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Senior man holds his head in his hand while sitting on a couch in a nursing home

Are Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse the Same Thing?

Most nursing homes take good care of the residents they house, and the staff typically do care about the people they serve. However, there are some facilities that fail to live up to the expected standards of care, and elders are harmed as a result.

While nursing home negligence and abuse are similar, there are certain nuanced differences that set them apart.

Negligence typically arises as a result of nursing home staff acting carelessly or recklessly.

Harm against nursing home residents is typically considered abuse when it is willful, deliberate behavior that results in an injury to an elder.

Overall, the main difference between negligence and abuse is the intention of the person who harms the elder.

Nursing Home Negligence

A nursing home resident can experience neglect when they do not receive adequate care and as a result, suffer physical or mental health issues. When an elder is under the care of a nursing home, it is expected that their basic daily needs are met. If their needs are not met, they experience neglect, which is just as harmful and unacceptable as deliberate abuse.

Some of the reasons why nursing home neglect occurs include:

  • Insufficient staffing - There are not enough workers to care for the residents which reduces the overall quality of care.
  • Uncouth hiring practices - The nursing facility fails to conduct proper background checks or chooses to hire unqualified people to care for others.
  • Inadequate training - It is critical that nursing homes diligently and thoroughly train their staff so that workers have clear expectations and structure.

There are four basic types of nursing home neglect, including:

  • Medical neglect:
    • Failing to provide a senior with the necessary medications.
    • Insufficient medical care for an elder’s existing health conditions.
    • Neglecting to help elders with mobility problems move around, putting them at risk of bedsores.
    • Not alerting nurses or doctors when a resident shows signs of an infection or illness.
  • Social or emotional neglect:
    • Inadvertently isolating a vulnerable senior.
    • Not providing an elder with mobility problems a cane, wheelchair, or walker.
    • Forgetting to help residents with mobility or mental issues move around.
  • Neglect of a patient’s basic daily life needs:
    • Not keeping the resident’s living space at a comfortable and safe temperature.
    • Failing to keep common areas or resident rooms clean regularly.
    • Not providing seniors with safe and adequate food and water, resulting in a lack of nutrition or dehydration.
  • Personal hygiene neglect:
    • Forgetting to regularly change an elder’s clothing.
    • Failing to regularly check in on residents.
    • Incorrectly bathing a senior.
    • Not switching an elder’s clothing after they soiled themselves.

Nursing Home Abuse

There are four main types of nursing home abuse, including:

  • Physical:
    • When a resident is:
      • Punched,
      • Kicked,
      • Restrained with straps or ties,
      • Pushed, or
      • Shoved.
  • Emotional:
    • When the nursing home staff:
      • Control an elder’s activities against their will.
      • Isolate the senior from family, friends, or other people.
      • Speak down on a resident’s appearance or intelligence.
      • Threaten the elder.
  • Sexual:
    • When an elder experiences any type of undesired sexual contact, touching, or groping.
  • Financial:
    • When nursing home staff or others who frequent the facility:
      • Misuse power to alter an elder’s will.
      • Prevent the senior from accessing their own financial accounts.
      • Take cash, credit cards, or valuables from a resident.
      • Steal an elder’s financial records or bank statements.

We’re Here to Help Injured Victims and Their Families

If your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home, our team wants to help you and your family obtain the justice you deserve. It is unacceptable for abuse to occur in nursing facilities.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled team right away with any questions you may have. We have helped many other families in similar situations and we want to do everything possible to help you and your loved ones too.

Call Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. today at (816) 484-3776 for a free consultation regarding your case.