An interview with Alan Cassels on multiple drug use in the elderly
Many nursing homes uphold an excellent standard of care, treating residents with the respect and dignity they deserve. Sadly, some nursing homes fall short when it comes to treating residents well. Nursing home neglect and abuse are both issues in the United States elder care system. People who have loved ones living in a nursing home or an assisted living facility need to be aware of the signs of nursing home neglect.
Nursing home abuse and neglect are both serious issues. The term abuse often brings thoughts of intentional physical or sexual harm to mind. While neglect may not be obvious or intentional, it’s still a form of abuse.
If a nursing home staff member does not perform the necessary duties to take care of a patient (such as bathing, grooming, cleaning the room, providing proper nutrition, giving medication on time, facilitating social outings), the resident can suffer. Accidental neglect – such as giving the wrong medication or forgetting about a dietary need – can cause long-term harm as well.
There are many reasons that nursing home neglect can occur. Often, neglect can be traced back to understaffing issues – too much work for too few employees. When nursing home health care professionals and other employees are overworked, they may struggle to provide residents with proper care, or they may become forgetful. Lack of training, poor staff member screening practices, and too much responsibility without proper education can all play into reasons why well-meaning staff members may perpetuate neglect.
There are many types of nursing home neglect, including:
This type of nursing home neglect occurs when an employee of a nursing home doesn’t meet the health care needs of a resident. Medical neglect can take several forms. An employee may fail to administer medication at the correct time or may administer the wrong medication. Some residents are hesitant to take their medication, and an employee could leave without ensuring that the resident took their medication as prescribed.
Failing to move residents who have mobility issues can result in bedsores, another form of neglect. With bedsores and other issues, staffers may realize they have been neglectful of their duties according to the facility’s standard of care and may fail to report the issue to the resident’s doctor or other healthcare professional out of fear of getting in trouble. Employees may also fail to properly care for health problems such as diabetes or dementia. Sometimes, this lack of care is not the employee’s fault. Some nursing homes have a high turnover rate, and they fail to properly train new employees.
A nursing home is trusted to exceed each resident’s basic needs. When a resident’s basic hygiene and living needs are not met, both physical and mental health suffer. Neglect in this category may include not changing dirty clothing or bedding, providing unsafe food or water, failing to provide clean spaces for residents, and/or failing to properly bathe residents.
Socializing is an important part of nursing home care. If residents are left isolated, their mental health can quickly deteriorate. Taking care of the social needs of the residents falls both on those in charge of the nursing home and on those who provide direct care. Social opportunities should occur regularly, and direct care providers should encourage residents to attend. Failure to do so can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Providing residents with a way to get around is also an important part of facilitating positive social interactions. Failure to provide residents with walkers, canes, or wheelchairs to allow them to move freely is a type of neglect.
People who have loved ones residing in nursing home facilities need to watch for telltale signs of neglect, which may include:
If you believe that your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect, it’s important that you reach out for legal counsel. Your family deserves better than this unacceptable standard of care.
A petition for national efforts to confront the abuse and financial exploitation of our elderly and vulnerable citizens and for real change to end the abuse and address problems in adult guardianships.
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