Oct 18th, 2011 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Nursing Home Abuse Issues

State Health Facts cites that as of 2009, the United States contains 15,658 nursing homes, and 10 percent of those over the age of 65 will spend some part of their lives in a nursing home.  Accordingly, there is a growing concern about nursing home abuse as the elderly are not always physically or emotionally able to report such injustices.

According to the National Center of Elder Abuse (NCEA), the following are common types of abuse nursing home residents risk falling victim to:

  • Emotional Abuse is “defined as the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts.”  Brent Adams and Associates (BAA) states that emotional abuse accounts for 20 percent of reported abuse cases.
  • Physical Abuse is “defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment.”  BAA says that 16 percent of reported abuses are physical.
  • Neglect is “defined as the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder.” BAA asserts that this form of abuse makes up 12 percent of reported abuses.
  • Sexual Abuse is “defined as non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person.” BAA maintains that 3 percent of reported abuses are of a sexual nature.

Less common forms of abuse range from abandonment to financial exploitation to self-abuse.

Nearly 5 percent of nursing home aids have a criminal record and about one-in-three nursing homes nationally have been reported for abuse.  Given this, how does one recognize when a loved one has fallen victim to abuse?  In addition to providing citizens with common types of abuse, the NCEA teaches concerned citizens the signs of abuse.

Signs of Elder Abuse

Emotional abuse is the most common form of nursing home abuse.  Symptoms of it can mimic behavior usually found in those with dementia (e.g. rocking, biting, etc.) and can also be manifested through emotional agitation or extremely withdrawn behavior.

Physical abuse indications one should be aware of are physical signs, such as unusual bruises or lacerations that have been either treated or untreated; these can suggest unwarranted restraint or blatant physical assault.  Another indication of physical abuse that is not as easily detected is medication over-dosing or under-dosing; this type of abuse is usually identified through medical laboratory work. Additionally, one should become suspicious when a loved one’s behavior changes suddenly or when a caregiver does not allow visitors to see the resident alone.

Neglect is a form of abuse with a broad range of signs. One should regularly visit his/her loved one’s facility to ensure that feeding, hydrating, hygiene, health problems, and living conditions are matters being taken care of in a timely and sufficient fashion.

Sexual abuse, being a form of physical abuse, also has physical signs.  If one is suspicious that a loved one has fallen victim to sexual abuse, he/she should look for bruising or bleeding in private areas, as well as ripped or stained clothing.

Thinking about moving a loved one into a nursing home?  Member of the Family is a website devoted to providing citizens with information on thousands of U.S. facilities to help you find the best possible facility for your elderly loved one. Additionally, they keep up-to-date information on facilities cited for abuse so as to help you avoid putting your loved one in an incompetent facility.

Amy Shoemaker is a guest post and article writer bringing to us her thoughts on the dangers relating to nursing home abuse.  Additionally, Amy writes about this subject for www.nursinghomeabuse.net.

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