“DLP’s Efforts in Combating Nursing Home Neglect Amidst the Challenges of Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America”

Date: September 18, 2023

Neglect in nursing homes is a critical issue that revolves around failing to meet the basic needs of residents. The elderly population in these settings is often highly dependent, rendering them more susceptible to neglect. According to the National Academies, individuals in skilled nursing facilities are among the most vulnerable in society. They rely on the nursing home operator for essentials like food, medication, medical and dental care, a place to sleep, and shelter, as well as assistance with their daily activities. These are fundamental human needs that should be diligently provided for when seniors enter nursing home facilities. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the reality.

A study conducted at a nursing home in Georgia revealed that 11 percent of residents witnessed others being denied food as a form of punishment. This egregious denial of basic necessities is distressingly common in nursing homes, and even an 11 percent occurrence is alarmingly high. This is just one facet of neglect, as in a broader context, 37 percent of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) reported observing neglect in residents’ care needs. This statistic pertains only to what CNAs have directly witnessed within the study. Conversely, when residents were interviewed, a study conducted by the Atlanta Long-Term Care Ombudsman found that a staggering 95 percent of residents reported experiencing neglect themselves or witnessing it happening to their fellow residents. Nearly all elderly residents have encountered ongoing neglect within their nursing home environment.

Identifying neglect can be more challenging compared to detecting abuse because it may not manifest in immediate physical signs. Neglect is often related to quality issues and a lack of attention to residents’ needs. As highlighted by the National Academies, these problems encompass medication errors, excessive use of psychotropic drugs, and inadequate management of behavioral symptoms among residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. These issues may not result in visible bruises or physical injuries commonly seen in abuse cases, making neglect harder to detect. With the overwhelming number of reports of neglect in nursing homes, it’s crucial to consider the possibility that your loved one may be a victim of neglect in their residential nursing home.

At DLP, we have knowledgeable and qualified attorneys dedicated to helping you or your loved one address cases of neglect. If you suspect that a loved one in a nursing home is being deprived of basic human needs and receiving substandard care, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dougherty Leventhal and Price Law today. Remember… Injury? Call DLP! (570) C-A-L-L-D-L-P.

Sean McDonough
Upon graduation from law school, he entered the private practice of law with Dougherty, Leventhal & Price. He has been a partner with the firm since 1993. Over the years, Sean has concentrated his practice in the areas of personal injury litigation; he has also represented governmental entities and officials in federal civil rights and employment lawsuits. Sean also works on many of DLP's Nursing Home Abuse cases.