Veterans make up a significant portion of the millions of nursing home residents across the United States. In fact, the demand for veterans needing long-term care is expected to increase in the coming years. For this reason, it is so important for us all to remember, honor, and celebrate the sacrifices veterans made in service to our country.
This Veterans Day, the Nursing Home Abuse Justice team wants to spread awareness of the unique struggles veterans may face while residing in nursing homes and the small ways each of us can honor veterans and their sacrifices. Join us in celebrating the brave men and women of our nation.
Veteran Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Unfortunately, as many as one in three nursing home residents suffer from abuse. Nursing home abuse can include physical, emotional, and financial abuse. In severe cases, victims may suffer fractures, infections, stage 4 bedsores, and even wrongful death. There are several causes of abuse, but one of the leading causes is chronic understaffing and poor staff training.
Even after making tremendous sacrifices in serving our country, veterans are not exempt from experiencing nursing home abuse. In fact, a 2018 report revealed that over 100 nursing homes operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had lower overall care rankings than private homes. Veterans may also suffer abuse in silence because they may not have family or support systems to help them talk through their experiences.
With understaffing becoming a growing crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic, these rates of abuse could increase. Thankfully, there are ways each of us can get involved to prevent abuse and help veterans improve their quality of life while in nursing homes.
How to Help Veterans in Nursing Homes
There are many ways to get involved with local nursing homes and advocate for veteran residents. Learn about a few ways to help veterans below.
- Contact local and federal lawmakers and advocate for funding for veterans in need of long-term care. With more funding, nursing homes can incorporate more training options, increase pay, and hire more staff. All of these could help lessen employee turnover and understaffing, which is one of the leading causes of nursing home abuse.
- Coordinate community programming. Veterans at nursing homes may want to share their stories of service with younger generations. Hearing their stories helps honor veterans and contributes to greater feelings of belonging. Contact a local school to see if students might be able to visit nursing homes in the area regularly.
- Donate to a veterans organization or VA hospital. Several organizations are advocating for veterans across the nation. If you have the means, consider donating to an organization that is making a difference in your area.
- Plan regular visits to nursing homes. Building strong relationships and frequent socialization can dramatically improve a veteran’s well-being while in a nursing home. Because many veterans may not have family or support systems, having a visitor with whom they can share their stories is incredibly important. This may also contribute to feelings of trust if the veteran needs to report abuse or mistreatment.
- Write letters to veterans residing in nursing homes. Similar to frequent socialization, hand-written letters can help with feelings of happiness and community. Including patriotic photos of you and your family might also bring a smile to the veteran’s face and help them remember that their sacrifices are not forgotten.
Justice for Nursing Home Abuse
After serving our country and protecting our freedoms, veterans in nursing homes deserve to be celebrated and honored this Veterans Day. Additionally, they deserve to live peacefully and with dignity as they receive the care they need.
If you witness veteran nursing home abuse, do not hesitate to report it. This keeps the abuse from continuing and protects residents. Additionally, the Nursing Home Abuse Justice team is here to help veterans who have experienced abuse in nursing homes pursue justice.
Contact our team at (800) 896-7040 for help.