Exploring the Deep Prevalence of Elder Abuse Across the Community
As covered by author Richard W. Besdine, M.D., in Huffington Post’s blog, elder abuse definitely does not receive the attention it deserves. The prevalence of elder abuse goes far deeper than the prominent cases that hit the newsreel; many occurrences do not make it onto court records. Cases of elder abuse regularly happen in cities, large and small, all across the country, and perhaps the world. Victims make up every demographic imaginable, though the most vulnerable populations face an increased risk of elderly neglect and abuse.
Many people assume elder abuse only happens to people dropped off at negligent or malicious nursing homes, when in reality, abuse often occurs at the hands of people who are close to the elderly patient. Although the immense stress of acting as a main caregiver can feel overwhelming, it is no excuse for inflicting harm on a patient in need of care. Unfortunately, placing the patient in a seemingly supportive, professional nursing home does not prevent abuse either. The risk does not always come from the nursing caregivers, but actually stems from patient interactions in many cases.
Physicians are instructed to mitigate and prevent elder abuse by educating patients about what it looks like. Cultural differences between patients alter perceptions by introducing shame or ignorance into the equation. Some patients have even turned to suicide due to the feelings of guilt or shame preventing them from seeking help for the abuse problem.
Nurses and other caregivers could benefit from receiving education at learning centers placed throughout the community. Education provided at the centers will need to focus on opening up dialogue to prevent abuse, rather than halt it in its tracks. Once abuse starts, the damage is often done and the effects stick with the patients for the remainder of their lives. That said, it is important to report all abuse to the local Adult Protective Services agency to provide the affected individuals with support and possible removal from a bad situation.
Patients and their families can also seek help by securing services from elder abuse attorneys in an effort to enact change or receive compensation. Lawyers can fight for compensation that covers resulting medical bills or mental health care required for the patient’s recovery from the abusive actions. When faced with any type of abuse, patients and their family members or caregivers should not hesitate to call a law office, like Garcia, Artigliere & Medby at 1-800-281-8515, to set up a consultation and talk about the situation at hand.