For many people, there comes a time when they can no longer provide the level of care that their loved ones need and deserve. The only choice may be to place them in a nursing home so that they can be safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to meet the needs of their residents. Consistent neglect, or even abuse, can lead to serious health problems and severe injuries. Not only are these nursing homes violating the trust given, but their actions are simply wrong. At Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., we hold these nursing homes accountable so that our loved ones can get the care they deserve.
The Different Types of Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect can take on different forms, some of which can be more difficult to recognize than others. However, understanding the different types of nursing home neglect can help you know when to take action. However, you do not need to wait to ensure the neglect fits into one of the categories discussed below. If you believe that your loved one has suffered harm due to neglect, trust your instincts and get the help you need by speaking with one of our nursing home neglect lawyers today.
One of the most troubling forms of nursing home neglect is medical neglect. Medical neglect is the failure to meet or provide for a resident’s medical needs in terms of treating existing health issues and preventing potential health problems. This includes the following:
- Failure to administer medication
- Failure to treat infections
- Failure to provide preventative care
- Failure to adequately respond to medical emergencies
- Failure to respond to a resident’s request for medical treatment
- Failure to follow doctor’s orders while treating the resident
Failure to provide proper medical care can result in serious harm and even death. Unfortunately, a lack of proper medical care is rarely noticed until after the resident has suffered harm.
Neglect of Basic Needs
A shockingly common type of nursing home neglect is neglecting the residents’ most basic needs. This can include the following:
- Failure to provide adequate food and water
- Failure to ensure that residents are living in a sanitary environment
- Failure to ensure that residents have comfortable or safe living conditions
Inadequate food and water can result in dehydration and malnutrition, leading to serious health issues. Residents can also suffer harm from being too cold or hot or living in unsanitary conditions. Neglect in maintaining common areas, hallways, and individual rooms can result in hazardous conditions, leading to a serious fall or other injury. If you believe your loved one is not receiving adequate care, a nursing home neglect lawyer can help you get them the care they deserve.
Even if your loved one is more independent and does not require round-the-clock care, the facility may still have a duty to ensure that their daily hygiene needs are met. Staff should ensure that they have clean clothes and bedding, bathing regularly, brushing their teeth, and washing and combing their hair. Facilities that care for residents with greater needs arguably have a greater obligation to ensure their hygienic needs are met.
Emotional and Social Neglect
One of the reasons the elderly move into residential care facilities is that they won’t have to be alone. Unfortunately, many people discover that their loved one’s emotional and social needs are left unmet. Their loved ones are left alone in their rooms for most of the day and are not allowed to attend social events if any are scheduled. In other contexts, the facility staff may ignore obvious signs of depression, anxiety, or other emotional or psychological disturbances.
Signs of Neglect
One of the challenges in these cases is that the elderly residents may be unable to advocate for themselves. This may be because they have cognitive or memory impairments, but it could also be that they are afraid or humiliated. Therefore, you have to be an advocate for your loved one. Seek help if you see any of the following indications that they may be suffering from neglect:
- Sudden or persistent weight loss
- Your loved one seems depressed, anxious, paranoid, or upset
- Untreated cuts or sores
- Your loved one seems unkempt or dirty
- The facility is dirty or in poor repair
- Your loved one’s mental or physical health seems to be rapidly deteriorating
- Your loved one has a sudden change in personality
If these changes have not been reported to you or the facility’s staff seemed unaware when you brought them to their attention, that in and of itself is a sign of neglect on the part of the nursing home. In that case, you should seek guidance from a nursing home neglect lawyer.
Causes of Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect can arise in many different ways. Some of the most common causes of nursing home neglect include the following:
- Inadequate training of personnel
- Lack of oversight or supervision
- Failure to conduct background checks on employees
- Failure to ensure personnel have the necessary qualifications, education, and training
- Miscommunication between staff members and supervisors
- Poor record keeping
- Inadequate emergency protocols
Nursing homes are contractually and legally obligated to provide quality care for those entrusted to them. When faced with allegations of negligence, many nursing homes will try to argue that any harm caused was due to circumstances beyond their control. This response and similar explanations are rarely adequate. An experienced nursing home neglect lawyer can help you hold them accountable and help your loved one get the care they need.
Nursing Home Abuse
While it is not the same as neglect, abuse is a closely related and shockingly common topic. It is often just as difficult to identify as neglect, even though the consequences are much more severe. Abusers prey on older people due to their vulnerability, taking advantage of their cognitive impairments or other disabilities. Abuse can take on various forms:
- Physical abuse, such as kicking, hitting, or pushing
- Sexual abuse, including inappropriate touching, groping, and rape
- Financial abuse, including both outright theft as well as subtle manipulation to gain control of the resident’s financial affairs
- Confinement or restraint where the resident is kept in a room or their bed against their will and unreasonably denied their freedom
Abuse often goes undetected by nursing home supervisors due to poor management and understaffing. The signs of nursing home abuse can be subtle. If your loved one seems afraid or has an aversion to particular staff members, they may be abused. Of course, bruises, cuts, scrapes, and other injuries may be signs of physical abuse or confinement. Sexually transmitted infections often indicate that a resident is being sexually abused. Financial abuse may cause sudden, drastic changes in a resident’s financial situation. Whatever the situation, trust your instincts and contact a nursing home neglect lawyer.
How a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Can Help
It can be difficult to know what to do if you suspect neglect or abuse. A nursing home neglect lawyer can listen to your concerns. They can guide you as to what you should do next if it does appear that you may have a claim. They can assist you in investigating your claim in ways that may only be possible with the legal process. Ultimately, a nursing home neglect lawyer can be a powerful advocate for your loved one, ensuring they get the care they need and deserve.
Talk to a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. Today
If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused, we can provide immediate help. Contact us today by phone or email to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and your options.