In the wake of nursing home abuse or neglect allegations, community members and victims’ loved ones are often astonished and left wondering how such deplorable actions could have occurred.
Sadly, there are a number of factors that contribute to the victimization of nursing home residents across the country.
- Staffing problems: Some facilities are woefully understaffed. Others hire workers who are not fit or capable of providing care to vulnerable, high-needs patients. Still other facilities are poorly run and lacking adequate management.
- Prioritization of finances above all else: People and facilities that put profits above patients cut corners, eradicate beneficial programs and make decisions that may save money but are not in the best interests of the patients.
- Vulnerability of the patients: The unfortunate reality is that many elderly nursing home patients suffer from medical conditions such as dementia and memory loss that make them targets for abuse and neglect. Patients in these conditions can be subjected to physical abuse, over-medication and emotional trauma because they may not be able or willing to report the behaviors.
- Poor oversight and accountability: Poor oversight and reporting has allowed this harmful environment to persist. Federal agencies and lawmakers recognize the inadequacies. The Senate Finance Committee has recently become active in advocating for nursing home reform in facilities across the country, and has even introduced the Nursing Home Reform Modernization Act, but there are no easy answers or solutions.
Hopefully, continuing to make people aware of these factors and shining a light on troubling conditions can help to prevent occurrences of abuse or neglect.
Unfortunately, there will still be workers and facilities that contribute to the mistreatment of patients and residents, despite promises to protect and care for them. As such, it is crucial for family members to be diligent about checking on loved ones and taking legal action on their behalf if they suspect mistreatment.