Nursing homes are supposed to be sanctuaries of comprehensive, tailored care, offering comfort and support tailored to our aging friends and family members’ unique needs. However, when these facilities fail in their duty to provide appropriate care and support, whether through inadequate care or understaffing, the consequences can be devastating, extending far beyond a resident’s physical health. The often unseen yet substantial toll of nursing home negligence and elder abuse can manifest itself in the significant decline of residents’ mental well-being.
This blog will navigate the complex territory of how nursing home negligence directly impacts the physical and mental health of the senior citizens in our lives. We will also consider the intricacies of the emotional distress and deterioration of mental health that can occur in long-term care facilities by exploring the signs, symptoms, and various forms of emotional distress experienced by residents subjected to substandard care.
What is nursing home neglect?
Long-term care facilities and nursing homes should provide our loved ones with a comfortable, safe and compassionate environment where they can reside. Unfortunately, even the most vulnerable residents with debilitating health conditions or no nearby family may not be protected from improper care or other forms of neglect and abuse. Whether due to lack of funding or overtired or inattentive staff, those managing and working in long-term care facilities and nursing homes may not provide the necessary standard of care to their residents. As a result, residents can experience physical, emotional and mental injuries.
Nursing home neglect and abuse may present in the form of physical or mental injuries, such as:
When an elderly individual is injured, it can have much farther-reaching impacts than if it happened to someone younger, particularly if the individual is already experiencing mental illness or physical limitations.
Common mental health issues resulting from nursing home negligence
Mental health conditions can present at various times, from childhood to adolescence or adulthood. However, if an individual experiences psychological changes due to age, diet, health conditions, medication, or other triggers, for example, through neglect or a traumatic event, older adults can suffer from adverse outcomes associated with mental health. In particular, an individual who experiences neglect or abuse from a caregiver, whether at home or in a long-term care facility, can be more vulnerable and prone to experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The ramifications of nursing home negligence can reach far beyond the immediate physical implications. The impacts of abuse and neglect can seep deep into the psychological and emotional fabric of the individuals living in these facilities. From feelings of abandonment and loneliness to anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder, the consequences can be severe and long-lasting. These symptoms may be exacerbated if the individual is subjected to intense stress or long-term exposure to caregiver abuse and/or neglect.
How to identify signs of abuse
If you notice a distinct change in your loved one’s physical, mental, or emotional well-being, this can be a key indicator that something is wrong. However, as noted above, various factors may impact an aging individual’s health and well-being. Therefore, friends and family members of care facility residents need to understand what to look for to determine whether their loved one has been affected by nursing home neglect.
A good starting point for anyone who suspects their loved one may be experiencing abuse is to look for physical signs of neglect or abuse, including physical clues in the form of unexplained cuts and bruises, infections, improper use of medication, unsanitary conditions, or medical conditions that have gone unattended such as bed sores. Noticing missing property and money or unusual spending habits may indicate financial abuse.
If it is possible to communicate with your loved one, talking to them may uncover signs of neglect or abuse. If they are not forthcoming, you may ask them indirect questions to determine whether they receive appropriate and adequate care. Some examples of these questions may include whether they like the facility and their caregivers, how often their caregivers attend to them, and asking questions about their day-to-day life inside the facility. If any response to these answers raises further questions, additional investigations may be required.
Care facility negligence and the legal system
Suppose you believe that a loved one may have been subjected to abuse or neglect in a nursing home or long-term care facility, or they have died as a result of the negligent care provided in a facility. In that case, it is critical to speak with an experienced elder abuse lawyer to determine whether there is a basis to commence a claim and recover financial compensation, including damages for pain and suffering. In some situations, a party may be able to pursue a separate claim for negligence due to a breach of a duty of care owed by the facility to the resident.
Contact the Lawyers at Tierney Stauffer LLP for Advice on Nursing Home Negligence Claims
Nursing home neglect can occur for a number of reasons, and apathetic staff can increase the potential for dangers leading to serious personal injury. Although these situations are preventable, incidents still happen frequently. If you believe that your friend or family member has been harmed as a result of neglect, negligence or abuse in their care facility, the personal injury lawyers at Tierney Stauffer LLP can help. Our compassionate team of elder abuse and injury lawyers provides clients with assistance in identifying and protecting the rights of themselves and their loved ones and will advocate on behalf of care facility residents. To speak with a member of our team immediately, contact us by phone at 1-888-799-8057 or reach out to us online to set up a confidential initial consultation with a member of our team.