Nursing home abuse has been an ongoing issue for many years now. While many are led to believe that nursing home staff are the only ones that are to blame for the abuse that is occurring, the fact is, “medical personnel, other patients, family, and even visitors” also contribute to abuse. Although there is nothing that can justify why someone would abuse an aging individual who is vulnerable, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has shared several reasons why abuse occurs.
- Inadequate Staff Supervision
When residents are left unattended or are only checked on every once in a while, it not only puts them at risk of falling or engaging in an accident, but it also opens up an opportunity for others to harm them. Many residents are often physically abused by their roommates and other residents, especially during the times when no staff is around to intervene.
- Job frustration
Working as a staff member at a nursing home is a challenging job that can be both physically and mentally taxing. The reality is, staff members must care for and assist residents who suffer from dementia and other medical conditions that cause them to engage in inappropriate behavior. The Mayo Clinic says that some dementia patients often become agitated and confused, both of which can make a person’s job more difficult to do. Other types of medical conditions can also cause a resident to become abusive or belligerent and a staff member may not be able to contain their own level of frustration which leads to them lashing out.
- Low staff ratios.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes today are understaffed which means there aren’t enough workers to tend to the number of residents living in one facility. This can lead to them being mistreated and abused by individuals coming in and out along with the staff and other residents living there.
- Lack of empathy for the elderly.
Some nursing home staff members are more understanding and patient with aging individuals than others. Some of these residents have become immobile and need help with daily tasks such as using the restroom, bathing, and dressing. Unfortunately, there are certain staff members who grow impatient with these individuals rather quickly and often inflict harm when they aren’t able to do the things the staff member has asked of them.
- Lack of training skills
Although staff members working in nursing homes are required to undergo some sort of training, some aren’t proficient in caring for an aging person who can be difficult or noncompliant. This can result in them neglecting them or mistreating them simply because they have become overwhelmed or frustrated.
- High stress
When a staff member becomes overly stressed, whether it is because the job requires too much of their time or attention or they are experiencing trouble at home, it can lead to them feeling depressed, irritable, and even angry [Source: Mayo Clinic]. And sometimes, they take their anger and frustration out on the wrong person-the person they should be caring for.
Now, there are plenty of other factors that contribute to nursing home abuse and you can read about them by visiting the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ website. If you have a loved one currently living in a nursing home, it is important for you to acknowledge that nursing home abuse is occurring each and every day in facilities all across the U.S. and in order to prevent your loved one from becoming the next victim, you take time out of your day to go and visit them regularly.
If you suspect that a family member of yours might be the victim of abuse but aren’t sure if you should discuss this with any of the staff, why not contact one of our MD nursing home abuse attorneys who can help you make an informed decision as to how you should handle the situation. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys in Baltimore, MD have years’ worth of experience and help individuals experiencing similar circumstances on a daily basis.