Witnessed abuse, nothing being done?

Specialties Geriatric


I am currently working in an Alzheimer's unit in LTC as a CNA while getting through nursing school...earlier this week I witnessed physical abuse by another aide on a resident, I went to the supervising RN who called the DON. The next morning I was called in to meet with the DON and the executive director to tell them what I saw, they acted very concerned and said this was grounds to call state. I get a call a couple hours later from my DON informing that the girl denied everything and that was that...no further investigation or action. The aide knows that I am the one that reported her so I am now getting harrassed for being a "snitch." Is the DON sweeping this under the rug or is this standard protocal? Advice please!

Specializes in ER, ICU.

You could just call the police or adult protective services. Elder abuse laws vary by state. Regardless of whether it is required to be reported though, you should. Document incidences of harassment and deal with that separately. Did you report that to your DON?

just guessing...but maybe they didn't think it was abuse. i can't tell bc you don't give any details. maybe the resident denied it? who knows. there's not really enough information to tell.

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

To report suspected elder abuse, you don't need to go through your DON: find out what the laws are in your state are and who you can report to. Then it will be up to Adult Protective Services to investigate.

Specializes in Pulmonary, Transplant, Travel RN.

You might be dealing with the same thing I was up against a while ago. A sitter was being verbally aggressive with an MR patient to the point where I had her replaced with another sitter. The patient was so anxious from her yelling at him, he tried to go into the BR to hide and fell, just before the replacement sitter arrived.

I reported everything, and when nothing was done, I was not pleased. To make a long story short, I was told the were "building a case" against her and needed more documentation/more incidents before they could terminate her.

The problem boils down to: This sitter was well known for acting this way, but very few people reported her and even fewer managers followed up on it when she was. So, on paper, she looked like a model employee. Her behavior continued and she even became a bit arrogant about it since she seemed to be getting away with it.

So, I had to keep working with her till she finally had enough incidents to be fired. We wont even get into that. The point is though, just because something isn't immediately being done doesn't mean they aren't going to do anything ever. Be glad you were not like the people who avoided reporting the sitter I was dealing with (for w/e reason). Your part in it is done, move on knowing you didn't contribute to the problem.

We all float down here.

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg.

You work in a facility where abuse apparently occurs, and is ignored. I would find another job today. You cannot "save" the pts/residents. Leaving is not abandoning anybody, it's saving yourself.

If you continue to stay and try to fight the good fight, you will lose. Whistle blowers never win.

Having said all the above, I greatly admire the people who acknowledge the costs to themselves, and then attempt to change the culture.

Good luck.

How about checking this link out? NCEA Home

A lot of patients/residents are fearful of staff treating them with predijuice if they report anything....so possibly the investigation bombed when they interviewed the resident.

Recently, when my mother was in the hospital, I got my own lesson on this.

I had a nurse call the house sup in a hospital because I wanted to report sub-standard care and several pt care breeches I had witnessed during the care of my mom. (Lovenox syringe + needle left in the bed, nurses telling moms visitors that she had appendicitis - she had stage 4 ovarian CA - why did they tell them anything though?....not answering a call bell for 45 minutes when she was fresh post-op....etc)

Supervisor was nice and we stood outside the room while I politely read her my list of issues. Then she said, lets go in so I can meet your mother. My mother was a very gracious elderly woman, who promptly said to the house sup; "This hospital is just wonderful and everyone is so very good and professional."

That took the wind out of my sails for my complaints and after the sup left, I said why mom?....she explained that she was worried they would treat her worse if she complained....that they would have a grudge.

It's not that outrageous a worry either.

Specializes in retired LTC.

You need to check the stuff hanging up on the walls in your facility's front lobby. There should be a posting of your State's Ombudsman Office, Dept. of Health or Senior Services, Attorney General, or somebody. It should have numbers to contact for complaint and information provided may be kept confidential. Just another avenue to try.

When I witnessed another nurse commit abuse, I reported it to management. I was promptly fired. I wrote a statement and took it to the police department and kept a copy of my statement along with the report number from the police, in case it came back to bite me for failure to report the abuse. It wasn't until more than two years later that I found out that not a thing was done about it, but at least I had my paperwork. I was threatened by the ADON that they were going to make a complaint against MY license, not the license of the nurse who committed the abuse. I wanted to be ready for that. It is too bad that the poor little old lady had to stay in that hell hole to endure more abuse, but that is the way things go.

Specializes in Stroke Seizure/LTC/SNF/LTAC.

You can report the abuse yourself. Of course, with dementia patients, their short-term memory doesn't work well. It is sad that the person stays in the abusive environment.

Well I "resigned" from my position and am looking for PRN position in a hospital, my DON said I need to "toughen up" if I'm going to be a nurse...I reported them to state in the hopes that something will be done about it, but I get the feeling that this is the way most nursing homes are run, only think about money and not the fact that they are taking care of human beings. If standing by and accepting abuse committed against completely defenseless people is nursing than I guess I don't want any part of it!

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