Nursing home malpracticeTypes of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Neglect or abuse in a nursing home setting can take many forms.  It can involve the physical, mental, emotional, financial, or social well-being of the resident.

Some of the most common forms of abuse and/or neglect include:

  • Far and away, the most frequent circumstances we see in these cases are falls related to inadequate fall risk evaluations or understaffing.  Those falls usually result in hip or wrist/arm fractures that significantly limit the person’s ability to care for themselves and therefore results in significant extra long term cost of care.
  • Malnutrition – failure to provide proper nutrition.  There are many different possible causes for malnutrition, like a patient’s swallowing disorder or inability to absorb nutrients, depression, or medication-related digestive issues.  Malnutrition could also be caused by poor monitoring of the patient’s food intake, reliance on liquid dietary supplements, or staff not realizing a patient needs help feeding him or herself.  In many cases, malnutrition is avoidable.
  • Dehydration – failure to provide proper hydration.  Again, there can be many different possible causes for dehydration.  Like malnutrition, dehydration is often avoidable.
  • Failure to assist in personal hygiene.  This can lead to both physical problems and emotional issues.  A related issue is failure to assist a resident with toilet use.  Leaving a person in soiled garments or in a soiled bed can cause health issues and emotional issues.
  • Medication issues.  Over-medication and under-medication are both dangerous.
  • Failure to provide appropriate medical care.  This could include refusal to call or consult a doctor, ignoring requests for help, or refusal to treat an injury or illness.
  • Failure to prevent falls, or take other precautions to prevent physical injury to residents.
  • Use of unwarranted physical or chemical restraints.  Federal and state laws permit the use of physical or chemical restraints only if ordered by a physician and only for a limited time in order to protect the patient (or other patients) from injury.
  • Failure to turn the older adult in his or her bed.  This can lead to bed sores or pressure sores.
  • Shaking, slapping, or other physical abuse.
  • Emotional or verbal abuse, like cursing, yelling, or ignoring the patient.
  • Sexual assault of the older adult.
  • Theft of the older adult’s money or property.
  • Failure to answer calls for help in a timely manner.
  • Any retaliation for a resident making a complaint or filing a grievance.
  • Isolation.  This can include purposely isolating the older adult from visitors or other social activities.

This list is not comprehensive.  Abuse and neglect can take many forms.  It can be difficult for the older adult to discuss issues of abuse or neglect for a variety of reasons – emotional reasons like embarrassment or anger or cognitive causes like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  It is often up to someone other than the resident to take notice of signs of neglect or abuse.

Neglect may or may not be intentional or deliberate; abuse is almost always deliberate.  In either case, residents of a nursing home or other care facility deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and competence.

A resident or family member has the right to express their concerns to the nursing home director, facility manager, or ombudsman.

Nursing Home Malpractice Attorneys

If you believe a family member or loved one is being abused or neglected in their care facility, assisted living, or nursing home, contact Philadelphia attorneys Villari, Lentz & Lynam, LLC. They stand ready to investigate and pursue all available civil damage remedies. Call (215) 568-1990 or complete the short form to the right.

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