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Nursing Home Neglect

Negligence is failure of nursing home staff to exercise proper care. Laws in most states exist to protect older adults and disabled people from neglect and abuse. The oversight of necessary elderly patients’ needs is sadly eminent in nursing homes across the United States. Oftentimes, staff members are undertrained or overworked. This causes carelessness, resulting in health complications for the residents of the facility.

Failure to provide an elderly person with the necessary care, whether intentional or not, can be a very dangerous situation, especially if the patient is in a serious health condition and is unable to care for hirself.

Negligence Occurrences in Nursing Homes

Some of the most prevalent cases of abuse and neglect in nursing home facilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Improper medication management: Staff members may administer a medication incorrectly or miss a dosage. This can be potentially fatal for some patients.
  • Lack of proper care: For example, if a patient that is unable to move is not repositioned after a reasonable amount of time, bedsores and other ailments may occur. Patients in wheelchairs or who are restrained to a bed are prone to this problem.
  • Isolation: Patients may be forgotten or purposely “punished” by being retrained or secluded without any type of social contact.
  • Malnutrition: Skipping meals or not ingesting the right amount of nutrients daily can lead to many other health issues.
  • Dehydration: The lack of proper liquid intake can also be the culprit of other preventable ailments.
  • Falls: Falls are very common among senior citizens. 36% of nursing home residents get injured due to a fall, and a normal sized nursing home reports up to 200 falls every year. Sometimes, neglect on the part of staff members can be the cause of many fall incidents.

Identifying Possible Neglect in Elderly Patients

There are many revealing signs of neglect that family members of elderly patients in nursing homes can identify themselves. Common signs and symptoms include bedsores, rapid weight loss, evident discontent with a staff member, isolation, contusions, unclean environment, depression and anxiety, open wounds, among others.

Sudden weight loss in an elderly person can be caused by dehydration, malnutrition, or illness. The quality of care the resident is getting should be put in question if severe weight loss occurs within a short period of time.

Bruises are also common among nursing home residents. Some bruises could be caused by abuse or neglect from staff members. Although elders do tend to bruise more easily than younger people, proper investigation of a contusion in an elder is recommended to assess the possible causes of the bruise.

One of the most widespread complaints among elderly patients living in nursing homes is the lack of timely attention from the staff. Sometimes care cannot be delayed. For example, an elderly resident might need to use the bathroom but cannot move on his own. If the staff is overworked or simply chooses not to attend to the elder’s needs quickly, he may have to do his bodily functions right in his chair or bed, causing hygiene issues that could have been prevented with timely care.

If you or a loved one is experiencing neglect in a nursing home, you might need to take legal action and report the incident. The basic needs of an elderly person should never be ignored and the law protects their rights.

Nursing home staff members are there to serve the residents and provide the best care possible. If signs of possible abuse or neglect are evident, the situation needs to be exposed and dealt with to put an end to the elder’s suffering and start the healing process.

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