Causes Of Nursing Home Abuse

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The number of adults entering nursing facilities and assisted living communities has been growing rather rapidly as the population of elderly adults in the United States expands. To accommodate the growing need for access to long-term care and assisted living as provided by nursing homes, the nursing home industry has expanded rapidly.

The expansion of the nursing home industry has forced many facilities to hire workers that may lack experience or training. The inexperience of nursing staff can be associated with nursing home abuse. In addition, spending and management cuts can also contribute to the increase in nursing home abuse cases. Facilities may not have access to the best resources, or resources that are in good working condition, and management may be overworked and miss incidents of abuse.

Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse occurs when a caregiver or employee in a nursing facility knowingly, intentionally, or negligently acts in such a way that causes harm or a risk of harm to adults who are weak, feeble, or otherwise vulnerable. There are many different forms of nursing home abuse. Some of these forms are briefly detailed below.

Physical: This is a common type of nursing home abuse; it involves pushing, slapping, hitting, depriving individuals of basic needs (food, water, use of the restroom, etc.) or inflicting any other sort of physical pain or injury, or threatening to do so.

Emotional/Verbal: Encompasses the infliction of distress, mental pain, or anguish on an elderly or vulnerable individual. Signs of this abuse can be withdrawal, emotional agitation, or the desire to be isolated.

Sexual: This encompasses any sexual act that is non-consensual.

Neglect: This can be the refusal to provide, or the failure to provide adequate necessities such as food, shelter, water, health care, or protection.

Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
There are a number of different possible causes for nursing home abuse. Two causes which are commonly attributed to nursing home abuse are the inexperience of nursing staff and caregivers, and the lack of qualifications of staff.

Inexperience: Experience is a necessary part of any job, and it is especially valuable in a nursing home. Nursing home abuse is sometimes an unintentional result of a frustrated staff member that is not trained to handle an uncooperative adult residing in the home. An inexperienced staff member might become frustrated and lash out unexpectedly at the senior he or she is caring for. This is what starts most cases of prolonged elder abuse in nursing homes.

In addition, inexperienced staff may not necessarily recognize signs of malnutrition or health problems, thus not doing something to help the residents. Inexperience can lead to health problems or other issues going unnoticed and untreated until it is too late.

Lack of Qualification: This factor is related to inexperienced staff. However, this can be attributed to nursing home staff who have been employed for a significant period of time. If a caregiver does not have the full qualifications needed to deal with the special needs of elderly individuals, or vulnerable individuals, he or she might inadvertently abuse a senior because he or she does not have the proper training. Improper training may lead to a caregiver not helping a resident out of bed properly, into the bathroom appropriately, or not providing other types of appropriate care. Lack of training can lead to cases of physical injury, as well as neglect.

There are other issues that can lead to abuse. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of abuse and look for ways to cease it as soon as it is discovered.

In the event that you believe someone you know is suffering from, or has suffered from, nursing home abuse, it is recommended that you seek legal consultation. A legal professional specializing in nursing home abuse will give you advice about what options you have and what you should do next, as well as work to ensure abusers are held accountable for their actions.


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