Neglect in elder care; a form of abuse | Sunday Observer

Neglect in elder care; a form of abuse

28 March, 2021

To live in safety, with dignity and respect is a basic human right, especially during a time when age takes over and one’s body and mind begins to deteriorate. However, elder abuse is one of the most common and inherently one of the most difficult forms of abuse to detect as it can occur not only physically but mentally, in the form of verbal abuse, threat and most of all neglect.

“Elder abuse is defined as physical, emotional and financial harm inflicted upon an elder including exploitation and the neglect of their welfare by people who are directly responsible for their care,” Director of English Nursing Care, Sri Lanka, Richard Gould said.

Sri Lanka is at a high risk as the demographic is shifting to being one of the fastest ageing economies in Asia. The North Colombo Teaching Hospital records 38.5 percent of their out-patients over the age of 65 years at risk of abuse. The survey highlights 45 percent reporting verbal abuse and neglect, while 5.6 percent report physical abuse. Nevertheless, a substantial number of elders refrain from reporting such misconduct due to fear, shame or mental illnesses.

Neglect as abuse

Sachini lives with her family abroad. Her elderly mother is used to visiting her quite often and Sachini is used to coming down frequently to take care of her. Once the pandemic disrupted all means of travel, this wasn’t possible anymore. Sachini’s mother was now being taken care of by a home nurse in Colombo.

“During this time, my mother had completely changed. She was once a bubbly and outgoing person who loved to dance and live life to her fullest. She had now become bedridden, unable to speak or even recognise me. She had developed pressure ulcers which were not healing and was given heavy medication without my consent,” said Sachini.

Due to the neglect and unprofessional service of the carer who refused to give updates of the elderly’s health and only threatened to leave, Sachini’s mother had become severely ill. Unnecessary medication and unexplained billing were abusive to Sachini’s mother physically and financially.She was desperate to find another way to help her mother, “I had heard about English Nursing Care from a friend, I gave them a call and shared my concerns, this was one of the best decisions I made for my mother and myself too.

They took over my mother in their care and had a team of doctors, a nutritionist, the home nurse and the management networking to get my mother back.”

Today, Sachini’s mother’s bedsores have recovered well, she is able to walk and has become her social self again with medications reduced gradually. Through such professional care, communication and transparent billing, Sachini’s mind is at ease.

Good elder care

Old age requires engaging and comprehensive care. English Nursing Care understands the significance of this responsibility. Thus, ‘Care plans’ are created by our local experienced Nurse Supervisors and then reviewed, discussed and updated with input from our UK nursing support team.

The thorough knowledge on medical history, current medication dosage and emergencies are pivotal. Staff update family on the progress of the client every week or as requested. Nurses at English Nursing care are trained to inculcate the latest methodologies in their practice with focus on delivering quality care with empathy. A review process is held every month to warrant the service given to your loved ones.