Elder Abuse including Care Home Abuse and Neglect – Care Home Abuse of Children – Abuse of the Physically and Intellectually Disabled in Care Homes or Nursing Homes in Ireland
If you have an issue or concerns in relation to care home abuse or nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact Keith Rolls by email or FREEPHONE 1800-844104 to discuss your case in confidence.
In 2014, almost 300 elder abuse cases were reported to the HSE, with over half of the abuse carried out by adult children of the victims. Only 12% of these cases involved physical abuse, with the remainder involving financial or psychological abuse or neglect.
With the recently released HIQA report into various care centres for the intellectually disabled, more incidents of abuse and lack of staff training have come to light in care centres such as the Rosanna Gardens facility, which is run by Sunbeam House Services facility in County Wicklow and the privately funded Peamount Healthcare facilities.
The HSE defines elder abuse as:
‘ a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person, or violates human and civil rights.’
Theories behind elder abuse
A HIQA report (2007) offers some theories for elder abuse including:
- psychopathology of abuser
- trans-generational violence
- carer stress/situational
- social isolation
- domestic violence
Disclosure of abuse
Older people, children or vulnerable adults may not wish to disclose information regarding abuse for the following reasons:
- fear of retribution/under threat
- family ties
- neighbours finding out
- legal issues
- they are in a nursing home
- they don’t want to burden anyone
Legislation around elder abuse
Legislation explicitly dealing with elder abuse doesn’t exist in Ireland. However, there are various laws in the following categories that may be used to address the issue:
- human rights legislation
- mental health/mental capacity laws
- domestic violence legislation
- laws for regulation of health and social care services and staff
- laws dealing with financial support for nursing home care
- equality and age discrimination acts
- financial regulation and consumer protection legislation
- criminal and civil laws applicable to prosecution in cases of abuse.
Reporting Care Home Abuse
If you are concerned about abuse, it is important to contact your GP, a public health nurse or any healthcare worker. The HSE has produced a booklet called ‘Open Your Eyes: protect yourself from elder abuse’ which can be accessed by following the link below: http://www.hse.ie/elderabuse
Care Home Abuse or Nursing Home Abuse can happen anywhere that care is provided for children, the elderly or people with disabilities, such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, respite centres, group homes and day care centres.
Many victims of care home abuse or elderly abuse may not be able to speak out against their abusers and may be subject to both mental anguish and physical injury as a result of abuse at care homes or nursing home neglect.
Care Home Neglect or Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse can be a cause of both mental and physical distress and suffering for the patient, and can include, but is not limited to:
- Errors when dispensing medication
- Failure to attend to ailments such as bed sores
- Failure to monitor patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s or Dementia adequately
- Physical Abuse
- Verbal Abuse
Relevant Information about Care Home Abuse
The Health Act 2007 introduced a significant change to how residential care settings for older people are inspected and registered. Prior to the Act, only nursing homes operated by private and voluntary providers were inspected by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The Office of the Ombudsman published a report to the Dáil and Seanad in November 2010 in accordance with Section 6(7) of the Ombudsman Act 1980 called “WHO CARES? An Investigation into the Right to Nursing Home Care in Ireland”. This report was based on over 1,000 individual complaints made since 1985 on behalf of older people who were unable to get long-term nursing home care from the HSE and had to avail of private nursing home care in Ireland. You can read the full report here.
The Health Information and Quality Authority published National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland in February 2009, which set out the standards that all residential care homes and nursing homes for the elderly should adhere to.
The National Standards for Residential Services stated that it would make sure that people living in a residential services:
- Have a safe place to live
- Receive good care with the right support
- Can call the residential service ‘home’
The National Standards for Residential Services:
- Protects the rights of people with a disability
- Helps residential services improve their services
A Residential Service can be:
- A larger facility where 10 or more people live
- An apartment where 1 person lives with support
- A house in a housing estate where small groups of people live
If you have an issue or concerns in relation to care home abuse or nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact Keith Rolls by email or FREEPHONE 1800 844 104 to discuss your case in confidence.
“The State pledges itself to safeguard with especial care the economic interests of the weaker sections of the community, and, where necessary, to contribute to the support of the infirm, the widow, the orphan, and the aged.”
– Bunreacht na hÉireann, Article 45.4. 1° – Directive Principles of Social Policy