Catching Elder Abuse In The Act

In an article that we did last year about the common problem of Elder Abuse In Nursing Homes we shared with you some statistics that to us, at least, were shocking. Of course we should all have a vested interest in elder abuse because sooner or later we will all fall into the category of seasoned citizens where we may need some help.

In 30 short years the number of people 65 and older in the United States will comprise 21% of the population.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse in 2008, there were 3.2 million Americans who resided in nursing homes and another 900,000 lived in assisted-living facilities. In our considered opinion, there are not enough qualified employees now to handle these 4.1 million seniors. What is going to happen when that number nearly doubles in the next three decades?

According to that organization, close to 35% of all US nursing homes were cited for federal violations that have the potential to cause harm or had caused harm to a resident. In another study of 2,000 interviews of nursing home residents, 44% said that they had been abused in some way.

The actual numbers of elder abuse in nursing homes is very difficult to gauge because the process used to detect them is flawed and many seniors in these facilities have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease which makes verbalizing what happened to them or even remembering what happened to them difficult if not impossible.

In today’s article we will share with you some stories about elder abuse that were caught on hidden camera-perhaps the only way it can be caught.

In this story two nursing assistants at a New Hope nursing home have been fired and arrested and nine other suspended after family members used hidden cameras to uncover physical abuse.

The hidden cameras were installed by family members after they noticed spotted bruises and cuts on their loved ones. The video was taken over a period of several weeks and showed two suspects allegedly abusing at least two residents. Police are not releasing the video to the public just yet because it is still under investigation. Officials at the nursing home have called it “abusive” and “cause for great concern.” Nine other employees have been suspended on suspicion that they failed to report the abuse.

Another story related to elder abuse is about theft from nursing home patients that has reportedly doubled in the last two years. Theft of personal items including cash, debit cards and jewelry is very common in nursing homes, so much so that many nursing homes discourage residents from keeping such items in their room.

Without having a camera, so-called “granny cams, in a nursing home room it is next to impossible to find out what is going on inside the building especially when it comes to theft or abuse.

Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine said that there is no other way to get the information about nursing home abuse of residents or theft of their property.

In an editorial about having hidden cameras in nursing homes legislators in Illinois have a bill before them that would allow for video and audio monitoring devices to be placed in nursing home rooms to help combat and prove abuse-crimes that occur all too frequently these days and will likely occur even more if something isn’t done to stop them.

According to the editorial there were roughly 5,000 complaints filed each year alleging abuse, neglect or property theft. Of those only 106 were found to be valid mostly because of the lack of evidence that only hidden cameras can provide.

Illinois would join four other states-Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Washington in allowing hidden cameras and recording devices in patients’ rooms, a movement that is gaining traction all over the country.

According to Yvonne Ziomecki, SVP, HomEquity Bank-the only Canadian bank working primarily with seniors-Elder Abuse is on the rise in Canada and professionals dealing with seniors on a regular basis should be vigilant and watch for signs of mistreatment. She encourages all professionals from doctors, dentists, lawyers and others that deal with seniors to play a role in helping report suspected incidents of elder abuse to proper authorities.

“Sensitivity itself is growing, something highlighted by the sensational case of one man using a hidden camera to catch nursing home staff allegedly abusing his elderly mother.”

Recognizing abuse, which occurs across all socio-economic levels, is vital to protecting the ever-increasing number of seniors in Canada. Some signs include:

  • Watch for a sudden appearance of physical injuries such as bruises and sprains;
  • Stay alert to a change in finances;
  • Identify changes in behavior or appearance;
  • Watch for ‘new’ suspicious relationships;

Any of the above could be signs of abuse. In an emergency situation, it’s crucial to immediately call the police.

The Canadian Nurses Association did a brief on Elder Abuse in 2011 that showed that the rates are increasing right across the country with 7,871 incidences reported in 2009. This is an increase of 14 per cent from 2004.

We have 339 Spy Cameras to choose from but these Remote View Cameras are our recommendation because they enable you to see what’s going on in your loved ones’ room from anywhere you can get an Internet connection, even on your smart phone. Talk about being in two places at the same time!

Share with us any secrets that you have about protecting your loved ones in a nursing home or home healthcare situation. Don’t be bashful! Your insight may prevent a tragedy for one of our other readers.