Nursing Home Neglect
What You Need To Know About Nursing Home Neglect
Records by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that over 500,000 adults above the age of 60 years are neglected or abused in nursing homes each year. Sadly, nursing home neglect often goes unnoticed, leading to adverse consequences for the victim. If you have a loved one at a nursing facility, it is important that you understand what neglect is and the various forms it is likely to take. You should also know that the at-fault parties can be held liable for their actions or inaction.
What is Nursing Home Neglect?
Neglect is generally defined as the failure by a caregiver to fulfill their obligations with respect to an elderly person’s care. Since the needs of elderly people are wide-ranging, neglect can take many forms. Typically, neglect includes denying an elderly person any of the following:
- Their basic needs.
- Emotional support.
- Medical care.
Forms of Nursing Home Neglect
Basic Needs Neglect
Many victims of nursing home neglect suffer from malnutrition and dehydration. These problems arise from the failure to provide the elderly with a balanced diet and sufficient water. A clean and safe environment is equally important for the elderly and failing to provide one amounts to neglect.
Emotional Support Neglect
This form of neglect is often not recognized until it is too late. Overburdened staff may fail to engage in friendly interactions with the residents. Elderly people can be like children in that they yearn for attention. If it is denied to them, this is a form of emotional neglect which can launch them into a deep depression. In severe cases, a resident who feels emotionally deprived may suffer from serious health conditions that develop as a result.
Medical Care Neglect
While many families rely on nursing homes mainly because they want their loved ones to receive adequate medical care, their expectations are not always met. Bed sores or pressure sores are one of the main problems experienced by residents in nursing homes. These sores arise when a resident remains seated or in a reclined position for extended periods of time. Untreated cuts are also common and need to be looked into in order to prevent infection. Another sign of medical neglect is failing to oversee a resident’s physical exercise. Additionally, those with medical conditions such as diabetes may require medications. There are many cases where nursing attendants have been reported for failing to provide vital treatment.
Personal Hygiene Neglect
Some nursing home residents find it hard to maintain their own personal hygiene without assistance from the staff. These residents may have difficulty bathing, grooming, changing their clothes, or maintaining oral hygiene. When the nursing home attendants turn a blind eye to these challenges for the elderly, it amounts to personal hygiene neglect.
Liability for Nursing Home Neglect
When neglect takes place in a nursing home, the institution can be held responsible if the resident was harmed due to any of the following:
- Inadequate training
- Breach of regulatory or statutory obligations
- Medication errors
- Negligent hiring
You need to bear in mind that the institution will be held “vicariously liable” for the conduct of its employees. Third party contractors who are hired for various tasks in the nursing home facility may also be held liable for neglecting a resident. For example, if one of the residents at the nursing facility injures their fellow resident, the private security firm charged with the security of the nursing home may be deemed responsible for negligence.
Consult a Nursing Home Lawyer
If you suspect that someone is being neglected in a nursing home, consult a Phoenix nursing home negligence lawyer. An attorney will be able to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for pursuing a claim against the institution or the nursing attendant.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into elder abuse and personal injury practice.