New data shows that thousands of senior residents of nursing homes who are physically and mentally incapacitated suffer from what is known as “self-neglect” – they are unable to look after their basic needs and have no caregivers to help them with the same.
According to the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, the data comes from nursing homes across the country and finds that overall, state investigators across the country completed 173,000 investigations into cases of elder abuse last year alone. Out of these, 235,000 cases were identified as elder abuse cases, and this included self-neglect. Overall, the cases of self-neglect numbered more than 142,000.
These “self-neglect” cases involved seniors who were too ill or incapacitated to take care of their own needs like feeding or clothing themselves. They were also unable to take their own medications and were entirely dependent on others for these tasks. In the absence of caregivers to help them with these tasks, these seniors were in a gross state of neglect.
The result of such failure to provide a basic standard of care can be that residents become weak and malnourished because they are unable to receive food at regular times. They are also not given medications on time which exacerbates their medical symptoms further and leaves them becoming sicker and weaker. They may be in an unhygienic condition due to lack of regular baths or daily changes of clothes. Bed sores are a common effect of self-neglect.
If you are looking for a nursing facility for a loved one, you are, no doubt, concerned about his or her safety and security as you should be. However, the most pressing threat to elders in a nursing home is not the risk of injury or harm -although these are also ever present – but the risk of neglect in which the person’s basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and medications are not met by caregivers.
What makes matters worse is that the existing data on nursing homes and their abuse records can be challenging to decipher. There is a federal mandate that requires tabulating of data related to child abuse, but no such federal mandate exists for the collection of data on nursing home abuse or elder abuse and neglect. This is in spite of the fact that a growing population of seniors across the country is in need of such nursing facilities.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected at a nursing facility, first, take steps to make sure that he or she is comfortable and safe. Then, evaluate your options by discussing your loved one’s case with an Indianapolis elder abuse attorney at Montross Miller.