What Are Some Examples of Patient Neglect in Nursing Homes?

Nursing home neglect and abuse are more common than many families realize. They trust a facility will take care of their loved ones. Unfortunately, that trust is often misplaced.

Information from the Department of Justice states that one in ten adults 65 years and older living in a community experience some form of elder abuse in a given year. However, the rates of elder abuse and neglect in institutions could be much higher. Studies vary on the exact percentages but generally agree that the numbers are underestimated.

What constitutes patient abuse? It is important to recognize that elder abuse takes many forms. Physical trauma is just one form of elder abuse. Patient neglect in nursing homes is a serious and dangerous problem.

What Is Patient Neglect in a Nursing Home?

Neglect occurs when the nursing home fails to meet the patient’s basic needs. Basic needs include shelter, nutrition, medical care, hygiene, and safety. Examples of patient neglect in nursing homes include:

Neglect of Nutrition and Basic Needs

A patient must have sufficient liquids and food to sustain good health and avoid dehydration and malnutrition. Often, patients cannot tell staff members when they need food or water. 

Residents may be unable to feed themselves or get water for themselves. Staff members should assist at mealtime, especially when a patient has a risk of choking.

Staff members have a duty and responsibility to see that each patient drinks and eats sufficient amounts. Failing to care for these basic needs is neglect.

Neglect of Medical Health

Nursing home staff members must see that patients take their medications on time each day. Sugar levels should be checked regularly for patients who have diabetes. Patients with mobility issues must be checked regularly for signs of bedsores.

Staff members are responsible for observing patients for signs of illness or injuries and report those observations to medical providers. Failing to monitor patients and provide medical care is neglect. 

Neglect of Personal Care 

Some patients cannot bathe, dress, or brush their teeth. Neglecting to assist patients with personal hygiene can cause serious infections and illnesses. Allowing a resident to remain in soiled clothing or bedding is a serious form of neglect. 

Nursing homes are also responsible for providing clean clothing and bedding for residents. They must also provide the essential items necessary for personal hygiene and care. 

Neglect of Shelter and Safety

A nursing home has an obligation to the residents to provide a healthy, clean, and safe living environment. Neglecting to clean the facilities and make necessary repairs places the residents in danger. In addition, staff members should ensure that the environment is safe for patients with limited mobility and sight, including assisting patients who need help standing and walking. 

Neglect of Emotional Needs

Patients need interaction with other people. Residents who are isolated and left alone for hours each day may become depressed. Depression can result in decreased appetite and behavior problems, which could lead to verbal abuse by staff members. 

Yelling, embarrassing, ignoring, and belittling residents can cause severe mental anguish and emotional distress. 

Causes of Neglect in Nursing Homes 

Neglect is preventable. In most cases, neglect occurs because of negligence by the staff members of the nursing home. Some cases of neglect occur because of intentional acts of wrongdoing by staff members. 

Common causes of nursing home neglect in Florida nursing homes include:

  • Failing to conduct adequate background checks and interviews of potential employees
  • Understaffing the nursing home for the number of residents 
  • Failing to supervise employees 
  • Not providing adequate training and support for nursing home employees
  • Mismanagement of the nursing home by the administrators and owners
  • Failing to review a patient’s medical records to determine their needs and requirements 
  • Providing inadequate equipment and facilities 
  • Failing to install safeguards to ensure patients are safe

Nursing homes hire individuals with little to no experience caring for elderly individuals. Then, they fail to supervise these individuals and provide adequate training. 

A company chooses to reduce overhead by hiring staff members who are not capable of or do not want to care for residents. The result is elder neglect and patient abuse. 

Sadly, many nursing home employees are underpaid and overworked. Caregiver burnout is sometimes the cause of neglect in nursing homes.

What Should You Do if You Suspect Neglect in a Nursing Home?

Report signs of neglect or abuse to the nursing home administrator immediately. If you believe a resident is in immediate danger of being harmed, call the police for assistance. Elder neglect is a crime in Florida. 

Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your loved one’s rights regarding a civil lawsuit. The nursing home might be financially liable for injuries and damages caused by neglect. Holding nursing homes financially accountable for patient neglect can help prevent future cases of neglect or abuse. 

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in South Florida

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers at the location nearest you for a free consultation:

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
(561) 347-7770

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 287-0566

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 556-7873