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Nursing Home Abuse
Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Abuse Attorneys
Abuse of the aged in nursing homes has been documented and discussed for years, yet it still exists in many situations. Poor wages, overwork, and lack of cooperation from administration and physicians contribute to this mistreatment. Estimates of the extent of abuse of patients in nursing homes have been largely speculative and often based on isolated incidences. The most frequent abusive actions are excessive restraints, pushing, grabbing, shoving, pinching, yelling, and swearing at the resident.
In spite of extensive state and federal regulation of nursing homes the quality of life from an interpersonal perspective may at times be deplorable. The primary abusers of elders are aides and orderlies who have had no stress-management training. They sometimes view elders much as children needing punishment. A common form of institutional abuse, fortunately on the wane because of legal and moral pressures, has been that of restraining individuals. Restriction of movement may be one of the most devastating of abuses and has been so embedded in nursing care that only recently has the enormity of such disregard for human dignity become an issue.
The main causes of nursing home abuse include inadequate supervision of patient care, poor coordination of services, inadequate staff training, theft and fraud, drug and alcohol abuse by staff, tardiness and absenteeism, unprofessional and criminal conduct, and inadequate record keeping. Theft of belongings seems to be the most common problem, and the aged who have complained are often dismissed as “confused” or “paranoid.”
Vulnerable elders are also those who live in situations that are potentially neglectful or outright abusive. Nursing abuse may be physical, financial, psychologic, or extreme neglect, either intentional or unintentional. Abusive situations can emerge from overburdened caregivers who have little assistance, great frustration, and little respite. Abusive situations also often arise as a result of substance abuse by willing or unwilling caregivers. Elders rarely report abuse them because they are uncertain whether an alternative situation would be an improvement.
Activities are limited and structured—for example, bedtime, rising time, bathing, television viewing, and recreational activities. Meals are often prescribed by the management and served at specific times of the day only. Adult residents often find restrictions to partake in adult activities, such as having a glass a wine with dinner or a mug of beer while watching the football game. Residents often have little say in the day-to-day decision making of the organization, such as staffing, meals, planned activities, building renovations, and so forth. In some instances, residents are not free to leave the grounds of the facility without permission. Privacy is often not guarded or considered to be a critical human factor in communal living. Residents often have to share bathing, toilet, and bedroom space with virtual strangers. Additionally, many nursing home settings truly resemble institutions in their physical structure, layout, and interior design, and they are often isolated from the center of community life.
In many ways, the resident’s entire life is controlled by the staff of the nursing home. The ability to freely decide what and when to eat, when to shower or dress, when to study or rest, and so forth is often restricted, and such decisions are often made by members of the staff. Many residents of nursing homes often feel as though they are prisoners in such environments.