Even though the majority of elderly people do not live in nursing homes--only 4 per cent do--and most elderly abuse actually occurs in the home, occasionally, a case of nursing home abuse is exposed, and most people are horrified when they read about it. Though many elderly people today are healthy and independent, some are vulnerable and frail as a result of either physical or mental illness. This makes their abuse more likely and also more unacceptable. There are steps that can be taken to prevent abuse and neglect. Prevention of abuse is better than having to investigate and report it
Develop a policy on abuse and make sure that all staff read and understand it. Staff should sign to say that they have read the policy. Initiate an induction period and a training program, which should start during induction and continue throughout staff members' employment.
Write a care plan for each resident. This should be reviewed regularly. Carry out risk assessments on residents. These should include: pressure area care and nutritional state. Supervise new and junior staff. Ensure that staffing levels are satisfactory. Keep overtime to a minimum, as exhausted staff are not going to give the best care to residents.
Lead by example. Treat all residents and their relatives with respect. Put the residents' happiness and welfare at the centre of all the nursing home's aims. Involve residents as much as possible in their own care plans, and also in the running of the home. Facilitate the forming of a residents' committee and arrange to have regular residents' meetings, where minutes should be recorded.
Cooperate with the home's inspection and audit systems. Keep accident and incident records, and correctly investigate all incidents.
Care assistants can feel undervalued and stressed. Improve their working conditions and make them feel as valued as possible. The happiness of the care assistants is likely to be reflected in the quality of their work and commitment.