Nursing Home Neglect
By definition, nursing home neglect is when a nursing home employee, either through action or inaction, deprives an elderly resident of care preventing them from maintaining physical and mental health. The elderly are at a high risk for neglect, especially those older more vulnerable adults residing in residential living, assisted living or nursing home facilities.
Concerns of Nursing Homes Neglect
With so many elderly citizens residing in nursing homes, neglect continues to increase nationwide. According to statistics by the United States Special Committee of Aging, of the 17,000 nursing homes nationwide, 30% of the homes have been cited for deficiencies causing inadequate care and neglect with some involving actual harm and placing residents at risk of death. Neglect of the elderly in nursing homes is a tragedy that is preventable in most cases.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
- Poor personal hygiene, dehydration, malnutrition, pressure sores and bed sores are often times the first and more obvious signs of neglect in the elderly.
- Health problems that seem unimportant, unattended to or untreated in a timely manner by nursing home staff are signs of neglect for nursing home residents.
- Unsafe, unclean and unsanitary nursing home conditions including bugs, lice, soiled bedding, foul odors, and habitually inadequate dressing and clothing of residents.
- Signs of poor medical or dental attention should concern you and cause you to question the nursing home's reliability for taking care of the elderly.
- Leaving the nursing home resident unattended for long periods of time is neglect and abuse.
- If a nursing home resident complains of constant hunger, you may want to investigate the home for ill treatment and neglect.
- Any complaints or reports from a nursing home resident being mistreated should be taken seriously and investigated.
- If the nursing home resident is acting overly aggressive or passive, the change in behavior may be a key indicator of neglect and abuse.
Neglect Can Lead to Additional Abuses
Nursing home neglect can lead to even more serious conditions such as actual physical abuse. The definition of physical abuse is inflecting bodily harm intentionally such as slapping, pinching, pulling, shoving, or inappropriate use of physical or drug induced restraints. Other conditions closely related to neglect are exploitation, abandonment, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. Sometimes neglect and abuse can, unfortunately, lead to wrongful death. If you are witness to any of these symptoms of neglect and abuse, report and investigate the incident immediately before further mistreatment can occur.
Reporting Neglect in the Nursing Home
On the first sign of neglect of your loved one in a nursing home, immediately ask the nursing staff for an explanation. If the justification is inexcusable, meet with the home's Director of Nursing, local Ombudsman, the Social Services Director or Administration. If the neglect is not attended to and corrected immediately consider taking further actions against the nursing home. The best plan for approaching nursing home neglect is taking detailed notes. Once you report an incident, log the occurrence in a diary in great detail. Make notes of any changes promised to prevent the incident from ever occurring again. You'll need to follow-up the report with entries explaining the steps taken and whether they were handled satisfactorily. Also, take note of your loved one's behavior at all times while staying at nursing facility. If you still see signs of nursing home neglect, take further action. Texas law requires anyone who suspects nursing home abuse, exploitation or neglect of an elderly or person, or nursing home resident to report the incident. Contact the Department of Disability & Aging Services at 1-800-458-9858. Alternatively, you can report nursing home abuse concerns by submitting a claim with Adult Protective Services. When calling to report nursing home neglect, be prepared to supply the department with the following information.
- The name and address of the nursing home suspected of neglect.
- The name and room number of the patient that is victim to nursing home neglect.
- A brief statement of the complaint.
- You will need to supply your name, phone number and address for follow-up.
Do not be concerned that the nursing home will retaliate against your loved one if you register a complaint of neglect. Anonymity is guaranteed to anyone who files a complaint or reports a nursing home. If your complaint alleges that a resident has died or is in imminent danger due to neglect in a nursing home, the Texas Department of Human Services must investigate the complaint within 24 hours. The nursing home facility will not be given advanced notice of the inspection, and witnesses will be interviewed in private. Take even further action and talk to a experienced nursing home attorney.
Hire an Experienced Nursing Home Attorney
It is wise not to procrastinate when reporting nursing home neglect. Time will cloud the memory and evidence of such neglect may be altered, destroyed, lost or forgotten. Act immediately to protect yourself, but more importantly, your loved one, from nursing home neglect. If a loved one is injured or suffers a wrongful death as a result of nursing home abuse and/or neglect, Texas law allows you or your family to file a private lawsuit against the nursing home for claims resulting from negligence and/or wrongful death. Hire an experienced attorney that understands and is sympathetic to victims of nursing home neglect. Jeff Rasansky has a wealth of complex litigation experience. Jeff Rasansky has successfully tried and settled nursing home neglect, abuse, negligence and wrongful death cases. Once you have hired a nursing home lawyer, do not discuss your concerns with anyone other than your lawyer. This includes insurance adjusters who may call you, nursing home administrators, nursing home directors and/or the nursing home's attorneys. Are you or a family member suffering from elder abuse or neglect? Contact the Rasansky Law Firm online, or call our offices anytime at 1-877-659-1620 to discuss your situation with our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys. In the complimentary consultation, our attorneys will review your experiences and situation and provide you information regarding your legal rights, options, and responsibilities.