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Nursing Home Abuse Reports

A report released by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee revealed that abuse occurs regularly in one in three nursing facilities. In addition to verbal and physical abuse, some incidents of sexual abuse occurred. A woman on the board of a nursing home mentioned that grand-scale studies can drum up inflated, and thus, problematic statistics. She mentioned that stringent protocol requires facilities to report extremely trivial incidents, like two residents shoving one another, as abuse.

However problematic the method of cataloging is, the Special Investigations Division reviewed numerous abuse cases much more consequential than patient disagreements. The report showed that of the 9,000 incidents reported within a two-year period, nearly 2,000 of the cases involved serious, possibly fatal, negligence in nursing homes.

Staffing is a major concern in reforming nursing facilities. Many nursing homes hire under-qualified candidates that work double to triple shifts. Additionally, the training that new candidates receive often fails to teach workers practical skills in interacting with high-needs patients. These poor working conditions lead to poor quality of care for elderly residents.

The report also found that the quality of care in not-for-profit facilities exceeded that of for-profit nursing facilities. Many not-for-profit nursing facilities are community-based or religious-based initiatives. The Special Investigations Division posits that since the people working for these organizations tend to be working for more personal reasons, the residents are in a more attentive and compassionate setting.

This leaves the climate surrounding the for-profit facility grim. Of the 17,000 nursing homes in the United States nearly 11,000 are for-profit businesses. In an interview, a certified nurse mentioned that qualified nurses often don’t want to work in nursing facilities because of the low pay and poor working conditions. Qualified nurses can just as easily find employment for better pay and benefits in hospitals or other out-patient care centers.