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Common Types of Neglect in Nursing Homes

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When an older adult or a disabled person is no longer able to care for themselves, it might be necessary for their family to consider nursing home care. While the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is often emotionally difficult, it can be even harder to learn that your loved one has been neglected or abused in the facility. The National Council on Elder Abuse reports that an estimated 11.6 percent of elderly adults in nursing homes suffer from neglect. There are multiple types of neglect that can occur in nursing homes, making it important for you to understand the signs so that you can protect your loved one.

Types of Neglect in Nursing Homes

Neglect occurs when a dependent adult’s basic needs are not met, including the need for water, adequate shelter, food, hygiene, clothing, and appropriate medical care. Unfortunately, some nursing homes fail to meet their residents’ basic needs and cause them to suffer from various types of neglect. Regardless of the reason for the neglect, it is always unacceptable. Some of the most common forms of neglect in nursing homes are described below.

Medical Neglect

Many nursing home residents are the victims of medical neglect, which occurs when a staff member fails to meet the medical care needs of a resident. Some examples of medical neglect that can occur in nursing homes include the following:

  • Failing to administer needed medications
  • Failing to move or turn bedridden residents, leading to a risk of bedsores
  • Failing to report symptoms of illnesses or infections to doctors or nurses
  • Providing inadequate care for health problems like dementia or diabetes

Emotional Neglect

Ideally, nursing homes should provide an opportunity for residents to make friends with others. The ability to interact with others can improve elderly adults’ mental health and mood. When nursing home staff members fail to allow or prevent residents from engaging in social interactions, it might amount to emotional neglect. Some examples of emotional neglect in nursing homes include the following:

  • Isolating residents
  • Failing to provide mobility devices to residents so that they can get around and interact with others
  • Failing to move residents with mental issues or severe mobility problems so that they have the opportunity to interact with others

Personal Hygiene Neglect

Nursing home staff members are supposed to help residents with their personal hygiene needs. When they do not, a resident’s poor hygiene can affect their health, their appearance, and their emotional state. In some cases, it can be life-threatening.

Some examples of personal hygiene neglect in nursing homes include the following:

  • Failing to bathe a resident regularly
  • Failing to help a resident change clothes each day or after accidents
  • Failing to change a resident’s bedding after they have soiled the bed
  • Failing to check on residents
  • Failing to help a resident brush their teeth

Neglecting a Resident’s Basic Living Needs

In this type of nursing home neglect, the staff members fail to keep the home safe for the residents. Some examples of this type of neglect include the following:

  • Failing to regularly clean residents’ rooms and common areas
  • Keeping the temperature too low or too high
  • Providing residents with inadequate water or food

What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?

Recognizing the signs of nursing home neglect is important so that you can take prompt action if you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected. If you notice any of the following signs, you should report your concerns immediately and speak to an attorney:

  • Poor hygiene/unkempt appearance
  • Bedsores
  • Burns
  • Bruises
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Soiled clothing
  • Untreated medical conditions
  • Fractures
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Substantial personality changes
  • Withdrawn or fearful behavior
  • Missing medications
  • Failure to administer medications when needed
  • A staff member with a negative attitude towards residents
  • Administering medications with excessive side effects

Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook

If you believe your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect, you should promptly report your concerns and consult an experienced attorney. A lawyer at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook might help you to gather evidence to prove your loved one was the victim of neglect and help to pursue compensation. Schedule a free consultation by calling 479-783-8000 (Fort Smith), 918-912-2132 (Tulsa), or 479-455-2210 (Fayetteville).