Are your parents, grandparents, or relatives safe in retirement homes? Not according to a recent congressional report released on the issue. According to the report, nearly 1 in 3 of our nation’s nursing homes (5,283 facilities) have been found to abuse the elderly (ABC News). Of these cases, 1,601 of them were “serious enough ‘to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death” (ABC News). The type and degree of the reported cases was wide ranging, however. In some cases, “a member of the nursing home’s staff was accused of committing physical or sexual abuse. In others, staff were cited for failing to protect people from abuse by other residents” (ABC News).
One report, for instance, documents an attendant who struck an elderly woman in the face resulting in a broken nose. Another case involved attendants bribing an elderly man with an intellectual impairment “with cigarettes to attack another resident, then watched the two fight” (ABC News). Unfortunately, these incidences of abuse of the elderly at resident homes appear to be on the rise. As the congressional report indicates, there is a growing trend in abuse cases since 1996.
Part of the problem with many of these retirement homes is that they are run like a business enterprise bent on profit rather than ensuring quality care for its residents. Although correlation does not equal causation, there appears to be a relatively strong connection between the cases of abuse and whether or not a resident home is a for-profit business entity or not. Another potential cause of the rise in resident abuse is the lack of quality staff on hand. Those who work within the nursing home industry claim that these problems are, in part, due to a “nationwide difficulty in attracting and keeping quality, skilled staff” (ABC news).
Regardless of the causes, it is clear that something must be done to ensure greater accountability in our nation’s retirement homes so that the elderly remain safe. If you or a family member has been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse in an Iowa nursing home or other residential care facility, contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help today.
Source: ABC News, “Elderly Abused at 1 in 3 Nursing Homes: Report”, by David Ruppe, July 30, 2016.
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