Nursing Home Neglect January 16, 2024.
Whether a parent, grandparent, or even a sibling, making the decision to place your elderly family member in a nursing home because they can no longer take care of themselves is heartbreaking.
Finding out that the facility has also failed to take care of them is even harder to accept, but it’s important to be aware of the possibility and take action right away if you see the signs. Here’s what you need to know and how an experienced Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer can help you.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
A nursing home has a responsibility to their patients and the families of those individuals to take proper care of the residents in their facility. This includes making sure their basic needs are met and that they have as fulfilling and emotionally enriching life as possible. When a long-term care facility doesn’t provide this care to their patients, this is considered nursing home neglect.
Nursing home neglect in Ohio can include actions like:
- Not providing the patient with food or drink
- Not helping them eat or drink if they are unable
- Not administering medications on time
- Administering the wrong medications
- Not bathing the patient or helping them bathe as needed
- Allowing patients to develop bedsores
However, this is in no way an exhaustive list and there are many instances of neglect that don’t fit within the above criteria. It’s always important to take any signs of possible neglect or abuse seriously – usually, no harm is done by an investigation that reveals no evidence of wrongdoing.
Is neglect the same thing as abuse?
While nursing home neglect and abuse typically go hand in hand, they’re technically not the same thing. As indicated above, neglect refers to what happens to patients when they don’t receive the care they need, while abuse refers to harm directly inflicted on them.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can happen at the same time or independently of one another and both have a severe physical and cognitive impact on the victim. Abuse includes specific actions like:
- Physical abuse, including slapping, pushing, or restraining a nursing home resident
- Verbal abuse, like yelling at or belittling a patient
- Emotional or psychological abuse, such as isolating a resident, preventing them from going to social functions, or withholding items that they enjoy
- Sexual abuse, including sexual assault and rape
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?
Because there are no outright signs of neglect like bruises or restraint marks, it can be hard to tell when a loved one isn’t getting the support they need from nursing home staff. But if you’re aware of what to look for, it’s much easier to spot.
Some of the most common signs of neglect in nursing homes and long-term care facilities include:
- Weight loss that can’t be explained by or attributed to a health condition or known problem
- Skin infections, rashes, and bedsores
- Unwashed hair, dirty clothes, and overall poor hygiene
- A dirty room with piles of food, clothes, or trash lying around
- Soiled sheets and blankets
- Unexplained sleepiness or inability to sleep that may be caused by medication errors
- New or worsening depression and anxiety
What to Do If Your Loved One Is Being Neglected
If your loved one can communicate with you, it may be possible to have a conversation with them about what’s happening in the nursing home while you’re not there. If they can’t or refuse to speak about their conditions, you may need to take action on their behalf based on the evidence you have.
This can include things like reports from your loved one, witness testimonies, copies of their medical records, photographs of their room or the state of their hygiene, and any other evidence you have that can help illustrate how your family member is being treated by staff in the facility.
How The Mellino Law Firm Can Help
If you suspect that your loved one may be suffering from nursing home neglect, The Mellino Law Firm is here to help. We have represented dozens of families who have suffered the consequences of improper care in nursing homes and we will advocate for the justice your loved one deserves.
Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your case and to go over the potential evidence you may have that your loved one is being neglected in a long-term care or nursing facility. Call now at (440) 333-3800 or fill out our quick online form and our team of caring legal professionals will reach back out to you at a time that’s convenient for you.