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Neglect in nursing home care facilities is a common form of nursing abuse. Neglect outweighs other forms of nursing abuse because it can go for days, weeks, or even months unnoticed. Results of neglect result in deteriorating health conditions of the elderly and may lead to the premature death of the elderly people using the facility. Neglect manifests itself through reduced family involvement, where the caregivers don’t update the family of elderly people in the nursing facility about their progressive wellbeing. Furthermore, even when family members visit the facility, neglect can still remain hidden. If the patient (the elderly person in nursing homes) is unable to communicate, the abuse may continue further, leading to health fatalities. The following strategies are used to detect abuse in nursing home care facilities.
Determining the state of psychological stability can be used to detect abuse among the elderly in nursing homes. Psychological distress among the elderly in nursing homes indicates abuse. Unlike children, the elderly are less likely to raise the alarm once abused or molested in nursing homes. Sexual abuse among the elderly manifests itself by forcing the elderly to watch pornographic content, molesting, raping, and sexually molesting subjects the elderly to psychological discomfort and stress. Psychological distress among the elderly comes in the form of deteriorated health that limits physical activity, isolation, and withdrawal, increased dependency, rapidly declining memory, and insomnia (Garma, 2017). If an elderly person in a nursing home shows these signs, there is a huge likelihood that they have been abused and are finding it hard to disclose the bitter truth in fear of further abuse. By determining the elderly’s psychological stability, we can conclude if they have been abused or not in terms of stress.
Physical abuse can be detected through body injuries and physical damages. The elderly in nursing homes can be physically abused by punching, pushing, or physically assaulting them and overworking them. Body marks, like bleeding and fresh wounds, may indicate physical abuse on the elderly. Besides, breakage of items like eye-glasses, broken utensils, and fractures may indicate physical abuse. The presence of bed rails on the bodies of bedridden elderly people in nursing homes may indicate physical abuse, where the elderly have been subjected to unchanged sleeping posture for long hours. Fracture and breakage of personal items like plates and mugs may indicate physical abuse when struggling with limited resources like water and food (Smith et al. 2018). Furthermore, any forms of unjustifiable accidents or injuries may be resulting from physical abuse.
Signs of extreme physical abuse in nursing homes could indicate sexual abuse among the elderly. The elderly are prone and vulnerable to suffering sexual oppression in nursing home facilities without communicating with friends and family. The inability to speak up in cases of sexual abuse increases the chances of being sexually abused by caregivers within the nursing home facilities. Strategies for detecting sexual abuse among elderly people living in nursing home facilities include unexplained bruises in the lower abdomen, bruises in the chest and breasts, and in the inner thighs. Furthermore, elderly victims of sexual abuse in nursing home facilities may show torn or blood and sexual fluids-stained underpants, as well as anal and vaginal bleeding (Crandall et al., 2019). Besides, periodically testing for sexually transmitted infections among the elderly people in nursing homes could be used to detect sexual abuse within the nursing home care facilities.
Smith, D., Bugeja, L., Cunningham, N., & Ibrahim, J. E. (2018). A systematic review of sexual assaults in nursing homes. The Gerontologist, 58(6), e369-e383.
Touza Garma, C. (2017). Influence of health personnel’s attitudes and knowledge in the detection and reporting of elder abuse: an exploratory systematic review. Psychosocial Intervention, 26(2), 73-91.
Truong, C., Burnes, D., Alaggia, R., Elman, A., & Rosen, T. (2019). Disclosure among victims of elder abuse in healthcare settings: a missing piece in the overall effort toward detection. Journal of elder abuse & neglect, 31(2), 181-190.
Van Den Brule, A. B., Dimachk, M., & Crandall, M. (2019). Elder abuse. Clinics in geriatric medicine, 35(1), 103-113.
Wangmo, T., Nordström, K., & Kressig, R. W. (2017). Preventing elder abuse and neglect in geriatric institutions: Solutions from nursing care providers. Geriatric Nursing, 38(5), 385-392.
Phelan, A. (2018). The role of the nurse in detecting elder abuse and neglect: current perspectives. Nursing: Research and Reviews, 8, 15-22.