Convalescent Home Safety

Convalescent Home Crimes
With an increase of elderly community members, due to the baby boomers and a longer lifespan, there will be a greater need for long-term care. This will include a need for convalescent homes, at-home care and adult day cares. The following crime prevention tips are provided to assist seniors, their relatives and friends in making sure our elderly community members don’t become victims.
Often convalescent home crimes and related quality of life issues go unreported. These crimes and issues usually go unreported because:
  • Seniors fear retaliation for reporting crimes by their caretakers.
  • Seniors may think that no one cares about them or what happens to them.
  • They may think that the crimes committed against them are just a fact of life and there is nothing that can be done to change it.
  • Seniors may be embarrassed to tell their family or friends what has been done to them because of what their family or friends might think. Seniors may be ashamed to ask their family or friends for assistance.
  • Convalescent home employees, who become aware or witness crimes in the home, may not report these crimes, fearing retaliation from their employer.
Crimes in Convalescent Homes
There are several types of crimes that can occur. These crimes can range from physical abuse, criminal neglect, sexual assault, emotional, psychological abuse or financial abuse. It’s hard to believe that such crimes can occur against seniors but these abuses are a harsh reality. It must be pointed out that many seniors are as vulnerable as small children are. The following is a list of possible signs of abuse and neglect.
Physical Abuse
  • Dragging the patient by the arms or hair
  • Hitting or slapping
  • Rough handling or grabbing
  • The lack of physical activity
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Bed sores
  • Rashes, sores, lice
  • Untreated medical condition
  • Over or under medicated
Emotional & Psychological Abuse
  • Constant harassment
  • Threat of withdrawal of services
  • Verbal threats of punishment
Financial Abuse
  • Fraudulent billing for nonservices
  • Overcharging for services
  • Theft of personal effects
Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is when a senior is forced, manipulated, or coerced into unwanted sexual activity, or the senior lacks the ability to consent to any sexual activity. Family members, staff members of homes or a stranger can initiate sexual assault. Sexual assault can include:
  • Rape
  • Sexual battery
  • Sodomy
Selecting a Convalescent Home
When choosing a home, look at the surroundings. Check the inside and outside of the home for cleanliness and grounds that are well kept. This can indicate an overall concern by the caretakers for cleanliness. When walking inside smell the air. It should smell clean and fresh not musty or have a high chemical smell.

Look at the home’s equipment to make sure it is in good working condition and not outdated. This could indicate the lack of funds to assist in the care or well being of the patients. Talk to employees about the condition of the home and their work environment. Happy employees indicate a high morale that in-turns creates employees that are more concerned about the quality of the job they perform.