Nursing Home Neglect: Types Of Abuse And Negligence You Should Be Aware Of

Posted on: 8 September 2015


Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a big problem in the United States. One study found that around a third of all nursing homes have been found guilty of multiple cases of abuse or neglect within the past two years. If you have a parent or relative in the care of a nursing facility, and you suspect abuse, you probably have grounds for a civil lawsuit. Nursing home abuse and neglect can happen in a myriad of ways. The following are examples or instances where the nursing home would be found guilty of abuse or medical malpractice.

1. Failure to prevent accidents.

One of the reasons why you entrust your loved one to the care of a nursing home is because they require a level of supervision and medical care that you cannot provide in their own home or in the home of a relative. When this expected level of care is not provided and accidents occur, causing bodily or emotional harm to your loved one, the nursing home is liable for subsequent damages. 

For example, if your parent has dementia and often forgets where he or she is, a safety precaution that the nursing home would take is to make sure that the front doors have automatic locks that the residents cannot operate without an attendant. If these locks are faulty, or if a worker leaves a key lying around, a resident without full mental capacity could leave the facility and suffer injury. These injuries are then the burden of the nursing home, as the injury was directly caused by negligence.

Other examples of failure to prevent accidents include leaving medications were residents might find them and overdose, not removing obstacles like boxes out of the walkway, or leaving floors wet when residents without full mobility might slip on them.

2. Intentional abuse.

One of the most disturbing trends in nursing home abuse is direct physical, sexual, or verbal assaults on residents. Examples of these types of abuses include:

  • inappropriate touching when bathing and dressing residents
  • baiting residents with words or with objects
  • slapping, punching, or spanking residents for perceived misbehavior
  • verbal insults, including profanity
  • intentionally withholding medications or other needed items as "punishment"

All of these examples are extraordinarily serious offenses. When you visit your loved one, you should check for bruises and ask them questions about how they treated and what their day is like. If you have proof of the abusive environment, you can take your findings to a medical malpractice or personal injury attorney. Sometimes, the nursing home may be unaware of the abusive behavior of a certain employee. If this is the case, you will make the case against the individual. However, many nursing homes turn a blind eye to bad employee treatment of residents. When this is the case, you can file a full civil lawsuit against the establishment.

3. Harm through neglect.

Another aspect of nursing home injuries are those caused by employees doing too little to help residents. Bed sores are a common problem for patients with limited mobility. These sores develop because the resident is not exercised or moved often enough, and bed sheets and linens are not frequently changed. Other signs of neglect include:

  • sudden weight loss. Your loved one may not be getting enough to eat or may be missing meals.
  • dehydration. Those residents on IV fluids need constant monitoring, and often, they do not get the water they need.
  • uncleanliness. Your loved one should be bathed and dressed in fresh clothes. Sometimes, this is not the case.
  • poor living conditions. Rooms should be cleaned daily. Some residents may spend hours or even days with soiled sheets or in rooms that are not properly maintained. Sickness can result from this inattention to hygiene.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering one or all of these abuse types, you can take action to protect them and to cover their medical bills. Talk to an attorney who is experienced in these areas for more information about your specific situations. For more information, you can visit sites like