More than half of nursing home staff 'observed neglect' - survey


One-quarter of nursing home staff say they were involved in at least one "neglectful act" in respect of residents, according to a survey.

Some 57 per cent of staff reported observing neglectful acts over the previous year, according to the report published today by UCD.

The study, based on a survey of over 1,300 nurses and healthcare assistants working in nursing home, was conducted by the National Centre for the Protection of Older People at UCD.

The most frequently observed forms of physical abuse were restraining a resident beyond what was needed and pushing, grabbing, shoving or pinching a resident.

Some 3 per cent of staff admitted they themselves had committed one or more acts of physical abuse on a resident.

Some 27 per cent of those surveyed had observed another member of staff psychologically abuse a resident. The most frequently observed types of psychological abuse were shouting at a resident in anger, insulting or swearing at a resident and isolating a resident beyond what was required.

About 8 per cent of staff reported that they themselves had engaged in psychological abuse, most often by shouting at a resident in anger.

Advocacy group Age Action called for the strengthening of the remit of the HSE's elder abuse service.

It said it was concerned the service currently “does not have the legal power to enter a non-HSE nursing home, but must be invited in”.

Spokesman Eamon Timmins said older people being abused in a nursing home should have the same access to HSE elder abuse staff as any other older person in Ireland.

“Older people living in nursing homes may find it very difficult to report abuse or sub-standard care, therefore elder abuse training and awareness among nursing home staff is important,” he added.

"It is also vital that an environment exists within every home where staff who see abuse occurring feel comfortable and safe in reporting it to management."