Causes of Nursing Home Neglect
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Stewart J. Eisenberg with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
Nursing home neglect can occur in many ways but always results in a lack of necessary care for residents of a nursing home. In fact, nursing home neglect and abuse often go hand-in-hand, and can result in the same kind of damages. There are many reasons for nursing home neglect, and many of them are a result of administrative choices rather than the choices of individual staff members. If you or a loved one have suffered from nursing home neglect, reach out to a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer to discuss your situation as well as options for physical and financial recovery.
Nursing home neglect can arise from a variety of situations, including the following:
- Understaffing: When a nursing home or care facility is understaffed, this can lead to gross oversights in the care of residents. When there are too many residents for nursing home staff to keep up with, neglect is likely to occur. Unfortunately, understaffing is a common problem in nursing homes and care facilities.
- Inadequate staffing: Similar to the above situation, when staff members are not properly vetted and trained, they may fail to provide adequate care for the residents. This can lead to neglectful behavior and speech and may result in people who should not be working in a nursing home retaining employment there.
- Overworking: Failing to provide adequate breaks or time off work for nursing home staff members can lead to employees feeling overworked and underappreciated. In any job this can cause problems, and lead to oversights in work ethic. However, in a nursing home environment overworking employees can be particularly harmful as it often results in neglect behavior and speech toward residents.
- Burnout: When nursing home staff members work hours that are too long with too few breaks, or have been working in their job for many years, they may experience burnout. Feelings of burnout can happen in any emotionally strenuous environment and can lead to a lack of care for the job as a whole, often resulting in neglectful behavior.
- Lack of oversight: When nursing home administrators fail to stay involved in the day-to-day operations of the facility, oversights happen. It is imperative that administrators and managers remain aware of what is going on in their facility, as well as how residents feel about the current treatment they are receiving. Failing to pay attention to or enforce health and safety regulations in a nursing home is often at least partially responsible for the neglect occurring in a care facility.
The following may be signs that neglect/abuse is occurring within a nursing home or care facility:
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Unexplained bruising
- Broken bones
- Lack of medical personnel
- Lack of communication with family outside the facility
- A resident displaying sudden changes in mood, behavior, or personality
If you suspect a loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect in a nursing home environment, take action.
It is important to take action if you or a loved one may be in danger of neglect or abuse in a nursing home. If you suspect that you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, there are certain steps you can take to report the suspicions of neglect/abuse and have them investigated. These steps include the following:
- Call the adult protective services and elder abuse hotline for your state, often found under your state’s Health and Human Services (HHS) department.
- File a report using the state’s abuse hotline website or over the phone.
- Thoroughly answer all questions to the best of your ability when filing the report.
- Talk to a nursing home neglect/abuse lawyer to consider filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim. This might be a viable way to seek compensation for the damages you or your loved one experienced.
It is important to note that you may choose to remain anonymous when making your report. However, if you remain anonymous you will not be informed of the results of the investigation. If you are unsure how to file the report and would like help, or want to learn more about filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, reach out to a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney as soon as possible.