When you place your loved one in a nursing home in Virginia, you expect the staff to care for them. Unfortunately, that often doesn’t occur. Nursing home neglect is common even if your loved one doesn’t experience outright abuse. Here is how you can recognize its signs.
What is neglect?
Nursing home neglect can be hard to recognize, especially in its initial stages. It can manifest itself in various forms, yet it can be a criminal offense and can even lead to death. Even though neglect isn’t outright abuse, it still is the absence of needed action. For more than 30 years, the federal government has defined nursing home neglect as the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness. Although that definition is broad, it can encompass many different instances where care should have been provided.
Examples of neglect include but are not limited to:
- Failing to provide adequate medical, mental health or dental care
- Not monitoring health conditions
- Not providing adequate hygiene care, including not changing a patient after incontinence
- Inadequate food and hydration
- Not assisting with mobility and failing to help patients when they ask for assistance
- Inadequate patient supervision and failing to provide safety and security
The consequences of neglect
If your loved one begins a slow downward spiral for inexplicable reasons, you should launch a neglect investigation. Depression, fear and anxiety are common signs that something is wrong in the nursing home environment, even if your loved one refuses to say anything.
In some instances, neglect can even lead to medical malpractice if the abuse goes on long enough. Such charges can be challenging to prove, but if you are diligent about documenting changes that your loved one has suffered, you may have a solid case.