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Gewalt in der Pflege

Violence in Care for the Elderly

Physically weak and elderly people in care homes are at particular risk of becoming victims of violence. Violence in care for the elderly can occur in a domestic context and also in outpatient and inpatient care for the elderly.

This includes the neglect of people in need of care, but also mistreatment of any kind. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), violence against the elderly is defined as a single or repeated act or a failure to react appropriately within a relationship of trust, whereby injury or harm is caused to a person. 

Violence in care for the elderly can take many forms:

  • Neglect caused by leaving the person alone 
  • Insufficient hygiene or food 
  • Physical abuse such as hitting, shaking or taking hold of somebody too hard 
  • Emotional abuse such as confining someone to their bed, insults, intimidation or threats
  • Staring
  • Administering sedatives
  • Intimate violence
  • Financial exploitation
  • Attacks among those requiring care themselves

The Advisory and Auditing Authority as per the Housing and Participation Act

Elderly people, those in need of care and people with disabilities who live in care homes require special protection. The monitoring of care homes and residential facilities by the Heimaufsicht (Care Home Supervisory Authority) is regulated in the Housing and Participation Act in North Rhine-Westphalia. The purpose of the law is to protect the dignity, rights and needs of persons in need of care and to shape the framework conditions for caregivers positively.

The Housing and Participation Act (WTG) and the Implementation Ordinance (WTG-DVO) regulate minimum standard requirements for staffing and the requirements placed on specialist staff. Regulations concerning housing quality in care home facilities as well as the participation and inclusion of people in need of care in decision making are also included in the regulatory requirements set forth in the WTG and the WTG-DVO.

Adherence to minimum statutory requirements is monitored by districts and independent cities. In order to fulfil statutory inspection orders, care home facilities are regularly visited by employees of the Heimaufsicht (Care Home Supervisory Authority). In the event of problems or complaints, persons in receipt of care or their relatives can also get in contact with the competent authority directly. The exact address of the office responsible for a certain facility is given in the nursing home contract.

Contact persons for complaints from residents and their relatives can be found here.

Find help fast:

The following websites provide information about what violence in care homes can look like and what victims and their relatives can do in order to prevent it: