sad old man sitting on side of bed

Nursing Home Neglect vs. Abuse: Understanding the Differences

Nursing homes should be a safe and caring environment for elderly residents who need assistance with daily living activities. However, neglect and abuse in nursing homes happens more often than it should. Neglect and abuse are both serious issues, but it is important to understand the differences.

Abuse vs. Neglect

Nursing home abuse is a type of mistreatment that is intentional, malicious, or reckless. It can include physical abuse, such as hitting, slapping, or restraining a resident, or emotional abuse, such as yelling, belittling, or otherwise humiliating a resident. Financial abuse is also another serious form of abuse that can occur in nursing homes.

Related Reading: "Protecting Your Loved Ones: Recognizing Signs of Nursing Home Abuse"

Nursing home neglect is mistreatment in which nursing home staff fail to provide necessary care to residents. This can include a wide range of actions or inactions, such as failing to provide food or water, not assisting with daily living activities, ignoring medical needs, failing to maintain the cleanliness of the facility, and not addressing resident safety concerns.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Families need to be aware of the signs of neglect and take action if they suspect the mistreatment of their loved ones.

Physical Signs

If your loved one is not receiving proper care, they may develop bed sores and painful ulcers that can form on the skin when a person is lying down for prolonged periods.

Additionally, they may develop rashes or skin infections if their basic hygiene needs are not met by routine bathing and cleaning. Extreme weight loss or malnourishment can also be a sign of neglect.

Emotional Signs

Being in a nursing home can be an emotionally challenging experience for seniors. They may feel lonely, isolated, and may not receive the same level of social interaction they had while living on their own. If you notice that your loved one is acting withdrawn or depressed, it could be a sign of neglect. They may not be receiving adequate attention from nursing home staff, which can be detrimental to their overall health.

Environmental Signs

Neglect can also manifest itself in the environment of the nursing home. If you notice there should be more staff members to look after the residents, or if you see things like overflowing trash cans or dirty bedding, it could be a sign that the nursing home needs to pay better attention to the needs of its residents.

Medical Signs

Neglect can lead to serious medical problems for seniors. If your loved one has developed bed sores, infections, or has lost significant amounts of weight, it could be a sign they are not receiving proper medical attention. Additionally, it could be an indication of neglect if they are not receiving the proper medication or if their medical needs are being ignored or treated improperly.

Behavioral Signs

Finally, if you notice changes in your loved one's behavior, it could be a sign of neglect. For example, if they become agitated, aggressive, or easily angered, it could be because they are not receiving the necessary care. Similarly, they may become forgetful, confused, or disoriented, which can also signify neglect.

Options for Victims or Their Families

If a nursing home resident has been the victim of neglect or abuse, legal options are available for seeking justice. The victim or their family can file a complaint with the Virginia Department of Health, contact law enforcement, or connect with the experienced nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys at Obenshain Law Group to potentially file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. Nursing home abuse and neglect cases can be complex, so consulting with an experienced attorney is recommended to provide the best possible outcome.

Seeking Compensation for Damages

Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect may be entitled to compensation for damages, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, or other related expenses. An attorney can help determine which parties may be liable for the damages, such as the nursing home, staff members, or third-party service providers. It is important to act quickly after an incident of nursing home neglect or abuse, as there may be a statute of limitations for filing a claim.

In conclusion, nursing home neglect and abuse are serious issues that can have devastating consequences for elderly residents and their families. If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, it is crucial to document any suspected behavior and report it immediately. Seeking the help of an experienced attorney can provide invaluable support in obtaining compensation and holding the responsible parties accountable.

Righting Wrongs with Obenshain Law Group

At Obenshain Law Group, we are dedicated to providing compassionate and knowledgeable legal services for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We will provide the support and guidance you need during this difficult time. No matter what mistreatment has occurred, our team is ready to fight for justice on your behalf. If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please get in touch with us today at (540) 318-7360 to schedule your free consultation.


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