Certified Nurse Aides Discuss Causes of Elder Abuse

file1251238100316Cases of nursing home abuse and neglect often go unreported. Even when seniors report incidents of elder abuse, there is no promise that a nursing or assisted-living facility will be held accountable. Given that nursing home abuse continues to plague elderly residents of Southern California, where can we turn to seek clearer answers about the causes of abuse and neglect? According to a report from NBC News, interviewing certified nurse aides might help to give us some insight into the reasons that nursing home neglect continues to result in serious injuries to some of the most vulnerable Californians.

Taking Questions About Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect “Straight to the Source”

How can we find out more about the reasons that elder abuse persists in facilities throughout the state of California? One advocate, Carolyn Pickering, has decided to go “straight to the source,” and she is “asking certified nurse aides what they think the problems are.” As Pickering explained, there is a close relationship between happy and healthy employees and happy and healthy patients. You cannot have one without the other, she intimates. Given the link between employee safety and patient safety, Pickering believes that certified nurse aides and other healthcare professionals employed by nursing homes can help to shed light on the issues that result in elder neglect.

In other words, Pickering believes there is a link between poor employee safety measures at nursing homes and patient injuries at these facilities. What has Pickering discovered about issues that contribute to nursing home injuries? She lists the following as common causes for nursing home neglect and related injuries to elderly residents:

  • Improper procedures for lifting and/or moving patients;
  • Admitting patients with very different skill levels without the necessary infrastructure; and
  • Understaffing.

The issue of understaffing should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following news stories about nursing home abuse or neglect in California. However, the other issues that pertain to employee safety and the ability for a facility to handle certain kinds of patients are not discussed as commonly.

Nurse Aides May Not Have a Choice About Quality of Care

Pickering’s research does not focus on criminals who end up getting hired at nursing homes and eventually abuse patients. For her, liability and blame in those situations are clearer. The more complicated situations, Pickering explains, are those in which nurse aides “don’t have as much training as they need.” As she notes, “nurse aides are put in positions, really morally distressing positions, where they don’t have a choice about the quality of care they provide.” In other words, many certified nurse aides who seem to be liable for nursing home neglect are not bad people with bad intentions.

To be sure, the facility owners may be to blame in situations where nurse aides do not have the proper training to care for patients with drastically different skill sets. Or, a family may be able to hold the owners of a nursing home liable for nursing home neglect if a patient’s injuries result from a severe staffing shortage. Due to chronic understaffing, Pickering explains that nurse aides “sometimes have to decide who to care for and how and whose needs are more important.”

Do you have an elderly loved one who currently resides in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility? It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect and to reach out to an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse attorney if you suspect that your loved one is not receiving proper care. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to find out more about our representation of seniors and their families in Southern California.

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