When we place our loved ones in nursing home, there should be piece of mind knowing that they are in a safe place and are being well taken care of. But every day, we hear horror stories about the horrendous abuse our senior citizens suffer in the care of nursing homes. Nursing home abuse can be in the form of physical, sexual or verbal abuse.
A new study commissioned by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that one on three nursing home patients suffer abuse at the hands of the very people who are in charge of taking care of them.
Almost one-third of this country’s nursing homes – 5,283 – were cited for 9,000 incidents of abuse in just a two year period. That number could be underestimated, since other studies have shown that only 1 in 14 elderly people tell someone that they are being abused.
There are multiple incidents in the report of nursing home patients being slapped, punched, kicked or choked by employees, causing broken or fractured bones, lacerating and other injuries.
According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), physical abuse is the most common form of abuse against nursing home patients. But if you facing having to place your loved one in a nursing home, there are steps you can take to ensure their safety.
The first thing to do is research. Over 90 percent of nursing home facilities are understaffed. An understaffed facility can breed problems. Check out if the homes you are considering have had any complaints filed against them. When you do narrow your search down to a couple, visit them to check out how they are run and how the staff is.
Once you have placed your family member in a home, it is important to visit often. This helps send a message to any potential perpetrator of abuse that your loved one has people supporting them and watching out for them.
Be alert to any signs of abuse. Common signs that should alert you that something may be going on are sudden weight loss, dehydration, bed sores or any scratches or bruises. Also watch for any injuries that may happen because of the improper use of chemical or physical restraints.
If you do suspect abuse, report it immediately with the proper law enforcement agency and elder services agency in your area. You should also contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney to find out what other legal recourse you may have.