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What Constitutes Neglect in a Nursing Home?

When people move their loved ones into nursing homes, they’re often most concerned about them being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. Stories of nursing home abuse are common in the media, and they can make an already difficult decision even harder for family members needing to move their loved ones into a facility for care.

However, there’s another type of mistreatment that’s less talked about and more difficult to detect: neglect. Unlike abuse, which can leave noticeable wounds and result in immediate changes in behavior, neglect can be subtle and cause a slower form of physical and emotional damage that may take months or years to be visible to visitors.

Unfortunately, neglect is underreported because many family members and even residents don’t know what constitutes it or whether it’s actually occurring.

Neglect Occurs When Residents’ Needs Aren’t Met

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, neglect in the context of a nursing home is the failure to meet an adult’s basic needs, including food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and medical care, and when victims suffer physically or mentally as a result of these failures. Neglect can be short-term or long-term, and both can have serious consequences for residents.

When nursing home residents are neglected, their rights are almost always violated. Oklahoma law requires that nursing home residents and their loved ones be informed of their rights, which includes posting a list of rights and providing a copy of them to residents and their representatives. These rights can be viewed on the official state of Oklahoma website by clicking here.

Neglect Can Take Many Forms

Common types of nursing home neglect include:

Medical neglect

Many nursing home residents are in poor health or need frequent medical treatments and daily medications. When they don’t get access to the healthcare they need, they may be victims of neglect.

Basic needs neglect

Nursing home residents should have plenty of food to eat and liquids to drink, and some may even need help getting in and out of bed, into baths, and getting around their facilities. When residents are deprived of food and water, are left in bed, or aren’t moved frequently enough by caregivers, their health and strength can quickly go downhill.

Hygiene neglect

Nursing home residents deserve to have access to good hygiene, whether they’re capable of bathing and grooming themselves or they rely on staff members to assist. When this basic right is denied, their physical and mental health can suffer.

Social neglect

When they’re healthy enough to do so, nursing home residents need opportunities to interact with other residents and staff members. But some neglected residents may be left in their rooms and not invited or brought to social activities.

How Can You Tell if Your Loved One is Being Neglected?

Neglect isn’t always easy to spot, especially if you’ve just moved your loved one into a nursing home or they’ve just started being neglected by staff members. But being on the lookout for these signs and symptoms can help you catch it early:

  • Bedsores or pressure sores due to lack of movement
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Worsening of health (due to lack of medical care)
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unkempt or unhygienic personal living quarters
  • Depression

Residents aren’t always even aware that they are being neglected, especially if poor treatment is common in their facility. They and other residents may believe that it’s just “the way it is” and thus are unlikely to alert other staff members or tell their loved ones.

It can be even more difficult to detect neglect in residents who have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions that can affect their cognition and memory. Because of that, it’s important for family members to be on high alert during every visit—especially when residents have recently moved into nursing homes or their caregivers have changed.

We Help Neglected Residents and Their Families Get Maximum Compensation

Nursing home residents need high-quality care, attention, and compassion starting on the day they move in. But that doesn’t always happen—especially when nursing home owners and administrators value profits over resident happiness and health. When staff members are undertrained or stretched too thin, neglect is more likely to occur.

At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, our Oklahoma nursing home abuse attorneys hold negligent owners and administrators accountable when residents are mistreated. We know how devastating it can be for residents and their loved ones when neglect occurs, and we work hard to help them get full compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.