The elderly population in the United States is growing at an unprecedented rate. Referred to as the “Greying of America”, experts tell us that the number of older Americans (age 65 and older) will outnumber their younger counterparts (age 21 and younger) by the year 2050 for the first time in recorded history. Sadly, the increase in the elderly population has also caused an increase in elderly abuse and neglect. All too often, incidences of abuse and neglect occur in a long-term care setting. If you are the loved one of an elderly individual and you are concerned about his or her care you may need to know exactly what qualifies as neglect in a nursing home setting.
One of the biggest problems with determining the scope of the elderly abuse and neglect problem is that victims frequently fail to report abuse and neglect. Sometimes elderly victims don’t speak out because they are ultimately dependent on their abuser for everything from day to day assistance to medical care and treatment. In addition, elderly victims are often ashamed to find themselves a victim and simply don’t want to tell anyone. Regardless of the reasons why abuse and neglect are frequently not reported, the bottom line is that it is often up to loved ones to spot the signs and symptoms and report their suspicions. Outright abuse is often easier to identify than neglect; however, neglect can be every bit as serious and harmful to a victim. Some common types of neglect that occur in a nursing home include:
- Medical neglect – this may include things such as failing to dispense medication as ordered, failing to provide the medication at the time it is required or failing to contact a patient’s physician when requested and/or when needed as well as failing to properly monitor chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Personal hygiene neglect – this may include failing to bath a resident, failing to provide adequate personal hygiene items such as wash clothes, tooth brushes, or toilet paper, and/or failing to assist a resident to change his/her clothes on a daily basis. Ignoring basic personal hygiene can, in severe cases, lead to disease, tooth decay, or bed sores.
- Basic needs neglect – at the extreme this includes failing to provide adequate food, water, or shelter. Signs include an overall dirty environment and/or no resident access to water or food.
- Emotional neglect – this is most commonly the result of ignoring an elderly resident; however, it can also include belittling, yelling at, or even making fun of a resident. Anything that degrades, humiliates, or traumatizes a resident may qualify as emotional neglect.
If you are the loved one of an elderly nursing home resident and you have additional questions or concerns, contact the Louisiana nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Broussard & Hart, LLC by calling 337-439-2450 to schedule your appointment today to discuss your legal options.