Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

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Research has shown that nursing home abuse is prevalent all across the United States. Nursing home abuse and neglect is an issue that continues to haunt the elderly population. One third of the 1,600 nursing homes in the United States have been cited for abuse (Whitaker, 2001). According to Hooyman & Kiyak (2005) neglect is defined as caregiver not providing goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm or mental anguish. According to Pillemer (1988) elderly abuse is synonymous to maltreatment, which is defined as deviance from socially accepted standards (legal or regulatory) for management of the interpersonal process, carried out with the intent to harm the patient. This being said I still feel that it is something in which the general public is unaware. Moreover, what makes this issue even more tragic is that it is something that can be prevented. I feel that stopping the abuse from spreading lies in the hands of the family and friends of the elderly individual. The prevention begins at the first moment a nursing home is researched and visited. I think too often people do not ask the right questions and do not have enough knowledge to identify the signs related to abuse. It may be difficult to spot signs of abuse, however, because people tend to define abuse as different things. Signs are defined as the physical evidence able to be seen by others and symptoms are what the victim reports to others (not observable measures). Unfortunately, staff that are the abusers usually use excuses such as the victim is clumsy or accident prone when accused of being negligent. These same staff members have been found to be angry and rough with the residents on a regular basis (NHARC, 2006). According to Nursing Home Abuse Resource Center (2006) frequent visits to the emergency room coupled with unusual bruises in locations such as chest, abdomen, neck and thighs are hard to find yet still are important signs that the elder is being abused. I believe the...
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