Neglect is too common in nursing homes, and too easy. Chronic conditions with high recovery times and less movement can lead caregivers to ignore subtle symptoms such as pallid skin, bedsores and general poor health. This also makes neglect harder to determine, and difficult to track if it has been found by law enforcement agents.
Personal hygiene neglect is a common type of neglect in nursing homes. Overwhelmed or inattentive caregivers can fall behind on ensuring senior residents’ standards for clothing and cleanliness. Signs of poor hygiene and disheveled appearance may be symptoms of this type of neglect.
Basic needs neglect is also possible in nursing homes and residential communities, although it is more likely in private homes or other places in which elderly people spend extended periods alone. Sudden weight loss, poor circulation and other signs of malnutrition or dehydration may indicate neglect of a person’s basic needs.
Elderly people often have specific medical needs, and failure to provide prescribed medication or report medical problems may constitute medical neglect. Small conditions like cuts and bruises may cause complications in people with compromised health, requiring special attention that makes medical neglect particularly dangerous.
Difficult conditions in nursing homes can cause stress for caregivers and residents alike. Emotional neglect can occur when that stress is taken out on residents or results in poor treatment of any kind.
Communication is key to any case of neglect. Elderly people are often hesitant to report poor treatment of conditions because of personal feelings or mental disorientation. It takes the entire community to keep nursing home residents safe, and elderly people and their families have rights to counter cases of nursing home abuse.
Source: Nursing Home Abuse Center, “Nursing Home Neglect,” accessed July 25, 2017