They are about the last places anyone wants to be, but about 1.6 million people now live in nursing homes in the United States. Thirty years from now, it’s expected to be 5 million.
Many patients are at risk because one out of four nursing homes every year is cited for causing death or serious injury to a resident, according to government figures.
Because many nursing home residents have limited abilities to communicate, identifying potential abuse requires careful monitoring. Looking for the signs of nursing home abuse requires frequent visits to the nursing home or assisted living facility but of the people working there will know if you are watching or sneaking around trying to catch them abusing your parent or friend.
Because nursing homes are open to visitors an monitored 24/7 by it’s nursing staff a hidden camera is the ideal covert solution to record the activities going on day to day and let you know exactly how your loved one is being treated. This is your best chance for recording and documenting physical abuse of your loved one. The problem with hidden cameras is that they need an external recorder like a DVD or VCR to be connected to the it to record. This surely is not possible in a nursing home or other caregiver location.
These are some steps to follow if you suspect that your loved one is being abused.
- Visit frequently. Vary your visits to different times of the day and evening to assess the care provided during all times of the day, night, weekends, and holidays.
- Buy a Stand Alone Hidden Camera and DVR that will record all covert video surveillance. Motion activated real time video or high-resolution “still shots” are recorded on a tiny SD card, housed in a hidden compartment. All recording are time/date stamped for professional security applications. An Secure Digital card is used to record the covert video and is removable from unit and played on your PC via included SD card reader. Playback speed can be changed to 2X or 4X. No additional PC software needed.
- Talk to nurses and aides about your concerns.
- Talk to the Director of Nurses, Social Worker and Administrator.
- Talk to the doctor.
- Call your state survey agency. In each state there is a division of the Department of Health which deals with oversight of nursing homes and enforcement of nursing home regulations. This agency conducts yearly surveys of each nursing home and also investigates complaints filed by family members. Find out who the state licensing agency is from your nursing home. They are required to provide this information to you when your place a resident in the nursing home.
- If you believe the nursing home resident is a victim of any form of abuse or neglect by the nursing home you can and should file a complaint with state Licensing and Certification; they are required to investigate your complaint. The Licensing and Certification division of each state may substantiate your complaint; if they do so, the agency has the authority to issue a citation against the facility, impose a fine, and require corrective action.
Eighty-three percent of elderly Americans have been interviewed and most everyone said they would stay in their homes until the end if they could. Thirty percent say they’d rather die than go into a nursing home. And their fears may be well founded. As there are rising number of abuse in nursing homes due to fact that many workers hired there are not properly screened and many are ex-convicts with a history of physical and verbal abuse. Indeed across the nation, dangerous nursing home workers are not being detected, and elderly people certainly aren’t being protected.
As many as 33 states do some sort of background check on a cross-section of nursing home workers but none require a national background check.
A government report found state background checks aren’t working. In addition, low salaries and the attitude that these people have money, workers often use physical abuse to get and the elders checking and savings account to extort money from them.
It is important to choose a nursing home carefully to ensure your loved one is properly cared for. Asking questions and looking for signs can help prevent instances of nursing home abuse from occurring, and multiple visits to the facility at different times should be considered. When looking at different nursing home facilities here are a few factors that should be evaluated.
Nursing home inspection documents show that more than a quarter of American nursing homes were repeatedly cited for serious violations that caused death or injury to patients. In California, a third of the homes have been cited for causing serious harm or death to patients.
Federal regulators admit, however, that the statistics conceal how bad things really are inside America’s nursing home and law enforcement sees this wide spread abuse to one of the biggest challenges of the next century. State inspections are often unreliable, and most problems in nursing homes go unreported. That’s especially true when it comes to cases of physical abuse. Crimes against the elderly in nursing homes are all too common and hard to prove!
A daughter whose mother was place in a reputable nursing home stated: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, bruises on her neck, on her chin,” he said. “She had some bruises on her legs. She said, ‘What the hell happened to you here?'”
Here are some other testimonials from nursing home elder victims:
“He got real ferocious and started beating me all around the bed,” said Helen Love.
“He choked me and went and broke my neck…and broke my wrist,” she said.
Some elder patients try to fight back but die soon afterwards from the trauma and stress.
In some cases nursing home workers are caught abusing the elderly patients and do some jail time then are released to do it all over again. Criminals get more jail time for simple assault or tax evasion!
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