Nursing home neglects can be tragic, but they are certainly common in the US. Several facilities care for their residents and treat them with due dignity. However, some fail even to meet the basic standard of care. It is safe to say that the ones in the latter group are neglecting their residents.
More often than not, neglect is a result of inadequate staffing of the nursing homes. In such situations, the employees might be under undue stress from overworking. That can prevent them from providing adequate attention and care each person requires. Nonetheless, the failure to meet the basic needs of an elder is unacceptable, and it can result in a lawsuit.
When does neglect become abuse?
In most cases, neglect of a senior citizen in a nursing home can be accidental or intentional. However, in either case, it is a definite form of abuse. In many instances, it is quite clear that neglect is directly harmful to the elderly. Such cases often overlap with physical and emotional abuse of the elders. Sometimes, the caregivers’ actions are the results of the direct lack of resources and support. When the caregivers continue to neglect the basic needs of the elders even after recognizing their fault, the older adult and/or his family members can hold the professionals responsible for their actions.
The US legal systems require action for establishing liability. Hence proving nursing home neglect is more difficult than most people deem it to be. Without the help of a team of expert attorneys to gather information and evidence, it is almost impossible to prove negligence on the part of the nursing home owners and staff. Individuals, who do not deliver the standard of care or fail to do something they are supposed to do, is hard to hold liable.
What are the signs and symptoms of nursing home neglect?
Experienced teams of attorneys like the Brooklyn malpractice injury lawyer ASK4SAM always know where to search for evidence. The signs of neglect in nursing homes are easy to spot when you have experts in your team. Here are some of the ways nursing home neglect can take a toll on physical, and mental health along with daily hygiene –
1. The hygiene concerns that arise from negligence in nursing homes include –
- Dirty clothes
- Poor odor
- Dry and dirty skin and orifices
- Missing clothes, ill filling, and damaged clothes
2. Health concerns that neglect gives rise to –
- Recurring sicknesses like the cold and flu
- Failure to provide medication timely and regularly
- Untreated dental issues and medical conditions
- Weight loss and malnutrition
- Deficiency diseases
- Repetitive injuries from physical trauma
- Nursing home neglect can give rise to social and mental health issues as well, including –
- Anxiety and Fear
- Worsening insomnia or loss of sleep
- Substance abuse or use
- Changes in personality
- Development of loneliness and recluse behavior
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
In some of the unfortunate severe cases, nursing home neglect or mistreatment results in the death of the elderly members. There have been isolated cases of severe neglect during which, the nurse not paying due attention to a member has resulted in his or her demise during the night.
Why should you get a malpractice lawyer?
In multiple states of the US, the contract between the nursing homes and their members or their families is a legally binding document. Therefore, the failure to provide standard or adequate care to the member of a nursing home is a direct violation of the contract. It can invoke administrative, civil or criminal charges. Many of these states have additional laws and statutes that can eliminate institutional abuse. It becomes difficult for an individual to claim rightful compensation from the nursing homes in such situations, without the help of legal experts.
How to select the right nursing home for your loved one(s)?
To keep your loved ones safe, you should ensure that you are choosing the right nursing home for him or her. The right place should never be understaffed, and their staff should have the training and experience to provide specialized care for the elderly. There are many ways you can protect your loved ones from neglect. Ensure the nursing home of your choice has the following –
- An adequate number of employees
- Proper training and experience
- Strong employee selection and vetting protocols
- Presence of elder care and abuse awareness among staff and members
- An established reporting procedure
- Strong support groups, networks, and social activities
- A system for receiving and addressing complaints from members and their families
Elder neglect in nursing homes or by nursing professionals at home is serious concerns. It is the responsibility of the nursing homes to employ adequate and well-trained workforce for attending to the needs of the elderly. Even unintentional neglect can surmount to abuse, and it can give you the right to file a lawsuit against the authority.