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Causes of Nursing Home Abuse

The reasons for any kind of abuse can be wide and varied and nursing home abuse also has it's own mix of reasons

Nursing Home Abuse Causes

Nursing home abuse cases happen way too often. The vast majority of people would agree that abusing an elder in a nursing home is an incredibly nefarious act. Why, then, do approximately ten percent of elderly Americans suffer abuse? While there are certainly bad actors, abuse is often due to systemic issues, such as understaffing or poor supervision. Nursing home abuse often occurs due to the following reasons:

Inexperienced and Poorly Trained Staff

Inexperienced and under trained staff may not have the skills necessary to perform all of their job duties correctly. They may not know proper protocols, understand how to administer medication, be able to recognize emergencies, or be trained in how to care for people with specific conditions or diseases. 

Poorly trained staff also might not know how to handle a situation where a resident becomes violent or combative. They may respond improperly by physically or verbally abusing the resident.

Underpaid Staff

Underpaid staff may resent their jobs and vow to do only what they feel they are being paid for. They might feel like they are unappreciated and might not take their jobs seriously. 

Being underpaid can lead to burnout and resentment, and these staff members might take their frustrations out on residents.

Understaffed Nursing Homes

One person can only do so much, and when one person is asked to do more than they are able, some of those things aren’t going to get done. In a nursing home, that might mean a resident doesn’t get bathed or their concerns don’t get heard. 

It becomes very difficult for staff to care of the physical and psychological needs of residents when they are barely treading water. They may even inadvertently mentally or emotionally abuse their residents. 

As staff members start to drop duties just to stay afloat, it may become easier for them to neglect residents. With staff overworked, issues can also go overlooked. 

Currently, there are no federal mandates for the ratio of employees to residents. This means nursing homes can cut costs by employing fewer staff members, thus overworking them and risking the wellbeing of their residents.

Poor Management and Supervision

It is up to managers and supervisors to set the standards for their facilities and hold staff accountable. Poor management can cause residents to be neglected and abuse to go unnoticed. 

Poor management may cause facilities to fall into disrepair. Essential repairs may not be made, and basic items such as toiletries or fresh food may not arrive when they are needed. 

Reasons for poor management can vary widely from one facility to the next; it can be a problem with the whole facility that needs fixed from the ground up, or it could just be one manager.

Overtly Abusive Staff Members

Unfortunately, some staff members purposely abuse nursing home residents. Every profession has bad apples, and when that happens in a nursing home, it can lead to abuse.

nursing home abuse

The Type of Nursing Home Residents That Are Most Likely to be Abused.

Alzheimer’s abuse in nursing homes is common, and it is estimated that half of people with dementia suffer abuse or neglect. These residents are often difficult to communicate with, and staff members know that they most likely won’t be able to speak out about their abuse. 

In general, residents who are more needy are more likely to experience abuse or neglect as well. This can include residents with mental disabilities, mental illness, or physical disabilities.

Wealthy residents may be more likely to face financial abuse as staff might try to steal their money.

The Type of Nursing Home Residents That Are Most Likely to be Abused.

Alzheimer’s abuse in nursing homes is common, and it is estimated that half of people with dementia suffer abuse or neglect. These residents are often difficult to communicate with, and staff members know that they most likely won’t be able to speak out about their abuse. 

In general, residents who are more needy are more likely to experience abuse or neglect as well. This can include residents with mental disabilities, mental illness, or physical disabilities.

Wealthy residents may be more likely to face financial abuse as staff might try to steal their money.

What To Do About Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect somebody is in immediate danger, report nursing home abuse by calling 911. 

If you notice a facility that is neglectful or if you believe the staff is abusing their residents, you can report nursing home abuse. Authorities will investigate and determine what needs to be done to stop the abuse. 

People who have loved ones who have suffered from elder abuse in nursing homes can speak to a nursing home abuse attorney. They can offer legal help and seek compensation for nursing home abuse. 

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