Defining Neglect in Illinois Nursing Homes

Defining Neglect in Illinois Nursing Homes

Nursing home neglect is failing to provide for a resident’s basic needs like proper hygiene, food, shelter, or medical care. When a nursing home resident’s needs are not met, the risk of physical injury, illness, or financial damages can occur.

Forms of Neglect

Nursing home residents can suffer from many forms of neglect. These often occur as part of a pattern that takes place over an extended period of time rather than as something that occurs as a single event.

Nursing home neglect can include failure to provide for basic nutritional needs such as failing to provide food and water or failing to provide food that adheres to dietary restrictions placed on the resident by a physician.

When a resident’s medical needs are ignored, it is known as medical neglect. Failing to provide medications, withholding treatment for ailments, and failing to adhere to a doctor’s orders are all forms of medical neglect.

Many elderly individuals may face situations where their personal hygiene is neglected. This can include failure to provide the individual with necessary soaps, shampoos, etc. It can also include failure to provide assistance with bathing, dressing, or brushing teeth.

Residents may also find themselves forced to live in substandard conditions. This can involve failing to maintain the facility, failure to properly clean the resident’s room, failure to clean common living areas, and failure to sanitize surfaces within the facility that can facilitate the transmission of infectious diseases and bacteria. 

One of the most damaging forms of elder abuse involves social and emotional neglect. This can occur when staff members isolate a resident from other residents, deny visits with family members, or hurl slurs, taunts, and other forms of verbal abuse at the individual. These forms of social and emotional neglect can have devastating consequences on the individual’s mental health which can make them more prone to heart attacks, strokes, and suicide.

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Neglect

Family members should look for signs of malnutrition, sudden weight loss, and dehydration. They should also pay close attention to unexplained injuries, behavior changes, and sudden changes in mood. Family members should also note any signs of hazards within the facility including poorly cleaned facilities and the behaviors/mood of other residents when staff is present. Finally, any evasive or “odd” answers to direct questions regarding the care and treatment of a loved one should raise red flags that shouldn’t be ignored. 

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