Nursing home negligence or neglect is perhaps one of the most despicable shortcomings of our society. Elders who are approaching the end of their lives do not deserve to be neglected by the same workers responsible for caring for them.
If you have a loved one who is potentially in a situation of neglect, a nursing home negligence lawyer may be able to help.
Nursing Home Negligence vs. Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse are two separate categories of acts that both have devastating consequences on elders. In this piece, we will be looking specifically at nursing home negligence. The difference between the two can be seen by focusing on the concept of intent.
With negligence, there is no specific intent to cause harm or loss as there is with abuse. Instead, negligence deals with actions that fall short of a standard of care. This is what considered nursing home negligence
Types of Nursing Home Negligence and Neglect
The specific definition of nursing home negligence or neglect varies from state to state. However, there are some basic similarities that all definitions share.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a definition that is a good starting point for understanding what constitutes nursing home negligence.
The agency explains that nursing home negligence occurs when the basic needs of an elderly person are not met by the person or persons in charge of caring for them. If the neglect continues for a long period, the elder’s health condition will likely deteriorate rapidly.
Negligent Providing of Food and Water
Nursing homes have a duty to ensure that their residents receive an adequate amount of water and nutrition regularly. Violating this duty is negligence and can lead to serious damages. Various manners in which staff might fail to live up to the proper standard of care include:
- Providing meals and water too infrequently or at inappropriate times
- Providing poor-quality food and water
- Providing inappropriate food for a patient’s diet
- Providing too much food
In some particularly egregious cases of food and water neglect, nursing homes have been known to feed their residents expired food and drinks to save money.
Neglect of Personal Hygiene
Some nursing home residents rely on staff to maintain their hygiene. There should be no moment when residents are forced to live in a state of filthiness because of a nursing home’s negligence. However, it happens for a variety of reasons, including:
- Negligent scheduling
- Lack of supervision of employees
- Lack of adequate facilities, equipment, or products
- Poor employee work ethic
Neglect of personal hygiene may even affect those residents who care for themselves. For instance, if the nursing home fails to provide proper bathing products and towels, this can lead to a disincentive to bathe and lower personal hygiene standards.
Negligent Providing of Medical Services
Many nursing home residents have contracts for care with their facilities. If a nursing home’s medical staff violates their duties found in these contracts, or their actions fall below the basic standard of medical care in general, they have committed negligence. This puts a resident at serious risk of injury and even death.
Ways in which staff may neglect medical services can include:
- Negligent administration of medicine
- Negligent prescribing of medicine
- Negligent supervision of medical staff, including vocational and registered nurses
- Negligent monitoring of residents and their health conditions
- Failure to avoid preventable problems, such as bedsores and infections
- Lack of proper training
- Overwhelming stress on nursing home staff
Other examples include the failure to provide or use proper and adequate equipment during the medical treatment of residents and the failure to inform residents and their families of the development of serious health conditions.
Neglect of Living Facilities
Nursing home residents have very few cleaning duties. Some may be responsible for cleaning their rooms, but the primary duty of keeping a facility clean usually falls on the nursing home staff.
Unfortunately, the neglect of nursing home facilities is not uncommon, and it can cause injuries, as well as a reduction in the overall quality of life for facility residents.
Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
No matter how it manifests itself, nursing home neglect always leaves some telltale signs. If you visit a loved one in a nursing home, you can spot the neglect by observing some of these signs and taking action.