Perhaps the most widespread form of elder abuse is nursing home neglect. Neglect occurs when a caregiver responsible for the health and safety of an elderly individual fails to provide them with fundamental needs, such as food, suitable shelter, medical help, proper personal hygiene, or environment. The range of neglect can range from minor, to very severe, but the psychological and physical damage is almost always harsh due to the frailty of the elderly. Most troubling is that most victims of elderly neglect are ignored or silenced, making this form of abuse so much worse.
While victims of elderly neglect often go unheard, there are many signs that indicate whether nursing home neglect exists.
Falls: Elderly falls are common, but may also be a direct result of neglect. Neglect will leave elderly victims fail and brittle and more likely to succumb to falling and tripping. Making matters worse, neglected victims may lie stranded for long periods after a fall, aggravating pre-existing or new injuries caused by the fall. Broken bones or fractured hips are especially rampant during these falls.
Bed Sores: The development of pressure sores or bed sores (Decubitus Ulcers) are a strong sign of nursing home neglect. These sores build up after prolonged periods in bed without good care or movement. While the severity of the sore can range greatly, bed sores can infiltrate the skin and even cause debilitating infections.
Malnutrition or Dehydration: Nursing homes are responsible for providing adequate nutrition and food to the elderly. This includes food, snacks, as well as vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, many elderly are incapable of feeding themselves. Thus, simply bringing a tray of food could be inadequate care. Some signs of malnutrition include:
Bed-Related Injuries: Elderly are prone to suffer injuries such as strangulation or suffocation due to falling inside a bed frame or being caught on a bed rail. In extreme circumstances, caregivers will restrain the elderly to their beds instead of treating them with proper care.
Wandering: Elderly individuals often are confused and disoriented which will produce periods of wandering. Nursing homes should be alerted when elderly regularly wander off so that additional safety measure can be taken. Furthermore, death following one of the wandering instances is a sign indicates that the individual was gone for a prolonged period of time without being checked on.
Sedatives: Sometimes sedative medications are necessary. But all too often, caregivers substitute appropriate care for unnecessary drugs. When sedation is used, nursing homes must take certain safeguard measures, such as constant supervision, evaluation by the nursing staff, medical professionals, mental professionals, and laboratory screening. Failing to take these measure would constitute neglect.
Change in Behavior: Behavioral change may occur as a result of elderly being neglect. This change may manifest in mood changes, fighting between the caregiver and elderly individual or even anger or aggressiveness.
Death: Death is a part of life, and an unfortunate reality for the elderly. However, often the death is unexpected, or premature. Look for signs of neglect after death.
Hygiene Neglect: Many elderly individuals are incapable of even the most basic functions such as showering, cleaning or changing clothing, or brushing their teeth.
Basic Needs: Everyone has some basic needs that must be tended to in order to survive. These include food, shelter and water.
Medical: Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring that all clients receive adequate medical attention. In addition to providing medical care, caregivers must provide medical care in a timely fashion. Failure to provide medicines is a clear example of nursing home neglect.
Emotional: Elderly individuals often complain of feeling hopeless, lonely or depressed. These feeling are exacerbated when staff in charge of the care of these individuals completely ignore their patients. Caregivers are responsible not only for providing food, shelter and medicine to the elderly, but also support and inspiration. Emotional neglect is the most difficult type of neglect to ascertain, as there are rarely any noticeable signs of abuse.
We all hope that our twilight years will be spent comfortably and enjoyably. However, many nursing homes engage in negligent practices that undermine a successful environment. Our attorneys will make sure that such practices are put to a stop in the future, and that they suffer consequences for poor practices in the past. Nursing home negligence is caused by:
Nursing home abuse occurs by people who have been entrusted with the lives of loved ones. Downtown L.A. Law Group is passionate about fighting for the rights of the elderly, and wish to stop all types of elderly. If you suspect elderly abuse or nursing home neglect, contact a lawyer for a free consultation, and an evaluation of your rights.
Related: Elder Neglect Law