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Margaret Embry
Margaret Embry
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Nursing Home Negligence: Signs, Causes, and Prevention

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According to Nursing Home Abuse Resource, reports show that 30% of nursing home facilities in the United States are cited for instances of abuse. Even more alarming is the nursing home abuse statistics show that the majority of all nursing home abuse instances are never reported.

One prevalent type of abuse occuring in nursing home facilities is negligence. Negligence in nursing homes is many times the result of an understaffed facility with undertrained employees. Even though this neglect is not always malicious, the resident can be severely affected. Considering residents of nursing homes are often physically limited and may suffer mental impairments, the victim may not be aware of the neglect which leaves much of the responsibility of identifying and reporting this neglect to loved ones.

Signs of negligence include poor grooming/hygiene, sudden or severe weight loss, bruising, development of bedsores, heavy sedation in place of supervision, and sudden emotional changes. Furthermore, examples of the results of nursing home negligence inlcude:

Injury due to a fall; bedsores, pressure sores, and decubitus ulcers; malnutrition/dehydration; and insufficient medical care. Nursing home neglect may also result in inadequate supervision, which is especially dangerous for any patients suffering from dementia who may wander away from the home.

Prevention of nursing home negligence begins with recognizing the abuse before the situation becomes life-threatening. Residents who have frequent visitors have a better chance of being identified as nursing home neglect victims. If nursing home negligence is suspected, immediately begin documenting concerns in writing. Staff and management of the facility should be contacted as well as family members of other residents to discuss concerns about nursing home neglect in that facility.