Abuse Scandals in Nursing/Care Homes

Introduction

A population of around 3.2 million people are living in nursing/care homes in the UK. As the population ages, around 40% of the adults will be coming to live in nursing/care homes at some point during their lifetime. Many of the people living in these nursing homes are taken good care of, however, some of them might become a victim of abuse. Around 99% of the nursing homes in England are facing issues of abuse.

There is an increasing concern of the adult population becoming victim of “chronic” underfunding. A survey consisting of 1544 nursing home staff identified that 91 out of 92 nursing homes were going through various kinds of abuse. An example of this is an elderly person having to wait to be taken care of or not given enough time to eat.

The outcomes of the research identified a correlation between a high level of abuse, and nursing homes which had high levels of staff burnout. Elderly abuse can often go unnoticed, particularly when the patient is in the residential care facility. Nursing/care home abuse has become an area of serious concern in recent times. Adults who face nursing home abuse are 3 times more likely to die in the following 3 years as compared to those who haven’t faced such abuse. 1 in every 6 nursing home residents become a victim of neglect and abuse each year.

Despite the fact that many people in nursing homes are well-cared for, abuse still continues to be most likely to be committed by the caregiver.

Signs of abuse in nursing homes may include:

  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Cuts, bruises or welts
  • Bed sores
  • Frequently occurring infections
  • Any symptoms of dehydration
  • Emotional outbursts and mood swings
  • Refusal to speak, eat or take medicines
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Lack of cleanliness and poor appearance
  • Changes in mental status

Nursing home abuse can also involve:

Physical Abuse– This abuse can be an event which has caused any physical harm to the person. It may be intentional, for instance, pinching or hitting, or might be due to lack of physical care and neglect.

Sexual Abuse- This abuse is any unwanted exploitation or sexual attention. This will involve sexual attention to a patient who is suffering from a condition due to which he/she cannot express his emotions, for example a patient suffering from dementia.

Psychological Abuse- This abuse cannot be identified easily, but it may include acts of criticising, yelling, humiliating or shaming a patient. Patients who go through such abuse might experience changes in their behaviour.

Neglect – Neglect is often unintentional. For instance, lack of staff in the nursing home. Other cases of neglect may include patients not getting sufficient food, water or clothing, or their problems not being handled responsibly.

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