The most favored solution is the implementation of legislation that requires a combination of safeguards be put into place. These safeguards would include mandating screening of patients on a more frequent basis, an ombudsman program, and required training for all staff that includes consequences if caught being abusive or neglectful. The time from reporting abuse to the investigation of abuse by should be reduced from the standard of ten days to a standard of within 24 hours.
According to Dr. Terry Fulmer of New York University (Journal of American Geriatrics Society, Feb 2004) elder mistreatment is "the intentional actions that cause harm, or create a serious risk of harm, to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder". Such mistreatment of elders in nursing homes is a significant problem in this country. Gone are the days when families quite naturally took on the responsibility of caring for the elderly. Most elderly in the country, who cannot care for themselves, are sent to nursing homes.
Reports from across the country tell horrifying stories of those abused or neglected. In New Orleans, Louisiana a nursing home employee aged 19 raped a 92 year old woman (New Orleans City Business, 2004). Another nursing home resident had her leg amputated because of bedsores. ...
An elderly man lost his testicles because of botched attempts to insert a catheter (New Orleans City Business, 2004). In her guest editorial to Nursing Homes Magazine (March 2005) Gloria Schramm tells the sad story of how her uncle was treated while he was in a nursing home. She recalls how he was miserable, had fallen from his chair because he was not properly restrained, and was unassisted at mealtimes when family was not there to assist him. She recalled how he waited long periods of time for simple things such as a drink of water, a diaper change, or help with repositioning himself in bed. The daily visits from family were critical to his recovery as the level of care he received otherwise was lacking.
Nursing homes were not always the answer in this country. Prior to World War II the poor and destitute elderly were sent to almshouses, or poor farms, which were known for their poor conditions and inadequate care. Some cities took responsibility for their poor and built, or renamed existing homes, to reflect the change in level of care. "In New York City, in 1903, the Charity Board renamed its public almshouse the Home for the Aged and Infirm. The city of Charleston followed suit in 1913, transforming their almshouse into the Charleston Home." (Haber, 2007) After World War II legislation was put into place that somewhat funded nursing homes and nursing homes were built to act as long term care hospitals. Because of concern for those elderly in need women's groups and religious groups established old age homes for the elderly. "As the founder of Boston's Home for Aged Women (1850), explained-a haven for those who were "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh" (Haber and Gratton, p. 130). Nursing