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Do you have concern for your loved one in respite care? It seems you would have a right to be concerned, more than a quarter of cases of nursing home neglect or abuse is not reported in any way, shape, or form. Federal law requires that cases of abuse in care homes or nursing homes should be reported to the police for them to deal with. While government investigators are conducting a review into neglect and abuse in care homes, the problem is prevalent and needs dealing with.

An investigation was undertaken into nursing home residents during 2015 and 2016, and 134 cases were deemed serious enough to require emergency room treatment. And most of these cases were as a result of sexual assault. Although these cases were over 33 states in the United States, some states had a higher percentage of abuse than others. Illinois was the prime culprit, with 17% of the cases of abuse stemming from this state. The impact on the families is unquestionable, and, in the more serious cases of nursing home neglect, such as resulting in death by a mistake in medication, this also belies a severe lack of internal monitoring. The fact is that these people should not have died in the first place, and the fact that this is still going on in care homes up and down the United States, and the world, has indicated the dire situation of care homes and their staff selection process.

It is unfortunate that the amount of wrongful death lawsuits appears to be escalating at an alarming rate. The most recent one was a family that filed a wrongful death lawsuit against James Square Health And Rehabilitation Centre, of Syracuse, due to the lack of monitoring with regards to hydration and nutrition, as well as the home failing to diagnose and treat sepsis. This is the fifth wrongful death lawsuit filed against this rehabilitation center in the last five years. This highlights the pandemic of abuse and neglect in care homes across the board is firmly in place.

So what can be done to regulate this? Although the federal law on neglect was drastically improved in 2011, which implores someone to report any suspicions of neglect or abuse to a local law enforcement organization within 2 hours, this still doesn’t solve the issue of employing the right members of staff. Looking at the example of care homes across the board, the regulations when it comes to hiring staff don’t require any specific qualifications as a rule. This is in relation to an entry-level position for the job, as evidenced in care homes for the disabled. As a result, the vetting process needs to be more stringent.

But to prevent the rise in cases of nursing home neglect and abuse, on the whole, this brings to light the fact that everyone, not just the family members, needs to be on guard. Nursing home abuse is something that shouldn’t be tolerated, and based on the results of the investigation undertaken; this number can be greatly reduced with a better vetting process.

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The final years of anyone’s life can be challenging. There can be physical health issues that result in a loss of mobility and this can severely limit how you can get about. If you have an elderly relative (perhaps a parent or grandparent) who is experiencing this at the moment it can be very distressing to witness. Eventually, these health issues may make it impossible for them to live safely in their own homes.

Other senior citizens suffer from mental health issues. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are both increasing in incidence and are most common in people aged over 70 years of age. Sufferers become confused and disorientated and it can be very frightening for them to live alone. You may have space in your home and the time to look after them yourself. This is a big decision and something that you as a family must decide. However, your work and family commitments, or the size of your house, may mean that you cannot do this.

This is when you have to make the difficult decision to move them into residential accommodation. Nearly 1.4 million people in the U.S. live in nursing homes so this is a common issue facing many families. There are many nursing homes to choose from and you will want to pick the best one for your relative. Here are some things that you should look out for when you visit a nursing home.

Check on the food

Food is one of the great pleasures of life and can become even more important as you get older. If you are not busy doing other things, your next meal becomes very important. It is vital that it is something that you can enjoy. There are two things that affect how enjoyable the meal is. They are where you eat it and what you eat.

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Take a good look at the dining room. Is it a pleasant environment to enjoy a meal? Would you be allowed to visit your relative and enjoy a meal with them? It is also important that your relative has the option of eating in their own room sometimes if they don’t feel like venturing into the dining area. Is the seating pleasant and is the dining room light and airy?

The food itself is also vitally important. It needs to be both palatable and well presented. It also needs to be suitable for each resident. Some may have allergies, some may be on low-sodium diets and some may need pureed food. All needs and requirements must be catered for.

It is also important that a record is kept of what the resident has eaten. Anorexia is a real problem in some elderly people. They lose their appetite and simply stop eating. This needs to be detected early on and interventions put in place.

Listen carefully when you are in the nursing home

Use all your senses to make up your mind about the home. You may hear crying out and shrieks but you should not be alarmed as this is common for residents with dementia. However, it is important to listen to how the staff talk to the residents. They should be addressing them using their names and not using names such as ‘Pops’ or ‘Gramma’ as this indicates that they have not bothered to learn the resident’s names. They should enquire how your elderly relative wants to be addressed. They may prefer a more formal ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ to begin with until they begin to feel more relaxed.

What does the nursing home smell like?

This is a delicate subject. There will inevitably be some incontinent residents and this can present a challenge to the nursing home owners and employees. There will always be the odd accident but, to retain the dignity of the resident and to make it more pleasant for other residents, this situation should be controlled. If the home strongly smells, it means that the monitoring and cleaning regimes are not up to scratch.

The staff should not look stressed

If the carers are rushing around and don’t have time to talk to you, it could indicate that the nursing home is understaffed and this is a problem. It could mean that they do not have time to attend to your relative’s basic needs. It also means that they will not have the time to chat and comfort your relative and this makes a lot of difference.

Photo credit Matthias Zomer

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Can you see any of the employees stopping and talking to the residents? Are they sharing a joke with them or taking the time to walk with them out in the garden? There have been instances where poor staffing levels have led to residents being neglected and suffering psychological or physical harm. You are perfectly within your rights to consult a nursing home injury lawyer if you suspect that this has happened to a member of your family. Your lawyer can investigate your concerns and prepare a personal injury claim if the home has failed in their duty of care. If you win your case, you will get some compensation and it sends a message to the nursing home that they have to improve their procedures.

Signs that things are going wrong

There are several signs that the care provided in a home is not up to the required standards. If several residents have physical injuries this may mean that they are being abused. It can also mean that they are experiencing trips and falls. Measures should have been taken to prevent this. Residents should not have bed sores. There are strict protocols that should be followed to prevent this from happening.

They should also look happy and content. There should be a variety of activities, both inside and outside the home, and there should be evidence that these actually take place. It is not enough for them to be written in the brochure, ask if you can visit when they are actually happening.

With the correct care, your elderly relative can enjoy their final years in a well-run nursing home.

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Italy’s PM Silvio Berlusconi has been filmed carrying out his community service at a nursing home near Milan.

The footage shows Silvio Berlusconi dressed in a white lab coat, joking with elderly residents at the hospice.

Silvio Berlusconi, 77, was ordered in May to help out at the Sacra Famiglia center as part of his one year sentence for tax fraud.

Silvio Berlusconi was ordered to help out at the Sacra Famiglia center as part of his one year sentence for tax fraud

Silvio Berlusconi was ordered to help out at the Sacra Famiglia center as part of his one year sentence for tax fraud (photo AFP)

Until now, doctors had imposed a news blackout on how exactly Silvio Berlusconi was getting on after trading his customary late night carousing with young show girls for more sedentary mornings entertaining the elderly.

The video, filmed on a smart phone, shows Silvio Berlusconi sitting in the centre’s recreation room, smiling and joking with a group of elderly residents, some in wheelchairs, before he strolls over the vending machine to chat to two younger women.

As he cracks jokes, some of the patients clap along to an old fashioned Italian accordion record being played.

The video shows Silvio Berlusconi looking relaxed and cheerful.

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At least twenty patients and a nurse have been killed in a fire at a South Korean hospice in Janseong county.

Six others are in critical condition after the fire at Hyosarang Hospital, about 200 milles south of Seoul.

Most of those who died are thought to have been in their 70s and 80s, and confined to their beds.

At least 20 patients and a nurse have been killed in a fire at the hospital in Janseong county

At least 20 patients and a nurse have been killed in a fire at the hospital in Janseong county

Officials said most of the people who died suffocated because of toxic fumes. The fire was put out within half an hour.

Police said they had detained an 81-year-old patient suffering from dementia after security video footage showed him entering an area where the fire began, reports said.

The fire broke out shortly after midnight at a three-storey annex.

Agencies report that many patients on an upper floor of the building were unable to evacuate as their rooms were filled with smoke from the fire.

The nurse who died had been trying to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher, according to AFP.

Police said the building had recently undergone safety checks, reported Yonhap news agency.

Hospice director Lee Hyung-seok, apologized and told reporters: “I’ve committed a grave sin… There is no excuse when valuable lives were sacrificed.”

The incident comes at a time of mourning for South Korea after more than 300 people died in a ferry sinking last month.

The hospital incident also comes a day after seven people were killed and 20 others injured in a fire at a bus terminal in Goyang city.

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Every so often, a number will catch your eye. For example, if you check the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you will notice they predict a 21 percent increase in Nurse Assistant jobs before 2022. The need for this position will escalate at a faster than average pace because of an aging population and changes in health care.

Aging Needs

Traffic through doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals is picking up. The boomer generation is growing into all the problems that go with getting old. Most of the problems are not life-threatening, but they accumulate slowly.

In time, they will need help in long-term care, nursing, and hospice facilities. That’s not pessimistic; it’s just realistic. The generation’s aging is complicated by its increasing longevity. This invites chronic problems like geriatric diabetes, progressive lung and heart problems, and Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The Needs of Caring

The upside is that it drives the economy. The need for doctors, nurses, technicians, and nursing assistants wearing quality scrubs is real.

Healthcare delivery will grow and reinvent itself. The Affordable Care Act and cuts in Medicare and Medicaid will direct care away from institutions to home and community care options. And, here lies a great future for budding nurse assistants. As growth continues, you can expect expansion in duties and income.

What to Expect

Almost half of nurse assistants work in skilled-nursing facilities while others work in hospitals, residential health care, and home health care. You can expect to work hard:

  • cleaning and bathing patients
  • assisting patients with toilet and dressing
  • turning and lifting patients
  • taking vital signs and recording patient health worries
  • serving meals and helping patients to eat

Growing into the job, you can be assigned to dispense medications, sterilize equipment, and transport patients about the facility.

Who Makes a Good Hire?

Nurse Assistants work in a medical tradition with ethics, standards, and hierarchy. There is a system of protocols you will learn over time. But, since you also spend more time with patients than the doctors and nurses do, you will develop long lasting personal relationships that contribute to their care and recovery.

  • Empathy: Most nursing assistants work with the elderly who often have special needs beyond their illness and injury. The career attracts the most compassionate and empathetic workers, people who are genuine.
  • Effective communication skills: Nurse Assistants must address patient, resident, and family concerns with communication skills that empathize with patients and share information with other staff.
  • Patience: The routines include feeding, bathing, and cleaning patients. It can be physically and emotionally stressful, but the best candidates have a commitment to healthcare.
  • Energy: Nurse Assistants tackle daily physical work lifting, re-positioning, and moving patients. They work on their feet and handle multiple tasks.

Despite the challenges in the work, the most successful career nursing assistants thrive on the challenge because of their commitment.

How to Get There?

You need at least a high school diploma or a GED and on-the-job training. But, you will have an advantage if you finish a state-approved program on the principles of nursing, CPR training, and supervised work in the field.

You will find such programs in high schools, community colleges, and vo-tech schools. But, depending on the state where you live, you may be required to complete an exam to make you a Certified Nursing Assistant. That puts you on a registry with authorization to work in nursing environments.

For those interested in opportunities that can lead to higher earnings, a Master of Science in Nursing degree is becoming an increasingly popular path to pursue. This degree is now offered via several online schools, making it easier than ever to advance your career. An MSN degree will let potential employers know that you have learned excellent management skills, and gained a clear understanding of hospital finance. These factors combined will ensure that you are a top choice in the eyes of any institution or hospital. Best of all, online classes can easily be balanced between any work schedule.

You can expect a criminal background check and some other requirements to meet state board standards. And, as you continue your career and education, you may want to focus on care-specific certifications in geriatrics or pediatrics.

There is potential here, the sort of career people can commit to early on knowing there is growth and opportunity.

Silvio Berlusconi is due to start a year of community service at a care home near Milan.

The former Italian prime minister was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud last year, commuted to four hours work a week with elderly dementia patients.

The Catholic care home says Silvio Berlusconi, 77, will be treated like any other assistant.

The billionaire has been embroiled in a string of court cases.

His conviction last year was in connection with the purchase of TV rights by his firm, Mediaset, in the 1990s.

Silvio Berlusconi is due to start a year of community service at a care home near Milan

Silvio Berlusconi is due to start a year of community service at a care home near Milan

Silvio Berlusconi was spared prison because the Italian legal system is lenient to the over-70s.

He chose community service rather than house arrest to serve out his commuted sentence.

This will enable him to continue to lead his centre-right party, Forza Italia, in the European elections, although he has been forced to resign his seat in the upper house of parliament.

Silvio Berlusconi has also had to surrender his passport and his travel within Italy is severely restricted.

He also has to observe a nightly curfew at his palatial home near Milan.

Silvio Berlusconi is said to have been studying Alzheimer’s disease in preparation for his community service. He was due to arrive at the San Pietro care home in Cesano Boscone at 09:45 local time.

Massimo Restelli, head of care services there, told La Repubblica newspaper that Silvio Berlusconi’s introduction would be “gradual” so that he and the elderly patients could get used to each other.

“It will be small steps so as not to make any mistakes, and then he could do all sorts of things. He could help with meals, which are tricky because sometimes you have to ‘remind’ the patient that they are eating,” he said.

He said Silvio Berlusconi would be accompanied at all times by a medical worker specialized in Alzheimer’s.

“We’ll see if Berlusconi’s presence creates some kind of close bond, if he is a reference for anyone,” he added.

Silvio Berlusconi has always denied the charges against him, accusing left-wing judges of a witch-hunt.

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