IN HARM’S WAY

Recently, the Inspector General’s Office came out with a report on nursing home care listing the percentage of residents who are abused. Some of the information presented in this article includes:
• 22% of residents experienced “at least one adverse event during their stay”
• 79% were serious enough to require either prolonged nursing facility stay or hospitalization for acute level care
• 14% required “intervention to sustain the resident’s life”
• 6% contributed to or resulted in resident death
While abuse of anyone in anyway is intolerable, it seems to be particularly troubling when it involves veterans – the very men and women who put it all on the line to defend us. Unfortunately abuse of veterans is a reality in many nursing homes.
Abuse can take many forms: physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and/or financial exploitation. Many of those abused have dementia or are so weak they have no defense left. Often they are afraid to say anything for fear they will be retaliated against. While you may think that would occur as physical abuse against the veteran, it is more likely to be played out through neglect. An example would be a veteran who complains about the care he or she is getting from his or her aide. Rather than doing something physically harmful in retaliation, if the aide simply delays responding to the call light, or ignores the veteran in other ways, it is devastating. Imagine being dependent upon one particular person during the course of an eight hour day, and then having that person mad at you and not providing the care you need. It can get pretty scary.
All forms of abuse are crimes and should be treated as such. Our veterans deserve to be defended as vigorously as they defended their country.

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