What is Nursing Home Neglect?

What is Nursing Home Neglect?

We want to ensure that the people we love are well taken care of in their time of need, nursing home neglect is an unfortunate reality that we should all be aware of

There comes a time in our lives when our loved ones may become unable to care for ourselves due to disability or old age. When this happens, we may decide to put them in a nursing home. We expect nursing homes to keep our loved ones safe and protected from harm and provide care and companionship. We devote a significant amount of time, money, and, most importantly – trust in these facilities in hopes that they will provide the best possible quality of living. When nursing home neglect happens, it not only severely betrays the trust of the victims and their families, but it can also be devastating.

What are the responsibilities of a nursing home?

To understand what nursing home neglect looks like, we first need to know the responsibilities that nursing homes have. The most important responsibility of a nursing home is to provide assistance – physical, medical, and emotional – to those with conditions that prevent them from helping themselves. Meal preparation, administering and monitoring medications, hygiene and personal care, physical mobility assistance are only some of the responsibilities that nursing homes have to their residents.

What are the responsibilities of a nursing home?

To understand what nursing home neglect looks like, we first need to know the responsibilities that nursing homes have. The most important responsibility of a nursing home is to provide assistance – physical, medical, and emotional – to those with conditions that prevent them from helping themselves. Meal preparation, administering and monitoring medications, hygiene and personal care, physical mobility assistance are only some of the responsibilities that nursing homes have to their residents.

What does nursing home neglect look like?

Nursing home neglect is when caretakers fail to provide the necessary care that a patient is obligated to.

You can typically define nursing home neglect under four different categories:

  • Medical: Nursing homes must meet their patients’ medical needs and prevent further medical complications to the best of their ability. Medical neglect happens when caretakers do not meet these needs entirely or poorly.
  • Personal Hygiene: It is very common for patients to be unable to take care of their hygiene. When facilities fail to help patients with things such as laundry, routine bathing, and dental care, that is personal hygiene negligence
  • Emotional: Leaving a nursing home patient alone for extended periods, being mean or hostile towards them, neglecting their social needs, and ignoring them altogether is considered emotional neglect.
  • Basic needs: Water, food, safety, and shelter are all basic human needs; a failure to adequately provide these basic needs is nursing home neglect

Why does nursing home neglect happen?

There are a few reasons as to why nursing home neglect can happen. The most common reason is a result of understaffing. If they do not have enough staff to care for the number of patients in the home, nursing home neglect is almost inevitable in some capacity.

Secondly, when caretakers are not appropriately trained or are undertrained, they cannot adequately care for their patients and are more likely to make mistakes. 

Lastly, unfortunately, some not-so-great people out there may purposely abuse, mistreat, or neglect nursing home patients. Inadequate screening and a lack of criminal background checks and certifications make hiring dangerous or reckless caretakers more likely.

How to prevent nursing home neglect

There are things you can to help protect your loved ones from nursing home neglect. To start, do a lot of research and thoroughly review the nursing home facilities that you are considering; ask family and friends for recommendations if possible. The best thing you can do is listen to and believe your loved ones when they tell you that their home is not treating them appropriately. If they have brought these concerns to you, look into it and watch for signs and red flags of neglect. Visit your loved ones as often as possible or keep in constant contact with them.

If you suspect or know of nursing home neglect, you can file a complaint with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Additionally, you may also benefit from hiring a lawyer to handle and help you with your case should you require legal assistance or intervention.