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Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys > Blog > Nursing Home Abuse > Who is Liable for Self-Neglect in Nursing Homes?

Who is Liable for Self-Neglect in Nursing Homes?


It is understandable that older adults who live alone may become a victim of self-neglect. When elderly individuals do not have family members, friends, or others around them who can assist them regularly, it is possible that they will become malnourished, fail to take their medications, or ignore an illness or injury.

However, seniors living in nursing homes should never suffer this type of harm. Nursing homes only exist to support individuals who cannot help themselves. Nursing home staff members should never allow seniors to self-neglect themselves. When they do, they can be held liable for any harm a resident suffers. Below, our Tampa lack of care attorney explains further.

What is Self-Neglect in Nursing Home Residents? 

Self-neglect is defined by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as behavior of a senior that jeopardizes their own personal safety or health. Self-neglect typically presents as a failure to make sure that one provides themselves with sufficient water, food, shelter, clothing, medication, personal hygiene, and safety.

Self-neglect sounds like it is voluntary, but that is not the case. According to the Elder Justice Act, self-neglect occurs when an adult is unable to perform essential self-care tasks due to a mental or physical impairment. The Elder Justice Act was the first piece of federal law to be passed that allowed funding to address elder abuse, including self-neglect.

Who is Liable for Self-Neglect in Nursing Homes? 

People often feel that nursing homes are a remedy for self-neglect. Sadly, that is not always the case. Nursing homes must ensure the residents in their care have the necessary food, water, medical care, clothing, and anything else necessary to keep them safe and healthy. This includes making sure that when residents self-neglect, the situation is rectified.

Nursing home administrators and staff members are required to receive necessary training regarding the treatment of residents who self-neglect. One way to avoid self-neglect is by creating a patient care plan for all residents. These care plans outline each resident’s health information and provide for all details in a resident’s schedule of care.

Signs of Self-Neglect 

Again, self-neglect is not always voluntary and residents may not even know it is happening. It is important for family members to recognize the signs so they can take action when necessary. The most common signs of self-neglect in nursing home residents are as follows:

  • Bed sores
  • Depression, confusion, or altered moods and mental states
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Psychological or emotional trauma
  • Falling and signs of physical injury
  • Abandonment or isolation
  • Evidence of chemical or physical restraints that were improperly used
  • Signs of financial exploitation
  • Loss of enjoyment of favorite hobbies and activities

Our Lack of Care Attorney in Tampa Can Help with Self-Neglect

 Self-neglect is just as harmful as any other kind. If you believe your loved one has suffered harm, our Tampa lack of care attorney at Kohn Law can help you make things right. Our seasoned attorney has the necessary experience to investigate the incident, collect evidence, and give your loved one the best chance of receiving the full damages they need. Call us now at 813-428-8504 or chat with us online to schedule a free consultation.


acl.gov/about-acl/elder-justice-act#:~:text=The Elder Justice Act established,exploitation across the federal government.


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