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Nursing Home Abuse vs. Nursing Home Neglect – What’s the Difference?

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are terms that are often used interchangeably to describe a situation in which a nursing home resident is not receiving the level of care that they deserve and is suffering harm as a result. However, in the legal world, nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are distinct, and being able to differentiate between the two is important in order to recognize neglect/abuse, and bring forth an action to recuperate damages. Here’s a look into the difference between nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect. If you believe that either is occurring, and have questions about what steps to take, or about your legal options, please contact our law offices immediately.

Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse refers to a nursing home staff member intentionally treating a nursing home resident in a manner that is inappropriate, cruel or violent. There are many different types of abuse, including:
• Physical abuse. Abuse that is physical refers to the use of physical force against a resident or abusive actions that have a physical effect on the resident. As such, physical abuse could include hitting, restraining, pinching, or otherwise physically harming the resident in a violent manner, or intentionally refusing the resident food and water, personal hygienic care, denying medical care, or using medications to sedate/retrain the patient in an inappropriate way. Sexual abuse is a type of physical abuse, and those who are targeted are often those who are most vulnerable.
• Emotional abuse. It is also possible for a nursing home staff member to be emotionally abusive to a resident. This occurs when a resident is ignored, humiliated, or harassed by a staff member. Emotional abuse may also occur if the staff member refuses to let the resident participate in social activities with other residents.
• Financial abuse. When a nursing home staff member steals or misappropriates money from a nursing home resident, financial abuse has occurred. This may include convincing the nursing home resident to withdraw cash or write them checks, change their will or estate plan, or plain out stealing credit cards or bank information. Remember, nursing home abuse is always intentional.

Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect can be just as harmful, but one of the key differences between neglect and abuse is that neglect may be unintentional or accidental, and often occurs as a result of nursing home understaffing or practices rather than the desire to cause harm to the resident. An example of a nursing home neglect might be that of a nursing home resident who develops bedsores because their caregiver fails to move them and check for bedsores on a regular basis, and this failure may be based in the fact that the caregiver is working 10 hour shifts and assigned to 15 other patients. Signs of neglect might include poor hygiene, weight loss, or deterioration in health condition.

Legal Action for Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
It should be noted that while nursing home neglect and abuse are very different, both of them are inappropriate, and if either is occurring, a nursing home resident (or their family member or guardian) may bring forth a claim for medical malpractice and personal injury. In addition to civil repercussions for the nursing home, some acts of abuse may also result in criminal penalties.

Contact the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC Today
Both nursing home abuse and neglect can have serious consequences for the affected person, including deterioration in health condition, physical and emotional harm, and even increased risk of death. At the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC, our compassionate Mobile nursing home abuse attorneys care about the protection of elderly persons in our state, and are committed to helping you put an end to abuse or neglect in a nursing home and bring forth a claim for damages. For a free consultation to learn more, call us today at 251-473-6691 or send our law firm a message using the intake form found on our website.

J. Allan Brown, LLC
Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC, is located in Mobile, AL and serves clients in and around Mobile, Bucks, Satsuma, Eight Mile, Semmes, Spanish Fort, Citronelle, Theodore, Saraland, Montrose, Irvington, Saint Elmo, Wilmer, Point Clear, Grand Bay, Chunchula, Fairhope, Creola, Bayou La Batre, Axis, Coden, Bay Minette, Silverhill, Baldwin County and Mobile County.
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