Anytime a senior is placed in an assisted care facility or a nursing home, they have to make adjustments. Often times they are leaving homes they have shared the majority of their adulthood in with their spouses and children. Many elderly persons become depressed as they are forced to leave trinkets, furnishings, and memories behind. Life for seniors can be frightening, lonely and isolating. There is now a new threat facing seniors who live in assisted and long term care facilities, and the internet is at the core of it.
Elder Attacks Via Social Accounts
Most people have confidence in the facilities they choose to place their loved ones in. They believe they are going to be treated with dignity and respect, and be taken care of. No one ever thinks that they could sign into their Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram accounts and see photos of their loved ones drenched in urine soaked clothing or smeared feces trending, but these types of atrocities against elderly people are happening across the country. Whether people realize it or not, engaging in these types of acts is elder abuse.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services sent a memo to state health departments advising them that they needed to audit all nursing homes and assisted care facilities in their states to ensure they had policies in place prohibiting employees from taking pictures of their residents in situations that could be seen as demeaning, compromising, or infringing on their rights to be treated with dignity and respect. The memo also urged state officials to begin to rapidly investigate complaints of this form of abuse against seniors. Additionally, the memo also called upon senior care facilities to report employees who have engaged in these types of acts to their state licensing agencies so that cases against them and their behavior can be investigated and they can be disciplined if the accusations against them are founded.
Contributing Factors to Why Elder Abuse in Facilities Occurs
Workers in nursing facilities and assisted care facilities all over the country is understaffing. States set their acuity levels and their guidelines based on a set of metrics which include but are not limited to how long it takes to: get a resident out of bed, administer medications, shower residents, dress residents More times than not employees who provide direct resident care will complain that they don’t have enough time to properly care for residents, even when the laws of their state deem the resident to staff ratio to be legal and safe. Many direct care providers are frustrated by the disconnect between the staffing numbers they believe they need, and the acuity levels stipulated by their states. Although each state defines what the minimum resident to staff requirements are, medical facilities can choose to hire more employees to take care of the needs of both residents and staff.
Low staff morale is also a catalyst for instances of abuse and ill treatment of the elderly in assisted care and nursing facilities. Certified Nursing Assistants or CNA’s are responsible for the direct care of residents in these types of facilities. Their duties generally consist of checking vitals, helping residents shower and dress and laundering the clothing of residents. In nursing facilities CNA’s are responsible for ambulating residents, and keeping those who are incontinent clean and dry. Often times the ratio of staff to residents is two or three staff for every 30 residents in these types of facilities. Medication administration, completing reports, lab reviews and overseeing CNA’s is the responsibility of the nursing staff in these types of facilities. Both the skilled nursing staff and the nursing support teams are generally overworked and work in stressful conditions which leads to frustrations among the team. Regardless of the challenges health care providers face, there is not an acceptable excuse for abusing elderly persons. If you believe your loved one has been a victim of this type of abuse, you should contact a firm of elder law attorneys boston ma .
Every nursing home or assisted care facility is responsible for the actions of the employees they hire. Facilities are also responsible for the safe keeping and care of the seniors in their facilities. Many political leaders are starting to take steps in states all over the country to tackle the issue of internet elder abuse, however family members must do their part to monitor the facilities they have placed their family members in. There are not a lot of federal guidelines in place when it comes to internet elder abuse cases. However, abuse is abuse and you owe it to yourself and your loved one to pursue your case.