Neglect of the elderly

All too often, we hear of heartbreaking instances where an elderly person has suffered neglect, which is tantamount to abuse. Medical professionals, hospitals and even care homes have all been found guilty of neglecting (both intentionally and unintentionally) the elderly in one form or another and not enough seems to be done to stamp this out once and for all. It is particularly distressing when we hear of cases concerning elderly people suffering from dementia, as sometimes they are not physically able to communicate to someone the neglect that they have suffered.

Basic primal necessities that most of us take for granted, such as food, water and personal hygiene, may be withheld in cases of elderly neglect. We have all read and heard of individual cases where an elderly person has died as a result of being neglected; these situations are becoming increasingly more common, but it is imperative to ensure that they are entirely avoided.

A medical professional, whether it be a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or some other clinician treating a patient, is bound by a legal duty of care to that patient and the sad fact is that when it comes to the elderly, this duty of care is very often simply forgotten.

Can you spot elderly neglect?

There are certain warning signs that can indicate an elderly person may be suffering from neglect, which include malnutrition, dehydration, poor personal hygiene and unsafe living conditions. If you have any suspicion at all that an elderly person you know may be suffering neglect, then we would urge you not to ignore the situation.

In England, the Care Quality Commission is responsible for checking that hospitals,
care homes and care services are meeting national standards; please visit their website, www.cqc.org.uk/public, for further information. If you believe that the national standards for care are not being met by a particular individual or body, then you are able to make a report to the Care Quality Commission with your views.

Elderly neglect in hospitals

We all know that most hospitals are severely understaffed and that resources are stretched to breaking point. As a result of this, it is no wonder that there are so many cases of elderly neglect within hospitals. We continually hear of specific cases, such as nursing staff not being available to take an elderly patient to the toilet and them subsequently ending up in their own urine or faeces or an elderly patient trying to get to the toilet on their own as no staff are available to help, falling over and breaking a leg or hip. This is just completely unacceptable and cannot and should not be allowed to continue.

In November 2012, the Care Quality Commission reported that 10% of hospitals were not treating patients with the respect they deserved; the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, subsequently warned that cruelty and neglect had become the norm in some hospitals and care homes.

Elderly neglect in residential care homes

This is another area that has been brought to the forefront of our minds in recent years. In 2012, the TV programme Panorama highlighted the plight of one elderly lady who was not only being neglected by the care home she lived in, but even more abhorrently, was being physically abused by staff. As a result of both Panorama’s undercover investigations and the elderly lady’s mother taking it upon herself to place a spy camera in her mother’s room, one of the care staff involved was jailed for 18 months and another four staff were sacked. A point to note here is that the care home in question had actually been passed as excellent by the Care Quality Commission, which is particularly disturbing.

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident in one particular care home; there are numerous occurrences of the elderly being neglected in their care homes across the country.

How Lloyd Green Solicitors can help you

If you or your loved one has suffered any kind of neglect as an elderly person, whether it be from a medical professional, hospital or care home, then do contact our kind, caring and compassionate experts today. They will listen to you carefully and use their vast experience and knowledge to determine whether you may be eligible to bring a claim against the individual or body responsible. If we determine that a claim may be possible, then Lloyd Green Solicitors will act for you on a no win, no fee basis, which could see you awarded a substantial sum of money as compensation for your situation. Obviously, financial recompense can never be a substitute for the neglect that you or your loved one has suffered, but it may allow you to continue your life with peace of mind.