“Neglect is the failure to meet an older adult’s basic needs. These needs include food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene and essential medical care.” - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Many people entrust their elderly relatives to nursing homes to receive the care they need. Sometimes, nursing homes fall short in their duty to provide this care. This is often due to understaffing or inferior hiring practices. It’s important to note that while these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse may be different. Nursing home neglect one form of elder abuse, along with physical, mental, sexual and financial abuse.
When caregivers fail to attend to the healthcare needs of a resident, this is considered medical neglect. This can include not administering medication on schedule, insufficient or improper care for chronic diseases (diabetes, high-blood pressure, etc.) and not providing adequate mobility (walking or movement). Failure to report any signs of illness or possible infections to a nurse or doctor also falls under this category.
Many residents in a nursing home are unable to properly shower and attend to their personal hygiene, especially if bedridden. It is the responsibility of the caregiver to ensure that they are clean, their clothes and bedding are changed regularly and their washroom needs are met (diapers changed frequently, if used). Keeping their surroundings clean is also important. Common areas and individual rooms should be cleaned on a daily basis.
One of the best things about nursing homes is the newfound community of people your senior relative gets introduced to. Interacting with other residents helps to improve your loved one’s mood, cognitive abilities and mental health. It’s essential that caregivers create an atmosphere where this social interaction can easily happen. This might mean providing resources for vulnerable residents who are unable to get around on their own (ex: wheelchairs, walkers or an arm to lean on). Having group activities can help a lot with lightening the whole community’s mood.
Neglect can be hard to detect, but these are some of the warning signs you should look for:
Do you believe that your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect? You have options. Contact us. You may be eligible to pursue legal compensation to find justice and closure. Contact us for a FREE case evaluation.