inappropriate employees may cause incidents of abuse with elderly residents within these facilities.

Abuse in the Nursing Home

There is a variety of abuse types that may occur in a nursing home which occurs when someone working in the facility is knowingly, intentionally or negligently causing harm, injury or a risk of either to anyone that is weak, impaired, disabled or vulnerable to attack. One of the most common types of abuse observed is the physical form. This is considered to be punching, slapping, pushing or the deprivation of basic human needs to any person. Another form of physical abuse is when the resident is inflicted with pain or injuries. Also included is the threat of bodily harm or intimidation that it may occur.

Emotional or verbal abuse also occurs in the nursing home. This is when the resident is placed in distress, mental forms of pain, duress and similar states. The affected individual may become agitated, nervous, anxious or become isolated due to this abuse. Non-consensual acts of a sexual manner may transpire with an elderly person and a member of staff. This type of abuse could cause long-term damage even if the affected victim has dementia. Neglect is another common type of abuse most often found in a nursing home. This is usually through a refusal of basic needs such as food, liquids, protection from the elements and medical assistance. Any failure to provide what should be given in these facilities may be determined to be abuse of some form.

Causes of Abuse

While there are numerous reasons abuse occur, the two main causes are due to the inexperience of nursing employees and caregivers to the elderly as well as a lack of qualifications of these workers. Experience is an essential part of a job, but it is vital when the needs of a person are involved. Abuse found in nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be unintentional in nature due to frustrations or the stress that staff is placed under when working in these companies. This means if an inexperienced worker is placed in a stressful situation where an elderly person is involved, he or she may act out and harm or retaliate against the resident. These circumstances are how prolonged and long-term abuse start.

Nursing employees that have been employed for an extensive time in the industry may still have a lack of qualifications. This may be due to not having dealt with certain residents previously such as those with special needs or diets. These vulnerable individuals may be abused when the worker does not have the proper training or experience. Someone assisting elderly persons in these facilities may lack the know-how of helping someone out of bed that has fragile bones or muscles. Other forms of appropriate care may be lacking due to these issues. This leads to abuse through neglect or intentional harm such as bodily injuries.

Legalities and Legal Recourse

It is most often a loved one that recognizes abuse occurring in a nursing home or assisted living facility. These circumstances are presented through symptoms discovered when visiting. It is best to contact a lawyer about the situation and determine how to proceed before the abuse may continue. A legal representative well experienced in abuse in the nursing home and assisted living facilities is necessary. This may hold the company responsible as well as attempt to seek compensation for injury and trauma.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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