BakersfieldNow had an interesting article on the prevalence of elder abuse in nursing homes.  The article cites an investigator and ombudsman for the elderly.  They stated elder abuse in the nursing home industry happens more often than people know.

Nona Tolentino is an ombudsman for the elderly.   Tolentino’s job is to investigate cases of suspected elder abuse in the nursing home industry.   Trying to verify it, however, can prove elusive, because people refuse to talk about it for a number of reasons.

"I call it the conspiracy of silence, (because) no one is able to talk for them," said Tolentino.

Under California law and in most states, nursing home employees are mandated to report any cases of suspected elder abuse. Tolentino finds that’s not always happening, though, as employees keep quiet out of fear of losing their jobs.

Tolentino is adamant about patients’ rights to a safe environment.   It was only back in 1987 when the Older Americans Act established a legislative framework for reform to better protect the elderly in nursing homes.   It is based on the premise that it is a resident’s right to be free of verbal, mental, sexual and physical abuse, unnecessary physical and chemical restraints, and involuntary seclusion in a nursing or residential care facility.


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