Types of Nursing Home Neglect
The failure to properly care for our senior population is reaching epidemic proportions. The lack of attention or respect for the physical, emotional, and mental needs of the elderly has placed their safety and health at severe risk. Unfortunately, this disregard for the well-being of our elderly citizens is pervasive throughout our nation’s nursing homes. Much more than a trivial lack of attention, nursing home neglect is a form of elder abuse that often results in serious injury or death.
Failure to provide a standard level of care to protect the well-being of nursing home residents is the root of long-term care facility neglect. The very establishments that promise to tend to the needs of residents who are unable to care for themselves may be the ones doing the harm.
Nursing home neglect can take many forms, including the following:
- Emotional Neglect
Sometimes subtle and difficult to detect, emotional neglect can have a profound effect on a resident. When a resident is ignored, not included in social activities, or subjected to negative comments from staff, they may be the victim of emotional neglect.
- Personal Hygiene Neglect
Elderly residents often have difficulties with basic standards of hygiene. Victims of personal hygiene neglect can be left without assistance for bathing, grooming, or changing clothing. They may remain in soiled undergarments or display signs of dental disease.
- Basic Needs Neglect
Lack of adequate nutrition or hydration is a form of basic needs neglect. Nursing homes are expected to live up to basic standards of safety and cleanliness as well as implement sufficient sanitary measures. Dirty sheets, unclean restrooms, slippery floors, and the absence of bed rails can fall under the parameters of basic needs neglect.
- Medical Neglect
When a facility fails to treat or adequately prevent a health concern, they are perpetrators of medical neglect. The lack of attention to common medical issues such as bed sores, infections, mental impairment, or diabetes can result in serious illness, injury, or death.
Nursing Home Neglect Is a Serious Problem
With nearly all nursing homes in the United States currently short-staffed, it no wonder that nursing home neglect is a major concern. Regrettably, not all incidences of long-term care neglect can be explained by insufficient numbers of personnel. Many are due to willful negligence or failure to enact proper safety and sanitary measures. These can create dire circumstances for nursing home residents.
It is important for you to be aware of certain factors associated with elder abuse such as malnutrition, dehydration, or bedsores – all common signs of neglect. When you consider that countless numbers of nursing home deaths due to neglect are unreported and autopsies are performed on less than 1% of seniors who pass away while in a nursing home, the figures are even more frightening.
Addressing Nursing Home Neglect
Currently, over three million of America’s senior citizens are residing in nursing homes. This number is expected to grow given that the elderly are rapidly increasing in population across the nation. Many long-term care facility patients are either physically or mentally unable to report that they are being neglected and need to rely on their loved ones to take action on their behalf.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect, you have options.
Reporting any concerns to the appropriate state or federal agency can help shed light on the problem and hopefully prevent its continuance. If possible, transferring your family member to another facility may alleviate your concerns. An attorney can provide valuable information on receiving compensation.