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From The CriticsReviewer: Marcia K Flesner, PhD, RN, MHCA (University of Missouri-Columbia)
Description: The book reports on a nationwide study of theft from nursing home patients, and discusses theories explaining why physical and psychological abuse occurs in nursing homes. The authors then offer practices to reduce the risk of abuse in nursing homes.
Purpose: The book's purpose is to report on a nationwide study of theft from patients in nursing homes; to discuss theories regarding abuse in nursing homes; and to suggest strategies to reduce abuse in nursing homes. Validating that theft and abuse does occur in nursing homes is important, because we cannot address a problem until we have a factual view of the problem. The authors discuss a topic that is rarely broached due to its sensitive nature.
Audience: The audience would be the management team of nursing homes. The authors are credible authorities; they performed the research, one has experience with the elderly and the other is a professor of criminal justice who has published extensively.
Features: The book relates the results of a nationwide study about misconduct in nursing homes in which 1,116 employees and 417 families returned surveys responding to questions about their experiences with theft in nursing homes. Two index scores, attitudes toward patients and maltreatment by patients were used, suggesting sources of motivation for theft from patients. The information would be of value to long term care management teams. The authors recommend reporting theft to local authorities as a strong deterrent to prevent repeat offenders from remaining employed in the long term care setting.
Assessment: When I saw the title, I was prepared to dislike the book. I did not want to accept the fact that "there is no safe place" in a nursing home. But the authors won me over as they discussed the motivations behind abuse and offered practices to reduce it. Unfortunately, as long as we ask humans to take care of vulnerable humans, we are faced with the possibility that misconduct will occur. The book offers a clear look at the problems of abuse and theft and offers ideas to reduce the risk in nursing homes.