Nursing home abuse is an act or omission by a caregiver or professional staff member that causes harm to a vulnerable adult. Over 1.5 million Americans are living in nursing homes. That number is expected to increase exponentially as the Baby Boomers begin to age and need residential care. It is believed that 43% of people will need some type of nursing home care during the course of their lifetime. Nursing home abuse is increasingly becoming a concern in society. Most residents living in nursing homes are already vulnerable because they have to rely on others to care for them and fulfill their basic needs. Unfortunately nursing home staff can take advantage of that vulnerability. It is estimated only 20% of nursing home abuse incidents are reported. Often residents are embarrassed or ashamed of what happened to them and are afraid to discuss it.
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. The abuse may be caused by failing to perform staff background checks, placing the desire for profits over patients’ needs and staff negligence. Many times, nursing home staff lack proper education, training and supervision for the duties they are assigned. In addition, there are high employee turnover rates in most nursing homes and staff compensation is low.
It is important that nursing home abuse be reported in order to protect residents from further harm. All nursing home abuse and neglect are criminal acts, punishable by law and should be reported immediately. This will help to ensure the abuser is removed from the facility and future abuse is prevented.