Each year many families consider putting a parent or grandparent in a nursing home or assisted living facility. When a family places a loved one in a nursing home, they hope that the care they will be reasonable, but sadly, that is often not the case.
How many nursing homes have been cited for abuse?
- Studies reported by the National Center on Elder Abuse showed that in 2008, 3.2 million Americans resided in nursing homes.
- A study conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives revealed that investigators cited nearly 1 in 3 U.S. nursing homes for violations of federal standards, and those violations were not small ones. They either caused actual harm to a resident or had the potential to cause harm.
- One study by the National Center on Elder Abuse reported that 7.6%–10% of study participants experienced abuse in the prior year, and one study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities.
- In 2000, a study that looked at more 2,000 nursing home residents found that 44% of them were abused, and 95% of them reported that they had been neglected or had seen others neglected. Perhaps even more disturbing, that same study found that more than 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating nursing home patients.
What are the effects of nursing home abuse?
Research has shown that elders who experienced nursing home abuse, even modest abuse, have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to other similar adults. And unsurprisingly, victims of nursing home abuse have significantly higher levels of psychological stress compared to other older adults. Also, older adults who are victims of violence have additional healthcare problems, including increased bone or joint problems, digestive problems, depression or anxiety, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
What are the signs of nursing home abuse?
The signs of nursing home abuse can be difficult to spot, but we know where to look. For those with loved ones in nursing homes, it’s important to keep an eye out. Most importantly, your loved one is often suffering in silence. Therefore, if you notice changes in personality, behavior, or physical condition, you should start to question and investigate. While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, the following are some indicators:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
- Injuries from falls.
- Over-medication and over-sedation.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
- A sudden change in alertness or unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
- Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation.
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
- Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses or those who should be in a position of trust are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
- Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments with the caregiver are additional indicators.