Blog

How to Stop the Cycle of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

8 Aug 2019 0

7 Ways to Stop the Cycle of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be liable liability for of Elder Abuse.
Elder abuse takes on many forms:

  • Psychological,
  • Physical, and
  • Financial.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities continue to experience record-breaking reports of abuse and neglect. 2 million seniors are victims of elder abuse each year according to the American Psychological Association.

Documented reports of elder abuse likely are but the tip of the iceberg. Some statistics suggest that for every report of elderly abuse, as many as five others go unreported. This means that estimates of elder abuse likely is dramatically higher than the actual reports.

Causes of elder abuse:
#1: Understaffing

A major cause of nursing home neglect is understaffing. Large corporate-run facilities
try to save staffing and labor costs by having skeleton staff numbers when visitation is
low, such as night shift and weekends. Understaffing may result in critical instances of
lack of care and monitoring. Federal and Connecticut regulations mandate that
nursing home employ sufficient nurses and nurse aides to provide appropriate care for
patients.

#2: Inadequate Penalties and Sanctions by Licensing Authorities

State licensing authorities are empowered to fine nursing homes and assisted living facilities. All too often fines and sanctions by licensing authorities are inadequate to deter negligent and irresponsible behavior. Nursing homes that are found to have committed or allowed elder abuse should be fined in an amount that deter negligent and irresponsible practices. A nominal or minimal fine will not have a deterrent effect. In addition, enhanced fines for repeat offenders should be levied.

We recently obtained a multi-million dollar recovery in a case of outrageous nursing home neglect. Prior to filing suit, the Connecticut Department of Public Health had fined the facility a mere $3,000. The nursing home was part of a for profit, privately owned chain of nursing homes. The $3,000 fine was of no consequence to the corporation.

#3: How Families and Loved Ones May Prevent Elder Abuse

– Visits at odd times and unannounced visits will keep staff on their toes toprovide better care to your loved one.
– Appoint a Guardian where loved ones do not live locally. Seniors who are isolated are more vulnerable to elder abuse. This includes seniors with family members who live out of state, seniors who are widowed, or those without close relatives. Nursing aides are more likely to neglect residents who do not have visitors. A guardian can be appointed to oversee such seniors care. Another alternative is to enlist a volunteer agency to provide resident visits.
– Regularly Review Financial Statements. Seniors are at a disproportionately high risk of financial elder abuse as they age. Make sure to review and audit financial statements, credit card bills, and bank accounts to assure no one is exploiting the elderly person.
– If you see something, say something. If you witness or suspect elder abuse report it to management and to the state licensing authority.