Can Background Checks Protect Michigan Nursing Home Residents from Abuse?

Nursing Home CareDetroit, MI-Abuse and neglect of elders at home or in a nursing home is serious, and has many facets. The majority of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members or other people close to an elderly person. However there are many instances in which the elderly are abused or neglected by the staff at of the Michigan nursing home where they were placed. Because abuse and neglect is so prevalent in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, background checks for staff are extremely important, but often fail to be comprehensive enough to adequately protect vulnerable seniors.

Typically, under state and federal regulations, nursing homes are required to conduct background checks on every staff member they hire. The purpose of these background checks is to weed out any staff members who have abused or financially exploited a resident or residents in the past. These checks also help eliminate prospective employees who have a history of criminal activity that would make them likely to abuse drugs, steal or have a propensity towards violence.

It should be comforting to know that nursing homes conduct these screens on new hires, but in reality some facilities do not conduct background checks that are comprehensive enough or they fail to follow up on their findings once the check is 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 of being abused or neglected.

It is impossible to prevent all abuse or neglect even with a comprehensive background check. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 22 percent of nursing home residents have been subjected to abuse, and an additional 21 percent have been neglected. With 3.2 million people in nursing homes, and over 16,000 seniors in living-assisted facilities, those figures equate to tens of thousands of seniors who are abused or neglected across the country according to the NCEA reports. This is a glaring indication that facilities are not conducting thorough enough background checks on some of the people they hire.

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

Many of the people hired by nursing homes care deeply about their patients, and do what they can to ensure they are comfortable and safe. But it only takes the actions of one person to sully the entire profession. Properly screening employees is in the best interest of all parties; the facility, their employees, and most important of all, their residents. If an improperly screened nursing home employee harms an elderly resident, a Michigan nursing home abuse attorney will hold make sure that home is held accountable for the abuse or neglect a resident has suffered.