5 Types of Neglect in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes serve as the cornerstone of American society as many older adults consider it a  home in their last days. These assisted living facilities are great resources for seniors who cannot look after themselves and depend on caregivers to do this job. However, nursing home neglect and abuse are a shared reality. According to statistics, 24.3% of residents experience at least one incident of physical abuse while living in such facilities in the United States. 

Nursing home neglect occurs when the staff does not meet the basic needs of residents and the level of care to which they are entitled. Unfortunately, in such cases, residents suffer from health issues, emotional turmoil, and mental traumas. Nursing homes’ neglect and abuse may be due to underpaid workers, shortage of staff, lack of training, and poor monitoring and accountability. No matter what the reason, neglect and abuse are always unacceptable. 

Here are the five types of neglect that residents face in nursing homes.

Medical Neglect

Medical neglect is the most common form of neglect. It means residents don’t receive adequate medical care and develop several health complications. These may include bedsores, allergies and side effects to medication, injuries, burns, bruises, fractures, etc. The staff of nursing homes is the main culprit who treats dependent and bedridden residents carelessly and does not administer proper medication. When staff fails to report symptoms of infections and ailments of residents to doctors or medical experts, it leads to serious health risks such as diabetes, dementia, immobility, cardiac issues, etc. In addition, medical neglect may also cause or lead to choking, influenza, soft tissue infections, amputations, and gastroenteritis. In such cases, friends and family of neglected residents must take immediate action and remove their elderly relatives from the abusive home. They can get help and take legal action against the irresponsible behavior of nursing homes.

Ignoring Basic Needs  

Nursing homes must provide basic living necessities to residents, such as clean water and a proper meal to meet their nutritional requirements. A tidy, safe, and secure environment are also essential to basic living needs. Nursing homes are negligent when they fail to maintain a clean environment in residents living areas. For instance, they may keep rooms or hallways unclean. They may keep the temperature of rooms too high or too low and deliver inadequate amounts of food, etc. Unhygienic living conditions and neglect can lead to serious health consequences such as dehydration, malnutrition, and underweight residents. Staff members and menials can rob residents in an insecure environment of their personal belongings. Furthermore, it can also impact their mental well-being and develop psychological issues. 

Disregard for Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene can save elderly adults from developing several health issues. Elderly citizens living in assisted facilities rely on the staff of nursing homes to manage their hygiene. The team helps them take baths, do dental care, change clothes and laundry, and perform various other daily functions necessary for maintaining proper hygiene. Furthermore, they have to check on the dirty clothes and sheets of seniors and change them regularly. If they fail to perform these essential hygiene-related functions, the residents’ physical health or emotional state deteriorates. Residents may suffer from skin, respiratory, MRSA, and urinary tract infections. In some cases, it can also prove fatal for seniors living in such facilities. 

Emotional Neglect

The primary reason for admitting seniors to nursing homes is to take care of their physical and emotional needs so that they don’t feel abandoned. An opportunity to connect with people and make friends proves helpful for the mental health of elderly adults. Moreover, it positively affects their emotional well-being and boosts their mood when they don’t feel isolated or abandoned. However, when nursing homes show neglect in taking care of the emotional needs of dependent seniors, it counts for social and emotional neglect. When nursing homes limit the social interaction of residents by putting them in isolation and not letting them get around, whether on their own or with assistance, it then leads to depression and loss of the will to live, caused by feelings of suffocation and abandonment. Residents especially prone to mental health problems are usually at high risk of emotional neglect as they depend on caregivers for mobility and interaction with others.  


Seniors living in nursing homes are vulnerable to several psychological issues. Self-neglect is also a type of nursing home neglect triggered by the unfair treatment of the abusive staff in assisted living facilities. It occurs when elderly adults refuse to take help and assistance from others and cannot look after themselves on their own. However, if residents of such facilities show signs of self-neglect, in most cases, it has something to do with the caregivers’ attitude. Emotional reactions like fear and anxiety in a senior adult can also indicate the possible abusive behavior by the caregiver. 

Final Thoughts 

Nursing homes help provide shelter to elderly citizens in their old age, but it is your duty as a friend or a family member to keep a check on them. If you find any negligence or abuse, don’t hesitate to seek assistance and take legal action against them. It is the least you can do to safeguard the interests of your loved ones. 

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