August 21, 2019

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Nursing Home Neglect

Elder Law Firms

Neglect in a nursing home is abuse. Nursing home residents can require a very intense level of care and supervision, 24 hours a day. It may seem extreme. It may seem like a lot to ask. But it is the reason that nursing homes exist. For many families, he decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is made solely on the fact that family members simply cannot provide that level of care at home. Nursing home neglect can result in a fatal accident, a series of harmful incidents, or a more gradual but premature decline in health.

Types of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide basic care. Nursing home neglect includes failure to provide any of the following:

  • Adequate nutrition, which can include designing and frequently revising special meal plans for a resident and making snacks easily accessible
  • Adequate hydration, which can include keeping a glass of water within reach or actually going in and helping a resident drink water frequently
  • Mediations
  • Medical attention
  • Clean clothing and bedding
  • Hygiene
  • Assistance with bathroom needs
  • Frequent turning of immobile patients
  • Supervision
  • Protection from hazards
  • Protection from assaults by other residents, staff, visitors, and others
  • The opportunity to exercise and socialize
  • Assistance needed to prevent falls, such as transferring from a bed to a chair or walking to the bathroom
  • Proper footwear
  • Dental care
  • Timely response to calls for assistance

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect can be difficult to spot because the signs of neglect are often the same as the natural results of aging. Signs of neglect include:

  • Weight loss
  • Falls
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts or burns
  • Sunburn
  • Confusion, incoherence, or dementia
  • Drug overdose
  • Sedation
  • Bedsores
  • Infections
  • Illnesses
  • General decline in physical or mental health
  • Restraints
  • Changes in behavior

Causes of Nursing Home Neglect

Loved ones of nursing home residents need to understand that neglect can happen in nursing homes where the staff is friendly, helpful and attentive when they visit. Understaffed nursing home may keep adequate staff during the day and normal visiting hours while running a skeleton crew at night.

Neglect is often the result of:

  • Inadequate staff to resident ratio
  • Overworked staff – too many hours
  • Poorly trained or under qualified staff
  • Residents who isolate themselves
  • Residents isolated by staff members
  • Residents who are incapable of or afraid to report neglect
  • Poor policies and resident tracking

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