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What Is Considered Nursing Home Neglect?
When you imagine the ideal nursing home, you likely think of skilled, compassionate staff, pleasant and clean surroundings, and happy, well-groomed residents who receive plenty of attention. Unfortunately, not all residential healthcare facilities meet these ideals. In fact, some fall far short of acceptable standards.
Nursing home patients are vulnerable due to many factors. They might live with disabilities, have chronic diseases, or face the challenges of advancing age. They might also have less social interaction than others, especially if they are unmarried or have no living family members.
Our New York law firm, Hill & Moin, has dedicated over 4 decades to fighting injustices by practicing personal injury law. We treat our clients like family, and that includes making sure they understand their legal rights. Learn what nursing home neglect is by reading through this blog, and contact us if you suspect that you or a loved one has been a victim.
How Neglect Happens
The definition of nursing home neglect: Nursing home neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to fulfill his or her duties.
What are the responsibilities of a caregiver? The New York State Department of Health requires nursing homes to provide:
- Dignity: Respectful treatment, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status
- Privacy: Care of medical and personal needs without intrusion from fellow residents or non-essential staff and the ability to possess personal items
- Communication: Access to family, friends, and services inside and outside of the assisted living facility, including mail, telephone, and in-person visits without supervision
- Freedom of choice: Ability to choose activities, schedules, and healthcare to the fullest extent possible
- Information: Details regarding policies, policy changes, and other factors that may affect life within a nursing facility
- Safety: Physical safety in a secure environment
- Clean and comfortable surroundings: Tidy and hygienic premises free of health and safety hazards
- Freedom from abuse: Rough handling, physical violence, sexual assault, or verbal cruelty
- Freedom of movement: Absence of chemical or physical restraints for non-medical reasons
- A means of reporting complaints: A way for residents or their family members to express grievances without retaliation
Taking care of sick, frail, or elderly nursing home residents is not easy. According to one focus group, being short on staff is a common occurrence that could lead to neglect in care facilities. For example, busy CNAs might not have time to perform range-of-motion exercises or reposition all bedridden patients. Such negligence, though not malicious, could lead to rigid joints or bedsores.
Yet, caregiver stress or understaffing is not an excuse to treat the people under his or her care poorly. And, of course, aggression and hostility have no place in a caring nursing home facility. Whether intentional or unintentional, neglect is an issue that should not be taken lightly.
How to Recognize the Signs of Neglect
Residential care facilities in New York must have written policies based on the state and federal regulations described in the previous section. If these rights are violated, nursing home residents and their families can report complaints and take personal injury actions with the help of a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer.
To learn the signs of nursing home neglect, call (212) 668-6000 for a free consultation. You can also examine this list of indicators published by Adult Protective Services:
- Bruises, cuts, welts, scars, burns
- Bedsores (pressure ulcers)
- Signs of hair pulling
- Unexplained broken bones or head injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Malnutrition, dehydration, or unexplained weight loss
- Dirty clothing or bed linens
- Excessive fear, paranoia, depression, or withdrawal
- Insomnia or excessive sleep
- Signs of excessive medication or lack of medication
- Poor hygiene (uncombed hair, unbrushed teeth, unwashed bodies, etc.)
- Unexpected health problems, such as incontinence or concussions
- Premature death
Sometimes the signs of neglect are clear. In other cases, you might need professional assistance to determine whether negligence is causing harm to a nursing home resident. Not every victim of nursing home negligence shows the same symptoms.
You cannot assume that your relative will tell you what is happening. If you suspect your loved one is being neglected, please get in touch with our legal team to learn how our results-oriented attorneys can assist you.
Consult With a Lawyer For Free to Find Out If You Have a Case
The role of nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers is to advise and support victims. At Hill & Moin, we want to do what we can to help you. One way clients learn about their legal options is by taking advantage of our free consultations.
Complete the brief contact form with a description of the negligent behavior that you suspect occurred at a New York nursing facility. A member of our professional Personal Injury Recovery Solutions® team will contact you to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.
If you prefer, you can speak with a representative now. Our telephone lines at (212) 668-6000 are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The consequences of nursing home negligence are too serious to ignore. Don’t wonder about your rights! Contact Hill & Moin today.