Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious issues that affect some of the most vulnerable members of society. This kind of mistreatment can take many forms, ranging from physical abuse to neglect of basic needs. Each presents unique risks to residents and challenges for nursing home staff and administrators.
Understanding these issues is crucial for families with loved ones in nursing homes. It’s essential to recognize the signs of these problems and understand the measures that can be taken to prevent them. This awareness is critical for better ensuring the safety and well-being of nursing home residents.
Falls in nursing homes
Falls are a common and serious problem in nursing homes. Various factors, including environmental hazards, improper footwear, inadequate staffing or a lack of appropriate mobility aids, can cause them. The consequences of falls can be severe, ranging from minor injuries to fractures or even death. Preventing falls involves staff training, regular risk assessments, proper facility maintenance and individualized care plans for each resident. When such measures are inadequate or ignored completely, falls that occur may be rooted in neglect or negligence.
Wandering and elopement
Wandering refers to a resident moving around a facility without any specific purpose or direction, possibly leading to elopement, where the resident leaves the facility entirely. These incidents are particularly concerning for residents with cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Nursing homes are responsible for implementing measures to prevent wandering and elopement, such as installing secure doors, providing adequate supervision and using tracking devices when necessary and appropriate. Failure to take these precautions can result in residents getting lost or injured, which may be considered neglect.
Resident-on-resident violence is another significant issue in nursing homes. This can occur due to a variety of reasons, including conflicts between residents, overcrowding and residents with behavioral problems or mental health disorders. Nursing homes must have adequate staffing and trained personnel to manage and prevent such incidents. Staff should be trained in conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques, and there should be clear policies for managing violent or aggressive behavior.
Nursing homes have a duty to keep residents safe. When this doesn’t occur because of negligence or abuse, the victim of an incident may opt to take legal action. This can help them to recover the financial expenses caused by the nursing home’s actions or inactions.