New Report on Elder Abuse Prevention

DSC_1071Given that the elderly population of Southern California continues to grow, we need to invest time and effort into preventing elder abuse and nursing home abuse, according to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. While we continue to discuss the problem of elder abuse in our country and to engage in awareness-raising efforts, elder abuse and neglect remains a problem—and in some areas, the problem is getting bigger. Skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities for the elderly need to do more to prevent elder abuse and neglect.

Placing the Burden on Nursing Home Directors to Properly Train Staff

As the article explains, statistics tell us that around 10% of America’s seniors become victims of elder abuse, “but that statistic alone does not come close to telling the full story of the epidemic.” The article underscores, “for every incident of abuse that does get reported, an estimated 22 do not.” What that fact means is that a majority of elderly Americans are suffering from elder neglect and nursing home abuse, and in many of those cases, the violence goes unreported. What can we do to prevent this kind of abuse? According to the article, much of the impetus is on “nursing home leaders who want to prevent abuse before it happens” by “focus[ing] on training their staff in skills that reduce interpersonal tension and stress.”

A major problem is that many Americans assume that nursing home abuse is committed by a handful of bad people who should not have been hired by a skilled nursing facility in the first place. However, the article emphasizes that this is simply not the case. Instead, “anyone who feels stressed out or overwhelmed has the potential to lash out at a vulnerable elder.” As such, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities can take steps to help their employees deal with stress in such a way that it does not impact patients who rely upon those staff members for care.

Learning More About TPAAN Training

Is there a single type of training for staff members at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities? The article discusses a form of training developed by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), a nonprofit organization that focuses on quality of care in long-term care facilities. The nonprofit created a curriculum on the Training to Prevent Elder Abuse and Neglect (TPAAN), which educates skilled nursing employees to recognize situations that cause stress on the job and to react in ways that de-escalate situations.

Yet training alone cannot prevent abuse at skilled nursing facilities. As the article notes, the nursing homes and other care facilities that are most successful at preventing elder abuse not only train their staff members extensively, but they also “are emphasizing a person-directed approach to care, putting the needs and preferences of the elder at the heart of their work.” In short, facilities should focus on more training in addition to an approach to care that emphasizes the individuality and humanity of the residents.

If you have questions about filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Southern California, a dedicated San Diego nursing home abuse attorney can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today for more information.

See Related Blog Posts:

Geriatric Emergency Department Planned for UCSD

Allegations of Abuse and Neglect at Stockton Facility