What Leads to Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

When we hear about cases of nursing home abuse we are understandably horrified. It is difficult to believe that there are people who would prey on those who are among the most vulnerable. Since many elderly people are so frail, or suffer from health conditions, this makes the situation even more alarming. The problem has attracted the attention of not only the media, but also politicians and prominent health officials.

It has been argued that the only real way to deal with the problem is to get to the root of it. This means understanding the key factors that cause these incidents to occur.

The Causes of Nursing Home Abuse

Some nursing homes simply do not do enough to address the issue of nursing home abuse and neglect. This may explain why the problem is so widespread. Often, administrators do not feel obligated to take action until forced to do so. Some of the reasons why nursing home abuse and neglect occur are:

  • Failure to perform a proper background check on potential employees. This can lead to the hiring of people with criminal records or past history of abusing patients.
  • Overcrowded nursing homes are also a major problem. In an effort to boost profits some homes may take on more residents than they can handle. Naturally this will lead to a decline in the level of care provided as there is not enough staff to adequately care for patients.
  • Inadequately trained staff is also a big problem. Without the right training, attendants may not know how to handle certain situations. In fact they may be unprepared for all the issues that could arise. If they are well trained, they will understand what is required of them and find solutions when faced with certain issues. Some nursing homes employ untrained staff in an effort to cut cost, but this can spell trouble.
  • Staff shortage as finding qualified persons to care for elderly residents can be difficult. This increases the risk of abuses occurring as nerves become frayed due to staff being overworked.

Problems can also arise when staff members are not well treated by the nursing homes. Unhappy staffers are unlikely to treat the residents well. They may ignore them, or could become so frustrated that they physically abuse the elderly residents. It must also be taken into account that some individuals are simply not suited for this kind of work.

Dealing with Nursing Home Abuse

Some signs of nursing home abuse and neglect will be noticeable right away. Others may not be so obvious. The first thing to do if you suspect abuse of a loved one is talk to them to find out if everything is OK. If they are edgy when questioned or you see signs that all is not well, make your concerns known to the home’s administrator. Naturally, you would expect a prompt response, but this is not always the case.

Some nursing home owners and administrators are unwilling to own up to abuse, fearing bad publicity. Many relatives of victims report being given the run-around when they try to get answers. So what options are available to you in these situations?

A report can be made to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). The organization has offices in many states, and is used to dealing with this issue. There are also citizens’ advocacy groups that try to tackle this problem head on.

It may become necessary to file a lawsuit to try to compensate your family member for the abuse they suffered. There are experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in all states who can be of help. Finding a Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorney would be your best choice if making a claim in that city.

An experienced lawyer can also assist in getting access to employment records and other information which could be vital to a successful outcome. Everyone wants to know that their loved ones are being treated with the dignity they deserve by caregivers who are paid to do so.