Elder Abuse Awareness – What To Know
June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. If you are considering elder care for a loved one and want to make sure the facility is a safe placement, you have questions. You might want to know what research needs to be done or what questions to ask. Chances are you are not an expert in this field, so to help you get a better understanding of how to prevent or handle an neglect situation, here is what you need to know:
Elder Neglect/Abuse Facts
Elder neglect/abuse is any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person, according to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. Though we are concentrating on physical abuse, there are other kinds of abuse inflicted on the elderly such as sexual, financial, emotional, neglect, etc. A staggering 1 in 10 persons over 60 report some type of abuse. And those are only the ones that are reported. If you are wondering who is responsible for inflicting the abuse, the list includes children, spouses, and caretakers. In fact, approximately 60% of elder neglect/abuse victimizers are family members, with spouses or children making up the majority of the cases. Those elderly adults suffering the most abuse tend to be those with some form of dementia or other physical disability. Since many are socially isolated from friends and other family members, often abuse goes unnoticed and unreported.
Initial Interview Questions to Ask
If you are considering placement for an elderly adult in a nursing home or assisted living facility, be sure to ask questions of the staff and do thorough research.
1. What is the patient to caretaker ratio? In other words, how many patients will a caretaker, nurse, etc. be responsible for at one time?
2. How often will the elderly adult be seen by a medical professional? You will want to know if there is a doctor on staff, what is his/her availability, and how often is he/she at the facility on routine visits? Is there an RN on staff? Is that on every shift? Are all staff members certified?
3. What kind of care is available to a person with special needs? The person you are placing may need special attention and how will that be covered? What kind of ongoing training is given to staff to handle these situations?
4. Are background checks done on all employees?
5. Have any complaints been filed against the facility? You may want to check this on your own as well.
6. Ask for a tour of the entire facility. Check out physical therapy rooms, dining rooms, bathrooms, and any recreational areas. What kind of activities are provided?
7. Is training on elder abuse provided for staff members?
If you suspect that your loved one might be the victim of elder neglect/abuse, check for the following:
- Bruises, welts or scars that can’t be explained
- Burns or abrasions
- Broken bones, sprains, dislocations
- Broken eyeglasses or frames
- Signs of restraint
- Caregiver not wanting to leave you alone with the elder patient
- Unexplained or significant weight loss
What To Do
If you suspect elder abuse:
- Document conversations and changes in behavior
- Take pictures of injuries
- Document statements for the victim or witnesses if possible
Once you have gathered sufficient information, call your state agency for Adult Protective Services. If you are reporting abuse or neglect of an elderly person in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, call the Missouri Adult Abuse and Neglect hotline at 1-800-392-0210.
If you feel your loved one is in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.
We Are Here For You
Elder neglect/abuse has critical and often fatal consequences. In the event that you or a loved one is a victim of elder neglect/abuse, please give us a call. We would love to help.