As we age, our loved ones may move into a nursing home facility for long-term care. We trust that the facility's staff is competent, accountable, and caring. However, elder abuse and nursing home neglect can occur. The personal injury attorneys at Lipkin & Higgins want to educate you on how to identify nursing home negligence and the steps to take if it occurs.
What is nursing home negligence?
Elderly abuse or negligence can occur in many different forms. It is important to remember that each form can vary case by case. Typically, there are four main areas of neglect that can happen which may lead to detrimental consequences to the person being cared for. The four primary types of nursing home negligence are:
- Medical: Medical negligence occurs when nursing home staff does not take the proper steps to prevent and treat common medical needs seen in the elderly community such as mobility limitations, infections, bed sores, and cognitive diseases.
- Personal Hygiene: Personal hygiene negligence occurs when nursing home patients do not receive help with basic grooming and hygiene needs. These can include daily bathing, cleaning, grooming, and laundry needs.
- Emotional: Emotional negligence occurs when an elderly patient is repeatedly left alone, snapped at, or ignored by nursing home staff. This typically occurs when facilities are understaffed and overstressed.
- Basic Needs: Basic needs negligence occurs when adequate food, shelter, and environmental necessities are not provided by the nursing home facility for the patient that is being cared for.
What are the warning signs of nursing home negligence?
Commonly, warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can be hard to identify. Transitioning into a long-term care facility can be stressful on both the patient and family members. Behavior patterns and health conditions can change, making it difficult to identify neglect. Some common warning signs include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in emotional well-being
- Unexplained bruises
- Silence around caretakers
- Behavioral irregularities
- Bleeding or other signs of injury
Steps to Take If Nursing Home Neglect Occurs
If you believe that nursing home abuse or neglect is happening to your loved one, take these steps:
1. Keep a record of the abusive or negligent warning signs and symptoms. Often, nursing home negligence is hard to prove, so having a documented history of the warning signs, injuries and recorded details is advantageous when making a case.
2. Report the negligent behavior to one of these resources:
- National Center on Elder Abuse
- Your loved one's primary doctor, social worker, or patient advocate as long as they were not involved in the case
- If it is a severe nursing home negligence case and needs immediate attention or medical treatment, call 911
3. Contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to help with the legal process of filing a case against the nursing home facility at fault.
The experienced lawyers at Lipkin & Higgins have years of nursing home and elder abuse law experience. If your loved one is experiencing unjust treatment that is negatively impacting their quality of life, contact us for a free consultation. Learn more about nursing home abuse through our blog or read our case results on this topic.