Neglect in elder care; a form of abuse

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.” Richard Gould, Director of English Nursing Care, Sri Lanka

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% of their out-patients over the age of 65 years at risk of abuse. The survey highlights 45% reporting verbal abuse and neglect. Whilst 5.6% report physical abuse. Nevertheless, a substantial number of elders refrain from reporting such misconduct due to fear, shame or mental illnesses.

Why is neglect defined as abuse?

Sachini’s lives with her family abroad. Her elderly mother use to visit her quite often and Sachini use to come 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.” says 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 was 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.

The importance of 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. Thorough knowledge on medical history, current medication dosage and emergencies is 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 practise with focus on delivering quality care with empathy. A review process is held every month to warrant the service given to your loved ones.

With neglect and abuse arrives the unfortunate consequences of dejection, anxiety and hopelessness. Care staff play a crucial role. English Nursing Care is an advocate of celebrating life and takes pride in the holistic service they offer with guaranteed peace of mind for the elderly client as well as family often living far away. For further information on English Nursing Care, visit their website or call +94 11 4500117.