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Neglect: Legal Definition

Nursing home residents often experience abuse and neglect from those who were chosen to care for them. Though there are some similarities between abuse and neglect, they are not the same.

Abuse is purposeful harm to a resident while neglect is a form of sub-standard care that results in injuries or harm to another person. In other words, a nursing home staff member or administrator is neglectful if the person fails to act with the same reasonable care an ordinary person would use in a similar situation. For example, failing to take a resident to the bathroom and then, leaving the person in soiled clothes is neglect.

Types of Nursing Home Neglect

Cases of nursing home neglect may vary considerably, but these are the most common types:

  • Medical negligence: A nursing home fails to provide adequate prevention, attention, and care for medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and cognitive diseases, as well as immobility, infections, and pressure ulcers.
  • Emotional or social neglect: A nursing home consistently ignores and/or isolates residents.
  • Basic needs neglect: A nursing home fails to provide reasonable access to food and water and offers a safe, clean environment.
  • Personal hygiene neglect: A nursing home fails to give adequate assistance with bathing, dressing, teeth brushing, using the bathroom, cleaning, and washing clothes, linens, and towels.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Residents living in negligent nursing homes increase their risks of infections, serious diseases, injuries, and even death. While some forms of nursing home neglect are apparent, others go unnoticed and unreported. However, identifying neglect and reporting it can mean the difference between life and death.

The best way to identify signs of nursing home neglect is to look for behavioral changes. Common warning signs of neglect may include:

  • Sudden weight loss and changes in eating habits
  • Bedsores
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Moodiness, depression, anxiety, or unusual behaviors
  • Changes in personal appearance and hygiene efforts
  • A growing lack of social interactions with fellow residents and staff

Get a Nursing Home Neglect Consultation

Physical forms of nursing home neglect, such as bedsores and malnutrition, may be more easily identifiable, but others, like a receding interest in socializing or mood changes may be more difficult to notice if you do not communicate or visit regularly.

If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, then call the Nursing Home Abuse Center at 1-800-516-4783 for a free case consultation. We can connect you with an attorney who will fight to get you and your family justice.


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