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How to Recognize Medical Negligence in Nursing Homes

A cropped shot of nursing home staff member supporting arm of elderly resident holding walking cane.

Facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living, and retirement communities are intended to ease the transition into older adult years for both elderly residents and their loved ones. While operations should be held to the upmost standard of care, this isn’t always the case.

Sadly, many nursing home residents experience neglect or abuse at the hands of the staff. Such abuse can lead to acts of medical malpractice and prevent senior citizens from receiving the compassionate care they deserve.

Types of Neglect in Nursing Homes

Nursing home negligence is a growing issue that is impacting long-term care facilities nationwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 32% of nursing home personnel admit to emotionally abusing their residents. Nursing home negligence can take many forms, such as:

  • Abandonment. Those responsible for elderly care abandon their patients without regard for their health.
  • Self-neglect. Some residents choose not to ask for assistance after they’re unable to care for themselves autonomously. Nursing home staff are responsiblefor monitoring patients in order to prevent this from occurring.
  • Social and emotional neglect. This entails ignoring or leaving a resident on their own. It may also include refusal to let them interact socially with family, friends, and loved ones.
  • Neglect of basic needs. Nursing home personnel fail to provide basic necessities such as clean water, food, and a sanitary environment.
  • Neglect of personal hygiene. This can cause poor health in residents as a result of improper hygiene and sanitation. Staff might choose not to help elderly residents with routine care such as dental hygiene, bathing, or laundry.
  • Medical neglect. Nursing home personnel fail to diagnose and treat health issues among residents which can lead to additional problems (such to UTIs, bedsores, limited mobility, and infections).

Medical Malpractice in Long-Term Care Facilities

While the above list includes many harmful types of nursing home neglect, medical neglect in particular can lead to fatal consequences for elderly residents.

Medical malpractice in nursing homes and assisted living facilities can present itself in various forms, including:

  • Withholding or improperly administering medications
  • Ignoring medical concerns, pain, or symptoms reported by a resident
  • Failing to administer necessary medical care or equipment when needed
  • Abuse of medical or chemical restraints
  • Failure to check for potentially fatal prescription combinations
  • Unknowledgeable or improperly trained staff

Sadly, these instances of medical malpractice, abuse, and neglect often lead to tragedy. Medical negligence in a nursing home or assisted living facility is never acceptable and should be stopped as quickly as possible to prevent fatal consequences.

5 Signs ofMedical NegligenceinNursing Homes

Because elderly residents are often inhibited in their ability to speak up, exercise autonomy, or take action on their own, it’s crucial to be on the lookout for the warning signs of nursing home neglect and medical malpractice.

Consider the following warning signs that a loved one might be suffering from medical negligence in a long-term care facility.

#1. Unexplained Illnesses & Injuries

Recurring bruises and lacerations can indicate medical malpractice. Improperly managed nursing home facilities can lead to frequent injury or illness as a result of inadequate medical care, as staff are less likely to prevent residents from harming themselves or others.

If you notice that a loved one is sustaining recurrent scrapes, lacerations, bruises, and other visible injuries, this could be a sign that something is amiss. Nursing home personnel have a responsibility to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of patients. Consequently, staff members are expected to address illnesses and injuries swiftly and compassionately.

#2. Unsanitary Living Environment

Poor hygiene is a big indicator of medical malpractice in long-term care facilities. Stay alert for warning signs like dirty hair or clothing, poor dental health, inadequate or limited bathing, or lack of bathing assistance.

Furthermore, nursing home facilities are expected to provide clean bedding, clothing, and sanitary living areas. Be on the lookout for recurring issues, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) or bedsores that result from improper positioning in bed or limited movement.

#3. Psychological Problems

Abusers can intimidate and bully victims in a way that creates severe emotional distress and other phycological issues, such as:

  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Resentment
  • Desperation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Submissiveness
  • Insomnia or fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

It’s crucial to be aware of any mood changes in your loved one, as this might indicate the presence of nursing home neglect and medical malpractice. Keep an eye out for signs of withdrawal, such as an elderly patient isolating themselves from family and friends or declining to speak as much as they typically would.

#4. Malnutrition or Dehydration

Be on the lookout for signs that a loved one’s needs aren’t being met. Lack of sufficient food and clean water can result in malnutrition and dehydration, often leading to physical signs like:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chills or hot/cold flashes
  • Hair loss
  • Dark urine or infrequent urination
  • Papery skin
  • Psychological effects (such as irritability, dizziness, or confusion)

#5. Lack of Proper Mobility Assistance

In some instances, nursing home faculty might not provide the mobility assistance that your loved one requires for their day-to-day activities and needs. Here are common signs that an elderly resident isn’t receiving proper assistance with mobility:

  • Frequent falls
  • Recurring lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Bedsores

If you notice recurring injuries or symptoms that a loved one isn’t being safely transported or receiving assistance to get around, this may indicate an act of medical malpractice.

Proving Medical Malpractice in a Nursing Home

Nursing home neglect is often a complex and emotional issue to face. Our firm understands how overwhelming it can be to get to the bottom of suspected abuse.

If you believe that a friend or loved one is a victim of medical malpractice in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s imperative to act now. Failure to address instances of neglect and medical negligence swiftly and effectively can have detrimental and even fatal consequences in an elderly resident’s life.

Our firm has spent over 25 years advocating for victims of medical negligence and malpractice. Our experienced medical malpractice attorney has a successful track record of delivering aggressive legal representation and personalized attention to his clients in Nassau County. Our compassionate team will fight tirelessly to receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Are you or a loved one suffering from nursing home neglect? Don’t settle for less than the compassionate care you deserve. Call (516) 628-6402 to request your free consultation today.

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