People move into nursing homes so that they have professionals to support and protect them. Older adults may have trouble remembering when to take their medication or a history of serious falls. A nursing home should reduce someone’s risk of injury or delayed medical care.
Unfortunately, some people in nursing homes suffer because of abusive or negligent nursing home staff. Horror stories about workers striking someone with Alzheimer’s disease or leaving someone to sit in soiled clothing for hours sometimes come out of nursing homes.
Why are problems staff members seemingly so common in nursing homes?
Low pay doesn’t combine well with high-demand work
Only a small number of staff members will be registered nurses and other professionals who earn competitive wages. People who work in nursing homes who do not have a nursing degree or similar medical background will make wages not much higher than what people make at fast-food restaurants. Sometimes, they make less.
Compared with what other unlicensed support workers make in nursing homes across the country, these workers in Georgia make 25% less than the national average. The average hourly pay is $12.90, but those hired for housekeeping or dietary positions might make a much lower amount that is near minimum wage.
Some nursing homes are relaxed about background checks, making them an option for those who simply can’t find jobs anywhere else. These low-paid and potentially frustrated workers may then take out their unhappiness on the people that they should be helping. Trying to keep wages as low as possible and staffing as minimal as legally allowable means that individual workers are more likely to feel frustrated and have no one overseeing them if they mistreat residents.
How should you handle neglect or abuse in a nursing home?
Taking timely action will protect not just your loved one but also the other people living in that same, potentially unsafe, facility. Pushing for investigation at the facility may be necessary. In extreme cases, you may need to move your loved one to a new facility and pursue legal action because of what your loved one has endured.
They may not feel like they can take action without your help, so it is crucial that you listen to them when they bring complaints to you about their experience at the facility. If you ignore them once, they may never bring up the issue again, even if things get worse. Keeping detailed records and knowing when to take legal action can help protect your loved one from nursing home neglect or abuse.