that makes such residents more likely to be handled roughly or abused by staff (Hawes et al., 2001).

Reports of Abuse from Residents and Families

I saw a nurse hit and yell at the lady across the hall because the nurse told the lady she didn’t have all day to wait on her. The lady made some remark. The nurse hit the lady and said, “Shut up.”

Georgia Nursing Home Resident

(Atlanta Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, 2000)

A few studies have interviewed residents and family members about their experiences in nursing homes and asked specific questions about abuse. The Atlanta Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Program (Atlanta Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, 2000) conducted the most recent study under a grant funded by the National Ombudsman Resource Center. In this study, ombudsmen interviewed 80 residents in 23 nursing homes in Georgia.5 This survey found that 44 percent of the residents reported that they had been abused, while 48 percent reported that they had been treated roughly. For example, one resident noted:

They throw me like a sack of feed . . . [and] that leaves marks on my breast.

Georgia Nursing Home Resident

(Atlanta Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, 2000)

In addition, 38 percent of the residents reported that they had seen other residents being abused, and 44 percent said they had seen other residents being treated roughly. For example, as one resident reported:

My roommate—they throw him in the bed. They handle him any kind of way. He can’t take up for himself.

Georgia Nursing Home Resident

(Atlanta Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, 2000)

5  

The ombudsmen initially identified what they considered 10 problem facilities and recruited residents from those nursing homes. The process was subsequently expanded to a total of 23 facilities, based on local ombudsman identification of residents willing to speak with the interviewers about issues of abuse and neglect. The authors reported, “Almost all those approached agreed to be interviewed.” Those who declined cited fear of retaliation. Finally, the ombudsmen used CMS Survey protocols to identify “interviewable” residents in long-term care facilities (Atlanta Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, 2000).



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