Nursing homes have been around since the 17th century. Originally, they were designed to care for the elderly and orphans, and the mentally ill. The premise of the nursing home was to provide care for those who could not care for themselves. And though there are excellent nursing homes available now across the country, nearly 95% of nursing home residents have been neglected during their care.
Simply defined, nursing home neglect is a form of negligence committed against the elderly within nursing homes. Nursing home neglect stems from care that is less than standard that directly or indirectly harms a resident.
Forms of Elder Neglect
Elder neglect can take on a few different forms. Most notably, the following:
- Abandonment occurs when a caregiver leaves the elder alone in a public place, nursing facility, or hospital.
- Nursing home neglect occurs when the caregiver fails to provide competent care to the resident of a nursing home.
- Self-neglect occurs when the older person cannot provide adequate care for themselves but is not willing to get assistance.
Nursing home neglect is usually the result of understaffing, negligent hiring, or lack of staff training. Neglect can take on four primary forms, including medical negligence, basic needs neglect, personal hygiene neglect, or social or emotional neglect.
How to Recognize Nursing Home Neglect
If someone you love or care about is in a nursing home, it is essential to look out for some warning signs. The elderly are not always able to advocate for themselves. In many cases, an older person may also no longer have the mental faculty to know that their needs are not met. Thus, family members and friends should keep their eyes and ears open for signs of a problem.
Common signs of trouble include poor resident hygiene, unsanitary living conditions, indications of poor nutrition, signs that the resident has limited to no mobility, injuries that can't be explained, or emotional and psychological issues, including fear of or anger and resentment towards caregivers.
Steps to Take if you Suspect Nursing Home Neglect
It's essential to be on the lookout for signs that your loved one is not received the proper treatment. If the appropriate steps are not taken to prevent neglect, it can lead to wrongful death. The last thing any family member or close friend wants to deal with is a death that they know could have been prevented.
Though neglect largely stems from insufficient staffing at nursing homes and assisted living centers, it is possible to protect loved ones by doing the following:
- Ask your loved one about their care and listening to their answers. All too often, senior citizens are dismissed when they share their concerns.
- Conduct your own tours and reviews of nursing home facilities. Be on the lookout for quality concerns, unsanitary living conditions, and understaffing.
- Check-in with loved ones often. Visits are critical, not only for their mental health but also to ensure that hygiene and nutrition are adequately maintained. When you can't visit in person, a phone call will be sufficient.
By being aware of the warning signs of neglect and abuse, it will be far easier to prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Further, alerting the authorities or nursing home or assisted living abuse lawyers can help ensure that other residents are not subject to inadequate care as well.
Continue reading to find out how you should report nursing home neglect. How to Report Nursing Home Neglect