Study shows endemic care home abuse

BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 11:  Day guest Helga covered her face with her hands the middle of the room in the geriatric day care facility of the German Red Cross (DRK, or Deutsches Rotes Kreuz) at Villa Albrecht on March 11, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.  A great number of senior Citzens struggle with various forms of dementia at Villa Albrecht.  The German Red Cross dates its origin back to 1863 with the founding of the Wuerttembergischer Sanitaetsverein, a medical association that provided care to wounded soldiers. Today the German Red Cross has four million members nationwide and is active in international aid and social care.  (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

A study published in Nursing Times has found evidence of widespread abuse in care homes.

In the survey of 156 staff, over 88% of staff at newly opened homes in four local authority areas said they had witnessed or suspected abuse in nursing homes where they had worked.

Paper author Steve Moore, commissioner of care and nursing home services at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, said the questionnaire results gave a “unique insight into some private-sector nursing homes”.

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“Although the sample size is small, the findings suggest the abuse of older people continues to occur and evade detection despite the existence of governance, safeguarding and regulations.”

Of those consulted, 93% had been previously employed in nursing homes for people living with dementia and 7% has worked in nursing homes for the elderly.

The questionnaires, which were completed between 2011 and 2015, found psychological abuse was most commonly reported by staff, followed by neglect and physical abuse.

Psychological abuse include denying people choice, ignoring residents and calling them names.

Neglect included residents being left dehydrated and malnourished and being left in incontinence pads.

Physical abuse included physical restraint, forcing people to move and tying residents to chairs with tights.

The report follows CQC data released in December which revealed thousands of care home residents were at risk of starvation (see Thousands of care home residents at risk of starvation).

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