A study completed in 2015 revealed that nursing home abuse was becoming more and more common in Medicare approved nursing home facilities. The majority of the cases examined actually caused immediate danger to the patients. The study was based on nearly 150 nursing homes and their state inspections, with all of the homes relying on state and federal funding.
Some examples of the abuse that was revealed by the study included severe burns, patients escaping from the facility, patients being provided with the wrong medicines, and patients being so neglected that they were not provided with even the most basic hygiene, and were therefore allowed to lie in their own waste for extended periods of time. The elderly patients who didn’t have friends and relatives to check up on them were at the greatest risk of such abuse and neglect, though this is not the actual reason for the abuse and neglect. Rather, having someone to check up on them ensured that the abuse and neglect was caught and addressed more quickly, by removing the loved one from that facility or by confronting the staff.
The actual reason for the increase in abuse and neglect cases in Arizona nursing homes is cited as being due to undertrained caregivers and a lack of adequate staff in these facilities. Some say that the certified nursing assistants are not receiving enough training, with the 120 hour requirement being less than what is actually needed to ensure that the caregiver is adequately trained to care for the elderly. 120 hours might sound like a lot, until you find out that your local hairdresser had to complete 1,600 hours to receive their cosmetology license.
It’s true. The people who do your hair and makeup are better trained at their professions than the people who are providing care to your elderly loved ones. Your grandmother could get her hair done by someone who is more skilled at their profession than the person who is tasked with giving her the medication that she needs each day.
Of course, simply requiring more training for CNAs in nursing homes might not solve the problem, because there is already an issue of such facilities being understaffed. In fact, with this in mind, it could cause the problem of understaffing to become much worse. As it is, the caregivers at nursing homes are working too many hours and not getting enough rest in between shifts. Many are working double shifts and rarely get a break.
How Can I Spot the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
In a perfect world, you could count on the staff of your loved one’s nursing home facility to provide care, without having to look for signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, in this imperfect world we live in, it falls to the loved ones of the elderly to keep an eye out for any indications that abuse or neglect are affecting them.
This means that you’ve got to make the effort to visit your loved one as often as possible and to actively look for these signs. For example, if you notice bed sores on your loved one – and you’ll have to actually look for them – this could be an indication that the person is not receiving adequate care and attention. If you notice that your loved one is not wearing clean clothes and/or that their faces, hands, and living environment are dirty, then you should be alarmed by this. Your loved one should receive proper hygiene care, and if they are not, they are being neglected. You should also watch for illness and issues that could indicate that your loved one isn’t being provided with their medication.
You can also watch out for other injuries, like bruises or broken bones that are not adequately explained and addressed. While injuries can occur through accidents, your loved one should be supervised well enough to prevent such injuries from happening. If it is a repeated issue, then there may be neglect or abuse. Finally, if your loved one is acting strangely, fearful or depressed, then this could also be in indication that something is wrong. Many elderly individuals are not able to express themselves as they once could, which could be one of the reasons that they are in the assisted living facility in the first place. It is up to you to notice changes in their mood and behavior and to spot any other indications of neglect or abuse.
The Newest Form of Nursing Home Abuse is Social Media Exploitation
If you think that you have enough to worry about in keeping an eye out for physical and behavioral signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, you will be upset to learn that nursing home abuse has entered the age of technology and social media. More and more nursing home patients are having their privacy violated and are being mocked on social media by their caregivers. Nursing home staff members have been caught publishing photos of the residents that are degrading and dehumanizing as well as completely illegal, as a violation of privacy.
There have been dozens of cases like this since 2012, with the photos of nursing home residents being published online with the victims either naked or partially disrobed, and with captions that are derogatory and mocking in nature. Such incidents are rarely ever reported by the facility. Rather, they are reported by other staff members and individuals in the community who have seen the photos posted on social media accounts.
Has Your Loved One Been Abused, Neglected, or Exploited?
If you have a loved one in a nursing home who has been abused, neglected, or exploited, you can take action. You can do so by confronting the staff, removing your loved one from the given facility, and contacting a skilled Arizona nursing home abuse attorney. Call Warnock MacKinlay Law to schedule a free consultation and learn what you can do about this injustice.