In the profession manifests an obligation to lead,

In recent years, elderly neglect has
become an international growing epidemic that has caught the attention of the
medical community and society as a whole. 
Elderly neglect is defined as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent
act by a caregiver or other person that harms or causes risk of harm to a vulnerable
adult” (Administration on Aging, 2015).  With
increased research on elderly neglect by medical providers, as well as
health-service researchers, distressing results have begun to surface about
this phenomenon.  In a recent study, it
has been estimated that nearly 500,000 elderly neglect cases occur each year,
while 7.6%-10% of elderly patients reported abusive neglect in the past year
(National Center on Elder Abuse, 2015). 
Although these numbers are staggering, numerous cases continue to fall
through the cracks.  Elder neglect has
become a rapidly emerging social injustice because it violates provision 4.1 of
the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics, authority, accountability, and
responsibility (Fowler, 2015), American Nurses Association Scope and Standards
of Practice related to maintaining a social contract with an obligation to
society (Fowler, 2015), and failing to obtain the Jesuit values of magis and cura personalis (Regis University, 2017).  This paper will illustrate
the importance of recognizing and acting upon elderly neglect as it has become
a rapidly growing epidemic within our healthcare system, as well as
highlighting some barriers that have made it difficult to reduce the occurrence
of this injustice.  With the inability to
abide by these standards, elderly neglect will continue to occur in our
society, harming the lives of thousands of susceptible elderly patients.

Literature Review

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            By failing to properly care for our
elderly population, leading to elderly neglect, this has grown into both a
medical and social injustice recognized on an international scale (Pillemer et
al. 2015).  From a nursing perspective,
the scope of nursing practice embodies a nurses “response to the changing needs
of society to achieve positive healthcare consumer outcomes in keeping with
nursing’s social contract with an obligation to society” (Fowler, 2015).  As a registered nurse, the profession
manifests an obligation to lead, educate, and implement their knowledge not
only in the healthcare setting, but also on a daily basis amongst our society
as a whole.  With this in mind, provision
4.1 of the Code of Ethics for Nurses highlights the independent ability to
possess authority, accountability and responsibility.  A nurse is independently responsible to be an
authoritative figure in society, being accountable for their nursing judgments
and actions.  Elderly neglect is
inexcusable for any registered nurse who abides by this code of ethics because
they are failing to address this intentional negligent act that causes harm to
nearly one in every ten elderly patients, as reported in the staggering
statistics (National Center on Elder Abuse, 2015).  Neglecting an elderly patient deprives them
of their quality of life, puts them in danger and the potential for further
injury, and is at the responsibility of the caregiver for causing or failing to
prevent it.  With relation to the
American Nurses Association Scopes and Standards of Practice, implementing
health teaching and promoting the health of the patient is imperative to
perform in a professional manor (Fowler, 2015). 
However, recent studies have highlighted barriers that make it difficult
to effectively report incidences of elderly neglect (Rosen et al. 2017).  For health care providers that have
encountered this mistreatment of elders, some of the barriers mentioned are a
lack of training for vulnerable patients, time limitations, lack of direct
communication with social workers, and a lack of reporting protocol where there
is a dedicated location for this injustice specifically related to the elderly
population.  Although these barriers are
very realistic in the real world, a nurse’s scope and standards of practice rely
on an independent and accountable ability to communicate, collaborate, and
utilize the resources they do have to reduce the scale of this injustice.  As this phenomenon continues to grow, with
elderly neglect cases exceeding hundreds of thousands, these barriers must be
broken for positive change to occur.

Application to Nursing

            As we apply this code of ethics,
while implementing the scope and standards of practice as a nurse, the instilment
of the Jesuit values is imperative to truthfully achieve an honest and
well-rounded understanding that the nursing profession requires.  With this approach to thinking, cura personalis translates to caring for
the whole person (Regis University, 2017). 
By caring for the whole person, neglect of any aspect is not an
option.  Similarly, the Jesuit value of magis translates in Latin to “more” or “greater”
(Regis University, 2017).  For a nurse,
this translates to making a greater impact by doing more, being more, and
living with a greater understanding and greater instilment of these Jesuit
values.  By encouraging these Jesuit
values, keeping them in the forefront of nurses’ minds and practice, this can
limit the occurrence of this injustice on an independent level, as well as
amongst those in the surrounding community. 
Each and every nurse is responsible for their actions and is accountable
for the actions of others as they are an authoritative figure that has been
taught to implement their knowledge and promote this education to all of
society.  With a greater understanding of
the severity of this injustice, nurses are at the forefront of alleviating
elderly neglect in the community, and possess the tools to begin to minimize
the cruelty of thousands of the elder population.


            As with any international epidemic,
effective communication, implementation, and independent responsibility is
imperative to improving the injustice of elderly neglect.  Our elderly population deserves the right to
adequate care, preventing further harm or injury, and continually satisfying
their basic needs no matter the circumstance. 
In order to avoid further neglect and harmful care to thousands of
elderly patients worldwide, the medical community must take responsibility by
acting with authoritative and accountable actions, while instilling the Jesuit
values, to work with and for our society day in and day out.  At the end of the day, every human being is independently
responsible for their actions, as they must be held accountable to provide
adequate care for our elderly population and for all those who are susceptible
to this injustice.