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Duty of Care to Protect Seniors from Illness

Types of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing homes are meant to be places where seniors can live peacefully. These homes offer protection, health care, meals, and socialization for older citizens. Because the elderly can often have problems with memory loss, they often don’t realize that they’re being mistreated. Abuse doesn’t necessarily mean violence in this situation, but instead focuses on negligence. Nursing homes are supposed to be a safe and comfortable place for the elderly, but unfortunately, sometimes negligence occurs. 

Basic Needs Neglect

Basic needs neglect, or general neglect, occurs when the nursing home staff fails to provide the proper care for its tenants. This could mean leaving residents unattended for long periods of time, failing to provide enough food or water, forgetting to administer medications, not cleaning the residents’ rooms, ignoring complaints, or failing to ensure the safety of residents. Basic needs neglect occurs when the basic needs of an occupant are ignored, either on purpose or out of negligence. 

Emotional/Social Neglect

Emotional/social neglect can occur in multiple different ways. It can be restraining a resident from interacting with anyone else or treating them badly emotionally. This could include name-calling, insults, threats, isolation, or being overly-controlling of the residents. 

Personal Hygiene Neglect

Personal hygiene neglect can occur when the staff ignores signs that a resident needs to be cleaned. This can include not giving baths, not keeping their room clean, and generally not assisting with the resident’s personal hygiene. 

Medical Neglect

Medical neglect occurs when a resident is mistreated regarding a medical issue. This could involve improperly administering medication or not administering medication at all. This type of neglect also occurs when an accident or injury isn’t reported or cared for. Leaving a resident in any type of pain without doing anything about it could be considered medical neglect. 

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Every year 5,000,000 elders are abused across the country. 1 in 10 elders have been abused, so nursing home neglect is much more common than you may have previously thought. But how can you tell that the elderly person in your life is being mistreated in their nursing home? There are many different types of environments that can lead to elder abuse, but abuse occurs more likely in communities that allow aggressive behavior, societies that encourage individuals to suffer in silence or care for others without outside help, and cultures that have negative or disrespectful attitudes toward the elderly or aging. 

Nursing home neglect can be identified by paying close attention to your family members or other residents. Things like dehydration, change in emotional presence, infections, malnutrition, rapid weight loss, unsanitary conditions, and sudden changes in behavior can all be signs of nursing home neglect.  

What is Duty of Care? 

Nursing homes accept responsibility when a new resident moves in. This “duty of care” makes nursing homes liable if something were to happen to a resident in their care. Basically, this means that the nursing home has a specific amount of care that they’re required to give to their residents. This includes things like food and water, socialization, emotional care, medical attention, and more. If these basic needs are not fulfilled, the duty of care has been breached. 

How Should Nursing Homes Protect Seniors? 

In the simplest of terms, nursing homes should protect seniors by giving them the proper care that they need. This means that they should always be keeping them well fed, providing them with water, paying attention to their social and emotional needs, helping to keep them clean, and generally looking out for any injuries or medical problems. 

When a resident moves in, they’re expecting a certain level of care from the facility and its staff. Any time that this care is not met, it can be considered negligent. Nursing homes should protect seniors as best as they possibly can. When this doesn’t occur, the nursing home can be considered negligent. 

When is a Nursing Home Considered Negligent? 

A nursing home is considered negligent when the duty of care is breached and the staff is no longer looking after the resident in any way. This could mean that the resident isn’t getting fed anymore, or they’ve broken a bone from falling, but no one has noticed. Unfortunately, senior citizens aren’t often able to identify when nursing home neglect is happening to them. It’s often on the family to investigate and figure out what’s going on. If you have a family member in a nursing home, you should always check on their living situation to make sure everything is going smoothly. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Nursing Home Negligence Case? 

If you believe that someone you love has been affected by nursing home negligence, please contact one of our talented lawyers here at Sand Law. One of our personal injury attorneys will be happy to look at your case. Contact us online or at 651-291-7263 for a free case evaluation or more information.