What Is Nursing Home Neglect, And How Is It Different From Abuse?


According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, 95% of nursing home residents reported neglect in 2018. It's a shocking statistic.

As a concerned loved one with a senior living in a nursing home, you will want to know: What are some warning signs of nursing home neglect? And when does neglect turn into abuse?

4 types of nursing home neglect

1. Medical neglect happens when the facility does not provide proper medical care, which could mean anything from not attending to the senior regularly to failing to prevent medical issues such as bedsores to not distributing prescribed medicine for an existing condition. This is the easiest type of neglect to spot, because the senior will typically experience a tangible decline in health as a result. This is also a very serious form of neglect, as it could lead to death if the situation is not spotted and stopped.

2. Basic need neglect happens when the facility doesn't provide enough food or water to seniors in their care or fails to keep the environment clean and safe. Signs can be weight loss, dehydration and unusual incidents like falling that should have been preventable in a care facility.

3. Personal hygiene neglect happens when residents don't get the help they need to clean themselves, brush their teeth and perform other necessary daily hygiene activities. Warning signs include body odor and a general decline in physical cleanliness. This type of neglect can lead to infections and other issues, including mental consequences such as depression.

4. Emotional neglect, which can also be considered social neglect, happens when residents are simply ignored or where the caretaker fails to speak to the senior with the respect they deserve. This is the hardest type of neglect to spot. Watch for signs of discontent or disquiet around staff members at the facility. Depression or abnormal behavior are common results of this type of neglect.

Neglect vs. Abuse

While neglect is typically a result of understaffing or, possibly, a lack of organization leading to repeated human error, abuse is intentionally done. The signs of abuse can be even more troubling and drastic. If the senior you love is still able to communicate, have regular conversations with them to discuss their general health and views on the facility where they live.

If you feel that your loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse, don't hesitate to take action. Your parent has rights and deserves to be treated with respect. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz for a free consultation by calling 713-587-9668. 

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