Nursing home abuse is on the rise in the United States. America has an aging population. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, “Life expectancy has risen from 68 years in the mid-20th century to the current average of about 81 years for women and 76 years for men…In 2018 there were 29.1 million older women in the United States, compared with 23.3 million older men….It is expected that by 2030 there will be a 50% increase in the number of elders over the age of 65 who require nursing home care.”
This rapidly increasing demographic is accompanied by some horrible and unimaginable national elder abuse statistics in the nursing home and skilled nursing facilities provided by the NCEA: “A recent systematic review that collected self-reports of abuse by residents found high levels of institutional abuse. By type, prevalence estimates reported: psychological abuse (33.4%), physical (14.1%), financial (13.8%), neglect (11.6%), and sexual abuse (1.9%).”
Why does abuse happen so often?
Neglect can be common in skilled nursing facilities because they are short-staffed and many of those providing care have limited experience, or they are not certified and accredited to do the job. Many skilled nursing facilities are chronically understaffed and not always well supervised. The paperwork may have been checked off, but that doesn’t mean what was supposed to have been done was actually done.
What can I do if I think my loved one is being abused?
I don’t think people fully comprehend what is going on in many of our nursing homes and how bad the care can be. Of course, there are facilities that do provide good quality care. It depends on the facility’s commitment and the quality of their staff. Unfortunately, many facilities are just chronically understaffed and the staff on hand can’t do what they need to. Many have poorly trained personnel or personnel who have little to no certifications that are doing care tasks that should be done by a higher level professional. It’s not so much the mobile patients but it’s the bed-ridden patients and those that have mental issues who are dependent upon the staff to help them. Those that are confined to bed have a higher risk of abuse.
South Carolina attorney Grady Jordan is a passionate advocate for victims and their loved ones of skilled nursing facility abuse and neglect. In a recent interview, Grady offered his thoughts on this growing problem.