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October 8, 2017

Severe Human Rights Abuses Discovered in European Nursing Homes

A report published by the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions found cases of severe human rights abuses in nursing homes. The report highlights a serious issue in Europe’s aging population, which is set to increase from 18.5% in 2015 to 30% in 2060.

The survey was conducted in six countries: Croatia, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Romania, and Lithuania. It showed that 0.8%-20% of people over the age of 65 are receiving formal, long-term care. Another 3.3% were receiving care in residential settings.

The report found several concerning issues. Many people were admitted to care homes without their consent. The report also found that many residents were bathed at the same time.

Caretakers, at times, were physically or verbally aggressive toward patients. Some facilities also lacked medical support, including dental care, while others were not supplying sufficient daily meals. Hidden costs were also an issue. Some patients were afraid to ask for a cup of coffee because they had no idea if it was included in the cost or if they could afford it.

Signs of nursing home abuse, according to http://www.sgklawyers.com/, include bruises, sprains, burns and sudden changes in behavior. Signs of neglect also include inappropriate bathing techniques, which was found to be taking place at some facilities involved in the survey.

In the United States, nursing home abuse is also a serious concern and one that often goes unreported. Reports indicate that more than one in four cases of suspected physical or sexual abuse in patients at nursing homes go unreported to the police. The report faults Medicare for its failure to enforce a law that requires immediate notification.

There are 1.4 million people in America living in nursing homes, and quality is a concern. Data between 2015 and 2016 found 134 cases of possible neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse among nursing home residents. In about 28% of those cases, investigators found no evidence that the incident had been reported to law enforcement. Federal law requires nursing homes to report suspected abuse immediately.

Over in Ireland, the issue is much the same. Human rights groups in July raised concerns over the treatment of nursing home patients, including allegations of ill-treatment, in front of a UN committee in Geneva.

The UN Committee against Torture heard the public hearings that claim the elderly residents in nursing homes are being subjected to inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment. Rights groups claim that many are being “detained” in state-run homes or in hospitals due to a lack of care options.

Sage, an advocacy service, highlights concerns over the liberty of the people living in these homes. The group also noted an issue with the use of chemical restraint rather than therapeutic reasons.

In Ireland, about 45% of elderly people live in private or public nursing homes. That rate is 40% higher than the European average. Only 11% of nursing homes have dementia care units, much lower than the 33% in other European countries.

In Ireland’s case, the government is considering whether to introduce a scheme that would fund home care. Such a scheme would take years to approve and implement.

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