Nursing Home Neglect

nursing home neglect

Some forms of nursing home abuse are direct and intentional, but what happens when your loved one falls prey to a caregiver’s lack of action? Nursing home neglect often results from nursing home staff members failing to properly care for residents. Even if they did not intentionally do something, a lack of action could prove just as deadly for elderly residents. If you do not have a strong legal background, you can have a difficult time establishing negligence.

The Lipton Law team is here to help. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have spent years litigating on behalf of Michigan’s elderly population from our Southfield offices. We’ve earned a hard-fought reputation for being extremely tenacious and getting our clients what they deserve. If you suspect that your family member is suffering from nursing home neglect, we are here to fight for just compensation on your behalf. To schedule your free legal case review, please call our Southfield personal injury lawyers at 248-557-1688 today.

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Unfortunately, countless nursing home residents suffer from neglect and abuse every single day in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), neglect is defined as the following.

“This is the failure to meet an older adult’s basic needs. These needs include food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care.”

This is an astonishingly common occurrence in nursing homes. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), a shocking 95% of elderly residents have either experienced neglect or seen it happen to another resident. Neglect of any kind can have serious impacts on a resident’s health, happiness, and quality of life. This is why the nursing home abuse lawyers at Lipton Law are so passionate about fighting for justice on behalf of victims of neglect.

Nursing Home Neglect vs Nursing Home Abuse

Many people use the terms “abuse” and “neglect” interchangeably, especially when it comes to nursing homes. However, they are notably different. Nursing home abuse and elder abuse are deliberate acts that can result in serious harm or injury to a nursing home resident. Examples of this abuse include physical abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and verbal abuse. Neglect occurs when a nursing home staff member fails to provide critical care to residents.

Depending on the intent, nursing home negligence can be either intentional or unintentional. Sometimes, neglect happens as a result of understaffing or poor training in nursing home facilities. If a caretaker simply does not have the ability to properly care for a resident, the nursing home administrators or the facility itself may be held accountable.

However, neglect can also be intentional. If an elderly resident and the nursing home workers don’t get along, the workers might intentionally neglect that resident. Another possible scenario occurs when a nursing home fails to conduct a proper background check on new hires. Background checks are crucial to determining whether or not candidates are a good fit for the position.

What Causes Nursing Home Neglect?

Neglect in nursing homes most often results from inadequate nursing home staff members. In other words, there aren’t enough caregivers to ensure that each resident receives the proper care. However, other factors contribute to the prevalence of nursing home negligence as well.

Sometimes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities fail to complete proper background checks before hiring someone. An adequate background check aims to prevent two things: hiring dangerous people and hiring unqualified people. If a nursing facility hires dangerous individuals or those with no experience caring for others, this is a recipe for disaster.

Understaffed nursing homes can result in serious nursing home negligence, leaving many residents to go without adequate care. When there aren’t enough staff members to care for the residents, it makes sense that elder abuse and neglect become more common. Unfortunately, inadequate staffing has been and continues to be a major problem in nursing homes.

Even if staff members pass a background check with flying colors, it is still up to the facility to properly train its employees. Without the proper training, staff members could unintentionally cause great harm to residents through neglect, medication errors, and other means.

What Is Considered Nursing Home Negligence?


nursing home negligence

Negligence and neglect take many forms, but the one thing they all share is that they cause harm to your loved ones. A nursing home may jeopardize your relative’s well-being by:

  • Not providing an appropriate diet to help manage a known health condition
  • Not vetting employees properly to prevent abusive individuals from gaining access to residents
  • Neglecting its duty to create safe premises and correct hazards that could lead to slip-trip-or-fall accidents
  • Failing to supervise residents
  • Failing to render the correct medical treatment after an accident or delaying such treatment

Not knowing that your loved one was prone to a particular hazard isn’t a valid excuse for letting him or her come to harm: It’s a nursing home’s business to assess risks and take steps to prevent them. It’s our business to prosecute facilities that fall short of this standard. Our Michigan elder abuse lawyers are willing to do everything in their power to help you pursue compensation.

Signs and Symptoms of Elder Neglect in Nursing Homes

It’s important for family members of those in nursing homes to stay vigilant and look for the warning signs of neglect. Below, we list the telltale signs that arise from nursing homes neglecting residents.

  • Broken bones
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Bedsores and pressure sores
  • Bruises or burns
  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Insomnia
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Changes in personality or mood
  • New or worsening conditions or serious injuries

Types of Nursing Home Neglect

As with nursing home abuse cases, nursing home negligence comes in many forms. Nursing home abuse can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, and many others. Negligence includes all of the following forms of neglect.

This is a broader category that can include the neglect of basic needs and of personal hygiene. Many older adults in nursing facilities cannot properly care for themselves. When staff members fail to help them with their basic needs and hygiene, this is a form of neglect. Physical neglect can occur in the following ways.

  • Failing to provide food or water
  • Poorly cleaning or forgetting to clean common areas and rooms
  • Not regularly changing a resident’s clothes
  • Not changing soiled bedding or clothing
  • Failing to bathe seniors who have trouble bathing themselves

Many families hope that assisted living facilities will encourage their elderly loved ones to make friends and develop a sense of community. However, the exact opposite can happen when a resident suffers from social isolation and neglect. Social and emotional neglect can occur in the following ways.

  • Unintentionally isolating residents, especially those with psychological issues.
  • Failing to provide residents with mobility assistance, such as wheelchair access or walkers.
  • Not moving residents with mobility problems out of their rooms for socialization.

Many nursing home residents have significant physical and mental health care needs. Older adults tend to have more health problems and weakened immune systems. Therefore, they require consistent medical care and attention. Examples of medical negligence include the following.

  • Not giving residents their medicine when they need it
  • Failing to move residents regularly, which increases the risk of bedsores.
  • Administering poor medical care for a resident’s current physical or mental health problems.
  • Allowing residents to engage in self-neglect without intervention.
  • Failing to report new or worsening medical conditions to the doctors.

Who Is Legally Responsible for Nursing Home Neglect?


nursing home neglect lawyer

If a nursing home resident suffers an illness or injury as a result of negligence, there are a few potentially liable parties. In many cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of the negligence on your own. Working with an experienced attorney can help you in identifying elder abuse and holding all responsible parties accountable. The following parties may be responsible for nursing home negligence.

  • The nursing home itself: If the facility itself exhibits a pattern of negligent management and behavior, they could be held liable for your loved ones suffering. They owe a very high standard of care to their residents. When they breach this standard, the consequences can be catastrophic.
  • Nursing home staff members: Individual staff members can also be held accountable for negligence. Maybe they failed to uphold the duties of their position, and residents suffered as a result. If you can connect a staff member’s negligence with your loved one’s injuries or illness, you might have a valid case.
  • Third parties: Even outside third parties can indirectly cause nursing home negligence. As an example, think about the number of medical devices and medical equipment that nursing homes use. If one of these devices or pieces of equipment malfunctions due to poor design or improper maintenance, a third party could be held liable for damages.

Preventing Nursing Home Neglect

Elder abuse and neglect are preventable tragedies that occur every day. By holding negligent parties accountable and increasing awareness of these incidents, we can work toward improving the overall experiences of nursing home residents. Below, we list some of the ways that you can help prevent physical, emotional, or psychological abuse of your elderly loved one.

  • Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse
  • Scheduling regular visits with your loved ones in nursing homes
  • Reading reviews and conducting thorough research on a facility before choosing it for your loved one
  • Bringing all questions and concerns about your loved one’s health to a staff member or administrator
  • Calling your loved ones and checking on them frequently
  • Reporting suspected elder abuse to the proper authorities

Report Nursing Home Neglect

There are a few ways to report suspected nursing home neglect in Michigan. Neglect and elder abuse complaints should be submitted to the Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs. You can call their office at 800-882-6006 or send an email to

You can also contact the Michigan long-term care ombudsman. An ombudsman essentially investigates complaints filed against certain entities and looks for evidence of poor administration. To contact the Michigan ombudsman for nursing homes, call 866-485-9393 or send an email to

When you report abuse or neglect, it’s important to provide as much information about the situation as possible. Below, we provide a checklist of the information you should include in your complaint. Remember – the more evidence and information you provide, the more likely it is that the state will identify and investigate a violation of state or federal law.

  • Name and address of the nursing home
  • Name and address of the affected resident/s
  • Information about why you are filing this complaint
  • Date/s of the incident/s in question
  • If possible, the name/s of specific staff member/s
  • Names of any witnesses to the incident
  • If possible, take pictures and videos of the situation to attach to the complaint form.
  • You can choose whether or not to give your name, address, and phone number. This allows the state to contact you for more information and to discuss your complaint. Keep in mind that the state will not mention your name throughout the investigation.

File a Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit with Lipton Law

Litigation can be complicated, especially in nursing home abuse and neglect incidents where it might not be easy to establish a clear picture of the facts. If your elderly loved one has suffered psychological issues, neglect, or physical harm from nursing home negligence, we are here for you.

At Lipton Law, you can depend on our experience and familiarity with the law to increase your odds of achieving closure. We will gather evidence to support your case, litigate on your behalf, and fight for full and fair compensation. Call Lipton Law at 248-629-2747 today to schedule your free case review.