Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to a senior. Similarly, nursing home neglect occurs when facility staff fails to provide the care residents need to escape injury.
Let’s glance at a potential caregiver neglect scenario:
Your elderly Aunt Mary, who friends recognize as a conversational and outgoing woman, has taken residence at a senior living facility, equipped with caregiver staff.
After a few months, you visit Aunt Mary. She greets you, but she seems reserved as if she’s afraid of you. You also notice Caregiver Tom standing close by, but you make nothing of it.
You ask her about the serious cut on her forearm; she explains she scraped it on a dryer in the laundry room a few days prior. Suddenly, Aunt Mary feels uneasy about the conversation, immediately says goodbye, and retires to her room.
You think … “something is wrong here” … the cut, her wary attitude, and her antisocial behavior could just be symptoms of aging… or maybe not?
Forms of Nursing Home Negligent Acts
Recent studies tell us that nursing home employees can injure their residents by committing one or more careless act:
Physical Neglect – negligent conduct that leads to bodily harm or pain through acts like: overlooking basic needs, medication errors and malnutrition.
Belligerence –patterns of reckless antagonism by nursing home staff where they use aggressive behavior to exert authority and control.
Psychological Cruelty – reckless infliction of mental or emotional suffering through intimidation, humiliation, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct.
Financial Neglect – careless behavior that results in the conversion or misappropriation an elder’s income, property, or assets.
Signs of Elder Neglect
Did you know in America thousands of assisted-living facilities either injure their residents or expose them to dangerous risks due to poor staff training?
Now, the law compels us to act when we discover elder neglect. Still, it’s tough to identify nursing home neglect because most seniors never report mistreatment due to fear of retaliation.
Ergo, the most an average person can do is to be attentive to elder neglect warning signs:
Poor Personal Hygiene: Most nursing home facilities hold contractual agreements to provide their residents with basic personal hygiene. This duty includes assistance with bathing, dental hygiene, grooming and much more. Neglect occurs when caregivers leave elders to do these tasks on their own, which most are incapable of performing.
Malnutrition: Dehydration and undernourishment arise when caregivers fail to keep up an elder’s fundamental dietary standards. Here, neglected elders may develop sudden weight loss, bedsores or recurrent infections.
Inadequate Living Conditions: Elder law holds that nursing home facilities must offer their residents safe and clean living environments. Neglect of this type is often noted when a seniors’ living area becomes unsafe under a reasonable person standard.
Reclusiveness: Elders may become reclusive or exhibit bizarre behavior when caretakers ignore them or neglect to reach out in professional-social fashion. This form of emotional neglect may lower an elder’s self-esteem too.
Medication Error: Residents in nursing homes often need medication to survive or to live comfortably. Caregivers can cause elders to suffer from illness or life-threatening situations when they fail to administer prescribed medication to their residents. Medication errors also happen when nursing home staff hand out improper dosages.
Physical Injuries: The elderly are prone to physical injury; nonetheless, unexplained bruising, abrasions, broken bones and other injuries could be a noteworthy sign that caregivers are neglecting their residents.
Protecting Elder Rights
Federal agencies like The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) exist to support state and city officials informing legislation to protect and support the elderly. Consequently, most states now possess governmental reporting facilities for denouncing suspicious elder neglect activity.
However, it’s the elder law attorney who advocates for the rights of seniors in the courtroom.
Theses injury lawyers specialize in counseling those who suffer from nursing home neglect, and they take action by filing a civil claim against the caregivers who harmed them.