Abuse is a serious accusation, and never taken lightly. If you are accused of abuse, whether or not you are guilty, you are escorted off the premises. The abuse may not be intentional, but it is still abuse. The types of abuse include physical, verbal, sexual, psychological and financial. Using restraints is also a form of abuse. It is easy to dupe the elderly, especially with their money and belongings. Never take money from your residents, even as a gift.
Physical abuse is obvious, with bruising and excessive skin tears. It is either intentional or not. This includes slapping, cutting, burning, pushing and shoving, restraining or even rough handling (Alvare, S., Fuzy, J., & Rymer, S., 2009). This is a very serious offense. It is often difficult to take care of the elderly, and it is easy to lose your temper. Just make sure you do not take your ill feelings out on your residents.
Verbal abuse includes talking back, using offensive language and using “baby talk.” It is demeaning to the elderly. Using offensive language makes the resident feel bad. Verbal abuse has no physical signs, but the effects can be felt for a long time.
Sexual abuse is another serious issue. Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual contact with an elder including touching, sexual assault and rape (Brayton & Purcell, 2009). Many times the resident is unable to report the abuse, but physical signs are there. Sometimes the resident will not report the abuse because they feel ashamed and humiliated. It is everyone’s duty to report suspicions of sexual abuse. Talk to your charge nurse as soon as you realize or suspect that abuse has occurred. If you do not report abuse, you can be held responsible along with the abuser.
Neglect is causing harm to the resident by NOT doing a needed task. Some things that may be considered as negligence include poor hygiene, not providing privacy, not feeding the resident and soiled clothing. Neglect is as serious as any other kind of abuse.
Abandonment is when the CNA does not finish an assignment and/or leaves work early without attending to their resident’s needs. The elderly depend on others to help them do their Activities of Daily Living.
Exploitation, another form of abuse, is when money or property is taken from the resident. Never take or ask for money. There have been cases of nursing assistants asking for a “loan.” This is illegal!