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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 4°C

Report: Over half of nursing home staff have seen residents neglected

They said they had seen other staff members neglecting the residents, while a quarter said they had seen psychologically abusive acts take place.

A SURVEY OF nursing home staff shows that 57.6 per cent had observed neglectful behaviour by other members of staff towards residents.

The findings were highlighted in Older People in Residential Care Settings: Results of a National Survey of Staff-Resident Interactions and Conflicts, published today by the National Centre for the Protection of Older People.

Approximately 6 per cent of the population of people aged 65 and over in Ireland are receiving residential care. This study examined interactions and conflicts between staff and residents in residential care settings.

Experiences of staff

A total of 64 nursing homes were included in the study: 44 homes in the private sector, 19 homes in the public sector and one in the voluntary sector.

The most frequent type of physical mistreatment experienced by staff was being slapped or hit by a resident (73.6 per cent). Being pushed, grabbed, shoved or pinched by a resident was also frequently reported (69.0 per cent). Overall, 85.0 per cent of respondents reported that they had experienced a physical assault by a resident.

Approximately 80 per cent of respondents reported that they had been insulted or sworn at by a resident or were shouted at by a resident in anger in the preceding 12 months.

A resident threatening to hit a member of staff was also reported by 63.5 per cent of staff.

Neglect by staff

Overall, 57.6 per cent of staff said that they had observed one or more neglectful behaviours by other members of staff in the preceding 12 months.

The most frequent neglectful behaviours included observing a member of staff ignore a resident when they called (52 per cent), and observing a member of staff not bring a resident to the toilet when they asked (40.4 per cent).

Approximately a quarter (26.9 per cent) of staff had observed at least one psychologically abusive act directed towards a resident in the previous twelve months by another member of staff. The most frequently observed type of psychological abuse was shouting at a resident in anger.

Physical abuse was observed as occurring on one or more occasions by 11.7 per cent of respondents.

Overall, a total of 27.4 per cent of staff reported that they had been involved in at least one neglectful act within the preceding 12 months. Meanwhile, 7.5 per cent of staff reported that they had perpetrated one or more psychologically abusive acts on residents in the previous 12 months.

A very small percentage (0.2 per cent) of respondents reported that they had talked to or touched a resident in a sexually inappropriate way once in the preceding 12 months.

Elder abuse service

Age Action has called for the strengthening of the remit of the HSE’s elder abuse service, in the wake of the survey.

“Age Action is concerned that the HSE’s elder abuse service currently does not have the legal power to enter a non-HSE nursing home, but must be invited in,” Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said.

We believe that the service should have the powers to visit older people who are being abused, regardless of who owns the home.”

Read: 3,000 extra people a year are going to need long-term care – report>

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