My Response to Carte Blanch’s Elderly Abuse Depiction.

So. I finally saw the Carte Blanch investigation into elderly abuse, and thought I would give my 2 cents, as they mostly targeted this towards nurses.

Abuse is defined by Wikipedia as “the improper usage or treatment for a bad purpose, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit, physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, sexual assault, violation, rape, unjust practices; wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime, or otherwise verbal aggression. Abuse can come in many forms.”

Majority of abuse that happens is physical assault – hitting, slapping or kicking the patient – some verbal assault, and one complete mindfuck with the patient whereby lets say, in the programme the one patient asked the caretaker to take her out of the chair “please” as “it’s killing me” and the caretaker tells her “I’m going to leave you in this chair”. When asked why, she responds “because you are telling me what to do”.

Issue 1: I felt this was directed especially at nurses, and yes, I feel rather victimized. I felt that it was a generalization that should not have been generalized. I would like to think I am, and I have seen nurses who are, someone with the utmost respect for human life at all periods of life. Just the other day I spend 20 mins rubbing an emaciated cancer patient’s back because his family couldn’t bother to, while the rest of the nurses were busy with a resus. Just 20 mins out of my day to actually care and allow a single man to have dignity in dying. So yes, I feel cheated. It is not all nurses who subject the frail to elder abuse. I do also agree however, that some nurses are involved with elder abuse and to those who do, I condemn their actions.

Issue 2: To say I was horrified is an understatement. I was completely flabbergasted. However, I am not exactly speechless, because I do know a bit about this topic. I know that elder abuse is on the rise. I know that it occurs. My second issue however, is the fact that they displayed this abuse simply as if it only occurs in an old age home. It may be occurring in your neighbour’s house, or in your very own in fact. Do not be blind to the facts. Just as you may sometimes get frustrated with your newborn, so sometimes you may get frustrated with a frail elderly person who struggles to do things for themselves.

I worked in a high-care mental facility in which I would also say it is easy to commit abuse, for some of the people there are rather old. However, this facility was one of the most loving places I have ever happened upon. and I loved to see the interaction and trust between both parties. No abuse occurred, not even any harsh words that would not have been picked up by the cameras. These mentally depressive people are physically and emotionally tiring, and the shifts are long, yet, they receive the best care that is ever possible – and this I have witnessed.

Issue 3: Derek is correct in saying that it is difficult to look after an elderly person. Their bodies are shutting down, they forget their medication, they try share their medication with others, they are prone to falling and hurting themselves and fracturing bones, they are physically slow, their mental capacities begin regressing, they depend on others, they can’t always hear what you are saying, they may become incredibly aggressive, or confused, they get lost, their emotions are up and down….

However I am irritated that Derek mentioned only last that it is difficult to care for the elderly. The manner in which they positioned this programme, is that elderly abuse is occurring, especially by nurses, in nursing homes. Oh – its difficult to look after the elderly. I just don’t like the assumption that he placed.

Issue 4: I am astounded that even though there are cameras, the caretakers continue to abuse! I suppose you tend to forget that there are cameras around, and now – you’re caught! Good! Serves you bloody right! You should all be caught, tried, and taken to jail! I have fuckall sympathy for you, and especially for the nurses, because you give ME and the rest of the amazing nurses out there, a bad name! I won’t be the one saving your ass.

I would also like to point out that the one nurse who caused some of the abuse is an agency nurse. It is not really a nurse – they assist nurses with basic tasks. So again, to assume that nurses are doing the abuse is incorrect. So it grills me when Derek says “yes but you have the training….” because.they.DON’T. Even so, it is common sense (which evidently is not so common) to know how to treat a LIFE. Regardless of their capabilities or not! Grrrr!

The injuries I saw were horrifying. How does this make you feel?

Terrible, isn’t it?! I highly condemn this and I would like to stop this!! How else can we expose those who are doing these heinous crimes??

Another thing that pretty much got to me, is that when the one old lady was admitted into hospital, she said “I don’t want you to do anything about it”. See how scared they are?! This is like child abuse, where they are too scared to prosecute the abuser in case the abuser comes back, or no one believes them. It really just makes me want to break down and cry…

Does anyone know about this?

If you do – please let me know, I think we all need to make a difference!


Please feel free to post comments!



4 responses to this post.

  1. My heart aches for these poor old people!


  2. Posted by meganstow on September 27, 2010 at 12:53

    This post struck very close to home because my great aunt was abused at her old age home.

    She was very alert, but crippled by osteoporosis. She used to keep her valuables and chocolates etc that we’d bring her in a handbag with the handles wrapped around her arm to stop the nursing staff from stealing. We even witnessed once how the nursing staff would rifle thru her things in the closet and help them selves. It got so bad at one point that my cousin used to sleep in a chair in her room to stop the staff from taking advantage of her. When she was left alone, the staff would force the handbag away from her, leaving bruises, to take what they wanted.

    When we confronted the nurses they said my aunt was crazy and lying. So did the matron

    Sadly we didn’t have the option of moving her as it wasn’t our decision, but to this day i feel sick and disgusted by how those heartless creatures took advantage of people unable to defend themselves.


  3. Awwwww Megan, I am so sorry to hear that, it tugged at my heart to read that. I swear – I would love to change nursing homes for the elderly – I have such respect for such knowledge that they have obtained, and the experiences that they have lived through. There is so much wisdom there, and I feel we all need to simply give a little love and patience.

    It also makes me angry to think of the people who stay at old-age homes and their family never come to visit…


  4. I am pleased you said that 😀



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