What is Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse in Alabama?

Nursing home negligence is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as any actions or inactions that fail to meet an elderly person’s basic needs in a nursing home.  Some examples of these basic needs include food, water, hygiene, shelter, clothing, and essential medical care.  What is nursing home negligence and abuseThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines elder abuse as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.”  The suffering of a nursing home resident by either physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse is considered nursing home abuse and negligence.  

Nursing home abuse, which refers to elder abuse in a nursing home, can lead to serious emotion and physical harm and even death.  There are different types of abuse and negligence in nursing homes.  The most common are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and exploitation.  Nursing home negligence occurs by the sheer inaction of the nursing home staff or employee that causes physical, emotional, sexual abuses and exploitation to the nursing home resident.  Nursing home negligence may not be intentional, but it can lead to serious harm and even death to elderly residents.  The following are descriptions of nursing home negligence.

  • Physical Abuse.  Physical neglect occurs when a nursing home resident is deprived of any of their primary needs for survival such as food, warmth, shelter and an environment that is sanitary.  Abuse occurs when the resident suffers harm because of this mistreatment or neglect.  Negligence involving the failing to assist an elderly resident in going to the restroom which results in a fall injury is another example of physical abuse as well as failing to provide medications at the correct times which results in wrongful death or injuries.
  • Emotional Abuse.  Emotional abuse generally consists of any non-physical, verbal abuse such as insults, threats, and harassment.  According to the World Health Organization, emotional abuse is the most common kind of abuse in nursing homes.  One example of emotional abuse is depriving a patient of their dignity by leaving them in dirty/soiled clothing or refusing to allow them to make choices about their daily decisions.
  • Neglect.  General neglect can lead to many afflictions and injuries including bedsores, infections, dehydration, malnutrition, sepsis and MRSA.  An example of general neglect is when a nursing home staffer fails to change a resident’s position in bed which results in the individual developing bedsores.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the following are some warning signs of nursing home negligence:  Weight loss or gain, infections or bedsores with unexplained causes, lack of personal hygiene, dehydration, malnutrition, sudden changes in personality or behavior including anxiety, withdrawal from activities and depression, and serious medical complications resulting from the failure of the resident to receive medication at appropriate times.  Frequent slips and falls are another sign of negligence.  Falls can quickly lead to serious injury or death so nursing home employees must monitor vulnerable residents that are at risk of falling.  

If you suspect nursing home negligence or would like more information about nursing home negligence for legal purposes, our Birmingham injury lawyers can help.  Please call us so we can help you determine if your elderly loved one’s situation constitutes nursing home negligence.  

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