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Make sure that nursing home staff has the proper training

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When Chicago residents make the difficult decision to place their loved one in a nursing home, they have a right to expect that the home’s staff has been properly trained. However, research shows that many of the individuals who play a large role in the care received at these facilities lack proper training to be effective caregivers. The high stresses associated with this environment may significantly increase the likelihood that an untrained or improperly trained nurse will become abusive. Family members of those who are entering a nursing home should ensure that the staff at the home have been properly trained in order to reduce instances of abuse.

Disturbing admissions

During a study conducted by the National Center on Elder Abuse, over 50 percent of staff in nursing homes admitted to having mistreated older patients within the prior year. Forms of patient abuse included physical violence, neglect and mental abuse. Furthermore, 17 percent of surveyed certified nursing assistants admitted to pushing, shoving or grabbing a nursing home resident, and another 51 percent stated that they had previously yelled at a resident.

When surveyed in the same study, 44 percent of nursing home residents indicated that they had been abused and 95 percent said they have been neglected or witnessed another resident become the victim of nursing home neglect.  However, only a fraction of these offenses are ever reported.

Risk factors

The NCEA lists staff education and training as one of the most effective ways to reduce incidences of abuse and neglect. They call for continuing education programs to be in place in each facility instead of individual classes that may be called together following the discovery of a particularly egregious case of abuse. They also state that further training will help improve competence and knowledge in the field, build self-esteem, and reduce stress and burnout.

Training topics

To keep elderly loved ones safe, concerned family members should ensure that at least the minimum amount of recommended training is completed. Topics should include the following:

  • Anger management and communication skills
  • How to care for physically combative residents
  • How to respond to cultural and ethnic issues
  • How to care for those with mental illness, behavioral symptoms, and dementia
  • Policies and procedures on reporting abuse

Recognizing abuse, exploitation and neglect should also be included in ongoing education. These topics will help workers build conflict resolution skills and increase their empathy towards the patients.

Those who have been victimized by the staff at a nursing home can successfully seek compensation for their injuries. A Chicago personal injury attorney can help guide patients through the often taxing claims process and help them on the road to recovery.