Understanding Why Elder Abuse Happens: When Residents Push the Limits
In an interactive discussion with nursing assistants working in a long-term care facility, Dr. Stevens hears about resident behaviors which could potentially trigger abuse. Staff describe actual experiences they’ve had with physically and verbally abusive, and uncooperative residents. While under time pressure to deliver required care, nursing assistants discuss how they must take additional time to positively respond to residents with these obstructive and potentially dangerous behaviors.
“What happens when a resident hits you?” asks Dr. Stevens. Examining this situation and several others in which residents push the limits, the nursing staff and Dr. Stevens develop guidelines which will be useful to everyone working with the elderly. First of all, no matter what a resident does, they emphasize the importance of not shouting, not showing anger or being reactive. These responses are forms of abuse and will cause the situation to escalate and become out of control. They emphasize, even if you are feeling angry or threatened, that it is essential to respond with patience and understanding, appreciating that difficult behaviors may be associated with age related illness. If the behavior continues, as long as the resident is safe and not in a position to hurt other residents, they suggest that the best thing to do is walk away and come back later when the resident calms down or find another staff member to take over the situation. Other suggestions are included in the video.
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