Elder Neglect vs. Elder Abuse
Elder neglect is different from elder abuse. Abuse implies direct action or exploitation that causes harm. Neglect is the harm caused by failure to perform duties.
Physical neglect occurs when staff fails to attend to the basic needs of a patient, including hygiene, nutrition, or medical care. It involves failure to provide medication, to change wound dressings and bandages, to attend to grooming, to aid in dressing, failure to provide food to maintain their health, and more.
Nursing home staff are also supposed to provide emotional support and companionship. When they fail to pay attention to the basic emotional needs of seniors, this is a form of neglect. It can cause emotional turmoil, anguish, distress, isolation, and fear. It can occur when the staff belittles, shames, or ignores their needs as adults.
Financial neglect occurs when the staff is supposed to provide aid in maintaining the basic financial responsibilities of the patient. This can include paying rent, bills, covering healthcare insurance, and even property taxes. If the staff ignores these important responsibilities and the senior ends up in financial turmoil, this is a form of neglect.
Abandonment is another form of neglect that occurs when the caregiver deserts the senior and leaves them entirely alone. If a caregiver is unable to continue their duties, they have a responsibility to secure new care, or at least inform others so that new care can be secured. If they refuse or fail to do so, they have committed neglect.