What is nursing home neglect?

Ohio facilities and caregivers have the legal duty to prevent nursing home neglect and abuse. Abuse is taking actions that harm residents.

Nursing home neglect, on the other hand, is their failure to fulfill their duty to provide a reasonable standard of care for the elderly. In addition to being illegal, neglect is demeaning and unhealthy for residents, dangerous and even life-threatening.

Nursing homes have a duty under Ohio law and contracts to provide care to their residents. As part of their duty of care, nursing homes assume legal obligations to their residents. These include providing essential care such as food and water, shelter, clothing, housing, hygiene, health care and medicine and safety to residents.

Besides an elder resident's complaint, there are several other ways to recognize neglect. These include a resident who suffers from dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores that are untreated, untreated health problems or unsatisfactory personal hygiene. Victims often live in unsafe conditions where there is improper wiring, insufficient heat or water.

Nursing homes also engage in neglect when they do not provide a sanitary or clean residence. Signs include a resident who is dirty, has lice or fleas or does not wear adequate or clean clothing. There is often soiled bedding and a urine or fecal odor.

Nursing homes also must guard against self-neglect. This occurs when an elderly resident threatens their own health or safety by providing themselves with adequate food and water, clothing, hygiene, prescribed medication and other safety precautions because of a physical or medical disability. However, mentally-competent resident may consciously engage in self-neglect. The signs of self-neglect are like nursing home or caregiver neglect.

An attorney can help family members of neglected residents hold nursing homes liable for this negligence. They can also help assure that their safety, health and legal rights are protected.

Source: Ohio Hopes, "Type and signs of abuse," Accessed Dec. 11, 2017

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