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31

AUGUST, 2015

Sexual
Physical and
Emotional abuse

87% of relatives support the use of closed circuit tv in nursing homes

Physical, sexual and emotional abuse of elderly and disabled people is a chronic and entrenched issue. It is a historical
problem that has been documented over hundreds of years. The causes have been linked to a number of issues that cut across all political spectrums. Powerful unions blocking proper scrutiny of aged care staff, and making sacking of staff virtually impossible. Private companies who are cutting back numbers of qualified nurses and instead hiring cheaper, under-qualified staff. Lack of accountability in aged care training courses, allowing substandard people to passed.

A dysfunctional complaints process that has often left family members battling against an autocratic and powerful bureaucracy that keeps open sub-standard facilities despite numerous complaints made against them. And at the bottom of it all lies secrecy, lies and coverups. Alternative media are the only people who will investigate and publish the truth.

In Australia, relatives can’t find out which nursing home has been mentioned in Coroner’s reports, had numerous complaints made against staff or is under review by government services. Or which nursing home employs excellent staff and makes a great effort to provide safe and caring environment. As a result the standards in nursing homes can vary dramatically. Expensive ones may provide beautifully furnished rooms and terrible staffing. Cheaper ones may provide basic or even dingy accommodation, but excellent nursing care.

Like hospitals, the payment system for nursing homes is not linked to the actual quality of care they provide, leaving no incentive to encourage good quality and discourage dangerous facilities.

“There is no national, quality rating system that encourages better services and publicly reports bad facilities.”

Health care staff are allowed to avoid government scrutiny simply by moving on to another aged care home. Nursing homes with numerous complaints made against them are never show down. The legal emphasis is on the ‘rights’ of the health care workers and the ‘rights’ of the aged care facilities to personal privacy, regular employment and protection from litigation.

Does this make closed circuit tv a viable option? It is already happening; it’s just kept informal and undercover. Another health care secret is that numbers of angry relatives are now approaching private investigation agencies to record abuse of their relatives. They then take this information to lawyers, aged care management and the media. The UK group Your Care Home has surveyed 12,000 people about this issue. The results?

87% of relatives supported the proposal. Nurse Blog International reports that after the use of hidden cameras to record aged care abuse became a regular theme in the US media, some states now allow aged care facilities to legally and openly install them.

It is the opinion of this website owner, that all areas where patients are unable to speak clearly about their issues should contain closed circuit tv camera. This refers to theatre, recovery, intensive care and all high level aged care facilities. To those who feel this is ‘an invasion of privacy’, read the following articles then reconsider your opinion.

Would you want your grandmother, your father or your cousin to be featured in one of these stories? And who’s rights are more important? Those of fit, well staff to be accountable for the work they do? Or the rights of elderly frail people to remain safe from preventable harm?

 

References

Nurses sacked after horror games with patients revealed -
 News.com 2011
Residential aged care report says people are being shackled, assaulted and turned into zombies
 – New.com 2013
Abuse in nursing homes soars – News.com 2008
Norma’s Project – a research study into the sexual abuse of older women in Australia – La Trobe University

The sexual abuse of elderly patients
 in nursing homes and hospitals – Nurse Blog International
Sexual assault of people in aged care settings – North Sydney Sexual Assault Service
Sexual assault against the elderly, frequent but invisible
 – Sydney Morning Herald 2014
Shocking numbers of elderly women being abused in aged care homes
 – The Age 2014
Greensborough private nursing home
 – Blog
When poor care becomes the norm
 – Care to Share magazine
Quicki aged care courses fall short of national standards
 – The Age 2014
Elderly at risk of abuse by inexperienced aged care workers – News.com 2010
Aged care accreditation in the spotlight
 – ABC Lateline 2013
Tip offs hide aged care abuse – News.com 2010
State dealing with 300 cases of disabled abuse by carers
 – The Age 2014
Mystery shrouds elderly women’s death in Gippsland hospital
 – The Age 2014 Aged care complaints kept secret – The Age 2014 ©

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