Ethical Concerns in Addressing Elder Abuse
It should be noted that it is not only what is done, but also the failure to do what should be done that can count as elderly abuse. consider situations where the elder is neglected, unfed, and untreated for sickness. This happens in reality, whether done purposefully by the caretaker or merely due to neglect. Actions against the older person such as over- or under-medicating, depriving the elder of food and water, or exposing the elderly to severe weather are all considered as elder abuse, whether intentional or unintentional (Keita, 2007). Elder abuse can happen in hospitals or nursing homes. Take for example the case of Jennifer Matthew Nursing Home in Rochester, New York. An investigation was started at the nursing facility due to suspicions of elderly abuse. Family members agreed that cameras be put in relative’s bedrooms and the living facilities in order to prove negligent care on the part of the nursing facility. The captured videos showed residents left in their own waste for hours, unmoved in their beds for days, in overheated rooms, and left without a call button to ask for help or assistance (ABC News, 2006). The conditions are outright sickening, much more so to think that the nursing staff was just seen watching movies, sleeping and even leaving the facility. It does not reflect well of how elders should be treated, which should be with care, kindness, and attention as they have once cared for us and have been there to watch over us and help us grow. On January 20th, 2006, after much controversy, the nursing home was finally closed due to grave cases of neglect. This is not the only case of elderly abuse. Sadly, there are many similar cases of elder abuse across the country. A study conducted by the minority staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committeeshows that 30 percent of nursing homes in the United States, that’s around 5,283 facilities, were cited for about 9,000 occurrences of nursing home abuse between January 1999 and January 2001 (ABC News, 2006). I simply cannot accept how neglected our elders are.