When many Connecticut residents hear the word 'abuse' in the context of another person being 'abused,' they usually think about an active, physical act. Punching or hitting someone, for example, may be the kind of abuse most often pictured. While these kinds of overt acts certainly are abuse in most circumstance, there are other, more insidious forms of abuse that exist, and these may be more prevalent, especially when dealing with vulnerable populations such as the elderly.
Everyone knows the population of the United States is aging. Entire news cycles are spent regaling us with statistics and projections of Connecticut's and the remainder of the country's recent penchant for 'greying.' Because of this, in both political and legal circles, the issues that affect older people are becoming more and more visible and important. One of these is the abuse and neglect of people living in long-term care facilities or nursing homes.
As a society, we can often accomplish more collectively than we can individually. Utilizing a wide range of organizational tools, modern civilizations create entities responsible for helping maintain the health, comfort and well-being of their citizens, from police forces to trash collection to regulatory agencies that ensure air and water quality. Connecticut, like most states, has state departments that are tasked with regulating long-term care facilities and nursing homes. One of the facets of this is inspecting institutions, surveying patients, and investigating reports of abuse.
It has been a much-remarked-on fact recently that the population of the United States is growing older. Due to the so-called 'baby boom' generation reaching retirement age, the age-based demographic pyramid is becoming top-heavy. As a result, social issues that affect the older population are becoming more prevalent in the national consciousness. One of these is the looming specter of nursing home abuse.
We've previously discussed various forms of abuse and neglect that can take place in nursing homes in Connecticut. Whether it is the failure of staff to properly care for a bed-ridden patient, or the use of drugs to maintain the person in a 'compliant' state, there are numerous ways in which it is possible for nursing homes to injure their residents. We have also discussed the fact that residents and their loved ones should be firm and create a plan that the nursing home and the patient are aware of that addresses the primary needs and concerns of the patient.
If Connecticut residents are aware of the term mandatory reporter, they likely tend to think of it in terms of the reporting of child abuse. People such as teachers and other professionals who work with children are required by law to report suspicions of the abuse of their charges to the proper authorities. However, the state also requires certain individuals to report the fact that elderly or disabled people are being neglected or abused in an institutional setting like a nursing home.
While most nursing homes in Connecticut provide residents with a high standard of care, the unfortunate fact is that instances of nursing home neglect and abuse still occur. For this reason, Connecticut has rules addressing the licensing and safety of nursing homes across the state. Therefore, it is important to understand how the state defines "nursing homes."
The holidays are once again fast approaching, and for many people in Connecticut and around the country, this means gatherings with friends and family. Unfortunately, some people have had to place elderly relatives in places where they can be cared for regularly and their quality of life maintained. Whether these individuals are being picked up for a holiday celebration elsewhere, or family members are visiting them at their nursing homes, it is important for family members to be vigilant about the conditions in their loved one's place of residence.
A previous post here discussed the use of care plans for people in Connecticut who need to reside in a nursing home or other care facility. These plans are a written roadmap for the care of an elderly or disabled person that should be tailored to that individual's specific needs and desires. These plans can be followed by care facilities so that they can better provide appropriate care and be held accountable for any neglect and abuse that might arise.
Previous posts here have discussed some of the potential types of abuse and neglect that a resident in a long-term care facility or nursing home might be subject to in Connecticut. Previous posts have also touched on the rights that residents in such facilities have as far as the state is concerned. Here, we will discuss one way in which nursing home residents and their families can help to reduce the chances of neglect and abuse.