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Is there a real difference between abuse and neglect?

When you’re thinking about how you want your loved one to be treated in a nursing home, you probably imagine loving nurses and supportive staff assistance. The one thing you don’t want to occur is for them to get hurt.

It is important to distinguish the difference between abuse and neglect for the sake of accurately describing your loved one’s care in any legal proceedings. If you can recognize abuse or neglect, you’ll be able to bring it to the attention of those who can help you can protect your loved one.

What is the difference between abuse and neglect?

There are some slight variances in how you talk about different situations. For example, the types of abuse include neglect. Abuse is an umbrella term that can include:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Emotional neglect (ignoring a patient or their needs)
  • Physical abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Financial abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Medical abuse

There are many kinds of abuse and neglect. Neglect generally refers to not providing sufficient care to a dependent individual. Abuse tends to refer to intentionally causing harm. Neglect doesn’t always have to be intentional. But there is a standard of care that must be met or exceeded. Failing to meet that standard of care could give rise to litigation.

When it comes down to it, both abuse and neglect are serious problems that the elderly face. To protect your loved one, look for signs of lack of care or physical or emotional harm. If you’re not sure about a situation, discuss it with an attorney to decide whether to file a claim against the facility and any negligent doctors, nurses or other care providers.


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