Millions of older Americans who need help with daily living rely on nursing home care. Unfortunately, too often nursing facilities may try to cut corners to increase their own profits.
Poor hiring practices, understaffing, lack of caregiver training or lack of proper facility management may easily lead to the abuse or neglect of individuals who are already vulnerable. Older adults may also have mental health issues, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, that make it hard for seniors to speak up for themselves.
1. Physical abuse
Older adults are especially vulnerable to even minor acts of physical violence. However, abuse may also include force-feeding, inappropriately using sedatives or physical restraints, or failing to properly administer prescribed drugs.
2. Emotional abuse
Emotional or psychological abuse may include verbal or non-verbal behavior by staff that is harassing, intimidating, belittling or manipulative. Examples of emotional harm may range from insults or threats to purposefully isolating an elder from other residents, family members or friends.
Understaffing is often a major problem in nursing homes, especially since many residents need attentive care to meet basic needs like eating/drinking, taking care of personal hygiene and keeping up with prescriptions. Lack of staff may also mean that new health issues go unnoticed or untreated.
Emotional and physical abuse or neglect can have a huge impact on both the health and quality of life of nursing home residents. Those worried about the standard of care their loved ones receive should know that North Carolina’s Bill of Rights for Nursing Home Residents offers protection against many types of mistreatment.