More than 2 million cases of elder abuse are reported each year, according to The National Council of Aging and more than half of the cases never get reported. It’s devastating to think about. Adult residential care homes are a place where many elderly go to for comfort and help with their daily needs. It’s important as an owner or administrator to make sure it’s a safe place for them to reside.
The last think you want to think about is one of the residents in your care being abused. It happens every day in and out of homes like yours. A lot of times the abuser is the individual you least expect it to be.
Here are seven steps you can take to prevent elder abuse in your adult residential care home.
Don’t skip the background and reference checks on new employees. In addition to the automated checks, contact previous employers to verify employment and terms of departure. Run the candidate’s names through registered caregiver databases for any previous abuse allegations.
Your team members including caregivers and support staff interact with residents every day. Educate them on signs or symptoms of abuse to quickly put a stop to any abuse in your home or facility.
Keep this information fresh in their minds by conducting abuse policy training at hiring time and every year after.
Who can residents, staff, and family members take their concerns to? This process is important because individuals need to feel that they can trust someone with sensitive information. Otherwise, they may be tempted to bottle up their concerns which only lets the situation escalate.
Include information in new employee orientation as well as new resident orientation. If you make any changes to the reporting process, notify families, residents, and staff immediately.
Ignoring any concerns makes you look like you don’t care about the residents. Respond immediately to show they can trust you and that abuse is not acceptable in your home. Assuming that something is an isolated incident or being exaggerated will result in lost residents. And they are more likely to send their concerns to law enforcement or licensing department without your knowledge.
How will you notify the individual in question, other staff, and residents of the allegations? It’s important that you plan to approach the subject without causing panic and alarm in your adult residential care home. A communication plan also tells those involved what to expect from you during the investigations process.
Don’t try to hide abuse reports. Notify all required authorities and agencies. Follow their feedback and direction during the investigation.
After the investigation, take a look back at the situation. Were there any signs that you missed? Are there any gaps in your policies and procedures? Make updates to your plan to show your commitment to the safety of your current and future residents.
Most adult residential care homes have abuse policies and procedures in place. Make sure your policies include each of these steps. Take time each year to review and make any necessary changes. Preventing elder abuse requires continuous commitment from you and your team.