What’s Considered Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?

The residents of long-term care facilities and nursing homes are among the most vulnerable members of any community. Sadly, these individuals suffer neglect and abuse at an alarming rate. A review of various studies into this issue indicated that nearly 10% of older seniors who need around-the-clock health care or help with various daily activities such as eating or dressing suffer neglect and abuse.

Any Cleveland nursing home abuse attorney knows all too well that identifying neglect and mistreatment of a nursing home or assisted living facility residents isn’t always easy. Challenges may persist for many months or years, and the consequences may be irreversible or deadly.

In an attempt to eliminate the confusion and successfully spur remedial actions, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) gathered a group of professionals to create a unified definition of neglect and abuse. According to this group of experts, abuse or neglect consists of an ‘intentional act or failure to take the right action by a caregiver or any other person in a relationship that involves an expectation of trust that creates or causes a severe risk of harm.’

While this definition leaves a lot to unpack, it provides a good point to star illustrating what constitutes assisted living facility neglect and abuse.

Common negligence and abuse occurrences in assisted living facilities

The most common cases of neglect and abuse in nursing homes include;

  • Inadequate care: For instance, if a patient that cannot move is not repositioned after the recommended duration, bedsores or other ailments may show up. Patients who are restrained to the bed and those in wheelchairs are prone to this problem.
  • Improper medication management: Sometimes, staff members might miss a dosage or administer a medication incorrectly. This can be potentially dangerous for some patients.
  • Isolation: In some cases, patients are forgotten or intentionally ‘punished’ by being secluded or restrained without any form of social contact.
  • Dehydration: Inadequate liquid intake is also a culprit of other preventable health problems.
  • Malnutrition: Failure to take the recommended amount of nutrients or skipping meals daily can result in severe health conditions.
  • Falls: Frequent slips and falls are common among elderly people. Studies reveal that about 36% of nursing home residents are injured majorly due to falls. Besides, a medium-sized nursing home reports a maximum of 200 fails annually. Sometimes, neglect, especially on the part of staff members, is a cause of many fall instances.

Common signs of abuse and neglect

Identifying the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse is an important step towards ending the issues and suffering that most people living in these places face. It’s also important when it comes to holding the negligent and abusive members of staff accountable.

Some of the common signs of abuse and negligence include;

  • No regular meals
  • Deteriorating and poor hygiene
  • Unwashed and torn clothes
  • Denied or ‘lost’ medication doses, glasses, dentures, or mobility aids such as wheelchair
  • Excessive fearfulness
  • Being left unsupervised even for patients suffering from dementia
  • A sudden drop in alertness
  • Unannounced changes in the power of lawyer and will
  • Bruises and injuries
  • Withdrawal from social and other normal activities
  • Constant sedation for unknown reasons

These are just examples of signs of abuse and neglect. All instances of nursing home neglect and abuse shouldn’t be ignored.