5 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

grandma and girl smiling and hugging 2021 09 01 09 37 52 utc

The holidays are a time for family and festivities. It’s a time where we get to reconnect with and see our loved ones. For those of us with older parents and relatives living in nursing homes, the holidays can be a time to see if those loved ones are getting the care and attention they need.

There are many nursing homes throughout the country that provide incredible service, connection, and aid to the residents that live there. Unfortunately, there is also a dark side to nursing homes. Nursing home neglect is a form of elder abuse that often stems from staffing issues and companies cutting corners. These cuts ultimately boil down to residents not receiving the care that they were promised when they first arrived.

What does nursing home neglect look like?

If can be difficult to identify neglect. Knowing the signs can help you be better informed and more readily able to take a stand in calling out and fighting for better conditions and even compensation for your loved ones.

Residents of nursing homes can be a particularly vulnerable and dependent population and therefore are also vulnerable to abuse and nursing home neglect. Neglect can come in many different forms. In a nursing home, staff are responsible for providing for residents with adequate food, shelter, and medical care. Nursing home neglect entails staff or companies denying residents medical care and assistance. It can also look like:

  • Confining, isolating, or otherwise restraining a resident’s actions for reasons that aren’t medical. This can look like keeping residents from leaving the premises without due cause, or confining them to their room or ward.
  • Failing to provide food, shelter, or clothing for residents.
  • Misuse or withholding of financial resources. 

5 Signs of Nursing Home neglect 

  1. Lack of mobility. Many residents of nursing homes are older and in a stage of life where lack of mobility can translate to loss of mobility altogether. Staff of nursing homes are responsible for getting resents moving and encouraging them to leave their rooms. If an elder is left for long periods of time in their bed, they become susceptible to loss of mobility,  and other health issues such as infections and bedsores. While loss of mobility is a hallmark of old age, a rapid decline in overall mobility may be cause for concern. 
  2. Poor hygiene. In many cases, residents of nursing homes are not physically able to look after themselves and maintain good personal hygiene. Nurse and other nursing home staff are expected in these instances to provide aid for personal hygiene. This can involve hair brushing, nail clipping, teeth brushing, and more. If a resident is being neglected and cannot physically do these things themselves, personal health and hygiene can rapidly decline. Tooth brushing especially is an issue, with The New York Times reporting in 2013 “an Epidemic of poor Dental Hygiene” in nursing homes across the country. 
  3. Unsanitary living conditions. It is a federal requirement for nursing homes to “establish and maintain an inflection control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary, and comfortable environment [for] residents [to] reside”. Failure to do so exposes residents to sickness, and in general leaves their rooms or living areas unfit for living. Unsanitary living conditions can look like consistently dirty sheets, messy bathrooms, and unclean kitchen areas. 
  4. Poor nutritional health. Nursing home neglect can also look like poor nutrition and dehydration. The causes for poor nutrition can vary from low staffing to high turn-over. When residents aren’t getting the nutrition they need it can lead to weight loss and overall health decline. 
  5. Mental issues. The onset of serious mental issues can also be a symptom of nursing home neglect. When people are isolation for any amount of time it can take a serious toll on both their mental and physical health. We need human interaction. If an older person living in a nursing home is being neglected, the can easily develop psychological issues, including depression and anxiety. They may retreat for friends and family due to this nursing home neglect, or mentally check out altogether. If you are visiting a loved one in a nursing home this holiday season and notice a change in their mood, emotional stability, or mental health, you should take a long look at the facility to ensure they’re getting the care they need. 

If you believe that your loved one is being neglected at their nursing home, reach out to an attorney at Evergreen Personal Injury Council.