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Why nursing home residents may be susceptible to abuse

As a CNN report published in March 2017 explains, abuse and assault seem to be problems in many nursing homes. For example, a single aide was able to hop from home to home even though there were many possible cases of abuse swirling around the individual.

Here is a look at why residents in nursing homes are particularly at risk for abuse.

Incomplete background checks and a lack of staffing

Finding adequate personnel to work in nursing homes (and retaining them) is frequently a challenge. A shortcut that many places take is to conduct incomplete background checks. For example, they may use databases that are not known for having the most updated information but that are relatively inexpensive. As a result, many nursing home personnel have criminal convictions. In ideal cases, state and national databases would be checked for a wide range of crimes.

Similarly, hiring managers tend to not take the time to contact references and ask questions thoroughly. So, allegations of abuse at a past employer may never come back to haunt a nursing aide applicant.

An imbalance of power

Quite a few nursing home residents are more dependent on nurses and other personnel than they would like to be. Bathing, grooming and other daily life activities may require help. This can create a power imbalance that leaves residents vulnerable to a person who has more “authority” and who has access, however improper, to their bodies. In fact, when memory issues or physical frailties are in the picture, as is often the case, it is easy to self-rationalize a touch or a feel here and there. The thing is, these behaviors can escalate and even lead to injuries such as broken bones.

Many types of abuse are possible in nursing homes and include sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. If you suspect someone may be abusing your loved one, an attorney can help you determine what move to take.

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