Nursing home workers who abuse elderly residents are more likely to have a criminal background.
Nearly one out of every five nursing aides who were found guilty of abusing, neglecting or stealing from senior residents have pre-existing criminal records, according to a recent government investigation.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) discovered that nursing homes nationwide have hired hundreds of delinquent nurses’ aides with criminal histories that range from DUIs, to battery, to rape. Some were even found to be registered sex offenders.
Overall, about six-and-a-half percent of nurse aides employed by nursing homes were discovered to have had prior convictions, most of them for crimes against property (larceny, theft, etc.).
Predictably, those who had committed past offences involving the injury of a person were over three times more likely to neglect or abuse an elderly nursing home resident.
The report offers no recommendations for how to prevent further exploitation of elders by aides with criminal histories, but it does point out that 80 percent of the aides convicted of crimes while working with elders had no official history of engaging in illegal behavior, suggesting that background checks alone are not enough to weed out future offenders.
When a caregiver should step in
Caregivers whose loved ones live in a nursing home often worry whether their loved ones are getting the care they need.
The unfortunate truth is that you can never be totally sure that an elder who doesn’t live with you is safe and cared for, but educating yourself about the different types and signs of elder abuse can make you a more well-informed advocate for your loved one.