Friday, November 9, 2007

Caregiver Crisis

To countless elders, paid and unpaid caregivers provide companionship and invaluable help with eating, taking medicine, bathing, toileting and safety.

But sometimes, those caregivers abuse, neglect and steal in the ultimate betrayal of the most vulnerable among us.

Government's efforts to support good caregivers and protect the elderly from bad ones fall short, the Wisconsin State Journal learned in an eight-month investigation of elder abuse in the state. Among the findings:

• Government has no system to check for abuse by volunteers, who bear most of the caregiving burden in the U.S. And they don't get enough support, training or respite, which increases the chances of stress and harm to elders.
• Professional caregivers, such as nursing aides, get poor pay, benefits and inadequate training, which leads to high turnover, poor screening and bad care.

• The system to oversee professional caregivers has gaps. There is no national system for background checks, and state rules give some abusive caregivers a chance to again work in long-term care facilities.

• Communities will face shortages of professional caregivers due to expected changes in the work force, and their role will grow as the population of frail elderly balloons in the coming decades.

"I don't know how it can't be a crisis at this point," said John Schnabl, chairman of the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Workforce Alliance, a group of private and public organizations that advocates on behalf of caregivers.

Newer research suggests that elder abuse, like many other forms of abuse, is usually motivated by a desire for power, control or money.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a terrible thing that happens to people, I am appalled at how often it does happen.
My grandmother is being vicimized by a caregiver and nobody will do anything about it just for the sake of having no conflict and not to have to fix the situation after it's reported.
I was going to take matters into my own hands and report it annonymously but someone would have to fix it afterward and her son and daughter-in-law who found this person to begin with I wouldn't trust to find someone better suited because they don't care enough to check up on things and to see how things are without calling the house first, that's the problem, he calls the house before he shows up there so the caregiver would have time to make things look good.
I kind of identified with the story about this story, I think my grandmother was pushed to the floor one day and left there all night by this caregiver who isn't giving any care at all. I told my mom the information pertaining to the situation, numbers to call, etc. and she said she didn't want to be responsible for "fixing it" after she "destroyed it" because her mother is in FL and she is in ID. Her brother likes to ubuse us as well, not physically mind you, it's all about mental control and manipulation to get his own way.
I fear for her life, a different caregiver tried to kill her. This woman fabricates stories and pretends to be a nurse in a uniform and steals from the house she "works" in.