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Protecting care home residents from mistreatment and abuse: on the need for policy

Authors Phelan A

Received 14 July 2015

Accepted for publication 14 October 2015

Published 19 November 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 215—223

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S70191

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Mary Schmeida

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Frank Papatheofanis

Amanda Phelan

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Ireland

Abstract: With a rising older person population with increasing life expectancies, the demand for care homes will increase in the future. Older people in care homes are particularly vulnerable due to their dependencies related to cognitive and/or functional self-care challenges. Although many care homes provide good care, maltreatment and abuse of older people can and does occur. One major step in preventing and addressing maltreatment in care homes is having comprehensive and responsive policy, which delineates national expectations that are locally implemented. This paper examines the literature related to maltreatment in care homes and argues for policy based on a multisystems approach. Policy needs to firstly acknowledge and address general societal issues which tacitly impact on older person care delivery, underpin how care homes and related systems should be operationalized, and finally delineate expected standards and outcomes for individual experience of care. Such a policy demands attention at every level of the health care and societal system. Furthermore, contemporary issues central to policy evolution in care homes are discussed, such as safeguarding education and training and fostering organization whistle-blowing protection.

Keywords: care homes, maltreatment, policy, older people

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