In Illinois, caring for elders should be priority. In older Americans, one in 10 suffers abuse every year, according to the National Council on Aging. Some of this abuse occurs inside a nursing home, where elder patients should expect safety. A study featured in the U.S. National Library of Medicine addressed patient aggression and the lack of training and communication that lends to nursing home abuse.

Staff has to be aware of how a patient’s condition affects his or her behavior. For instance, dementia can result in a patient who suffers from delusions, hallucinations, agitation and aggression. He or she may challenge the staff and react angrily to instruction. A staff member who does not understand the behavioral symptoms may mistreat the patient. In fact, studies show that abuse connects to resident aggression.

Some physical abuses that nursing home staff may be guilty of include the following:

  • Restraint of a resident
  • Forced bathing or feeding
  • Holding a patient’s nose to force his or her mouth open

Often, nursing homes will hide or ignore abuse. In order to prevent abuse, the nursing home has to acknowledge the abuse. Extra training of staff may help alleviate neglect and abuse. If the staff knows how to deal with the residents, they may be able to handle situations without using force.

Health professionals believe that communication and chemistry are crucial to avoid abuse and neglect. Staff must inform the patient what he or she is going to do beforehand. This will provide the patient with a sense of safety and trust with the professional. In addition, it can help if the staff member and patient get along and understand one another.