Nursing home abuse and neglect are often lumped up but are two separate and serious issues. Family members who put their loved ones in nursing homes expect the highest level of care for them. However, abuse and/or neglect is a breach of the contract between both parties and may require hiring a nursing home abuse attorney Syracuse NY at NPS Law to sort things out.

Before seeing an attorney, you should understand the distinction between a nursing home abuse and a nursing home neglect case. This distinction may be enough to clarify the matter and how you approach it.

Nursing Home Abuse – An Intentional Act of Violence Against Nursing Home Residents

Abuse cases aren’t taken lightly under the law. Elder abuse, in this case, involves the threat of violence or intentional commission against a nursing home resident. Nursing home abuse can manifest in different forms, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

Nursing home abuse may be perpetrated by nursing home staff who force residents to engage in acts against their wishes while threatening physical harm. Residents may also be taken advantage of sexually or harassed by nursing home staff members.

Emotional abuse can be displayed in the form of insults and derogatory statements aimed at the resident. Staff members may also portray intentional cruelty against residents to punish them.

In general, nursing home abuse can take any of the following different forms;

  • Physical assault through punching or kicking residents; hitting, slapping, or restraining residents.
  • Forcefully feeding residents after their refusal to eat or drink
  • Denying residents access to necessary medical care and attention
  • Sexual misconduct, including rape, harassment, etc.
  • The threat of physical violence against residents
  • Refusal to help residents with activities of daily living, including changing diapers, toilet visits, baths, etc.
  • Emotional abuse in the form of shaming, yelling, insults, and the use of derogatory words
  • Financial exploitation in the form of fraudulent activities, theft of money and other material things, etc.

Nursing home or elder abuse can also take other forms different from those described above.

Nursing Home Neglect – An Unintentional Failure to Attend to Nursing Home Residents

Although nursing home abuse and neglect are often lumped together, a specific difference exists in the intent. While abuse cases are often intentional on the part of the perpetrator, neglect cases are often unintentional.

The proliferation of nursing home neglect is partly due to the short-staffed facilities. However, this is no excuse for elder neglect.

While nursing home abuse may go on for longer without notice, neglect cases are often more obvious. The common signs of nursing home neglect include;

  • Failure to provide residents with food and drinks due to staff shortage or other reasons
  • Not providing the necessary medications or treatment needed to maintain resident’s health and wellness
  • Failure to change bedding and clothes when needed
  • Failure to provide weather-appropriate clothing and bedding when necessary
  • Development of bed sores and failure to properly manage the problem
  • Failure to provide adequate ventilation or warmth as the weather demands.

Nursing home neglect can also be presented in other ways. Family members are encouraged to assess their loved ones and look for sudden changes or signs that indicate they aren’t getting the adequate care necessary.

How to Identify Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect 

The signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect are always there to see for family members who pay rapt attention to their loved ones. While some signs are better managed than others, you should endeavor to speak to your loved ones about their experience at the facility.

Some of the evident nursing home abuse and neglect signs to watch out for include;

  • Bedsores
  • Physical injuries like lacerations, cuts, bruises, burns, or welts
  • Frequent accidents or falls
  • Emaciation or unexplained weight loss
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Sudden change in elder or resident’s behavior
  • Emotional withdrawal, often characterized by depression and anxiety
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Malnutrition or dehydration due to lack of care and attention
  • Inappropriate or ill-fitting clothing for weather conditions due to abandonment
  • Failing to change or provide necessary and weather-appropriate bedding and clothing
  • Deteriorating health conditions due to skipped medication or doctors’ appointment
  • Dangerous living condition
  • The use of medication to control a resident’s behavior without appropriate medical sanctions.

Getting Help 

It is not enough to uncover nursing home abuse or neglect; you should take action by withdrawing your loved ones from such a facility and contacting a nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer. Your lawyer is in a good position to educate you on the legal merits of your case and advise on the next line of action. Speak to a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer today!

By Manali