5 Causes of Nursing Home Neglect
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Tyler D. Bailey, Esq. with Bailey Law Firm, L.L.C..
Nursing home neglect and abuse are serious problems, especially in the United States. According to a 2014 review of previous studies, according to Nursing Home Abuse Justice, neglect was the most prevalent form of elder mistreatment in the country. Neglect in nursing homes can seriously affect a resident’s physical and psychological health, and may lead to long-term damages, injuries, illnesses, and even death. There are a variety of causes nursing home neglect is thought to stem from; these causes largely stem from administrative problems and oversights that allow or push nursing home staff to operate negligently. If you suspect your loved one is being neglected or abused in their care environment, it’s important to reach out to a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney to discuss options for recovery.
5 of the most common causes of nursing home neglect include:
- Understaffing: When a nursing home is understaffed, resident care is bound to fall by the wayside. Without enough staff members employed on any one shift to attend in a timely manner to the needs of the residents, neglect is inevitable. Understaffing can lead to residents being forced to wait long times for assistance or receiving rushed care that does not actually address the resident’s needs.
- Inadequate staffing: When nursing home staff members do not perform adequately or have not been trained properly, this can lead to inadequate staffing problems. Inadequate staff members may not be capable or trained to perform the necessary tasks residents require every day. Hiring staff who are not fit for the job and/or failing to provide proper training to staff members could make the nursing home liable in the event that neglect or abuse occurs as a result of an inadequate staff member.
- Overworking: Nursing home staff are notoriously overworked; an overworked employee in any scenario is more likely to make mistakes, overlook important details, and be at high risk for burning out. Nursing home work can be rigorous, and staff members should be provided with state-mandated rest breaks. Proper staffing, paid time off, and shift-scheduling with intention are all ways to avoid overworking and the risks associated with it.
- Burnout: When nursing home staff reach burnout, the effect for residents can be seriously harmful. Burnout can lead to a lack of basic care for the job as well as the duties required by it, which quickly shifts into neglect. Burnout can also lead to irritability, anger, hostility toward residents, and even abusive behaviors.
- Lack of oversight: All of the above and more can be prevented with proper oversight from nursing home administration and managing staff. If staff members are neglecting the basic needs of their residents, this should be quickly apparent and immediately addressed by nursing home management. A lack of oversight can encourage neglectful patterns in staff members and can allow neglectful and abusive conduct to continue uncorrected.
The following signs may indicate that neglect is occurring in a nursing home or care environment:
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Unsanitary conditions
- Lack of medical personnel
- Lack of basic care personnel
- Poor communication with loved ones outside the facility
- Changes in mood or personality from the resident
- Depression or anxiety in the resident
To learn more about nursing home neglect or to discuss your options if you fear a loved one is being treated improperly, reach out to a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney in your area.