Whenever a vulnerable person is neglected, abused, or hurt by the people entrusted to care for them, it’s an offense that affects an entire industry. While considered small in comparison to the entire in-home care industry and all the exceptional caregivers who provide important resources and supports for clients, abuse and fraud are still serious problems to deal with.
They don’t just affect elderly and disabled people in the United States; this type of assault and abuse impacts men and women around the world. The victims in these cases aren’t merely those who are directly affected by these crimes, but their families, the people who have to deal with the aftermath, and caregivers who are dedicated to doing the right thing, even sacrificing time with their own families and potentially higher-paying jobs because of the limited financial resources made available for in-home care workers.
It’s also important to understand the short and long-term ramifications that neglect, abuse, and even assault can have on some clients. In a case from the UK, an elderly woman who had been diagnosed with dementia was assaulted by a caregiver and her health rapidly declined in the following weeks.
As noted by MSN News in the article, Former aged care worker Gary Cripps jailed for sexual assault on nursing home resident, written by Nicole Mills:
“Ms Post’s daughter, Jade Pigdon, told the court Cripps was a “predator” who “chose to take advantage of a woman who was incapable of saying no”.
She said his actions were “revolting” and “repugnant”.
“In the weeks following the assault we saw a rapid decline in Mum’s health,” she said.
“This has made our grieving process even more difficult than it should be.”
The court heard Ms Post’s husband, who has motor neurone disease, felt helplessness, rage and “utter despair” since the assault on his wife, and now suffered from panic attacks.”
In the U.S., fraud and abuse cases are, fortunately, rare compared to how many in-home care aides and visiting nurses are supporting elderly and disabled people, but just one case is going to directly impact that victim and his or her family for a long, long time.
One case also makes it more difficult for caregivers of integrity and true compassion to connect with men and women in need because of the media coverage that often follows these despicable acts. They happen, and though it’s easy to attempt to discount it as a rare exception to the rule, it is real and it continually needs to be addressed through improved training, support, background checks, and regular reviews with clients and their family to ensure quality care throughout the process.