According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any actions (or inactions) that fail to meet an elderly person’s basic needs in a nursing home rises to the level of nursing home negligence. Some of these basic needs include water, food, clothing, shelter, hygiene, and essential medical care.
Understanding Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home abuse occurs when an elderly resident of a nursing home suffers either physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Abuse is a direct action taken by one person against another, typically with an intent to harm in some way. Physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse all occur when one person takes proactive steps to harm an elderly resident.
Nursing home negligence differs from nursing home abuse in the sense that the sheer inaction of a nursing home staff member or an employee causes some type of physical or emotional harm to the elderly resident. Negligence may not be intentional; however, nursing home negligence can still result in serious injuries or even death of elderly residents.
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Types of Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home neglect can occur with both the patients’ physical needs and emotional security. Serious illnesses and conditions can arise from both forms of neglect, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Physical Nursing Home Negligence
When a nursing home fails to provide proper nutrition or hydration, serious medical issues can arise. Another example of physical negligence involves failing to assist an elderly resident going to the restroom resulting in either a slip and fall injury when they attempt to go independently. Another example of nursing home negligence would include the failure to provide appropriate medications at the correct times, resulting in serious injuries or death.
Simply failing to attend to the physical needs of elderly residents can also result in catastrophic illnesses or death. The entire purpose of a family placing their loved one in a nursing home is to ensure that they receive the proper care and supervision they need in order to maintain a healthy quality of life. When a nursing home fails to provide this care and supervision, they have failed to appropriately care for their elderly residents due to their negligence.
Emotional Nursing Home Negligence
While physical nursing home negligence can result in serious injuries or death, emotional nursing home negligence can also cause harm to elderly residents.
Failing to provide for a resident’s emotional needs, such as allowing them to visit with their friends and family, can lead to emotional neglect. Emotional neglect can result in serious emotional and physical changes in an elderly resident, as many residents already suffer from neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), some of the warning signs of nursing home negligence may include the following:
- Weight Loss or Gain
- Infections or bedsores with unexplained causes
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior, including anxiety, depression, withdrawal from activities, fits of anger, self-harm, lack of interest in personal hygiene
- Serious medical complications resulting from the nursing home’s failure to provide medication appropriately at the correct times
These examples are not the only ones that signal possible nursing home negligence. If you suspect that your elderly loved one suffered any injuries or harm as a result of nursing home negligence, make sure to immediately contact the nursing home management regarding your suspicions.
Statute of Limitations
If you are considering taking legal action against a negligent nursing home, you should know that your state likely has a statute of limitations surrounding your ability to file a lawsuit. You may only have a certain amount of time from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Do not let a negligent party, whether it is a caregiver or the nursing home itself, get away with the injuries they caused your loved one. If you wait to file past the deadline, you risk losing your rights to take legal action.
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Learn How an Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help You
If you suspect nursing home negligence and wonder what is actually considered nursing home negligence for legal purposes, we can help.
Learn how a nursing home lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you determine if your elderly loved one’s injuries constitute nursing home negligence. A statute of limitations may apply in your case, so call us at 800-959-1444 as soon as possible.