Patients in nursing homes often feel distressed. Their resulting behavior makes providing care more challenging. Regardless, caregivers are never allowed to retaliate against patients.
Nursing home employees are sometimes guilty of gross abuse and neglect. For example, one witness at a Pennsylvania facility recalls seeing a nurse kick a patient twice in the head.
Why nursing home residents become combative
Patients in nursing homes become antagonistic for various reasons. Difficulties with daily activities may contribute to patient discontent. Hearing and visual impairments are contributing factors. An inability to express themselves may exacerbate their discomfort.
Mental conditions are another area that triggers upset. As we age, our cognitive abilities decrease. Nursing home patients with diminished reasoning may perceive events that are not occurring. Medication often worsens the problem. Patients might accuse nurses of saying or doing things that they are not.
How to defuse situations when nursing home residents become combative
We must reduce conflicts between care workers and patients. A new bill proposed by the Senate intends to help do that, in part, by increasing state inspections. It also requires care facilities to have a registered nurse always on call.
Nurses can contribute to neutralizing heated situations by practicing active listening. Body language is critical. Nurses must remain aware of the ways that patients perceive them.
Experts recommend that nurses always approach patients from the front. There should also never be physical contact when a patient feels agitated. Finally, nurses should develop and put into practice an array of diversionary tactics.
There are understandable reasons why nursing home patients fight with caregivers. Still, there are no excuses for a nurse harming a resident.