(Nursing Home Abuse: Why Does It Exist?)

A minimum training is essential to be imparted to the nursing home personnel to deal with the disabled patients and in recording their conditions. The form records are often used that are maintained quickly however, not dealing with the realities of the conditions of the patient fully. The pay of the nurses and orderlies are often considered very low. Since dealing with the physical requirements of the elderly persons are strenuous, it is normal to have job exhaustion and pressure are quite normal. This leads to lack of concern for the patients. Moreover, the rate of turnover for high job means that the staff members are required to develop strong relationship with the patients. This finally leads to confusion and neglect of patients and sometimes to nursing home abuse. (Nursing Home Abuse: Why Does It Exist?)

Most of the studies have concentrated on the abuse by nurse aides. It does not indicate that other employees are less likely to abuse; instead it indicates that the nursing assistants constitute the largest number of employees and have the greatest opportunity to abuse. Most of the analysis takes the hypothesis that the abusive nursing home employees are not behaving in a malicious, premeditated manner but instead are reactionary to the highly traumatic nature of the work that is attributed to insufficient staffing and time to complete tasks, interpersonal conflict and aggression by residents. The other sources of stress by employees include antagonism exerted by supervisors and family members of the residents. (Abuse in Nursing Homes) An extreme case in this regard was illustrated when the nursing home attendants strolled into the room of a female resident expressed his tiredness and hit the resident in the face to break her nose. In another case occurred in California, a male nurse abused physically two elderly residents while bathing them.

Further in a nursing home in Texas a male nurse attempted to rape a resident in her room. Several reports of physical injury with evidences of fracture femur, hip, elbow, wrist and other injuries have been recorded. (Report: Nursing home abuse widespread) Many such cases are occurring in different nursing homes several of which are left unreported. The physical and mental retardation of the residents more common in the nursing home population handicap the ability of the resident to express reaction of abuse. Some residents are handicapped to communicate and some even are unable to be aware of the abuse and some others are fearful of complaining in view of its worse consequences. Due to such facts the abuse of elders in nursing homes is more prone to be underreported or more frequently unreported. In most of the cases the victims are not capable of complaining about what was done to them. The family members in some of the cases are reluctant to report their suspicions since they fear revenge and that if reported the resident may be removed from the home. In several other cases the facility staff is under fear of losing their jobs or accusations from the co-workers, while they do not want to risk adverse publicity or sanctions from the state. (Nursing Homes Many Shortcomings Exist in Efforts to Protect Residents from Abuse)

Development of quality in the caring facilities and safety of nursing home residents has been cherished goal since long. (Benjamin, 30) Irrespective of some measures at various spheres to put off or discourage resident abuse some weaknesses undermine these protections. To illustrate, the states resort to registries to maintain records on nursing assistants within the state, however these state registries do not incorporate information about offenses committed by nursing assistants in other states. Existence of unauthorized or uncertified staffs like laundry assistants and maintenance workers are not recorded in the registry or recognized by the licensing authorities giving them scope for abuse and entailing difficulty on the part of the authorities to detect unless they have an established criminal record. In some of the states the nursing homes more often do not intimate the authorities about the allegations of abuse instantly.

Besides, the efforts of the states to make the consumers aware of the available protections are considered to be limited in view of no specific telephone number in the telephone books of several major cities earmarked for filing nursing home complaints. The local and state authorities liable for enforcement have a limited role in effectively handling of the incidents of abuse. The police departments in some states are little aware of the investigation activities at nursing homes by the state survey agencies in their locality. Some of them emphasized that investigations by other agencies have already initiated prior to the arrival of the police thus deterring the efforts of police to collect evidence. The association of the state law enforcement agencies - Medicaid Fraud Control Units-MFCU- with unambiguous liability for investigating allegations of patient neglect and abuse in nursing home is not spontaneous. (Nursing Homes Many Shortcomings Exist in Efforts to Protect Residents from Abuse)

The only state in the nation to ban sentimental and physical abuse of nursing home patients is Delaware. In most of the states the nursing staffs that physically assault patients are nabbed under criminal assault charges however rarely one is punished for emotional hurts. The authorities recommend for severe penalties against the abuse since the state is considered to be the only safeguard that they have. (Kerry, 72) In order to ensure the nursing homes extend better caring facilities to the residents a collaborative effort of the federal, state and local supervisory agencies is warranted. (Nursing Homes Many Shortcomings Exist in Efforts to Protect Residents from Abuse) The efforts with regard to ensuring the patients getting the quality skilled nursing care includes among others recruitment, training and keeping frontline nursing staff. (Nursing Home Abuse Increasing)

Irrespective of the fact that the abuse in the nursing home environment is recoded extensively, little significance has been accorded to train the staff on how to identify and defuse potentially abusive situations. It is essential to be aware of the behavioral disorders of the residents and deficits in communications that spark the negative reactions by caregivers. The anger, fear and stress are mostly associated with caring for impaired elderly. The personnel are required to understand the danger signals and burn-out and to have enough opportunities for stress management. This is considered to be the most valuable aspect of the training program. It provides the caregivers the chance to innovate the feelings about care giving. (Keller, 70)

The nursing personnel are possibly dealing with incredible hardships in their personal lives as well as being caught between the unfavorable administrators and difficult patients at work. The differences of opinions between the residents and staff may result in conflicts, however, fully awareness and understanding of the resident and staff cultures and backgrounds can lead to development for both. The non-violent strategies to resolve anger and minimize resident aggression are to be presented through role play and group discussions. The assistants are acquainted with the scheduling of the supervisory authorities and also aware of how to manage reporting the cases of abuse. The possible inferences of not reporting the abuse are to be emphasized and the role of nursing staffs in resolving the abusive situations is very crucial. (Keller, 70)

To conclude, the abuse of elders is growing at an alarming rate in America. The abuse of elders is an extensive problem influencing innumerable elder persons. (Elder Abuse --What It Is and How to Stop It) Presently, more and more families have no alternative but to hand over their loved ones, for their safety, health care and comfort, to the nursing homes. Regrettably, a combination elements like feeble patients not capable of communicating effectively, lack of adequate nursing staff and not properly supervised and trained employees give rise to occurrence nursing home abuse more prevailing. (Nursing Home Injuries) Since the residents of nursing homes are dependent on their staff for most or all of their necessities from food and water to medication and toileting, the care recipients are left in a very vulnerable position and often times without alternative. It is essential to be cautious and pay attention to educate people around us and report elder abuse when we perceive it regardless of personal consequences. (Elder Abuse --What It Is and How to Stop It)


About Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved from

Abuse in Nursing Homes. Special Research Review Section

National Center on Elder Abuse Newsletter. May 2002. Lisa Nerenberg, Retrieved from

Adverse Effects of Drug Changes When Patients Are Transferred Between Nursing Homes and Hospitals. March 19, 2004. Retrieved from

Aronovitz, Leslie G. Nursing Homes Many Shortcomings Exist in Efforts to Protect Residents from Abuse. United States General Accounting Office: GAO Testimony before the Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate. Retrieved from