Is nursing home neglect considered criminal or civil?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2022 | Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

Many Georgia residents have no choice but to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home. Although they expect their parent, grandparent or other relative to receive comfort and care, sometimes, the opposite happens. Nursing home neglect is sadly common. Keep reading to learn if this is a criminal or civil offense.

Nursing home neglect explained

Nursing home abuse and neglect in Georgia can take on many different forms. In some cases, it means that a resident is left to their own devices for hours at a time because of staff shortages. This might occur due to budget cuts or other reasons, but staff members may have to prioritize residents who have especially urgent needs. This can leave others unsupervised, which can increase the risk of an accident or other negative situations occurring.

Other times, nursing home neglect happens because staff members just don’t do what’s expected of them in their jobs. For example, a staff member taking an extended lunch break and ignoring the needs of their patients can result in harm. In other cases, the neglect might occur because the nursing home failed to adequately train its staff, leading to improper care administered to the residents.

Nursing home neglect lawsuits are often civil

Although most people would automatically think of nursing home neglect as a criminal act, many lawsuits are civil. In one example, a staffing shortage results in a resident falling and suffering an injury. This is a civil matter. Nursing homes are also required to abide by certain laws and regulations. When they fail to do that, it often results in penalties against the facility. In this situation, it would not be considered a criminal but a civil violation.

Regardless of whether it’s civil or criminal, nursing home neglect can result in serious, sometimes long-lasting harm to older individuals.