Beyond the Naked Eye: Are Nursing Home Abuse Cases on the Rise?

medicine, age, health care and people concept - senior woman patient lying in bed at hospital ward

When families chose to place their elderly loved ones in the hands of medical professionals, they do so with the hope that they will be taken good care of by the staff in the facility. However, that is not always the case. In some of these nursing facilities, elder abuse is not uncommon and according to NCOA (National Council of Aging), millions of elderly citizen experience abuse of some kind.

Abuse and Neglect

Any person with a loved one living in a nursing home needs to know the signs and symptoms of abuse. The most common form of abuse in a nursing home is neglect, and this is easily recognizable if people know what aspects to watch out for. Patients with soiled clothes and bed, or patients suffering from frozen joints and bedsores could most likely be victims of neglect. If there are indications that the patient is under or over medicated, then you also know that they are being neglected.

In most cases, neglect occurs as a result of understaffing in the nursing centers. Nevertheless, this doesn’t imply that it is less harmful as opposed to other forms of abuse. If anything, neglect can be deadly especially for patients with Alzheimer or any other complicated illnesses.

In addition to neglect, physical abuse is also common in nursing homes. Every year, approximately 2500 cases of physical abuse are being reported in these facilities. Since physical abuse can be disguised, the actual number of their occurrence cannot be known. However, according to the Office of Inspector General report, there is a rise in cases of abuse in the nursing home. The report reveals that the rate of complaints in these facilities increased by at least 37 percent between 2011 and 2015. Between this periods, more than half of the cases reported were classified as “high priority” or “immediate jeopardy,” the two most severe levels of cases.

Lack of Investigation

Despite the increasing instances of elder abuse in nursing homes and the serious health issues accompanying the abuse, these cases continue to be the least investigated. Moreover, there’s no plan in place to handle cases of abuse in nursing homes.

According to the WHO, by 2050, the number of people above the age of 60 will have doubled, reaching approximately 2 billion worldwide. A good number of these individuals are going to be from middle and low-class countries. Among them, 320 million will be victims of abuse.

Improved policies could go a long way in helping to end abuse and neglect in nursing homes. Unluckily, policymakers tend to overlook these issues. While the low-income areas such as Africa and Southeast Asia may experience elder abuse to a higher degree, the first-world nations such as the U.S. will also be affected. It’s, therefore, important that plans are put in place to help curb these situations.

Conclusion

With the help of a nursing home lawyer, loved ones can be compensated for the neglect and abuse they undergo while in nursing facilities, while at the same time helping to prevent repeated occurrences. While neglect and abuse in nursing homes only account for a portion of the overall abuse happening worldwide, putting an end to it will go a long way in helping to reduce future instances.

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