Abandonment in Nursing Homes

Abandonment in nursing homes is an often misunderstood type of nursing home neglect. Learn more about abandonment and how to get help.
abandonment in nursing homes

Neglect is the most common type of nursing home abuse and the only type that can occur unintentionally.  Extreme, ongoing neglect of residents’ needs happens all too often, usually because caregivers fail to do their job or facility administrators fail to staff the nursing home adequately.  These factors can easily lead to abandonment in nursing homes, which is a serious type of nursing home abuse.

What is Abandonment in Nursing Homes?

Nursing home residents require care from the facility and staff members. Sadly, understaffing issues and a lack of proper training can lead to neglect and abandonment. Abandonment doesn’t always mean that the resident was left stranded somewhere or did not receive care for days at a time. It certainly can include these things, but most often, abandonment in nursing homes refers to a lack of care and attention.

Abandonment in Nursing Homes

Sometimes abandonment is unintentional, which is often the case in understaffed nursing homes. That does not excuse the problem, however, as nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that they are properly staffed and that residents receive adequate care. There are also cases where abandonment is intentional, such as an unqualified staff member who simply doesn’t care about residents and their needs.

Types of Nursing Home Abandonment

Nursing home abandonment is not just forgetting to give a patient their medications one day.  It is a pattern of neglectful behaviors that occur regularly.  While each case is different depending on the needs of the resident and the level of neglect, some types of nursing home abandonment may include:

  • Not giving prescription medication on time or at all
  • Failing to provide necessary assistance for daily activities
  • Allowing a patient to lie on the floor for a period of time following a fall
  • Not checking on patients regularly
  • Not turning bed-bound patients as necessary to prevent bedsores
  • Failure to provide proper nutrition to patients on special diets or who need help eating
  • Hygiene issues, such as soiled clothing or sheets
  • Ignoring a patient’s call or taking a long time to respond

It is important to note that even unintended nursing home abandonment is a type of elder abuse.  Concerned and caring staff may not have the time, help or adequate training to provide the care your loved one requires.  The liability for this falls on facility administrators who allow the overcrowding and understaffing conditions to continue.  You may be able to seek justice for your loved one by holding these administrators liable in civil court.

What Factors Lead to Abandonment in Nursing Homes

Nursing home abandonment occurs when a facility fails to provide the required care for a resident.  By the very nature of this type of facility, most nursing home residents cannot live independently and meet their own needs.  They may need assistance with activities of daily living, medical care, prescription drugs, making and eating meals and even toileting.

When these individuals do not get the level of care needed, the situation can quickly become dire.  They may suffer illness or injuries or even pass away.  Consequently, bedsores, hygiene and nutrition can become major problems in just a few days.  Also, missing a single dose of an important medication can be deadly.

Understaffed, full nursing homes and poorly trained staff contribute to the epidemic of nursing home abandonment and other types of elder abuse in the United States.  The facility administration should act to prevent and correct this type of problem.

Take Action Against the Nursing Home on Your Loved One’s Behalf Today

If your loved one suffered injuries or illness because of neglectful conditions in a nursing home, you may qualify to take legal action on their behalf.  A nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer can help you identify the liable party or parties and build a case to support pursuing compensation. 

When you enlist the help of a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer, you can expect them to:

  • Investigate your loved one’s case, including collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses.
  • Identify all potentially liable parties, including individual abusers, nursing home administrators and others who allowed poor conditions to continue.
  • Work with expert witnesses when necessary.
  • Prepare a strong case that supports your request for compensation.
  • Attempt to negotiate an out-of-court settlement or take your case to court and fight for compensation.

Recoverable Damages in a Nursing Home Abandonment Case

Because every nursing home resident has different needs and abandonment may affect only specific requirements, the recoverable damages in this type of nursing home neglect are difficult to predict. As a part of the investigation into your loved one’s abuse, your attorney will identify and collect proof of your loved one’s expenses and losses.

Some of the most common damages documented in a nursing home abuse and neglect case include:

  • Medical care costs related to their injuries or illness
  • Ongoing care costs
  • Psychological therapy and treatment, if needed
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Reimbursement of financial losses if billed for treatment they did not receive
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Filing a Wrongful Death Action in a Nursing Home Abandonment Case

If your loved one passed away while living in a nursing home and you believe nursing home abandonment or neglect played a role, your lawyer can evaluate your eligibility to pursue damages.  You may be able to pursue damages for your expenses and losses by filing a wrongful death claim. 

Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer

If you recognize the signs of nursing home neglect, it is never too early to get help. A nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer will protect your loved one’s rights, seek justice for their suffering and aggressively pursue compensation in their abandonment case.  This may be possible through an out-of-court settlement or litigation in civil court.  Take the first step toward helping your loved one regain the dignity they deserve today. 

Begin your fight for justice by contacting Fight Nursing Home Abuse. Call us at 1-866-548-9636 for a free consultation with our nursing home abuse lawyer.

meagan cline

Written By Meagan Cline

Meagan Cline is a professional legal researcher and writer. She lends her expertise to FNHA and our websites, including Birth Injury Guide and MedMalFirm.com.