When abuse happens at the hand of a caregiver, it is understandably upsetting. When it happens in a controlled, professional setting such as a nursing home, the crime is even more alarming. Unfortunately, many times there have been allegations and reports of abuse that never get reported, and even when they do, staff and administration of nursing homes refuse to admit they were aware that any problem or abuse occurred.
In many cases of abuse in nursing homes, it is difficult to prove that there was knowledge of the abuse while it was occurring. Although it may seem unlikely that some of the extreme abuses were able to go unnoticed, without proof or witnesses that are willing to come forward, many cases of abuse are at best only able to be blamed on the perpetrator, not on those in the facility who allowed it to happen. In Ohio, an ombudsman for the area Agency on Aging recently commented on the current state of affairs on neglect and abuse in nursing homes. He cited that some citations he saw in his job were so serious, ”that you look at that [and ask], ‘Why didn’t someone pay or have to face consequences for this particular activity?’ ” There is good reason for his dismay.
- In 2011, 198 citations were issued to Ohio nursing homes for failing to report abuse or for hiring someone with a prior history of abusing patients.
- Another 46 violations were recorded of nursing homes failing to protect patients from abuse.
Ohio is certainly not alone in these statistics. In fact, many nursing homes in many states have the same issues and yet the administrations and staff continue to turn a blind eye to the problem.
Protecting The Bottom Line
For most cases of abuse that go unreported and unsubstantiated, it comes down to money versus humanity. Large nursing homes chains that are driven more by the almighty dollar than the care they are supposed to be providing perpetuate the problem. In a five-year study done at the University of California San Francisco, the top ten nursing chains were compared against private, non-profit and government run facilities for their quality of care. In all the metrics, the larger chains were found to be lacking, even though their revenues and public financial statements showed positive numbers. It is unfortunate that it seems that many administrations at nursing homes would rather protect a person that has committed a crime rather than face possible liability for allowing it to happen. As long as the care of patients is secondary to protecting the finances of a facility, there will undoubtedly be continued examples of nursing homes that have chosen to look the other way versus turn in a staff member for abuse.