Abuse of elderly in care
Sir, – I refer to Paul Cullen’s report (Front page, December 7th) on the occurrence of elder abuse in Irish residential nursing homes. I have clients in nursing homes and I can testify to the observation that low job satisfaction among nurses and carers may be a contributing factor to the occurrence of below expected care in nursing homes.
I believe the root of the problem goes back to the State’s approach to nursing home care in the form of the Fair Deal Support Scheme. The Fair Deal scheme only provides funding for “bed and board” to older people in residential nursing homes. It does not cover activities to stimulate residents and it most certainly does not provide for funding to improve the physical environment of nursing homes.
I concur with the international research that shows the physical state of a nursing home’s bearing on abuse levels, especially in smaller nursing homes.
In essence, if the State endeavours to purchase nursing home care for older people at the lowest possible cost from the private sector, as a society we should not be surprised with the occurrence of elder abuse in nursing homes with low staff levels and low morale. – Yours, etc,