Survey reveals worrying number of neglect cases in care homes

A new survey has revealed that a worrying number of nurses and healthcare assistants have been involved in or witnessed acts of neglect in health and social care situations.

The study, conducted by the National Centre for the Protection of Older People at the University College Dublin (UCD), involved a survey of more than 1,300 nurses and healthcare workers in nursing homes.

The results showed that:

• 57 per cent of staff surveyed had observed neglectful acts involving patients in the previous year
• One-quarter of respondents had themselves been involved in at least one neglectful act
• 27 per cent of survey respondents said they had seen another staff member psychologically abusing a resident
• 8 per cent of staff admitted committing at least one act of psychological abuse on a resident
• 3 per cent of staff admitted committing at least one act of physical abuse on a resident

The most common forms of physical abuse which cropped up in the survey were pinching, pushing, grabbing or using force beyond what was needed to restrain the resident. Psychological abuse involved shouting at a patient in anger, swearing, insulting residents and excessively isolating them.

The shocking results of the survey prompted Advocacy group Age Action to call for a strengthening of the powers of the HSE’s elder abuse service, whilst others have urged care training standards to be reviewed and improved, particularly in care homes.

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