VIOLENCE IN NURSING HOMES ON THE RISE
Sad…but true! Criminal offenders and mentally ill residents are fueling an increase in patient-to-patient assaults at nursing homes.
In a recent survey, Wes Bledsoe, founder of A Perfect Cause, a nonprofit nursing home residents’ advocacy group in Oklahoma, found 1,600 registered sex offenders in nursing homes.
The organization has also documented more than 60 rapes, murders and assaults committed by criminal offenders in nursing homes. A recent report by the Associated Press estimated that nearly 125,000 young and middle-aged adults with serious mental illnesses lived in U.S. nursing homes last year.
Nursing homes that are having trouble filling their beds sometimes start looking for residents, and get those residents from bad sources. Often, the staff are not aware of a resident’s violent past. And because of health care privacy laws, the facility is not allowed to disclose information about a resident to other residents, Bledsoe noted. Families often become aware that another resident has a history of violent behavior after their loved one is assaulted, he said.
“People are being raped, physically assaulted and murdered,” he said.
My Take: Ask your nursing home if you, or your loved one, is at risk due to the criminal or psychiatric records of other residents. Also, let the Administrator know that you will hold him/her and the nursing home accountable for any preventable incidents or attacks.