Nursing homes should provide professional and competent care and attention for their residents, especially residents who cannot live alone. There are many types of neglect, however, which not only impacts the dignity of nursing home residents but can also cause injury and death.
Types of neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect pose risks to patients. While abuse is usually intentional, nursing home neglect is inaction that can seriously harm residents.
There are four major types of neglect. First, medical neglect occurs if a facility does not provide for their residents’ medical needs. This may involve medication errors where the wrong prescription is administered or not provided at all. Other examples include failure to treat bedsores, inadequate care for diabetes and dementia or failing to address mobility issues.
Social or emotional neglect occurs when nursing home staff ignores a resident or prevents them from interacting with other residents. This neglect may also involve emotional or psychological abuse such as yelling or name-calling.
Inadequate personal hygiene for residents is a third form of neglect. This involves failure to provide hygiene and grooming for residents who are unable to care for themselves. This includes lack of bathing, brushing teeth and laundry services.
Finally, some neglect may be as severe as failure to address basic needs. Neglected basic needs include providing sufficient food and water and maintaining a clean and sanitary facility.
Signs of neglect
These are signs and indications of nursing home neglect:
- Weight loss which may be caused by insufficient food, depression, lack of socialization or other neglect if there is no other apparent reason for the weight loss.
- Dehydration which may indicate that the facility is providing insufficient water.
- Malnutrition which may cause weight loss, bedsores, and infections.
- Bedsores which may be caused by lack of physical care for bed-bound residents in addition to malnutrition.
- Environmental hazards including wet floors, insufficient handrails, poorly maintained wheelchairs, and other neglect.
- A resident who was not bathed or groomed.
Attorneys can assist families when they suspect mistreatment of nursing home residents. They can take action to help protect residents and seek compensation.