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Nursing Home Abuse Cases on the Rise

After noticing bruising on their grandmother, two North Texas women decided to hide a camera in her room at a nursing facility. Camera footage revealed that their grandmother’s primary caretaker was verbally and physically abusive. Instead of helping the resident out of her bed gently, the caretaker would yank the 98-year-old woman up by her arm. Daily dressing and undressing proved to be a constant battle between the resident and the caretaker. The caretaker didn’t display gentleness while changing the resident’s clothes and was seen slapping and taunting her multiple times.

Despite their compelling video evidence, the family couldn’t do much to take the nurse’s certification away. Apparently this is one of many instances where nursing home residents suffer at the hand of unpunished facility employees. A study of reported incidents shows that abuse occurs regularly in one third of all United States nursing homes. According to the website of the National Injury Law Center, bed sores, fractures, dehydration, malnutrition, theft, gangrene, septic shock, infection, are all common ailments that neglected nursing home residents suffer from. A reprehensible practice called “double diapering” has landed some nursing home facilities on probation. Attendants will put two diapers on a resident so that they don’t have to take the resident to that bathroom as often.

A report indicates that the amount of nursing homes that have been cited for violations has increased yearly since 1996. Some people credit stringent rules for citing as the reason for this rise in violations. Facilities are legally required to report incidents, sometimes trivial in nature, as abuse. However, many incidents of abuse in nursing facilities are much more serious in nature. Since elderly residents require heightened supervision and care, a mistake like switching medications or not meeting dietary needs can have grave consequences.

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