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Spotlighting nursing home neglect

When people in Queens hear about cases of nursing home abuse, they likely assume such abuse to be actual physical attacks and aggression perpetrated on residents by their caretakers. Yet there is another form of abuse that may be much less apparent, yet is equally as damaging: neglect. Typically, the family and friends of those admitted to nursing homes only result to such action when they lack the time and/or expertise to properly provide for their loved one’s needs. The expectation is, of course, that in a nursing home, residents receive the customized care and attention they require to live pain-free and enjoy life. Sadly, that does not always happen.

Neglect consistently ranks among the most common forms of nursing home abuse reported. The National Council on Aging specifically refers to it as “passive neglect,” defining it as failing to provide one with life’s basic necessities. The NCOA also classifies another, more intentional form of neglect known as willful deprivation. This is when a resident is denied things such as:

  •          Food
  •          Medication
  •          Medical care
  •          A therapeutic device
  •          Physical assistance

Spotting cases of neglect can be difficult because they often do not leave apparent indicators like those seen in physical assaults. Rather, the effects of neglect and deprivation appear over time. However, according to the online publication NextAvenue.org, there are some subtle signs that could be linked to neglect. Poor personal hygiene, for example, could imply that not only are caretakers not helping a resident bathe and cleanse him or herself, but are neglecting him or her in other areas as well. The same may be true if a resident loses mobility, or begins to show signs of malnourishment. Even an unclean room could mean that staff members are not providing a resident with the attention he or she needs.

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