Phoenix Elderly Self-Neglect Lawyers
Elder self-neglect is one of the biggest problems the elderly face, and it’s the most common form of elder abuse. Self-neglect can be seen in many forms, including elders that refuse to take their medications, or they just stop bathing and grooming. There are many reasons elders stop taking care of themselves and their own needs, including dementia, depression, disease, or poverty, to name just a few. Most often, elderly people stop taking care of themselves because they no longer have the mental capacity to do so. The question we hear a lot at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. is, "Who’s responsible for self-neglect at a nursing home?" And the answer isn’t always easy.
The first problem in proving responsibility is that the abuse is self-neglect, meaning that the person is doing it to themselves. But of course, you’re not going to take your loved one to court. So what can you do?
The first thing you can do is find out whether or not the nursing home has reported the self-neglect. Because elderly people start neglecting themselves typically because they don’t have the mental capacity to take care of themselves, it’s up to the nursing home staff to make sure that they are still being taken care of. It’s similar to getting a child to take their medicine. The parent knows that the medicine will help the child get better, but the child doesn’t want to take it because it tastes bad. It’s the responsibility of the parent to step in and make sure the medication is still being taken, because even though the child doesn’t like it, it’s necessary for their well-being.
The same can be said in self-neglect cases in a nursing home. The staff can still take the person to the washroom so they can be cleaned, even if the elderly person is protesting. And if it’s a situation in which the nursing home staff have no control over the care (for instance, a belligerent patient that hits them while the staff is trying to care for them), the case can still be reported so that the elderly person can continue to receive care. The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) is an organization that has multiple resources that can help elderly people that are neglecting themselves.
If the nursing home staff does not contact these resources, or take extra measures to try and get the patient the care that they need, they may be held responsible for the neglect. This is because while the patient may not have the mental capacity needed to care for themselves, the nursing home staff does and they need to make sure they are doing everything they can to ensure the person is cared for. Otherwise, they’re allowing for improper care and neglect to befall the elderly person, which is no better than neglecting the patient.
Nursing home staff needs to be aware of self-neglect, the warning signs and just how large of a problem it really is. Once they identify self-neglect, they need to do everything they can to make sure that the people trusted in their care are still getting the care and attention they need, even if they act as though they don’t want it. If you have a loved one in a nursing home and you suspect self-neglect, contact a Phoenix elder abuse attorney at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. today by calling (602) 267-1280. We know what self-neglect looks like, and we know how to work this very tricky aspect of the law. Don’t wait another day. Make sure that your loved one is getting the proper attention, and if they haven’t, make sure you get them the compensation they deserve.