Defining Nursing Home Neglect

On Behalf of Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP
Feb 11, 2022

Nursing home neglect consists of actions that ignore the well-being of elderly, sick or disabled residents. Neglect victims are abandoned, isolated and turned away by providers who are trained to care for them. In California, neglect is defined in several ways.

The Definition of Neglect

Neglect is a lack of attention and care given to a nursing home resident. The nursing home worker may behave indifferently and show a lack of concern for the individual’s well-being. Severe neglect could lead to a person’s death, which may cause a lawsuit against a particular nurse, department or facility. Different forms of nursing home neglect include:

  • Abandonment
  • Isolation
  • Medical neglect
  • Social neglect
  • Emotional neglect

Abandonment occurs when medical providers who are assigned to a resident ignore his or her needs for comfort, health and peace of mind.

Isolation is a form of social neglect in which a nurse isolates a patient for long or indefinite periods of time.

Medical neglect means ignoring a patient’s medical needs, which vary from failing to administer his or her medication to refusing to call for help during a medical emergency.

Emotional neglect is seeing the resident as only a patient and refusing to acknowledge his or her personal and emotional needs.

All of these forms of neglect can increase the resident’s behaviors of self-neglect.

Knowing How to Tell

Elder law in California addresses the prevalence of nursing home neglect. Family members can identify the signs that a loved one is being mistreated in a residential facility and seek to hold the facility accountable for their loved one’s poor health or even death due to neglect.