What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is a type of elder abuse that involves the inadequate or substandard care of nursing home residents. Unlike physical abuse or other forms of direct harm, neglect causes harm through a failure to provide proper care. While it may not be as violent as some forms of nursing home abuse, neglect can be just as devastating to the physical and mental health of residents, so if you suspect that your own loved one is being neglected, you should consider contacting an experienced Tulsa nursing home neglect lawyer to learn more about your legal options, including whether you have standing to file a claim against the nursing home itself.
Types of Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect, which is a subcategory of elder abuse, can take a number of different forms. In fact, experts recognize at least four types of nursing home neglect, including:
- Medical neglect, which occurs when staff members don’t properly attend to or prevent a resident’s medical problems and is often revealed through mobility issues, infections, and bedsores;
- Neglect of basic needs, which basically involves a nursing home’s failure to provide residents with the things they need to survive, like food, water, and a clean and safe environment;
- Neglect of personal hygiene, which is best described as a facility’s failure to help a resident with more personal care, such as bathing, laundry, and dental care; and
- Social or emotional neglect, which usually takes the form of ignoring a resident, leaving him or her alone, or failing to provide social and emotional support.
While neglect could stem from a wide range of issues, it almost always has devastating consequences for residents, such as: dehydration, malnutrition, choking, respiratory infections, medication errors, gastroenteritis, and even wrongful death.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Neglect
Unlike abuse, nursing home neglect is not always the result of a purposeful attempt to hurt a resident. Instead, it is more often attributed to:
- Understaffing, which can lead to increased stress and exhaustion on the part of employees, who are then more likely to lack the ability or time to properly care for all of a facility’s residents;
- Negligent hiring, which occurs when employers, often in an effort to avoid understaffing, fail to conduct adequate background checks on potential employees and so end up hiring someone with a history of mistreating or neglecting residents; and
- Inadequate training, which makes it more likely that an employee will make a mistake with a resident’s medication, mishandle a frail resident with mobility problems, and make other mistakes that result in inadequate care.
Although Oklahoma nursing homes are required to meet certain standards when hiring and training their employees, an alarming number fail to do so. When this type of conduct, understaffing, or another problem, such as a lack of supervision, results in neglect, staff members, on-site doctors and nurses, and facility administrators can be held liable by the wronged residents and their families.
Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers in Tulsa, OK
If you suspect that your own loved one could be the victim of neglect or abuse, please contact the dedicated Tulsa nursing home neglect lawyers at Levinson Law, P.C. to learn more about your legal options. Call us at 918-492-4433 today to set up a free case review.