he Center for a Just Society recently published an interesting article entitled The Hidden Dilemma of Elder Abuse. The article discusses why Elder Abuse is allowed to continue and not be prevented. The authors believe that the root of the problem is a “lack of dignity and respect constitute disregard for the older person which in turn becomes ageism or discrimination against those who are aged.” That is why “there is not an ongoing cry against Elder Abuse.”
The authors argue, and I agree, the number one problem is lack of sufficient staff on all three shifts per day in our nursing homes. Moreover, when a staff member is intent on cutting corners the best victim is the nursing home patient who cannot stand up for themselves. A victimized patient probably does not tell another staff member of the abuse. They may not even be able to verbalize their plight. When they do complain they may not be believe or their complaints may be dismissed.
The authors give 4 points to summarize the dilemma:
- We put people with high level care needs in homes and use regulations to protect them:
- We do not make certain that the homes are adequately staffed;
- As a result vulnerable patients can be victimized even over long periods of time; and,
- When our society learns of abuse we get angry but then put our heads in the sand and avoid standing up for the elderly until AFTER the abuse occurs.
If you suspect that a loved one has been abused in a nursing home, assisted living facility, personal care home or group home report your suspicions immediately to Pennsylvania Department of Health (for complaints regarding a Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facility call 1-800-254-5164; for complaints regarding a Personal Care Home/Assisted Living Facility call1-877-401-8835). Then contact me at 267/907-9600. Together with our team here at Stark & Stark we have a proven track records of representing our clients throughout the Delaware Valley in Elder Abuse cases. Of course, the best thing you can do for your loved one is to everything you can from preventing abuse in the first place. Make sure you ask them if they are having problems and if the say they do BELIEVE THEM and do everything you can to carefully investigate the problem.