The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be scary. You’ve heard stories of abuse at the hands of caretakers and facilities. What many people don’t realize is that there’s a high rate of abuse perpetrated by elderly residents on each other. When the facility or an employee is responsible for mistreatment, it’s a clear cut crime. In a case where another resident is responsible for bullying, it can be far more difficult to deal with because there can be many variables at play – such as health and mental issues that effect impulse control and behavior.
The question is, how do you make sure your loved one is safe in the facility you choose?
The first thing you do is ask the questions. Ask what the protocol is when faced with a bullying or abusive situation. Ask how many health care workers they have per patient and how they’re trained to handle these social issues.
The second thing you need to understand is that bullying will likely occur in any setting – it’s the way the issue is handled that counts. Each case will be different. Some people are more inclined to bully others, some people turn to social power struggles to help themselves feel more in control. The way the staff handles the situation can make all the difference. Sometimes it’s just a matter of keeping certain residents separate because their personalities clash. Other times, it might be a matter of dealing with pain or discomfort the bully might be feeling.
In short, you want to look for a facility where the staff is not only caring but they pay attention to the individual needs of each patient. You also want to make sure the staff is trained to deal with these issues and will step in when needed.