If you and your family have a loved one who resides in a nursing home, you should familiarize yourself with the common types of nursing home neglect and what the signs of neglect look like. This can help you and your family keep your loved one safe and react if your loved one ever becomes the victim of neglect.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect occurs when a resident fails to get proper care and experienced physical, emotional, or mental injury as a result. Neglect involves failing to meet an older adult’s needs, including food/water, shelter, hygiene, safety/security, and medical care. Although most nursing home facilities provide good care to their residents, some facilities and workers intentionally or negligently fail to provide some or all their residents with proper care.
Types of Neglect
Nursing home neglect may come in many different forms, including:
- Medical neglect, including not administering medications, not reporting or treating signs of illness or infection, leaving immobilized residents (which can lead to pressure ulcers), or not providing or providing inadequate medical care for existing health conditions.
- Emotional neglect, including isolating residents, or failing to provide mobility equipment and assistance to residents with mobility issues.
- Neglect of basic needs, including failing to provide adequate and nutritious food and water, not cleaning rooms and common areas, not keeping the facility at reasonable temperatures, or not monitoring residents with dementia or who are at risk of wandering/elopement/falls.
- Neglect of hygiene, including failing to bathe residents who require assistance, not changing clothing, and not laundering clothing and bedding.
Causes of Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect occurs in nursing homes for various reasons, including:
- Inadequate staffing, meaning that there are not enough people to adequately care for residents. This also leads to those on staff being overworked, increasing the risk that they may make mistakes that lead to neglect.
- Negligent hiring, including hiring unqualified staff or individuals with a history of committing abuse or neglect.
- Inadequate training, which means that new staff may not know what is needed to provide a sufficient level of care to residents
Signs and Symptoms of Neglect
Because many nursing home residents may be unwilling (due to humiliation/embarrassment) or unable (due to physical or mental infirmity) to recognize or report that they have been subjected to neglect, it is important for families to keep their eyes and ears open. Some of the most common signs and symptoms that a nursing home resident has been the victim of neglect include:
- Pressure ulcers/bedsores
- Poor personal hygiene or unsanitary living conditions
- Unexplained/untreated injuries and medical conditions
- Multiple new medical issues, typically leading to frequent hospitalization
- Behavioral changes, including withdrawal, depression, anxiety, or engaging in soothing behaviors
In addition to looking out for signs and symptoms in your loved one, you and your family should also watch out for signs in the nursing home staff that may indicate that neglect is occurring or is at risk of occurring, including:
- Staff members have negative attitudes towards residents or caregiving
- Repeatedly incorrect doses of medication
- Administering contraindicated medication
- Unnecessarily sedating residents
Contact a Hamilton Township Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
Seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Additionally, nursing home staff needs to ensure that patients are safe and secure at all times. If your loved one suffered an injury, or worse, due to nursing home negligence or abuse in New Jersey, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Hamilton Township, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township, and Princeton. Call 609-853-5579 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We have an office conveniently located at 2681 Quakerbridge Rd., Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.