Estimates indicate that approximately 10 percent of the elderly population are neglected, abused or exploited every year. In 2050, the elderly population — those aged 65 and up — is expected to reach nearly 90 million, as opposed to the 40 million in 2010, consequently increasing the number of nursing home residents throughout the nation. Nursing homes need to address this problem today, so they can prepare for tomorrow.
Federal Regulations Regarding Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The Department of Health and Human Services states that nursing home facilities are required to report all allegations of neglect or abuse to ensure the safety of residents. According to Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson, 85 percent of nursing homes reported at least one allegation of neglect or abuse in 2012.
Neglect and Abuse
The majority of people believe that the terms abuse and neglect are interchangeable, but they are not. Neglect means providing substandard care, not providing care, or ignoring a patient entirely; abuse means intentionally harming a patient.
There are four types of neglect.
Hygiene neglect may include the resident wearing unclean, soiled clothing, not caring for his or her teeth, or having an unkempt appearance.
Social/emotional neglect occurs when the staff ignores a patient, leaves him or her alone, or loses patience with the resident for insignificant reasons.
Medical neglect refers to a patient not receiving the medications or medical attention that he or she needs.
Basic needs neglect includes a resident being deprived of a safe environment, water and/or food.
Nursing Home Neglect – What You Need to Know
Identifying the signs of nursing home neglect can be difficult; nevertheless, it is essential that you pay attention to the way your loved one acts to determine if neglect is a concern.
Signs of Neglect
- Injuries from a fall
- Unexplained weight loss
- Poor hygiene
- Signs of dehydration and/or malnutrition
- Hostility toward staff members
- Poor hygiene
- Slippery floors
- Bad lighting
- Damaged/old mobility equipment
- The room, bathroom and bedding should be clean
- Bed rails should be flush with the bed and sturdy
Nursing home neglect is usually gradual; nonetheless, bed suffocation and falls can occur suddenly. Staff members must be able to assist patients and ensure that any high-risk patients receive the extra attention they need to remain safe. If the facility’s staff is not providing this type of care, there is reason for concern.
The Department of Health and Human Services defines abuse as a willful infliction of injury, which may include punishment, intimidation or confinement resulting in physical harm, mental anguish or pain.
Additionally, the department outlines the following requirements for classifying an injury as that of an unknown source:
- The injury is suspicious because the extent or location of the injury is not typical for the supposed cause; a resident sustains repeated injuries.
- The resident is unable to explain the source of an injury or there are no other witnesses to the incident that caused the injury.
- Title of patient’s home signed over for the promise of lifelong care
- Unusual bank account activity
- Missing personal items
Elder Abuse in Kentucky
In the state of Kentucky, anyone who suspects elder abuse is legally required to report it to the cabinet (Reference KRS 209.030). The state offers a 24-hour, toll-free hotline for reporting such incidents.
If you believe someone you care about is being neglected or abused by staff at the facility where he or she resides, contact our office today. We may be able to help you make a difference in the life of your loved one.