Nursing Home Neglect Definition
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, NAPSA, “neglect” is described as:
- Physical neglect: includes failing to attend to a person’s medical, hygienic, nutrition and dietary needs, such as dispensing medications, changing bandages, bathing, grooming, dressing, or failure to provide ample food to maintain health.
- Emotional neglect: includes causing emotional pain, distress or anguish by ignoring, belittling or infantilizing the needs of adults. This includes neglecting or discounting the emotional well being of others, as well as actions to isolate adults from visits or contact by family and friends.
- Abandonment: involves deserting the caregiving needs of an individual while neglecting to arrange sufficient care and support for the duration of the absence.
- Financial neglect: involves disregarding a person’s financial obligations such as failing to pay rent or mortgage, medical insurance or invoices, utility and garbage bills, property taxes and assessments.
- Self-neglect: involves seniors or adults with disabilities who fail to meet their own essential physical, psychological or social needs, which threatens their health, safety and well-being. This includes failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter and health care for one’s own needs
Nursing homes are considered mandated reporters and must protect vulnerable adults and file complaints and reports when alleged abuse and neglect. Pursuant to the Minnesota Vulnerable Adults Act, Minnesota Statute 626.5772, Subd. 17., “neglect” means:
(a) The failure or omission by a caregiver to supply a vulnerable adult with care or services, including but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, health care, or supervision which is:
(1) reasonable and necessary to obtain or maintain the vulnerable adult’s physical or mental health or safety, considering the physical and mental capacity or dysfunction of the vulnerable adult; and
(2) which is not the result of an accident or therapeutic conduct.
(b) The absence or likelihood of absence of care or services, including but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, health care, or supervision necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the vulnerable adult which a reasonable person would deem essential to obtain or maintain the vulnerable adult’s health, safety, or comfort considering the physical or mental capacity or dysfunction of the vulnerable adult.
(c) For purposes of this section, a vulnerable adult is not neglected for the sole reason that:
(1) the vulnerable adult or a person with authority to make health care decisions for the vulnerable adult under sections 144.651, 144A.44, chapter 145B, 145C, or 252A, or sections 253B.03 or 524.5-101 to 524.5-502, refuses consent or withdraws consent, consistent with that authority and within the boundary of reasonable medical practice, to any therapeutic conduct, including any care, service, or procedure to diagnose, maintain, or treat the physical or mental condition of the vulnerable adult, or, where permitted under law, to provide nutrition and hydration parenterally or through intubation; this paragraph does not enlarge or diminish rights otherwise held under law by:
(i) a vulnerable adult or a person acting on behalf of a vulnerable adult, including an involved family member, to consent to or refuse consent for therapeutic conduct; or
(ii) a caregiver to offer or provide or refuse to offer or provide therapeutic conduct; or
(2) the vulnerable adult, a person with authority to make health care decisions for the vulnerable adult, or a caregiver in good faith selects and depends upon spiritual means or prayer for treatment or care of disease or remedial care of the vulnerable adult in lieu of medical care, provided that this is consistent with the prior practice or belief of the vulnerable adult or with the expressed intentions of the vulnerable adult;
(3) the vulnerable adult, who is not impaired in judgment or capacity by mental or emotional dysfunction or undue influence, engages in consensual sexual contact with:
(i) a person including a facility staff person when a consensual sexual personal relationship existed prior to the caregiving relationship; or
(ii) a personal care attendant, regardless of whether the consensual sexual personal relationship existed prior to the caregiving relationship; or
(4) an individual makes an error in the provision of therapeutic conduct to a vulnerable adult which does not result in injury or harm which reasonably requires medical or mental health care; or
(5) an individual makes an error in the provision of therapeutic conduct to a vulnerable adult that results in injury or harm, which reasonably requires the care of a physician, and:
(i) the necessary care is provided in a timely fashion as dictated by the condition of the vulnerable adult;
(ii) if after receiving care, the health status of the vulnerable adult can be reasonably expected, as determined by the attending physician, to be restored to the vulnerable adult’s preexisting condition;
(iii) the error is not part of a pattern of errors by the individual;
(iv) if in a facility, the error is immediately reported as required under section 626.557, and recorded internally in the facility;
(v) if in a facility, the facility identifies and takes corrective action and implements measures designed to reduce the risk of further occurrence of this error and similar errors; and
(vi) if in a facility, the actions required under items (iv) and (v) are sufficiently documented for review and evaluation by the facility and any applicable licensing, certification, and ombudsman agency.
(d) Nothing in this definition requires a caregiver, if regulated, to provide services in excess of those required by the caregiver’s license, certification, registration, or other regulation.
(e) If the findings of an investigation by a lead investigative agency result in a determination of substantiated maltreatment for the sole reason that the actions required of a facility under paragraph (c), clause (5), item (iv), (v), or (vi), were not taken, then the facility is subject to a correction order. An individual will not be found to have neglected or maltreated the vulnerable adult based solely on the facility’s not having taken the actions required under paragraph (c), clause (5), item (iv), (v), or (vi). This must not alter the lead investigative agency’s determination of mitigating factors under section 626.557, subdivision 9c, paragraph (c).
If you have any questions about reporting concerns or any type of nursing home abuse or neglect call Attorney Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation at 612-743-9048 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.