Saturday, May 2, 2009

beware of abuse #2

In a horrible case of abuse, several teenagers in a nursing home in Minnesota* were charged with hitting, spitting, tormenting and neglecting seniors in their care. I posted previously about Elder Abuse. It occurs in Canada, but rates are difficult to pin point, since unreported cases are hidden. But estimates are between 4 and 10% of older adults in Canada.

This site provides signs of abuse. But I think such abuse can be prevented by only hiring regulated, trained workers, with a registry of workers who have proven themselves capable, trained and able. Working in health care is a priviledge. We need highly trained, monitored, educated and supervised adults to provide care to our frail elderly. With high turnover, poorly defined duties, workers who over step their duties by diagnosing and giving family members poor advice, we cannot rely on the industry to regulate itself.

The government continues to demand that TPAs regulate their own workers, but this is a fragile tower of cards. Workers who steal from residents, bully them, abuse them, have sex with them, and further exploit them will get away with what they are doing.

Family members must visit family members often, or seek professional opinions, early diagnosis of physical and mental health issues to prevent disabled and frail seniors from sinking into decline. Look for missing posessions, over- or undermedicated residents, changes in behaviour, monitor bank accounts, bed sores, unexplained bruising. Visit well and at different times of the day.

Sometimes a senior can be his/her worst enemy. They may not be able to manage their daily needs. You do them a favour by intervening and ensuring that they are well cared for. Be vigilant.

*Read the full US article here: Nursing home elder abuse

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