In the most basic sense, nursing home neglect is the failure for nursing home staff to adequately care for nursing home residents. However, this definition does not fully encompass the scope of nursing home neglect, or convey how dangerous it can actually be. 

Nursing home neglect is an extremely prevalent yet underreported issue in United States nursing homes. In fact, 95% of the respondents of one study reveal that they were either the victim of or witnessed neglect during their residency, according to the Nursing Home Abuse Center. If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, it is vital to his or her health and safety that you understand what constitutes nursing home neglect. 

The types of nursing home neglect 

Nursing home neglect falls into one of five categories: Neglect of basic needs, medical neglect, social or emotional neglect and neglect of personal hygiene. 

Neglect of basis needs occurs when caregivers fail to provide a resident with the most basic comforts needed to survive and thrive. Those include food, water and clean and safe housing. Medical neglect involves the facility’s failure to prevent or properly attend to residents’ medical conditions. It can result in infections, bedsores, mobility issues, broken bones, lacerations and other problems. 

Social and emotional neglect occurs when nursing home staff isolate a resident and/or ignore his or her emotional needs. It can also entail the deliverance of unkind or inhumane treatment. Hygienic neglect involves the failure by caregivers to help residents with everyday hygienic practices. Those include bathing, dental care, laundry, housekeeping, etc. 

The dangers of neglect 

Neglect is just as dangerous as abuse, and it can result in severe injuries or even death. Common outcomes of neglect include bedsores, infections, amputation, malnutrition, choking, dehydration, soft tissue infections, urinary tract infections, medication errors, influenza and wrongful death.