When we place one of our loved ones into a nursing home, we do so with the expectation that he or she will receive attentive, compassionate, high quality care. Sadly, this is not always the case. Whether due to understaffing, inexperience, lack of training, or lack of supervision, it is common for nursing home residents to be neglected and ignored by their caregivers. Not only does this constitute a violation of the resident’s rights, it can also lead to serious nursing home injuries, or even the wrongful death of a patient.
If you’re worried that your elderly spouse, mother, father, or other elderly loved one is being neglected by his or her nursing home caregivers, you should take several immediate steps, which may include contacting the nursing home administrator, notifying the authorities, filing a formal complaint, and consulting with a nursing home neglect attorney. If neglect resulted in harm to your loved one, he or she may be entitled to financial compensation. Even more important to family members is that neglectful nursing homes are held accountable which may help prevent harm to other residents. Brent Wieand can help you fight for both. For a free and confidential legal consultation, contact our law offices today.
What is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect and abuse are often discussed together, but each has its own definition. Nursing home abuse is the deliberate and intentional infliction of pain, injury, illness, or other forms of harm. Nursing home neglect involves failure to provide adequate and reasonable care. While neglect is not necessarily intentional or malicious like abuse, it is just as capable of resulting in devastating injuries, illnesses, and infections. In extreme cases, nursing home neglect can even lead to the wrongful death of the resident.
Examples of actions that could constitute neglect in nursing homes include the following:
- Failure to assist a resident with basic hygiene needs, such as brushing teeth, bathing or showering, or using the bathroom.
- Failure to detect and prevent abuse by other staff members or residents.
- Failure to ensure that medical equipment, such as needles and PEG tubes (feeding tubes), are properly cleaned, sterilized, and replaced.
- Failure to help a resident move about the premises, or move between items of furniture.
- Failure to prevent a resident from wandering off the premises without proper supervision, which is called “elopement.”
- Failure to prevent strangers from entering the premises, where they can then assault, rape, rob, or otherwise harm defenseless residents.
- Failure to provide enough food and water, or failure to provide food that meets the resident’s nutritional and dietary needs.
- Failure to provide medication, medical devices, and medical equipment in a timely and appropriate manner.
- Failure to provide reasonably clean, safe, and sanitary living conditions.
- Failure to take adequate measures to prevent nursing home falls, or to properly designate a resident as a fall risk.
Common Warning Signs of Neglect in Nursing Homes
Nursing home abuse frequently leaves visible marks behind, such as bruises, cuts, and bone fractures. By comparison, nursing home neglect is often more difficult to detect and connect with the actions of staff members.
Neglect victims are often hesitant to talk about the neglect they are experiencing, even when the neglect becomes so extreme that the victim’s health begins to deteriorate as a consequence. In other cases, nursing home residents are simply unable to communicate the neglect due to various impairments and health issues. For example, a resident who suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia may be in a confused, disoriented state that prevents them from remembering, articulating, or even perceiving the neglect, even when it has terrible effects on the victim’s health.
The bottom line is that nursing home neglect is seldom obvious until it has already reached an advanced state, by which point the victim has typically developed severe injuries, illnesses, or infections, such as bed sores. The sooner suspected neglect is investigated, the better, so you should never hesitate to notify law enforcement and contact an attorney if you believe that neglect may be occurring.
You will have a better chance of preventing death or permanent injury from occurring if you are able to detect the warning signs of neglect in a nursing home. If you have noticed any of the following red flags for elder neglect, you should seek assistance immediately:
- Cluttered, unsanitary conditions in the resident’s room and/or other areas of the nursing home.
- Dehydration and/or malnutrition.
- Dirty, overgrown fingernails.
- Dry, cracked, peeling lips.
- Frequent falls, injuries, or illnesses.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Property hazards and defects, such as loose, wobbly railings or cracked, sunken steps.
- Rotten, cracked, or decaying teeth.
- Stained, dirty clothing and/or linens.
- Swollen, irritated gums.
- Tangled, greasy, unkempt hair.
- The presence of mold, leaks, rats, or insects in the resident’s room and/or other areas of the nursing home.
- Unexplained muscle wasting or weight loss (cachexia).
- Worsening of medical conditions or injuries the person had prior to entering the nursing home, assisted living center, or other long-term care facility.
Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers for Victims of Negligence
Our senior citizens deserve to enjoy clean, safe living environments where they do not have to worry about being forgotten, ignored, or harmed by their caregivers. Sadly, many seniors have the opposite experience, suffering in silence while careless staff members continually fail to meet their most basic needs.
At [Firm Name], we are dedicated to pursuing justice for the victims of nursing home neglect. Our goal is to recover the greatest compensation possible for each client we represent, and in so doing, to send a clear message to nursing homes that negligent care will not be tolerated.
If you believe your parent, grandparent, spouse, or other loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect, turn to our knowledgeable and experienced nursing home injury attorneys for help. We handle cases throughout the U.S. For a free legal consultation completely free of charge, call our law offices right away.