Statistics of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is a problem in the United States that is not easily understood. It affects a considerable, vulnerable portion of the population who are living in facilities that are supposed to protect them. Focusing on the enormity of the problem by looking at nursing home abuse statistics may help administrators, government agencies and families weed out the perpetrators of abuse.
How Can Families Deal With Nursing Home Abuse?
The best way families can deal with nursing home abuse is to not subconsciously ignore its presence. Abuse in nursing facilities is not blatant for the most part and might be hidden behind a caring facade. Administrators and family members need to be vigilant, watching for signs that it is happening, usually behind closed doors.
While nursing home residents often see or are aware of abuse happening to other residents, they may be afraid of mentioning it for fear of retribution. Family members are in the best position to look for signs of abuse since they know the resident better than the caregivers at the facility. It is also essential that staff police themselves by reporting suspicions of abuse.
Common Complaints of Nursing Home Abuse
Many families in the United States, including South Carolina, face the fallout of nursing home abuse problems each year. Currently, there are roughly five million cases of abuse in nursing homes on a yearly basis. This figure is considered to be low since only one in 20 cases is actually reported, according to the National Council on Aging. Other statistics are:
- About 36 percent of nursing home residents have seen at least one episode of abuse.
- Roughly 10 percent of the staff in some nursing homes are said to abuse a resident of the facility.
- Forty percent of staff anonymously admitted to abusing a resident of their facility.
Why Nursing Home Abuse Happens
Overall, a major part of the abuse is caused by neglect. Factor in that some facilities are too understaffed to provide the care that residents need and you have a clearer picture of why abuse is occurring. Other facts relevant to the problem are:
- Currently, there are 15 patients assigned to each nurse’s aide. In some nursing homes, the ratio is 1:30. Authorities recommend a much smaller ratio of one nurse’s aide to every three patients at mealtime and 1:6 when meals are not being served. Having the lower ratio at mealtime makes it possible for aides to help the residents with their meals and to ensure that they are well-nourished.
- Ninety percent of all nursing homes in the country have lower than needed staff. This leads to a lack of adequate care and, ultimately, neglect.
- State surveys are often inadequate, and 70 percent don’t report a minimum of one deficiency.
Finding Reasons for Abuse
It is important that families look at specific aspects of life in a nursing home before choosing one. Some areas that are critical are:
- Experience of nursing home staff
- How much training staff receives
- Who monitors the staff and is supervision adequate
- What steps are taken to discipline staff after a deficiency is found
- What ratio exists between caregivers and residents at the nursing home
- Does the nursing home have a way for staff to report deficiencies
Morris Law in the Myrtle Beach Area
At Morris Law, we are concerned about the elders in our community and work diligently to protect them when families ask for our assistance. If you witness a reason to be concerned about a family member living in an elder care facility, let us know. We will set up a free review of your concerns and take steps to stop abuse from happening. Call us at (843) 232-0944 in the Myrtle Beach area. You can also contact us online.