Menard, IL-The abuse and neglect of elders at home or long-term care facilities is a serious issue which has many facets. Some of these seniors are abused family members or other people close to them, but in many instances, they are abused by the staff at the home they were placed. Because abuse and neglect is so prevalent in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, background checks of staff are extremely important, but often fail to comprehensive enough.

Under state and federal regulations, nursing homes are required to conduct background checks on the staff members they hire. The purpose is to weed out any staff members who have abused or financially exploited a patient in the past. These background checks also help eliminate candidates who have a history of criminal activity which would make them likely to abuse drugs, which can jeopardize the safety of an individual, steal or have a propensity towards violence.

It should be comforting to know that long-term care facilities screen their hires, but in reality some facilities are not thorough enough or they are not followed up on once they are complete. As a consequence some people who should not be employed in the elder care industry are hired and many patients are put at risk.

Even with a background check, it is impossible to prevent abuse or neglect. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 22 percent of nursing home residents said they were subjected to abuse and 21 percent said they were neglected. With 3.2 million people in nursing homes and over 16,000 seniors in living-assisted facilities, that equates to tens of thousands of seniors who are abused or neglected, the NCEA reports. This is a glaring indication that facilities are not conducting thorough enough background checks on some of the people they hire.

Nursing homes also often hire individuals who do not have the correct training to deal with some elderly patients, especially those who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Lacking the proper training, some of these staff members are unable to understand or meet the needs of some patients, which because of their advanced age can put their health at a significant risk and in some extreme cases, lead to death.

Neglect can take many forms but usually entails intentionally or unintentionally denying a resident their basic needs. When a patient is denied food or water because a staff member doesn’t have time to assist them to the toilet of change their underpants, they are vulnerable to dehydration. Not moving an immobile patient regularly can cause bed sore which can lead to serious or deadly infections. Patients who are neglected are also prone to falls.

Many of the people hired by nursing homes care deeply about their patients and work to ensure they are comfortable and safe, but it only takes the actions of one person to sully the profession. Properly screening employees is in the best interest of all parties; the facility, their employees and their residents. Without the proper screening, a nursing home abuse attorney will hold that facility accountable when a resident is abused or neglected.