Establishing guidelines to prevent nursing home abuse

The expectation of Philadelphia nursing homes is that their staffs will provide care while still showing the utmost respect to their facilities’ residents. Yet if statistics are to be believed, that often isn’t happening. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that of a study they conducted of nursing home residents in 2000, 44 percent of those surveyed said that they had been the victims of nursing home abuse. Yet perhaps an even more shocking statistic is that 95 percent claimed to have been neglected by nursing home staff or seen others subjected to neglect.

The problem of elder abuse is very real, and can have a dramatic impact on victims’ lives. According to data collected by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, those who experience elder abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death than their contemporaries. Yet a statistic showing that nine in 10 facilities is neglecting its residents may seem incredibly high. In many cases, nursing homes staffs may be stretched thin, and the demands of certain residents may not allow well-intentioned staff members to pay others the amount of attention they feel they need.

In order to help protect residents from legitimate cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, it may be helpful for friends and family members to establish guidelines as to what should be viewed as abuse: This should include obvious actions such as:

Special care should be paid to defining other areas that may be open to interpretation, like the expectations for companionship and one-on-one time. Setting such guidelines and talking openly about them may go a long way in preventing such abuse.

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