Many Illinoisans depend on the staff of nursing homes and assisted living facilities to take good care of their aging loved ones. Unfortunately, instances of nursing home neglect occur all too often, leaving some of our nation's most vulnerable individuals in situations where they are unable to protect themselves. It is important, then, to understand what is meant by nursing home neglect.
Whereas abuse is a willful action, in general, neglect is more passive. It includes failing to provide the individuals in one's care with the services and goods they need to avoid suffering mental illness, anguish or being harmed physically.
There are numerous examples of things that could constitute nursing home neglect. For example, if a facility fails to provide residents with dental and medical care, it could be considered neglect.
To stay healthy, residents also need to take part in exercises involving range of motion. The failure to provide residents with these opportunities could also be neglect. Even bedfast individuals need to be given the opportunity to participate in activities at their level, which could help prevent bedsores.
Many nursing home residents suffer from incontinence. If they are not changed after a wetting episode, this could be considered neglect, causing significant harm to a patient's physical and mental well-being. Residents also need to be bathed regularly, and some may need help with toileting. The failure to keep up with hygiene could also be considered neglect.
Residents also need adequate nutrition and hydration, as failure to do so could result in serious health deterioration and death. In addition, residents need access to call lights to request help if needed. Neglect may be found if these things are not provided to a resident.
These are only some examples of nursing home neglect. Illinoisans who believe their loved ones have been harmed by nursing home neglect may want to take action. One important step they may take is contacting an attorney experienced in nursing home neglect cases who can advise them as to their situation.
Source: NCBI, "Elder Abuse in Residential Long-Term Care Settings: What Is Known and What Information Is Needed?," Catherine Hawes, accessed March 30, 2015