People thinking about mistreatment and abuse at nursing homes often focus on overly severe scenarios instead of the banal circumstances that negatively affect countless older adults. Yes, actual intentional abuse does occur in some facilities and may involve physical violence and psychological abuse. However, countless adults in nursing homes experience neglect instead of active abuse. Neglect may involve failing to meet residents’ needs on a day-to-day basis or failing to even establish what care needs they actually have.
Nursing home facilities have an obligation to proactively monitor residents and establish their needs to provide for them. The two types of support below require at least annual evaluations for those dependent on the care of others.
Older adults are at elevated risk of falling while performing basic tasks, and they are more likely than younger individuals to experience major consequences if they fall. There are simple tests that medical professionals can perform to evaluate older adults for fall risks. Nursing homes should prioritize providing faster care to residents who have a higher risk of falling.
Both mental health challenges and cognitive decline may make someone an elopement risk. They may seek to leave the facility intentionally or could wander off without realizing the implications of their actions. Many nursing homes have special locked wards for those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory issues. It may also be necessary to have more protective systems in place for older adults who are angry about living in a nursing home.
Staff members can only provide support that they acknowledge what residents need, but a failure to regularly evaluate residents does not justify ignoring support needs. Understanding the many different forms that negligence may take in a nursing home might help family members better advocate for a vulnerable loved one.