No matter your situation, there will come a time when you, or someone you love, has to seek medical care. From hospitalization to admittance into a care home, this type of treatment is always on the cards. Which is why it’s so worrying that cases of abuse within care industries seem to be on the rise.
When entrusting professionals to care for us in any capacity, the majority of us like to believe that these are caring people. But, given that stretched industries focus solely on experience and qualifications, that just isn’t the case. In fact, personality rarely comes into play with matters like these. Could that be why abuse is such a massive problem within the care industry?
For the most part, abuse reports come from elderly care facilities. This is especially disturbing given that some of society’s most vulnerable patients reside here. Most of us have relatives or friends in facilities like these. And, we’re likely to be in the same position years down the line. Yet, a brutal 91% of nursing homes lack adequate staff, and 36% are in violation of elderly care laws.
Abuses reported range from neglect to sexual violence, much of which is carried out on patients who have dementia and other memory related issues. These vulnerable individuals are abused and exploited by the very people hired to keep them safe.
And, incidents like these aren’t exclusive to elderly facilities. In November of last year, shocking videos emerged from Hill Crest Behavioral Health, one of America’s largest hospital chains. Here, troubled adolescents and foster kids with nowhere to go supposedly find a place of solace. But, videos reveal that’s far from the case, with staff physically harassing patients, and dragging one face down across the floor. The footage is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine, and reveal more than ever our need to reconsider who we trust to care for us.
But, what needs to change in the industry to ensure incidents like these don’t happen? For the most part, you could argue the matter comes back to recruitment. While no one can deny the importance of qualifications, it’s clear more thorough testing should be done into the nature of candidates. Perhaps tests measuring patience and general manner should be part and parcel of employment into these industries.
Sadly, things don’t look set to change anytime soon. So, what can you do to ensure cases like these don’t impact you or those you love?
Don’t settle for the first care you find
Too often we settle on the first facility or health care professional we find. It’s easy and convenient for everyone. But, you should take the time to shop around for medical treatment. As well as ensuring you can get the best deal, this will help you to find someone you really trust to provide the best treatment imaginable. When meeting with the carer in question for the first time, take note of their manner. In some cases, you simply won’t warm to them, or your personalities may clash. That’s okay. In other cases, a care provider may make you feel actively uncomfortable. But, when you find someone well suited to you, it’ll be apparent straight away. You’ll instantly warm to their manner and feel as though you can trust them, even if they’re less qualified than others you’ve seen.
It’s also worth doing a little research on any care system you or your loved ones are entering into. Do a quick news search on the facility or carers in question. If there are abuse cases related to either, it’s best to look elsewhere for somewhere with a clean record.
Know your rights
Of course, even facilities with clean records can fall victim to unrelated cases of abuse. And, if this is the case, you’ll often be in an even worse position. After all, people can’t change what they aren’t aware of. In this instance, it’s crucial you know your rights. If you see clear evidence of abuse in an elderly relative, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact nursing home abuse lawyers who can bring the issue in front of a court. If you’re the victim of abuse yourself, make sure to write detailed notes and take pictures of any injuries sustained. Then, contact a lawyer who can fight your corner on the issue. Whatever you do, don’t think there are no routes open to you. There are plenty of legal protections in place against issues like these, and victims like you need to come forward to ensure protection for others.
It’s crucial, too, that you know what is considered abuse or not. In some cases, staff members will argue that restraint is necessary for their safety, as well as that of the patient. For the most part, though, restraint like this should not involve brute force. It certainly shouldn’t leave visible marks or bruises on a patient. The best way to operate in this instance is to contact a lawyer and see where you stand. If something doesn’t seem right, there’s a good chance it isn’t.
Campaign for change
If we want to see real change in this area, though, we need to campaign for it. While large-scale cases such as the Hill Crest Behavioral videos bring these issues to the fore, the underlying and ongoing abuses in such facilities remain unnoticed. The best thing to do is turn to social media, or contact news outlets if you have a story to share. Bear in mind that this may not be conducive to an ongoing investigation. But, if there’s no legal battle involved, sharing is the best way to spread the word. Make sure people know what happened to you or your loved ones, and where it happened. Use the connectivity of social media to get the word out there. You could even use that force to create petitions which call for more rigorous screening of those in the care world. One thing’s sure; this route is the best way to change.