Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect is surprisingly common with an estimated 95% of residents experiencing some form of neglect. But neglect and abuse are different and it’s important to understand how.

While abuse requires a direct intent on the part of the caregiver, neglect is indirect. By not providing adequate care, nursing home staff members fail to fulfill their duties, which causes patient harm through neglect.

There are four categories of neglect commonly seen in nursing homes:

1. Medical Neglect: Potentially the most dangerous form of neglect, medical neglect occurs when caregivers ignore a patient’s medical needs or do not adequately respond to concerns. This can include failure to properly administer medications such as blood pressure medicine or insulin. Brushing aside symptoms or ignoring health complaints is also considered medical neglect.

2. Neglect of Basic Needs: When caregivers fail to provide water and food or do not maintain a safe and clean environment, they are neglecting the resident’s necessities of life. In nursing homes, this may happen once or on a regular basis.

3. Neglect of Personal Hygiene: Most nursing home residents rely on caregiving staff to help them bathe, brush their teeth or perform other hygiene practices. Neglect of personal hygiene can happen when nursing home staff forget or aren’t available to provide this type of care.

4. Emotional Neglect: Part of a caregiver’s duties is to respect and support their residents by spending time with them. When caregivers ignore residents or rush through their care with them it’s considered emotional neglect. When caregivers become stressed they may also take their frustration out on the residents by yelling at them or isolating them, which causes emotional damage to the resident.

Though nursing home neglect is a chronic problem, it’s preventable by having enough fully-trained and qualified staff members. You can learn more nursing home neglect here –

(The above article was submitted by Ashley Peters, Director of Advocacy, Nursing Home Abuse Center)