Caring and Competent Representation Across New Mexico

Neglect and abuse: How do they differ in nursing homes?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | Personal Injury

When it comes to making the decision to move a loved one into a nursing home, it’s not something anyone does lightly. It often comes after months or even years of agonizing over whether you’re doing the right thing – especially when they’ve made it clear to you they don’t want to go. 

For most people, the decision is made easier by knowing it’s exactly what they need and it’s a place for them to get the care they need. You expect your loved one to be taken care of. The thought of them being neglected is bad enough but the idea they may be abused is too much to bear. It’s often hard to distinguish between neglect and abuse but this guide may help. 

Neglect or abuse? It often depends on intention 

When defining neglect, it’s something that occurs through omission. Someone is not doing what they need to which has an adverse effect on another person, i.e. the nursing home resident. 

It may be that this is an intentional act or it can be down to something as simple as the caregiver not being given the right training on providing proper care to residents. This can manifest itself in many ways including a failure to account for basic needs such as providing food and water through not giving the right medical care. 

Abuse is intended to cause another harm or pain 

It doesn’t need to be physical, it can be verbal, emotional or mental and the person carrying out the act intends to cause that person to feel pain. 

There are many different types of abuse and it can take a number of forms. In a nursing home, this can look like hitting, berating or rough handling of patients by caregivers. It can also include force-feeding or deprivation of meals. Sexual abuse can also occur in nursing homes through improper touching and forcing another to perform sexual acts. 

Regardless of whether the actions of a caregiver are neglectful or abusive, your loved one does not have to suffer in this way. If you’re concerned about the treatment you’ve witnessed or what your loved one is telling you, there are options open to you.